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Facts about the Great Wall of China

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  • #16
    Hi Adam,

    no one has been offended by your work. As we (Bryan and I) noted it is great work.

    Two states:
    The Ming wall did not extend westward to the Lop nur. It ended at Jiayuguan, wich is some 700 km eastward. It also did not end at Shanhaiguan but at the Korean border. This is an offset of roughly 900 km (following the line of the Ming Great Wall.

    Of course I can not be sure there are no dead bodies inside the wall. But the guys took such an efford that I can hardly imagine the risked to weaken the structure. Though I found this:



    The underlying structure is the Great Wall. Did the bones come out of it? Whas this only a later burial close to the Great Wall? The bones are _very_ old. I don't know.


    -chinoook
    chinoook's 1st law: Structurally weak walls tend to have double structures.
    chinoook's 2nd law: Newer walls are built next older walls, not over them.
    chinoook's 3rd law: Similar problems lead to similar solutions.

    The most dangerous worldview is the worldview of people, who have not viewed the world. (Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859), German naturalist and explorer)

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    • #17
      Great Wall burials

      The source of the myth about people being buried in the Great Wall is the same as the source of the myth about it being visible from the moon — this Ripley's cartoon from 1932. We all know how reliable this source is. It also states that the wall was built in 15 years...

      Bryan

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      • #18
        But at least the bones I found were real ...


        -chinoook
        chinoook's 1st law: Structurally weak walls tend to have double structures.
        chinoook's 2nd law: Newer walls are built next older walls, not over them.
        chinoook's 3rd law: Similar problems lead to similar solutions.

        The most dangerous worldview is the worldview of people, who have not viewed the world. (Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859), German naturalist and explorer)

        Comment


        • #19
          Re: Facts about the Great Wall of China

          One of the things people frequently don't get is that the majority of the wall was built in the mid-1500s. There were certain sections built earlier, but the sections in the north and northeast were newer. Also, the wall was not a complete military failure. The Manchus went through it many times in weaker sections, but the whole thing certainly was never overcome militarily.

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          • #20
            Re: Facts about the Great Wall of China

            It is said that the Ming Dynasty was weak and did not want any conflict or confrontation and so they built the Ming Great Wall. It is very difficult to judge whether the Ming Wall served its purposes and prevented the invasions from the North. From a geographical perspective, indeed China faced numerous threats:-

            1. Xiongnu & Yuezhi from the Northwest - Han Wall
            2. Tibetans from the West - Sui Wall and Tang Wall?
            3. Xianbei from the North - Eastern Wei and Western Wei Wall??
            4. Mongolians from the North - Ming and Jin Wall, Song Wall
            5. Khitans; Rourans; from the North - ?????
            6. N

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            • #21
              Re: Facts about the Great Wall of China

              Hi Peter. The Ming wall was basically a completely different wall built in sections. For example, Shanhaiguan was built in 1381 and added to in segments, the western portions along the Ordos were built in the mid-1400s, and the majority of the sections closest to Beijing were from the mid-1500s to the end of the Ming. Each section was built in response to where the enemy was. In the 1400s it was Esen Khan, in the 1500s it was Altan Khan, and in the 1600s it was the Manchus. The reason it was in such poor condition recently is because the Manchus once they were in China, had no use for it. For the last 350 years or so it has had no military purpose.

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              • #22
                Re: Facts about the Great Wall of China

                [QUOTE=PeterLee;13984]
                1. Xiongnu & Yuezhi from the Northwest - Han Wall
                2. Tibetans from the West - Sui Wall and Tang Wall?
                3. Xianbei from the North - Eastern Wei and Western Wei Wall??
                4. Mongolians from the North - Ming and Jin Wall, Song Wall
                5. Khitans; Rourans; from the North - ?????
                6. N
                chinoook's 1st law: Structurally weak walls tend to have double structures.
                chinoook's 2nd law: Newer walls are built next older walls, not over them.
                chinoook's 3rd law: Similar problems lead to similar solutions.

                The most dangerous worldview is the worldview of people, who have not viewed the world. (Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859), German naturalist and explorer)

                Comment


                • #23
                  Re: Facts about the Great Wall of China

                  Finally, from pure military purposes meaning, the Wall (s) didn't show much action against regular troups but rather to expel unorganised bands of marauders. When the organised army of Genghis Khan attacked the wall (Jin Great Wall) this one was breached immediately. Therefore, I may suggest, that the wall (s) served mainly just to impose taxes on incoming goods and persons. It reminds me Enver Hoxha of Albania who build 970.000.- bunkers to prevent foreign attack on his country. These bunkers never saw action and not a single shot was fired !

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                  • #24
                    Re: Facts about the Great Wall of China

                    I think the Ming wall around Beijing saw its share of battles one way or the other (not least during the Japan-China war leading up to and during WW2 - there was a big battle at and around Nankou and as far west as Shuitoucun from there, and also back east at Gubeikou).

                    A couple I'm familiar with are some skirmishes at Juyongguan and of course Li Zicheng sneaking his way through Badaling after a feint (and small battle, I think) over at Shixiaguan.

                    Also, the Mongols made it to the gate at Andingmen during the Ming Dynasty, pillaging along the way, so they got past the wall then somehow. I understand that was one of the incidents that lead to Imperial approval for Qi Jinguang to spruce up the wall, giving us much of what we enjoy and marvel at today.
                    If you're tired of the Great Wall, you're tired of life.
                    Journeys, &c

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Re: Facts about the Great Wall of China

                      Originally posted by Sinikonteichosmaniac View Post
                      Finally, from pure military purposes meaning, the Wall (s) didn't show much action against regular troups but rather to expel unorganised bands of marauders. When the organised army of Genghis Khan attacked the wall (Jin Great Wall) this one was breached immediately. Therefore, I may suggest, that the wall (s) served mainly just to impose taxes on incoming goods and persons.
                      This is a very interesting question. A wall like the Jin wall (a structulally weak wall) is not able to repel a whole attacking army. It will only slow down the attack, hopefully giving the supporting armies from the backcountry enough time to gather right where the breach was. We see large fortresses there, never really close to the wall.

                      Originally posted by bianfuxia View Post
                      I think the Ming wall around Beijing saw its share of battles one way or the other (not least during the Japan-China war leading up to and during WW2 - there was a big battle at and around Nankou and as far west as Shuitoucun from there, and also back east at Gubeikou).

                      Also, the Mongols made it to the gate at Andingmen during the Ming Dynasty,
                      They (Atan Khan) breached through Gubeikou, which was not heavily defended (no wall at all at that time?). When was the Gubeikou section built? Anyone here who knows that?

                      The wall at Shanhaiguan was supposed to be unbreachable. At least for a classic nothern cavalry I would agree.


                      -chinoook
                      chinoook's 1st law: Structurally weak walls tend to have double structures.
                      chinoook's 2nd law: Newer walls are built next older walls, not over them.
                      chinoook's 3rd law: Similar problems lead to similar solutions.

                      The most dangerous worldview is the worldview of people, who have not viewed the world. (Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859), German naturalist and explorer)

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Re: Facts about the Great Wall of China

                        Something I found on the internet (ok, on a travel site) says:
                        The first section of the wall was built during the Northern Qi Dynasty (550 - 557). [That much we are pretty certain of]. Centuries later, General Xuda ordered to rebuild it in the early Ming Dynasty... The defensive capability of the wall was enhanced by adding more stones. When Qi Jiguang was appointed the chief commanding officer of Ji Garrison (one of the eleven garrisons in Ming Dynasty), he laid another line of brick wall beside the original one, thus forming the unique double-lined Wall.
                        Xu Da supposedly lived 1332
                        If you're tired of the Great Wall, you're tired of life.
                        Journeys, &c

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Re: Facts about the Great Wall of China

                          Originally posted by bianfuxia View Post
                          From my recollection the incident at Andingmen was later than that.
                          1550


                          -chinoook
                          chinoook's 1st law: Structurally weak walls tend to have double structures.
                          chinoook's 2nd law: Newer walls are built next older walls, not over them.
                          chinoook's 3rd law: Similar problems lead to similar solutions.

                          The most dangerous worldview is the worldview of people, who have not viewed the world. (Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859), German naturalist and explorer)

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Re: Facts about the Great Wall of China

                            Right, because I thought that was one of the main motivations behind Qi's renewed wall building push.

                            Every time I walk over Andingmen Bridge to catch line 2 I try to imagine what it must have been like that day in 1550. I suppose the noise of the burning northern suburbs could have been a bit similar to the roar of the 2nd ring road!
                            If you're tired of the Great Wall, you're tired of life.
                            Journeys, &c

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              It was the state Chu who first built the wall. It was during the Qin Dynasty that the kingdom of Qin united the different parts into one empire. To defend off the invasions from northern invaders, Emperor Qin Shi Huang had all the walls joined up. Thus, the Great Wall came into being.

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                              • #30
                                Not the Chu wall was the first Great Wall in China ...
                                And this wall has never been touched by the Qin.
                                The (common) statement the Qin joined up older walls is wrong. It probably did not make use of a single meter of older walls.


                                -chinoook
                                chinoook's 1st law: Structurally weak walls tend to have double structures.
                                chinoook's 2nd law: Newer walls are built next older walls, not over them.
                                chinoook's 3rd law: Similar problems lead to similar solutions.

                                The most dangerous worldview is the worldview of people, who have not viewed the world. (Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859), German naturalist and explorer)

                                Comment

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