The Great Wall of China is the longest man-made structure in the world, stretching 21,196.18km (13,170.6956 miles) long. It was built to keep out raiding parties of nomadic tribes, such as the Mongol, Turic and Xiongnu, from modern-day Mongolia and Manchuria.
The first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, is often considered the father of the Great Wall, but even before he united the nation in 221BC, individual states built walls to keep out invaders as early as the 7th Century. Qin connected, lengthened and fortified the walls to protect the northern border between 221-206BC. Subsequent dynasties, most notably the Ming, maintained and rebuilt it.
Always maintained as a military defence – at its peak the Ming Wall was guarded by more than one million men – the Wall evolved other uses. Aside from being a transportation corridor, it was used to regulate trade, such as collecting duties on goods transported along the Silk Road. It was also used to restrict both immigration and emigration.
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