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It's generally believed that China began to build the Great Wall during the Spring and Autumn Periods when the country was in a great chaos, with rival states fighting for territory and power. to protect their states and people, independent walls were successively built along their states' borders by those states. However, it's not until the Qin Dynasty after the country was unified by Qinshihuang, did the mass construction of the Great Wall took place.
In 221 BC, after Emperor Qinshihuang defeated the other six states and unified China, he decided to link up all the separate high walls built by its rivals, especially the walls in the northern part of China built by the states of Qin, Zhao and Yan as a great defense project to ward off the harassment by the Huns. When it was finished, the total length of the Wall exceeds 5, 000 kilometers. The Qin Great Wall winds its way from Linrao, Gansu Province in the west to the Liaodong Peninsula, Liaoning Province.
In the Chinese history, the Great Wall built in four dynasties exceed 10, 000 li in length: the dynasties of Qin, Han, Jing and Ming. Among them, the Han Great Wall, from Liaodao in the east to Yanze in the west, is the longest: more than 10, 000 kms.
The construction of the Great wall had never ceased for nearly all the Chinese fuadal dynasties. The smaller and less powerful dynasties of North Wei, North Qi, East Wei and North Zhou all spent a lot on the Great Wall. The Shui Dynasty rebuilt the Wall for 6 times while its following dynasty of Tang, the culmination of China's feudal age, never built the Great wall owing to its superior power and advantage over its northern nomad neighbors. Song Dynasty had the history of building Great Wall against the invasions of Liao, Xixia and Jing in the north and northwest. The Jing Great wall, 5, 000 kilometers long, is the longest among those built by a government of minority ethnic people. And the vast Empire of Yuan did not have a history of building the Great Wall.
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