Humans have been building for a very long time. In pre-history, the home was a cave. The first cave dwellers were nomadic. They may have roamed from one cave to another, or they may have lived in one place for a while and then moved on. We know this because of archaeology—the study of the material remains of past human life. We know it because we have the ruins of ancient structures all over the world.
The World’s Longest Structure Constructed by Humans
With a total length of 21,196 kilometres, the Great Wall of China is the world’s longest wall and one of the most spectacular architectural marvels in history (13,171 miles). The Great Wall of China was built during the time of Qin Shi Huang, the First Emperor of the Qin Dynasty (221-207 BC). The primary function of the Great Wall was to prevent invasions by Mongol and Manchu armies, as well as to protect Silk Road traffic.
Did You Know?
- Historians generally agree that the construction of the Great Wall of China began during the Spring and Autumn Period (770–476 BC), was first finished during the Qin Dynasty (221–206 BC), and was last rebuilt during the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644). The Great Wall of China has been in existence for around 2800 years.
- The Great Wall was built over 2,000 years and spans over 20,000 kilometres. It is thought that the exact number of workers is in the millions. According to historical documents, 300,000–500,000 soldiers and 400,000–500,000 conscripted labourers were employed to build and guard the Qin Great Wall. Soldiers, peasants, and prisoners made up the majority of the Great Wall’s labour force. Glutinous rice flour was used to glue the bricks of the Great Wall during the Qin Dynasty (221–206 BC).
- The Great Wall of China stretches across 15 provinces, including Beijing, Tianjin, Liaoning, Jilin, Heilongjiang, Hebei, Henan, Shandong, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Hubei, Inner Mongolia, Ningxia, Gansu, and Qinghai.
- A total of 2,000 kilometres, or 30 percent of the Ming Great Wall, has been lost as a result of natural erosion and human intervention.
- Throughout the years, more than 300 world celebrities have visited the Great Wall and expressed their admiration for this world wonder, including national leaders and sports stars such as Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama (all former Presidents of the United States), Queen Elizabeth II, Margaret Thatcher, Vladimir Putin, Stephen Harper, Kobe Bryant, Diego Armando Maradona, Shaquille O’Neal, Lebron James and Micheal Jordan.
- The Great Wall of China would be long enough to span the United States’ (3000+ kilometre) border with Mexico, as well as the land border between southern Canada and the United States (5000 kilometres, not including the Great Lakes and Alaska).
- In December 1987, the Great Wall of China was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Great Wall has been recognised by UNESCO as the world’s largest military structure on the planet.
- The Great Wall of China is one of the “Seven Wonders of the Medieval World,” as well as one of the “New Seven Wonders of the World.”
- The Great Wall may be seen from space, but only if you are close enough to the earth and the conditions are favourable. It is not visible from the moon.