The Great Wall of China is very famous and very important structure in ancient China. There have been two great walls. These walls where made to protect China from the Mongols and other nomadic tribes north of china. The first wall was built during the reign of the first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huangdi. This wall was not made all at once, but instead the Chinese joined several regional walls built by the "Warring States". The walls that were linked together consisted of rammed earth with watch towers built at regular intervals. This wall was much further north than the current Great Wall with its eastern end at modern day North Korea. There is not much of the first wall that remains. The creation of the wall took a lot of planning, people, and time. The government ordered people to work on the wall. The workers were always in danger of being attacked by the emperors' enemies . Construction of the wall involved the vast amounts of labor, including forced labor of criminals, prisoners of war, and political dissidents. Because many people died while building the wall, it has obtained the dark title, "longest cemetery on Earth" or "the long graveyard". Possibly as many as one million workers died building the wall. The Great Wall which most tourists visit today was built during the Ming Dynasty, starting around the year 1368 and lasting till around 1640. Work on the wall started as soon as the Ming took control of China but, initially, walls were not the Ming's preferred response to raids out of the north. That attitude began to change in response to the Ming's inability to defeat the war leader Esen Taiji in the period 1449 to 1454. A huge Ming Dynasty army with the Zhengtong Emperor at its head was annihilated in battle and the Emperor himself held hostage in 1449. [continues]
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