The Great Wall of China
By MARJAN FARAHBAKSH
Monday, January 2, 2006
For centuries, societies have built large barriers at the edge of their territories, often to keep enemies out, but sometimes to keep their own people in.
Made of brick, stone and dirt, the Great Wall of China stretches from east to west across 17 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities in northern China.
Sections of the wall date to 221 BC, when Qin Shi Huangdi conquered and unified several kingdoms and became China's first emperor.
Using as many as 800,000 conscripted labourers, many of whom died in the process, he joined the existing defensive walls and extended their length to protect the kingdom against marauding nomadic tribes.