The great wall of china is the most monumental barrier ever created in the ancient world. It is easily the most popular image we associate with the ancient Chinese Empire itself, but it has become so mythologized by in our imagination that we don’t realize it was actually the most extreme cultural barrier ever created. It’s sole purpose was to separate two groups of people, those who were civilized, and those who were not.

In some estimates they say more than a two to three million people were killed, and the construction went on in the initial part of the wall for over 14 years, starting in 220 BC. The Great Wall was not just a single barrier, but a chain of defenses, towers and huge expanses of 5 meter tall walls. This could not have been undertaken without a huge amount of resources and planning, not to mention organization on a scale probably never replicated since. And all this was said to be done in order to protect China form her enemies, the hoards of nomadic people that were gathering on the Mongolian plains, probing for any weakness in the Chinese defenses in order get at her seemingly unending wealth. The result was a wall that created a segregation of two people in a massive scale, people who were by most accounts ethnically of the same origin, yet separated by thousands of years of prejudice. Nevertheless, this wall has stood on the mountains of northern china since he foundation was laid under the Qin Emperor who was the first to unify China under his Celestial Kingdom.

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