The Historical Effects of the Great Wall of China Essay

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The 21st century has been called “the century of Asia,” and China is leading the way for the emerging Asian powerhouses today. Indeed, the economic clout that China is already wielding in the international marketplace, together with those of Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan and others are reshaping the global economy and all signs indicate these trends will continue into the foreseeable future. Although all of the countries of Asia have a rich, proud, lengthy and colorful history, China stands out for one reason in particular: its Great Wall. Despite its antiquity, the Great Wall of China remains a powerful influence on modern Chinese thought and culture, as well as providing a valuable destination of tourists from all over the …show more content…
In this regard, Silverberg (1965) reports that, “By 300 B. C., the general outlines of what would eventually be the Great Wall of China were beginning to take shape” (25). This account is consistent with the description provided by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNECSO) which reports, “In c. 220 B.C., under Qin Shi Huang, sections of earlier fortifications were joined together to form a united defense system against invasions from the north. Construction continued up to the Ming dynasty (1368–1644), when the Great Wall became the world's largest military structure. Its historic and strategic importance is matched only by its architectural significance” (Brief Description 1). The popular explanation in the West for the enormous amount of time, effort, resources involved, as well as the enormous toll in humans lives that were lost in the construction of the Great Wall involves the need to protect the country from Mongol and other barbarian hordes that were threatening the empire’s fringes and the political stability of the ruling regime. For example, Silverberg reports that, “The standard explanation of this decision is that the First Emperor felt ‘threatened’ by the barbarians to the north” (42). The historical record, though, suggests otherwise,

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