The Great Wall of the Ming Dynasty
was also built for safety of the border. Ming Dynasty restored and rebuilt the Great Wall in the largest scale among all the dynasties in China’s history. The Ming Dynasty Great Wall yielded a total a round 6,300 kilometers and The Great Wall you can see today during your tour in China is mostly built in Ming Dynasty.
The Establishment of the Ming Dynasty
In the Sui Dynasty countless families were broken because of the extreme of tyranny and finally incurred upspring. It was ended in 618 after its 37-years rule and replaced by the Tang Dynasty.
In Tang Dynasty, economy and culture are very prosperous and there were little or no treat from its neighbors in the border, so there were deemed necessary for the ruler to construct additional fortifications. After the Tang Dynasty came the Song Dynasty (960-1279). The Song Dynasty had treat from its neighbors, the Liao (907-1125), Western Xia (1032-1227) and Jin (1115-1234), but it did not build any fortification walls.
In 1279, the Yuan Dynasty was founded by Mongol. It occupied the largest territory ever in Chinese history, and there is no need to built walls without harassment from beyond the wall.In 1368, after a series of battles against Yuan, the Ming Dynasty established. In the beginning of the Ming Dynasty, to consolidate its rule and stabilize the society, it reduced taxes for peasants and boosted commercial development. The social production gradually revived and the economy began to develop.
The Construction of the Great Wall in Ming Dynasty
The main threat beyond the wall was from Mongol. They always wished to come back after their dynasty Yuan was defeated and fell down. They frequently harassed the north border of the Ming Dynasty. In addition, Nuzhen, another nomad nationality lived north to the Ming territory, was ambitiously waiting for its chance. In order to protect the borderline, Ming had built walls for several times. The following is about the wall constructions during the Ming Dynasty.
From 1399 to 1402, King Ming Hui Di ordered to build the wall running from present Xuanhua to present Datong
of Shanxi.In 1413:, King Ming Cheng Zu dug a wide and deep trench along the inner side of the above wall built by King Ming Hui Di and piled digging into a stone fence to strengthen the defense on the north border. The trench extended eastwards from Xi'ma'lin of Wanquan County of Hebei Province to the Chang'an'ling Fortress of Xuanhua of Hebei Province, running about 100km.
In 1436, King Ming Ying Zong built 22 watchtowers along the wall which extending about 250km from Longwu County of Hebei Province to Dushikou in North Jixian County. And in the same year, the Ming Dynasty set up beacons along the wall from now Yanchi of Ningxia.
In 1466, King Ming Xian Zong set up thirty-four platforms along two sections: one ran from Dingbian County to Huanxian County; another went from Anbian County to Qingyang County. The both sections extended northwards from now east Gansu Province to north Shannxi Province.
In 1476, Ming Xian Zong built the wall going from the Shanhaiguan Pass westwards to the Yanmenguan Pass by employing resident and armies. The Shanhaiguan Pass, Xifengkou, Gubeikou, the Juyongguan Pass and the Daomaguan Pass were connected from each other.
In 1471, Yu zijun, a provincial governor of Ming Dynasty responsible for the border security of Shanbei Province, employed army and residents to build a wall for a short time. This wall gone about 850km from now ortheast Shenmu County of Shannxi Province to present Yanchi County of Ningxia, together with 11 fortresses and about 100 beacons along the wall.
In 1372, General Feng Sheng drove enemies to the West Regions and built the Jiayu Pass. In the time of King Ming Xiao Zong (1488 – 1505), the pass was added with the city gate tower and the outer city.
In the time of King Ming Xiao Zong, the King built the wall form now Anbian of Shannxi Province to the east bank of the Yellow River in Wulin County of Ningxia to prevent sneak attack from vast desert.
In the time of King Ming Wu Zong（1491-1521）， he fixed up the wall within Xuanfu and Datong County which ran 500 km and with 363 beacons along it. Later the wall damaged intentionally since it made the trade between Mongolia and Ming in convenient. Weng Wanda advise to renovate it, and then this section of the wall was repaired again with closet added inside for storing firearms.
In the time of Ming Mu Zong (1537-1572), Anda and Tuman frequently harassed the border near Jinmen which was threatening the Capital of Ming – Beijing. In 1568, Qi Jiguang suggested to repair the wall from Shanhaiguan Pass to Changpin and build watchtowers along the line. The construction started form 1569 to 1572.
Generally speaking, the walls in Ming Dynasty were built along the walls of the Northern Qi Dynasty and Northern Wei Dynasty. It was runs about 6,000km, which is the largest scale construction among all the dynasties in Chinese history. The Great Wall we see today was mostly built in Ming Dynasty. The Great Wall of China was declared as a “World Heritage Site’ by UNESCO, in 1987. Known as one of the 'Seven Wonders of the World', the Great Wall becomes a very attractive spot for visitors all over the world today.