What was the cost of building the Great Wall of China in US dollars?

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By Meagan Drillinger

The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China is an ancient series of walls and fortifications that stretches over 13,000 miles across northern China. It was constructed over thousands of years, with some sections dating back as far as the 7th century BC. The Great Wall is one of the most iconic structures in the world and is recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

The construction of the Great Wall

The Great Wall was constructed in sections over thousands of years, with some sections dating back as far as the 7th century BC. The majority of the construction took place during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), when the wall was expanded and strengthened to protect against Mongol invasions. The construction of the wall involved the use of a variety of materials, including brick, tamped earth, and stone. The work was also labor-intensive, with thousands of workers involved in the construction process.

Historical context and purpose

The Great Wall was built as a means of protecting China from invading armies. Throughout its history, China has faced numerous invasions from neighboring countries, including the Mongols and the Manchus. The wall was built to serve as a barrier between China and its enemies, and to help regulate trade and immigration. The wall was also used as a means of communication, with watchtowers and signal fires used to alert soldiers to approaching threats.

Labor force and technology used

The construction of the Great Wall involved a significant amount of labor, with estimates ranging from 1 million to 2 million workers. The workers were mostly peasants, who were drafted into service by the government. The construction process was largely manual, with workers using simple tools like shovels and picks. The technology used was also relatively basic, with the main focus being on the strength and durability of the materials used.

Materials and resources needed

The construction of the Great Wall required a significant amount of resources, including stone, brick, wood, and tamped earth. These materials were largely sourced from local areas, with workers transporting them to the construction site by hand or with the help of animals like horses and donkeys. The construction process also required large amounts of food, water, and other supplies to support the workers.

Challenges and obstacles faced

The construction of the Great Wall was not without its challenges and obstacles. The workers faced difficult terrain, extreme weather conditions, and dangerous working conditions. The construction process was also slowed down by wars, political instability, and limited resources. Despite these challenges, the construction of the wall continued, with each new section adding to the overall strength and durability of the wall.

Duration of the building process

The construction of the Great Wall took place over thousands of years, with some sections dating back as far as the 7th century BC. The majority of the construction took place during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), when the wall was expanded and strengthened to protect against Mongol invasions. The construction process was slow and steady, with each new section adding to the overall strength and durability of the wall.

Cost estimation in Chinese currency

Estimates of the cost of building the Great Wall vary widely, with some estimates suggesting that it cost as much as 1 trillion yuan (approximately $150 billion USD) in today’s currency. However, it is difficult to estimate the true cost of the wall, as the construction took place over such a long period of time and involved so many workers and resources.

Conversion of Chinese currency to US dollars

To convert Chinese yuan to US dollars, we can use the current exchange rate, which is approximately 1 USD to 6.5 yuan. This means that 1 trillion yuan would be equivalent to approximately $150 billion USD.

The cost of building the Great Wall in US dollars

Based on the estimated cost of 1 trillion yuan, it is estimated that the cost of building the Great Wall in today’s currency would be approximately $150 billion USD.

Significance of the cost in modern times

The cost of building the Great Wall is significant in modern times, as it highlights the immense resources required to construct such a massive structure. It also serves as a reminder of the importance of investing in infrastructure and national defense, as the construction of the wall was a key factor in protecting China from invading armies.

Conclusion: The legacy of the Great Wall

The Great Wall of China is an iconic symbol of China’s rich history and cultural heritage. It is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the workers who built it, and to the ingenuity and determination of the Chinese people. Today, the wall stands as a reminder of the importance of protecting our borders and preserving our national heritage for generations to come.

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Meagan Drillinger

Meagan Drillinger, an avid travel writer with a passion ignited in 2009. Having explored over 30 countries, Mexico holds a special place in her heart due to its captivating cultural tapestry, delectable cuisine, diverse landscapes, and warm-hearted people. A proud alumnus of New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, when she isn’t uncovering the wonders of New York City, Meagan is eagerly planning her next exhilarating escapade.

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