Why did China build the great Wall?
Labor Force of Great Wall Construction
The soldiers were the main power to build the Great Wall at that time. For example, Emperor Qin Shihuang ordered the General Mengtian to lead around 300, 000 soldiers to protect the defensive line and build the wall after defeating the Huns. This project took more than 9 years. In order to take care of the soldiers and make them feel settled, the court even arranged for widows to marry them.
Besides those soldiers, the Emperor Qin Shihuang also forced nearly one million people to join the construction of this project. There were also many other dynasties taking the same actions. About 100, 000 people were taken to build the wall in 446, during Northern Wei Dynasty (386 – 534). In 555, Northern Qi Dynasty (550 – 577), the emperor used 1, 800, 000 laborers to build the wall from Xiakou to Hengzhou, which is more than 450 kilometers (280 miles). In the Sui Dynasty (581 - 618 AD), the widows were also force to work because all the male laborers had been used already.
The criminals were forced into labor as punishment. They would be shaved off the hair and wore the iron rings. During the day, they were ordered to take turns patrolling the wall, while at night, building and extending the wall. They were required to work for 4 years according to laws of Qin Dynasty.
The Legendary Origin of the Great Wall Construction
Once upon a time, Emperor Qin Shihuang was attracted by a kind of necromancy, which made him generate a strong desire of immortality because he thought his empire could be safe and strong as long as he was immortal. At the same time, a necromancer called Lusheng gradually gained the trust of Qin Shihuang. Qin Shihuang spent a great deal of efforts to seek the elixir, but all of these actions ruined. He asked Lusheng to find the god for guidance. When Lusheng came back, he brought a book which recorded that the Huns would end the Qin Empire. Qin Shihuang finally found an aim to abreact his upset and he ordered the general Mengtian to conquer the Huns. When the soldiers defeated the Huns, Qin Shihuang still worried so much because the Huns had no fixed camps and the safety of the empire could not be guaranteed forever. As a result, Qin Shihuang decided to ask the soldiers, common people and criminals to connect and extend the walls of previous states to defend and attack the Huns more easily.
How many people died building the Great Wall of China?
For the not well-developed productivity in ancient times, there was no doubt that the construction of the Great Wall could be a disaster for common people, and so many people lost their lives during the project. During the Qin Dynasty (221 - 207 BC) only, 20% of the country’s population, nearly one million people was forced to build it. But only tens of thousands of them survived from the heavy work and difficult conditions. That is to say, those died from the building of the Great Wall reach almost one million. Some of them may starve to death, some may die for excessive fatigue and some may even be flogged to death.