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Were Women Involved in the Great Wall

The defense and construction of the Great Wall seem like work of men, since not many records of women involved in the Great Wall were left. However, women did play a part in the history of the Great Wall.

Great Wall

Back in ancient China, the women were treated inferior to men as of social status and domestic affairs. It is widely assumed that women existed just to serve the men back in the day. And of all 157 emperors in imperial China, only one woman ascended to her throne. Since 1949, the status of women has seen tremendous improvement. Anyway, it is safe to say that the women did play an important role in the history of the Great Wall. For example, back in the day when the Great Wall was built, women were always there for the men who were deployed to build the Great Wall. Women had supported their husbands, brothers or fathers in every way possible. Moreover, it was the military family who built and manned the Great Wall. Back then women played a role of delivering food, supplies, farming, animal husbandry as well as children rearing. So the men were rest assured while building the Great Wall or defending it. Just to assume that how the men could remain calm and rest assured if their family suffered. It would be unimaginable if the women did not accompany the men while building and manning the Great Wall.

By the way, there are many legends and stories revolving around women in terms of the Great Wall. The most popular is about Hua Mulan who dressed like a man to fight the Mongolian enemies for her father. Also, there is a legend about Meng Jiangnv who touched hearts of millions of people with her story - she lost her husband to the construction of the Great Wall. The last but not the least is about the story of Wang Zhaojun. She is believed to have played a key role in keeping the peace and harmony between the Chinese dynasty and Mongolian tribes. Nowadays, there are so many relics or remains left near the Great Wall, showing that women were related to the wall in many ways. There is a watch tower on the Great Wall named as Xifulou - the tower of wife - which also showed how important women were in the history of the Great Wall.

Weapons Used to Defend the Great Wall

In Chinese history, the weapons used to defend the Great Wall varied greatly throughout the different dynasties. It is mainly divided into cold weapon and powder weapon. Prior to Ming Dynasty, the weapons used on the Great Wall were all about long-range spikes, arrows, archery and the like. When the enemies attacked the Great Wall, the spikes were used to hold back the enemies close and the arrows and archery were used to attack the enemies afar.

Weapons used to Defend Great Wall

In Ming Dynasty, the weapon was improved greatly, and the most recognizable sign is the use of the powder weapon, including Huochong, and Gangpao, which were widely used on the Great Wall while holding back the Mongolian attackers. Chong refers to a kind of pipe-like gun which can be dated back to Song Dynasty and was used to attack with bullet. During Yuan Dynasty, this kind of weapon was improved greatly and built in large scale. In Ming dynasty, all kinds of canyons were called the general. There is a story related to this tradition. At the beginning of Ming dynasty, there was a man called Jiaofang who sent a pipe-shaped weapon to Ming emperor Zhu Yuanzhang. The emperor promised him if the weapon did work, then he would be rewarded handsomely and the weapon would be named after him as well. And as it turned out, the weapon was very helpful in the battles, so the emperor held the end of the bargain and named the weapon the general.

The canyons in Ming Dynasty were all loaded before battles. They were named differently, according to the sizes and shapes of them. There were many canyons imported from Dutch. During the late period of Ming dynasty, the small fiber canyon made its debut which was invented by Portuguese. According to the records written by Qijiguang, there were a wide variety of powder weapons back in the day during Ming dynasty. The weapons were used to deal with different kinds of army, some used to attack the rivalry, some infantry. In Qinhuangdao, there is a different stone canyon found. This kind of weapon was highly praised by Qijiguang and he commented that the weapon is not only cheap but also very powerful. The stone canyon played a key role in defending the Great Wall in history. The weapons used on the Great Wall bear testament to the evolution of Chinese weaponry.

How the Great Wall Was Treated by New Dynasty

In terms of how the Great Wall was treated by the new dynasty, it is kind of different from how the currency was treated. If the location of the Great Wall was still important and can be used for defense, then the new dynasty would make the most of it to save more money and efforts.

Great Wall of China

Other than the change of jurisdiction, most of the latter dynasties still used the former Great Wall as fortification. At the beginning of the foundation of West Han Dynasty, the northern sections of the Great Wall were restored and rebuilt as stronghold and fortification to defend the Mongolian tribes. Right after the Han army drove the Mongolian tribes out of the Hetao area, the Han emperor sent about 100,000 soldiers to restore the sections of the Great Wall built during Qin Dynasty. After that, the Han government also restored another section of the Great Wall right after the Han army defeated the Mongolian tribes at Mobei. This section was also part of the Great Wall built during Qin Dynasty.

During West Jin dynasty, the general Tangbin also restored a section of the Great Wall built during Qin dynasty to defend the Wuhuan tribes from attacking the capital city. This section of Great Wall connected the northeast of Hebei with the Jieshishan. During the south dynasty and north dynasty period, the North Qi and North Zhou were long-lasting opponents. However, after the North Zhou Dynasty overthrew the North Qi Dynasty, and to prevent the Tujue tribes from attacking the capital from north, the North Zhou dynasty restored the section of the Great Wall built during North Qi dynasty. Under the circumstance of defending the Mongolian tribes, the Great Wall was used from time to time by the latter dynasties.

During Ming Dynasty, the general Xuda supervised the reconstruction and restoration of the section of the Great Wall from Beijing to Shanhaiguan. According to historic records, general Xu deployed about 15,000 soldiers to restore the Great Wall and it took less than a whole year to complete the section which extends about 800 km. The reconstruction of this section of the Great Wall was also based on the Great Wall built during former dynasties. In this way, to restore the Great Wall saved the emperor a lot of money and manpower. However, most importantly, the reason why the Great Wall was used by the new dynasties is because the wall had long been built to defend the Mongolian tribes.

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