The Great Wall of China Descriptive Essay

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The Great Wall of China is a long continuous wall which was erected with the sole intention of securing the Chinese border in the northern border against intruders (Man 103). The Great Wall consists of several walls which were built over a lengthy period of time.

The construction is claimed to have began during the dynasty of Emperor Qin Shi Huangi who ruled the country in the early 200 BC to the 16 th century during the Ming dynasty.

The essay will take the form of an informative speech whose intention is to further shed light on who built the Great Wall of China, when it was built, the reason behind building it and how wide and long the wall is as well as how it has been built.

The Chinese were among the first countries to experience civilization in the world. During the civilization period, they acquired the art of building houses and other structures and this helped greatly during the construction of the Great Wall.

As early as 8 th century BC, various states such as Wei, Qin, Yan, Qi, and Zhao constructed extensive walls in an attempt to defend their territorial borders from their warring neighbors (Yamashita and Lindesay 53).

However, all these efforts were better noticed during the reign of the Qin dynasty that after conquering the states which had been opposing him, he embarked on the building of the great wall so as to connect and enclose all the states that now belonged to him and protect them from external intruders.

During the Ming Dynasty, after the Oirats had defeated the Ming army in 1449 (in what was famously referred to as the Battle of Tumu), the Great Wall idea was revived.

The Great Wall proved quite useful to the Ming Dynasty, especially towards the end of its reign because it ensured that the empire remained protected against possible invasion by the Manchu (this was around 1600).

At this time, the wall had a total length of 5,000 kilometers, starting at the Gansu Province in Linyao all the way to the Liaoning Province (Man 105). As we talk today, the great wall is estimated to stretch 4,163 miles (about 6,700 kilometers).

It starts in the Gansu Province at the Jiayuguan Pass and stretches all the way to the Hebei Province in the Shanhaiguan Pass. The wall runs through the large plains in the northern border of the country. Although people have come up with several discussions as to how the wall came to be, it is widely believed that it was the efforts emperor Qin that the wall was extensively built.

The construction formation of the Great Wall also differed at different historical periods. For example during the Qin dynasty the pass gates were not constructed using stone and the wall lacked any fortresses.

However, during the construction of the Han Greta Waal that passes through the Gobi Region, the main fortification was moats (Roland and Jan 67). A beacon tower was also constructed at intervals of 1.25 kilometers along these moats. The beacon towers were used during the time of war.

When one column was lit, this was a sign that the advancing troops were less than 500.When two columns were lit, it meant that the advancing troops were less than 3,000. By using the columns of smoke, the defenders were always aware on the magnitude of what to expect.

Laborers who took part in the construction of the wall included the common people, soldiers, and criminals (Waldron 18). Different construction materials found use during the constructions process of the wall, over the centuries. Compacted earth was used in the construction of the original Great Wall.

Local stones were then used to surround the compacted earth. In a bid to ensure that the construction costs of the wall remained down, there was extensive use of local construction materials. In the later years, bricks were used to construct the Ming wall.

Where the Great Wall passed through the Rocky Mountains, builders made use of the stones found on these mountains. However, they were forced to use rammed earth in the planes, while juniper tamarisk and sanded reeds found use in the desert.

Scientists have now revealed that the remaining section of the Great Wall in the Gansu Province, consist of several layers of rammed earth (Waldron 18).

Between 202 BC and 220AD, during the Han Dynasty period, the most popular construction materials were crude stones and earth while between 1368 and 1644, during the Ming Dynasty, bricks had substituted stone and earth as the construction material of choice, thanks to their light weight and size; it was easier to make and carry them.

From statistical records, it is estimated that some 500,000 common people and 300,000 soldiers took part in the construction process of the initial Great Wall during the reign of Emperor Qin. Over 1,000 individuals are believed to have lost their lives in the process of constructing the Great Wall during the Din Dynasty.

The construction of another section of the great wall under the Northern Qi Dynasty took place in 555 A. D., and the entire section consisted of 450-kilometre. It started from Nankou, all the way to Shanxi, passing through Datong and Beijing.

During this time, the labor force is estimated to have been approximately 1.8 million people (Roland and Jan 71). The construction and living conditions were also extremely poor during this time and as a result, high number of workers lost their lives.

Works Cited

Man, John. The Great Wall . London: Bantam Press, 2008. Print.

Roland, Michaud and Jan, Michel. The Great Wall of China . New York: Abbeville Press, 2001. Print.

Waldron, Arthur. The Great Wall of China: From History to Myth . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990. Print.

Yamashita, Michael and Lindesay, William. The Great Wall – From Beginning to End . New York: Sterling, 2007. Print.

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IvyPanda. (2019, March 21). The Great Wall of China.

"The Great Wall of China." IvyPanda , 21 Mar. 2019,

IvyPanda . (2019) 'The Great Wall of China'. 21 March.

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1. IvyPanda . "The Great Wall of China." March 21, 2019.


IvyPanda . "The Great Wall of China." March 21, 2019.


The great wall of china.

The Great Wall of China was built over centuries by China’s emperors to protect their territory. Today, it stretches for thousands of miles along China’s historic northern border.

Anthropology, Geography, Human Geography, Social Studies, Ancient Civilizations, World History

The Great Wall of China is one of the most notorious structures in the entire world. The Jinshanling section in Hebei Province, China, pictured here, is only a small part of the wall that stretches over 4,000 kilometers (2,500 miles).

Photograph by Hung Chung Chih

The Great Wall of China is one of the most notorious structures in the entire world. The Jinshanling section in Hebei Province, China, pictured here, is only a small part of the wall that stretches over 4,000 kilometers (2,500 miles).

The one thing most people “know” about the Great Wall of China—that it is one of the only man-made structures visible from space—is not actually true. Since the wall looks a lot like the stone and soil that surround it, it is difficult to discern with the human eye even from low Earth orbit, and is difficult to make out in most orbital photos . However, this does not detract from the wonder of this astounding ancient structure.

For millennia, Chinese leaders instituted wall-building projects to protect the land from northern, nomadic invaders. One surviving section of such an ancient wall, in the Shandong province, is made of hard-packed soil called “ rammed earth ” and is estimated to be 2,500 years old. For centuries during the Warring States Period, before China was unified into one nation, such walls defended the borders.

Around 220 B.C.E., Qin Shi Huang, also called the First Emperor , united China. He masterminded the process of uniting the existing walls into one. At that time, rammed earth and wood made up most of the wall. Emperor after emperor strengthened and extended the wall, often with the aim of keeping out the northern invaders. In some places, the wall was constructed of brick. Elsewhere, quarried granite or even marble blocks were used. The wall was continuously brought up to date as building techniques advanced.

Zhu Yuanzhang, who became the Hongwu Emperor , took power in 1368 C.E. He founded the Ming Dynasty , famous for its achievements in the arts of ceramics and painting. The Ming emperors improved the wall with watchtowers and platforms. Most of the familiar images of the wall show Ming-era construction in the stone. Depending on how the wall is measured, it stretches somewhere between 4,000 and 5,500 kilometers (2,500 and 3,400 miles).

In the 17th century, the Manchu emperors extended Chinese rule into Inner Mongolia, making the wall less important as a defense. However, it has retained its importance as a symbol of Chinese identity and culture . Countless visitors view the wall every year. It may not be clearly visible from space, but it is considered “an absolute masterpiece” here on Earth.

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Great Wall of China

By: Editors

Updated: April 18, 2024 | Original: August 24, 2010

Cityscapes Of Beijing - The Great WallBEIJING - DECEMBER 03: A general view of the Great Wall on December 3, 2006 in Beijing, China. Beijing will be the host city for 2008 Summer Olympic Games. (Photo by Guang Niu/Getty Images)

The Great Wall of China is an ancient series of walls and fortifications, totaling more than 13,000 miles in length, located in northern China. Perhaps the most recognizable symbol of China and its long and vivid history, the Great Wall was originally conceived by Emperor Qin Shi Huang in the third century B.C. as a means of preventing incursions from barbarian nomads. The best-known and best-preserved section of the Great Wall was built in the 14th through 17th centuries A.D., during the Ming dynasty. Though the Great Wall never effectively prevented invaders from entering China, it came to function as a powerful symbol of Chinese civilization’s enduring strength.

Qin Dynasty Construction

Though the beginning of the Great Wall of China can be traced to the fifth century B.C., many of the fortifications included in the wall date from hundreds of years earlier, when China was divided into a number of individual kingdoms during the so-called Warring States Period.

Around 220 B.C., Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of a unified China under the Qin Dynasty , ordered that earlier fortifications between states be removed and a number of existing walls along the northern border be joined into a single system that would extend for more than 10,000 li (a li is about one-third of a mile) and protect China against attacks from the north.

Construction of the “Wan Li Chang Cheng,” or 10,000-Li-Long Wall, was one of the most ambitious building projects ever undertaken by any civilization. The famous Chinese general Meng Tian initially directed the project, and was said to have used a massive army of soldiers, convicts and commoners as workers.

Made mostly of earth and stone, the wall stretched from the China Sea port of Shanhaiguan over 3,000 miles west into Gansu province. In some strategic areas, sections of the wall overlapped for maximum security (including the Badaling stretch, north of Beijing, that was later restored during the Ming Dynasty ).

From a base of 15 to 50 feet, the Great Wall rose some 15-30 feet high and was topped by ramparts 12 feet or higher; guard towers were distributed at intervals along it.

Did you know? When Emperor Qin Shi Huang ordered construction of the Great Wall around 221 B.C., the labor force that built the wall was made up largely of soldiers and convicts. It is said that as many as 400,000 people died during the wall's construction; many of these workers were buried within the wall itself.

Great Wall of China Through the Centuries

With the death of Qin Shi Huang and the fall of the Qin Dynasty, much of the Great Wall fell into disrepair. After the fall of the later Han Dynasty , a series of frontier tribes seized control in northern China. The most powerful of these was the Northern Wei Dynasty, which repaired and extended the existing wall to defend against attacks from other tribes.

The Bei Qi kingdom (550–577) built or repaired more than 900 miles of wall, and the short-lived but effective Sui Dynasty (581–618) repaired and extended the Great Wall of China a number of times.

With the fall of the Sui and the rise of the Tang Dynasty , the Great Wall lost its importance as a fortification, as China had defeated the Tujue tribe to the north and expanded past the original frontier protected by the wall.

During the Song Dynasty, the Chinese were forced to withdraw under threat from the Liao and Jin peoples to the north, who took over many areas on both sides of the Great Wall. The powerful Yuan (Mongol) Dynasty (circa 1271-1368), established by Genghis Khan , eventually controlled all of China, parts of Asia and sections of Europe.

Though the Great Wall held little importance for the Mongols as a military fortification, soldiers were assigned to man the wall in order to protect merchants and caravans traveling along the lucrative Silk Road trade routes established during this period.

Wall Building During the Ming Dynasty

Despite its long history, the Great Wall of China as it is exists today was constructed mainly during the mighty Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

Like the Mongols, the early Ming rulers had little interest in building border fortifications, and wall building was limited before the late 15th century. In 1421, the Ming emperor Yongle proclaimed China’s new capital, Beijing, on the site of the former Mongol city of Dadu.

Under the strong hand of the Ming rulers, Chinese culture flourished, and the period saw an immense amount of construction in addition to the Great Wall, including bridges, temples and pagodas.

Construction on the most extensive and best-preserved section of the Great Wall began around 1474. After an initial phase of territorial expansion, Ming rulers took a largely defensive stance, and their reformation and extension of the Great Wall was key to this strategy.

The Ming wall extended from the Yalu River in Liaoning Province to the eastern bank of the Taolai River in Gansu Province, and winded its way from east to west through today’s Liaoning, Hebei, Tianjin, Beijing, Inner Mongolia, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Ningxia and Gansu.

Starting west of Juyong Pass, the Great Wall was split into south and north lines, respectively named the Inner and Outer Walls. Strategic “passes” (i.e., fortresses) and gates were placed along the wall; the Juyong, Daoma and Zijing passes, closest to Beijing, were named the Three Inner Passes, while further west were Yanmen, Ningwu and Piantou, the Three Outer Passes.

All six passes were heavily garrisoned during the Ming period and considered vital to the defense of the capital.

Significance of the Great Wall of China

In the mid-17th century, the Manchus from central and southern Manchuria broke through the Great Wall and encroached on Beijing, eventually forcing the fall of the Ming Dynasty and beginning of the Qing Dynasty.

Between the 18th and 20th centuries, the Great Wall emerged as the most common emblem of China for the Western world, and a symbol both physical—as a manifestation of Chinese strength—and a psychological representation of the barrier maintained by the Chinese state to repel foreign influences and exert control over its citizens.

Today, the Great Wall is generally recognized as one of the most impressive architectural feats in human history. In 1987, UNESCO designated the Great Wall a World Heritage site, and a popular claim emerged in the 20th century that it is the only manmade structure visible from space ( NASA has since refuted this claim ).

Over the years, roadways have been cut through the wall in various points, and many sections have deteriorated after centuries of neglect. The best-known section of the Great Wall of China—Badaling, located 43 miles (70 km) northwest of Beijing—was rebuilt in the late 1950s, and attracts thousands of national and foreign tourists every day.

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Great Wall of China summary

essay on china wall

Great Wall of China , Chinese Wanli Changcheng , Defensive wall, northern China. One of the largest building-construction projects ever carried out, it runs (with all its branches) about 4,500 mi (7,300 km) east to west from the Bo Hai (Gulf of Chihli) to a point deep in Central Asia. Large parts of the fortification date from the 7th to the 4th century bce . In the 3rd century bce the emperor Shihuangdi connected existing defensive walls into a single system fortified by watchtowers. These served both to guard the rampart and to communicate with the capital, Xianyang (near modern Xi’an ) by signal—smoke by day and fire by night. Originally constructed partly of masonry and earth, it was faced with brick in its eastern portion. It was rebuilt in later times, especially in the 15th and 16th centuries. The basic wall is about 23–26 ft (7–8 m) high; at intervals towers rise above it to varying heights. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987.


essay on china wall

Great Wall of China

Emily Mark

The Great Wall of China is a barrier fortification in northern China running west-to-east 13,171 miles (21,196 km) from the Jiayuguan Pass (in the west) to the Hushan Mountains in Liaoning Province in the east, ending at the Bohai Gulf. It crosses eleven provinces/municipalities (or ten, according to some authorities) and two autonomous regions (Inner Mongolia and Ningxia).

Construction of the wall began in the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BCE) under the First Emperor Shi Huangdi (r. 221-210 BCE) and continued over hundreds of years throughout many different dynasties. The Great Wall in the present day is almost completely the work of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1664 CE) who added the distinctive watchtowers and expanded the length and width of the wall. The now-famous national monument fell into decay following the Ming Dynasty, when the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912 CE) took power and expanded the border of China northwards, making the wall obsolete. Restoration and preservation efforts only seriously began in the 1980's CE, and the wall was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987 CE.

The Original Wall

During the time known as The Warring States Period (c. 481-221 BCE), the different regions of China fought for control of the country during the collapse of the Eastern Zhou Dynasty (771-256 BCE). One state emerged victorious from this struggle: the state of Qin which is pronounced 'chin' and gives China its name. The general who led Qin to victory was King Ying Zheng who took the name `Qin Shi Huangdi' (First Emperor) after conquering the other states.

Shi Huangdi ordered construction of the Great Wall to consolidate his empire and protect it against invasion. The seven warring states each had walls along their border for defense which Shi Huangdi destroyed after he took power. As a sign that all of China was now one, the emperor decreed a great wall would be built along the northern border to defend against the mounted warriors of the nomadic Xiongnu of Mongolia; there would be no more walls marking boundaries between separate states in China because there would no longer be any separate states.

His wall ran along a line further to the north than the present one, marking what was then the border between China and the Mongolian plains. The wall was constructed by unwilling conscripts and convicts who were sent north under guard from all over China for the purpose. Shi Huangdi was not a benevolent ruler and was more interested in his own grandeur than the good of his people. His wall was not regarded by the Chinese people under the Qin Dynasty as a symbol of national pride or unity but as a place where people were sent to labor for the emperor until they died.

The Ming Dynasty Wall

The present wall, whose image is so well known, is not Shi Huangdi's wall from c. 221 BCE. There is actually very little of the original wall left today. When the Qin Dynasty fell in 206 BCE, the country split into the civil war known as the Chu- Han Contention (206-202 BCE), fought between the generals Xiang-Yu of Chu (l. 232-202 BCE) and Liu-Bang of Han (l. c. 256-195 BCE), the two leaders who had emerged as the most powerful of those who had helped topple the Qin Dynasty.

When Liu-Bang defeated Xiang-Yu in 202 BCE at the Battle of Gaixia , he became the First Emperor of the Han Dynasty (202 BCE-220 CE) and continued construction of the wall as a means of defense. He was also the first emperor to use the wall as a means of regulating trade north along what would eventually become known as the Silk Routes (better known as The Silk Road ) which the later Han Dynasty emperor Wu Ti (r. 141-87 BCE) expanded and opened for trade between China and Europe in 130 BCE.

The following dynasties all made their own contributions and repairs to the wall until the Ming Dynasty initiated a massive building project to protect the country from invading nomads from Mongolia, the very same incentive that had played a part in Shi Huangdi's original vision. This similarity in purpose may explain the belief that the present wall dates from the Qin Dynasty. The Ming built the wall featuring over 25,000 massive watchtowers and ranging in height from 16-26 feet (5-8 m), 20 feet across the bottom (6 m) and 16 feet across the top (5 m).

The Liaoning Wall

In addition to creating the massive wall, the Ming Dynasty also enclosed their most important agricultural center, Liaoning Province, behind a walled fortification known as the Liaoning Wall (also known as the Liaodong Wall). This wall has been a source of controversy between China and North Korea since 2009 CE when the Chinese government claimed they had only recently discovered portions of the Great Wall close to the border with North Korea by the Hushan Mountains.

North Korea has asserted that the 'newly discovered Great Wall' actually belongs to them and is not part of China's Great Wall. The section of wall in dispute is no doubt part of the Liaoning Wall. This wall in no way can be compared with the Great Wall and was never built to be. It was a simple defensive barrier constructed to hamper invasions of Liaoning from the north and was constructed of earth, stone, and whatever else was available. Moats were dug on either side of the wall to further impede an invading force.

As it turned out, the Liaoning Wall and the Great Wall were equally useless in repelling invasion. Manchu invasions from the north began in c. 1600 CE and continued until 1644 CE when the Great Wall was opened to the invaders. China was again in turmoil at this time as a rebellion had been mounted against the Ming Dynasty. The Ming general Wu Sangui (l.1612-1678 CE), who had declared himself emperor, opened the Great Wall to the Manchus in a deal whereby they would help him defeat the rebels. Instead, the Manchus seized power, expelled the Ming Dynasty, and established the Qing Dynasty. The victory of the Manchus over the Ming meant that the border of China was now some distance north of the Great Wall, and since it was no longer of any use in defense, it was neglected and fell into ruin until the rise of the Republic of China in 1912 CE, when it was found useful in controlling immigration and emigration.

Modern Day Preservation & the Moon Fallacy

There were efforts over the years to maintain the structure, but no concerted effort existed until as recently as 1980 CE when the wall was made a priority of the Chinese government as a tourist attraction and source of revenue. It was not designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site until 1987 CE, but even with that designation the wall is slowly crumbling. Today, according to historians and preservationists who monitor the site, there are only about 600 miles (372 km) of the wall left in stable condition.

There are many modern misconceptions concerning the Great Wall of China. The best known and most often repeated is that it is the only human-made structure on earth that can be seen from space; this is not true. The origin of this claim is the English essayist Sir Henry Norman, who wrote in 1895 CE that the wall was "the only work of human hands on the globe visible from the moon." His observation was based on the fact that people on earth could see craters and canals on the moon, and so someone on the moon would be able to see something as long and massive as the Great Wall on earth. Many people seem to believe that the claim the wall can be seen from the moon is based on first-hand accounts of astronauts or the work of scientists and astronomers, but it is actually the creation of a man who wrote when space travel was not even possible. Modern day scholars and scientists, as well as those who have traveled to the moon, have debunked this claim repeatedly.

Other fallacies concerning the wall are that it was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, that it dates from the Qin Dynasty in 221 BCE, and that it was built as a symbol of national pride. The last two claims, as seen above, are clearly false, as is the first; the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World were all located in the Mediterranean region of Greece , Egypt , and Turkey . The Great Wall is, however, among those chosen as one of the modern Seven Wonders of the World by the New 7 Wonders Foundation in 2007 CE. The Great Wall is visited by over four million people a year, and even though it cannot be seen from the moon, is among the most recognizable human-made structures in the world.

Subscribe to topic Related Content Books Cite This Work License


  • Ancient China by Joshua J. Mark Accessed 15 May 2020.
  • Ebrey, P. B. The Cambridge Illustrated History of China. Cambridge University Press, 2010.
  • Great Wall of China Controversy Accessed 1 Dec 2016.
  • New Seven Wonders of the World Accessed 1 Dec 2016.
  • Tanner, H. M. China: A History From Neolithic Cultures through Great Qing Empire. Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 2010.
  • The Battle of Gaixia by Joshua J. Mark Accessed 15 May 2020.
  • The Great Wall: UNESCO Heritage Site Accessed 1 Dec 2016.
  • Waldron, Arthur. The Great Wall of China. Cambridge University Press, 1992.

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Emily Mark


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the Great Wall of China near Beijing


The Great Wall of China's long legacy

The Ming dynasty built a giant wall stretching 5,000 miles to keep invaders out of China, but how effective was it against the enemy?

Desolately the wind rises. We march thousands of miles over vast distances. Why do we cross the deserts? To build the Great Wall.

This poem, written by Emperor Yangdi at the beginning of the seventh century A.D., is a lyrical reminder of the centuries spent by the Chinese building a wall to repel foreign invaders. Just one among many defensive strategies that China employed, the Great Wall stretches more than 5,000 miles long. Rather than one continuous wall, it consists of many smaller pieces, all built during different eras in history. (See also: Building walls may have allowed civilization to flourish .)

Map of the Great Wall of China

The earliest fortifications date back as far as the seventh century B.C., but the best-preserved sections were built during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). The Great Wall is a marvel of engineering and triumph of human ingenuity, but the verdict is out on how well it worked at its primary function: keeping people out.

Northern Aggression

The primary threat to the Chinese came from the northern neighbors. Nomadic herders had inhabited the bordering steppe territories since the fourth century B.C. The harsh environment produced enough for the people to survive, but not much else. The northerners envied the goods and luxuries enjoyed by their southern neighbors, such as fine textiles and a wider variety of agricultural products.

a Mongol riding a horse

The nomads’ population was significantly smaller than that of the Chinese but posed a serious military threat nonetheless. Astride their quick, hardy steppe ponies and armed with powerful bows and arrows, their warriors were capable of launching effective raids on the bordering Chinese states and taking what they wanted.(See also: Trading Silk for Horses: Origins of the Silk Road .)

Trading with the Enemies

silk weavers from a Ming-Dynasty ceramic vase

Contact between northern nomads and the people of China was based as much on trade as war. On the steppes, the Mongols couldn’t grow many crops, making agricultural trade with the Chinese essential. There was also high demand among nomadic tribes for textiles such as silk and cotton, as well as metal to make weapons. The Chinese, meanwhile, coveted the nomads’ small horses for war. They could not raise the large number of mounts they needed in Chinese stables, and the nomads seemed to have more horses than anyone else. However, there was an imbalance in these trade relations: The Chinese could manage without horses, but the Mongols could not forgo food or clothing.

Chinese emperors resorted to numerous strategies to keep the nomads out, including engineering, warfare, and diplomacy. The first emperor of a united China, Qin Shi Huang Di (221-210 B.C.), created one of the first unified lines of fortifications along the entire northern border, linking existing structures built by previous states.

Zhu Yuanzhang

The emperors of the succeeding Han dynasty attempted economic as well as military strategies to deal with outsiders. They paid subsidies while simultaneously conducting campaigns on the steppes and building a new defensive wall. But these tactics failed to stop the invaders. Instead of ceasing their attacks, the northerners learned that not only could their incursions gain them quick access to goods, but they could also be used as a threat to request even more aid from the Chinese.

Over the next thousand years, relations continued in this fashion. Then, in the 13th century A.D., a chief called Temüjin unified the Mongols, shifting the balance of power in favor of the northerners. Temüjin—who had become emperor of the Mongols under the name Genghis Khan —attacked northern China in 1211 and captured the capital in 1215. His grandson, Kublai Khan, would succeed in capturing all of China and founding a new dynasty: the Yuan.

The Yuan dynasty didn’t last long. It was overthrown by a peasant revolt in 1368. The Mongol court fled the capital and took refuge on the steppes. China’s new reigning dynasty, the Ming (1368-1644), began an aggressive campaign to prevent the Yuan from attempting to return to power. But going on the attack would prove disastrous in 1449, when they suffered a devastating defeat at the Battle of Tumu. From the 15th century on, the dynasty moved more and more onto the defensive.

the Great Wall of China

Despite it being an unpopular policy among the Ming dynasty’s emperors and civil servants, foreign aid was repeatedly sent to the Mongols to contain them, an outlay that became a burden on public finances. Such measures failed to prevent a surge in border attacks by the emboldened Mongols, in part a tactic to force the Chinese to trade the goods so desperately needed on the steppes. According to Great Secretary Li Xian in 1459, the Mongols’ constant need for food and clothing “is a calamity for China.” It was not until 1571 that a powerful courtier, Minister Wang Chung Ku, convinced Emperor Longqing to change the policy. Trading posts were built on the border. The number of Mongol attacks fell, and China could wind down its expensive military campaigns.

Cooked in kilns at 2102 ̊F (1150 ̊C) for seven days, many of the Great Wall's bricks were as strong as reinforced concrete.

One Brick at a Time

In parallel with these diplomatic and economic maneuvers, the Ming embarked on building the Great Wall. Extensive construction began in the 16th and 17th centuries. Much of this massive barrier snaking up and down the hills still stands today. Earlier fortifications had taken the form of earthworks, but under the Ming program, they would be made from a stone base covered with brick.

An astonishing 5,000 miles in length, the new fortifications were vastly more ambitious than any of the previous structures, costing as much as a hundred times more than earlier walls, according to some chroniclers. The Ming rulers were determined their wall would withstand both nomadic aggression and the slower assaults of weather and time.

the first gate at the Great Wall of China’s western end

So far, its victory against erosion is an unqualified success. The barrier’s military effectiveness, however, is somewhat harder to assess. China’s northern border continued to suffer a very large number of attacks. Sometimes these were undertaken by armies numbering as many as 100,000 men, as well as by smaller groups of nomads. One example of the latter took place in Wo Yan in 1555, when a score of Mongol warriors attacked a tower in the middle of the night using grappling hooks to climb the wall. But just as they reached the top, the snorting of their horses alerted the Chinese guards.

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Watchers on the wall.

The lives of the guards stationed along the wall’s vast length were extremely tough. In 1443 a document from the Ministry of the Army admitted that “soldiers on the northwest border are exposed to wind and cold. Whether they serve as watchmen on the signal towers or guards in the passes... they may be away from their base, family, and children for months or years, and are often lacking for clothing and food. It is true they are paid monthly but they often have to spend their money on weapons or horses. Their suffering from hunger and cold is indescribable.”

These harsh living conditions could partly explain the low morale among the soldiers. There is evidence of widespread distrust between civil servants and the men. In 1554 one official accused the border troops of cowardice: Whenever the enemy approached the wall, he said, they fled without putting up any resistance. In 1609 another account suggested lack of resources may have been at fault. Since the guards on the towers felt unable to defend themselves, they would not raise the alarm if they spotted Mongols nearby, preferring to pretend that they had not seen them.

Builders and Defenders

the Great Wall of China's construction

Chinese troops along the wall also had a great deal of friendly contact with the nomads. In spite of opposition from their superiors, Chinese border guards often traded with their enemies. In extreme situations, soldiers even openly colluded with them.

In 1533, according to one revealing account from a civil servant, soldiers on observation towers served as guides for Mongol war parties during their incursions into Chinese territory. In 1550 the military commander of the northern city of Datong reported: “Our troops and rangers often go into Mongol lands to trade with them and have made friends there. Four leaders, Altan, Toyto, Senge and Usin, have incorporated observation towers from our great frontier into their camps. The Mongols take our men’s place as watchmen and our soldiers replace their troops as herders. This means that no strategic information about our defenses goes unnoticed by the Mongols.” For all the Great Wall’s magnificence as a structure, it was only effective if manned by disciplined troops. The remoteness coupled with the harsh living conditions tested even the most steadfast.

The Rise of the Manchu

Weakened by two centuries of conflict with the Mongols, the Ming lost power internally. They yielded power to the Manchus after a peasants’ revolt in 1644. The Manchu, or Qing, dynasty (1644-1912), hugely expanded China’s borders northward, making the Great Wall largely unnecessary as a defensive measure.The wall stands as the world’s largest military structure and has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. It remains a potent symbol of the collective pride of the Chinese people. Even so, China’s iconic military monument was an imperfect defense in its long struggle against the irrepressible nomads from the north.

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Why the Great Wall WAS, and STILL IS, So Important

Stretching thousands of miles, the Great Wall is the longest man-made structure in the world, but that isn't its only significance.

It was important in defending China from northern invasion for centuries, and has become a national symbol , and China's top tourist sight.

Great Defensive Infrastructure

During the Warring States Period (475–221 BC), overlords of China's northern states began to build walls and high mountain watchtowers on their borders, to defend against invasion .

Before the Great Wall was built, the northern nomad tribes often ravaged northern China. The nomads' fierce horsemen were stronger than the Han Chinese infantry. But, after the Wall was built, the nomadic tribes could no longer raid and intrude into northern China.

The Great Wall protected China's economic development and cultural progress , safeguarding trading routes such as the Silk Road, and securing the transmission of information and transportation in northern China.

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Symbol of the Chinese Nation

The Great Wall represents the unification of China . It came into being when the First Emperor of Qin had the walls of Yan, Zhao, and Qin joined up after the Warring States Period.

The Great Wall is a testimony to the history and strength of China . It was built by millions of Chinese workers over a period of more than 2,000 years (4th century BC–17th century AD).

The Great Wall is also a great subject of Chinese literary art . A sentence in the Chinese national anthem is sung to praise and memorize the Wall. What's more, many phrases and sayings have been carried down from generation to generation to commemorate this magnificent man-made wonder.

Popular Tourist Attraction

The Great Wall is famous all over the world and attracts 4 million tourists every year. It attracts tourists for its historical and archeological value, as well as the majestic scenery seen from the Wall.

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15 Facts About the Great Wall of China

By m. arbeiter | apr 5, 2023, 3:59 pm edt.

The Great Wall of China.

The Great Wall of China is one of the oldest, largest, and most celebrated achievements of human ingenuity, but there are still a few things you might not know about China’s ancient landmark.

1. Building the Great Wall of China took more than 1800 years.

People walking atop the Great Wall of China.

The Great Wall wasn’t the first fortification erected in Chinese territory to protect citizens from foreign invaders. As far back as the 8th century BCE, barriers were going up to repel nomadic armies. When Qin Shi Huang seized power over a collection of neighboring principalities in 221 BCE and kicked off the Qin dynasty, he began construction on a 5000-kilometer wall to safeguard his territory. Later dynasties continued this work and added their own flourishes. While construction began under the Qin dynasty, the recognizable segments that we think of when we visualize the Great Wall were largely the handiwork of the Ming dynasty, which created these facets between the 14th and 17th centuries CE. 

2. It isn’t one consistent wall, but rather a collection of walls.

The Great Wall of China, 1843.

There’s a pervasive misconception that the Great Wall of China is one long uninterrupted structure. In fact, the wall is more accurately described as a 20,000-kilometer network of walls spanning the northern border of ancient and imperial Chinese territories.

3. The Great Wall of China contains a surprising ingredient.

The Great Wall is largely crafted from unremarkable building materials like earth and stone. More interestingly, glutinous rice—known colloquially as “sticky rice”—was incorporated into the mortar recipe thanks to its cohesive properties. Modern studies have indicated that the amylopectin of the rice (the substance that makes it sticky)  helps explain the wall’s strength and endurance. 

4. Wall construction was a common punishment for Chinese people who were convicted of a crime.

A 1950s photo of the Great Wall of China.

In a particularly extreme version of modern community service, Great Wall construction, maintenance, and surveillance were regular duties of people convicted of crimes during the Qin dynasty. To distinguish outlaw laborers from their civilian colleagues, authorities shaved their heads, blackened their faces, and bound their limbs in chains. Transgressions ranging from homicide to tax evasion were all punishable with wall duty. The work was dangerous—some estimates state that 400,000 workers perished while building the wall. 

5. Roosters were brought to the Great Wall of China to honor the dead.  

Great Wall of China at Badaling

With so many lives lost during construction, grieving family members feared that the spirits of their loved ones would be forever trapped within the structure that cost them their lives. In an effort to grant deceased laborers spiritual emancipation, a mourner would cross over the wall with a rooster in tow. This tradition was believed to help guide a soul away from the fortification. 

6. An ancient poem predicts the construction of the Great Wall of China.

A 1928 photo of the Great Wall of China.

The Shijing , a collection of ancient Chinese poems written between the 11th and 7th centuries BCE, predicts proper construction of the Great Wall of China with an entry describing a king’s efforts to fend off military invaders via development of a defensive barrier.

7. The Great Wall of China pays tribute to mythical and historical figures. 

Lining the Great Wall are shrines and tributes to figures from Chinese history. Guan Yu , a 3rd-century general who served during the Han dynasty, is honored with temples built on the wall. Additionally, various points on the wall pay homage to Tiānwáng, the four heavenly kings of Buddhism. 

8. The wall was actually not that great at keeping out invading forces.

Despite all the effort that went into making the Great Wall the premiere component of China’s military defense system, many of the country’s enemies throughout history managed passage across the barrier. Manchurian invasion through the wall in the 17th century resulted in the fall of the Ming dynasty . 

9. Historically, other cultures have been fonder of the Great Wall than China.

Tourists on the Great Wall of China.

China’s celebration of the Great Wall as a tourist draw and landmark is a relatively recent phenomenon, having only blossomed in the 20th century as a result of international interest. China first took note of the wall’s wide appeal in the 19th century, following its engagement in relations with other Asian and European countries. Travelers and merchants returned to their home countries with stories they translated into art and print, creating an enchantment with the Great Wall that helped spark Chinese appreciation for the structure.

10. People have been exaggerating for centuries about the wall’s visibility from space.

Despite numerous accounts to the contrary, the Great Wall of China’s reputation for extraterrestrial visibility stands strong to this day. One good sign that this claim is specious lies in the fact that it dates back two centuries before humankind mastered space travel. English scholar William Stukeley outlined the idea in his Family Memoirs , written in 1754. The myth got a boost from journalist Henry Norman’s 1895 book The Peoples and Politics of the Far East , as well as a 1932 Ripley’s Believe It or Not! cartoon strip. More reliable sources—astronaut Neil Armstrong among them—assert that the Great Wall is by no means visible from the moon , much less outer space. At best, the wall can be spotted from a low orbit, sunlight and weather permitting.

11. Thousands of miles of the original wall have disappeared.

A 1930s illustration of the Great Wall of China.

Today, the surviving elements of the Great Wall of China stretch to a whopping 13,171 miles. Impressive though the measurement may be, it’s quite a decrease from what is believed to be the wall’s peak length during the Ming dynasty. More than 1200 miles’ worth, or approximately one third , of the construction from this period no longer stands.

12. Pieces of the Great Wall of China were recycled to build civilian homes in the 1960s and ’70s. 

The Great Wall of China.

During the 20th century sociopolitical movement known as Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, the Chinese government did quite a bit of damage to the Great Wall. Mao Zedong and the Red Guard recognized the wall as little more than a relic whose materials would better serve in the development of housing. Between 1966 and 1976, miles of the wall were stripped of bricks and repurposed to build civilian homes. 

13. Certain standing portions of the Great Wall of China might vanish before 2040.

Workers restoring a segment of the Great Wall of China.

Predictions about the Great Wall’s fortitude have grown increasingly dire during the 21st century. Natural weathering and human-imparted erosion may result in the disappearance of certain parts of the wall before 2040. Portions of the wall in the Gansu province are thought to be in particular jeopardy. 

14. New sections of the Great Wall of China are still being discovered.

Previously unknown stretches of the Great Wall have been discovered in recent decades . In the past 10 years, archaeologists have located some of the wall's northernmost sections standing in and on the border of present-day Mongolia. 

15. The Great Wall of China goes by many names around the world.

“The Great Wall of China” is a nickname commonly used by Americans, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany, while other Western nations prefer a humbler designation: “The Chinese Wall.” Within China, the wall has known a number of monikers, having been introduced in its inceptive days as “The 10,000-Li-Long Wall” (according to the 1st century BCE publication Records of the Grand Historian ) and “The Long Wall of 10,000 Li” (in Book of Song , published during the 5th century CE), a li being a unit of measurement equivalent to about a third of a mile. Over time, the wall earned some more ostentatious handles, including “The Purple Frontier” and “The Earth Dragon.” Ultimately, China christened its human-made wonder with a simple but appropriate name: “The Long Wall.”

A version of this story was originally published in 2016; it has been updated for 2023.

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Essay on Great Wall of China

Students are often asked to write an essay on Great Wall of China in their schools and colleges. And if you’re also looking for the same, we have created 100-word, 250-word, and 500-word essays on the topic.

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100 Words Essay on Great Wall of China


The Great Wall of China is a magnificent ancient structure. Built over 2000 years ago, it stretches over 13,000 miles and is a symbol of China’s rich history.

Why was it built?

The Great Wall was built primarily for defense. Chinese emperors wanted to protect their lands from invasions, especially from the northern tribes.


Building the Great Wall was a massive task. Millions of workers used local materials like stone, wood, and earth to construct it.

Significance Today

Today, the Great Wall is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It attracts millions of tourists and is a symbol of Chinese ingenuity and resilience.

250 Words Essay on Great Wall of China

The great wall of china: an architectural marvel.

The Great Wall of China, an enduring symbol of human tenacity, represents a pinnacle of ancient defensive architecture. Its construction, spanning several dynasties, is a testament to the strategic foresight and engineering prowess of its builders.

Historical Significance

The Wall was primarily built to protect the Chinese empire from northern invasions. It served as a physical barrier, but also a psychological deterrent, showcasing the might of the empire. The Wall’s historical significance is further underscored by its role in trade regulation, as it facilitated the Silk Road commerce.

Architectural Ingenuity

The Wall’s architectural ingenuity is evident in its adaptation to the diverse topography of China. It traverses rugged mountains, vast deserts, and dense forests, demonstrating the builders’ advanced understanding of engineering and construction techniques. The beacon towers, an integral part of the Wall, served as communication hubs, illustrating a sophisticated early warning system.

Cultural Symbolism

Over time, the Great Wall has transcended its original purpose, becoming a symbol of national identity and unity. It embodies the spirit of perseverance and resilience, qualities that are deeply ingrained in Chinese culture.

Preservation and Challenges

Despite its robust construction, the Wall faces preservation challenges due to natural erosion and human activities. Its preservation is crucial not only for historical reasons but also for its value as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a major tourist attraction.

500 Words Essay on Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China, a monumental feat of ancient defensive architecture, stands as a testament to human ingenuity and resilience. Its construction spans several dynasties, reflecting the evolution of architectural techniques and strategic thinking over the centuries.

Historical Overview

The origins of the Great Wall can be traced back to the 7th century BC. During this period, separate walls were constructed by different states to protect their territories from invasions. It was Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China, who initiated the project of joining these walls into a unified defense system in the 3rd century BC. The Wall underwent several enhancements and extensions under different dynasties, notably the Han, the Northern Qi, and the Ming.

Architectural Marvel

Symbolic significance.

Beyond its practical military purpose, the Great Wall has a profound symbolic significance. It embodies the Chinese people’s spirit of perseverance and their ability to unite for a common cause. The Wall stands as a symbol of national identity and cultural heritage, reflecting the civilization’s rich history and its enduring strength.

Modern Relevance

Today, the Great Wall serves as a major tourist attraction, offering insights into China’s past and its architectural prowess. However, it is also facing challenges due to natural erosion and human activities. Conservation efforts are underway to preserve this iconic structure for future generations.

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Short Essay on the Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China is the top ten new wonders of the world 2012. Located in China it stretches from Shanhaiguan in the east, to Lop Lake in the west. The entire wall is about 21,000 km long. The main part of the wall is 2,500 miles long and stretches through all sorts of mountains. The wall is thirty feet high and twenty-five feet thick at its base.

The Huns and barbarians had no farming land and they used to entre china and killed and invade the people for food and wealth. The wall was constructed to protect China and its people from Huns and barbarians and also restrict the entry of invaders coming from the Silk Road.

“There in the mist, enormous, majestic, silent and terrible, stood the Great Wall of China. Solitarily, with the indifference of nature herself, it crept up the mountain side and slipped down to the depth of the valley.” – W. Somerset Maugham

The construction of the wall started during the Qin dynasty at 221 BC. The emperor Qin Shih Huang aimed at protecting china from invaders who regularly attacked Chinese farming villages. The Great wall surrounded the central part of China, which was the most important part of China.

It took more than hundred years in completing The Great Wall. The wall started deteriorating with the passage of time because of natural disasters, strong winds dusts and storms. It was constructed again in the 15th century by Emperor Meng Tien.

Many people died during the construction of the wall, people who constructed the wall were treated inhumanly and were not even allowed to take rest during the construction of the wall. It is said that their bodies were sealed inside the Great Wall of China.

There are many stories related to the people who constructed the wall. This is the reason Many people feels that the Great Wall of China did more harm to china than gain because the construction of this wall not only results in deaths of the people, building and it also restricted people to entre China through Silk Road. Silk Road was an important road for traveling and for trading purposes.

The Great Wall of China is an amazing work of mankind of all time.This Wall showcases Chinese expertise, their strength and hard work. It is the only man made structure visible from the outer space to the astronauts.

More than twenty dynasty of china was involved in the construction of the wall.This wall has attracted many tourists from all over the world, every year thousands of people from all age of life young and old, comes to China to see The Great Wall of China.

It is great Chinese symbol. For some it is the symbol of protection as it protected China from the nearby invaders and for some it is a symbol of ancient Chinese history.

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An illustration of a soldier looking out over a mountain landscape with figures in the distance. All of the art in this article is illustrated.

Why Do India and China Keep Fighting Over This Desolate Terrain?

Long-running battles in the Himalayas may foretell a more dangerous conflict.

Credit... Illustration by Johnny Dombrowski

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By Yudhijit Bhattacharjee

Yudhijit Bhattacharjee is a contributing writer who has been reporting on geopolitics, global security and espionage for more than a decade.

  • June 27, 2024

The 2,100-mile border separating India and China passes through some of the world’s most inhospitable terrain. In the west, it runs along India’s Ladakh region, at an altitude of 13,000 to 20,000 feet. During the months when the area isn’t covered in snow, the ground resembles a moonscape. The earth is sandy, strewn with rocks and pebbles; not a blade of grass grows anywhere; there are no visible signs of animal life. In winter, temperatures can drop to –40 degrees. The bleak conditions and barren vistas can induce despair in those who set foot on the land. “I’ve been to those places,” a former Indian diplomat who now works for an international Buddhist organization in Delhi told me. “When you visit, you tend to think, Who the hell even wants this area?”

Listen to this article, read by Brian Nishii

But that’s not how nation-states view territory, no matter how desolate it is. That is why India and China have their armies deployed on these heights along an unmarked and, in many places, contested boundary between the two countries. In the absence of any fencing or barbed wire to demarcate territory, soldiers from each nation contend with considerable ambiguity when conducting patrols along what’s known as the Line of Actual Control. Vinod Bhatia, who served as director general of military operations for the Indian Army and is now retired, describes it as a line of perceptions.

“It’s four lines, actually,” he told me when I visited Delhi last year. “One is the Indian perception of the Line of Actual Control. Another is the Chinese perception of the Line of Actual Control. Third is the Indian perception of the Chinese perception of the Line of Actual Control — because we have a perception based on their line of patrolling. And the fourth is, of course, the Chinese perception of the Indian perception of the Line of Actual Control.”

This lack of clarity means that there are several places along the border that are effectively a no-man’s land, where both Indian and Chinese troops carry out patrols. Soldiers from each side routinely leave empty cigarette packets and beer cans behind as marks of territorial claim. At the same time, soldiers on each side are legally bound to exercise restraint during patrols, according to a 1996 agreement between the two countries that prohibits the use of firearms and munitions at the border.

When units from the two sides run into one another, they follow a mutually agreed upon protocol to avoid confrontation. “We pull out a banner that says in English and in Chinese: ‘You are in our territory. Please go back,’” Bhatia told me. “And they hold up a banner of their own that says in Hindi and in English: ‘You are in our territory. You go back.’”

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Election latest: Elton John backs Labour and Starmer in general election; Sunak gives very personal speech at London temple

Sir Elton John endorsed the Labour Party and Sir Keir Starmer in a video message at a major Labour campaign rally in London. Meanwhile, Rishi Sunak was mobbed by worshippers at a temple in London.

Saturday 29 June 2024 23:07, UK

  • General Election 2024

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

  • Sir Elton John endorses the Labour Party
  • Farage urged to 'get a grip' of Reform UK
  • Reform canvasser in PM racism row says he was 'a total fool'
  • Rob Powell:  With more coverage comes more scrutiny
  • Faultlines:   Eight-hour school runs and kids too hungry to sleep - the families caught up in housing 'social cleansing'
  • Politics at Jack and Sam's : The last weekend
  • Live reporting by Ben Bloch and Jess Sharp

Election essentials

  • Manifesto pledges: Conservatives | Greens | Labour | Lib Dems | Plaid | Reform | SNP
  • Trackers:  Who's leading polls? | Is PM keeping promises?
  • Campaign Heritage:  Memorable moments from elections gone by
  • Follow Sky's politics podcasts:  Electoral Dysfunction | Politics At Jack And Sam's
  • Read more:  Who is standing down? | Key seats to watch | What counts as voter ID? | Check if your constituency is changing | Guide to election lingo
  • How to watch election on Sky News

Thank you for joining us on the Politics Hub for live coverage of events on the general election campaign trail today.

Polls open in 4 days and 8 hours - and the politicians will be spending every last moment fighting for your vote.

Scroll down for all of today's developments - and we'll be back from 7am with the very latest.

And join us tomorrow from 8.30am on Sky News for  Sunday Morning With Trevor Phillips , where we will be hearing from:

  • Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden ;
  • Labour's national campaign coordinator Pat McFadden ;
  • Reform UK leader Nigel Farage ;
  • SNP leader and Scottish First Minister John Swinney .

Pledges and promises are coming thick and fast from every party as the general election approaches. 

Struggling to keep up with who is saying what?

Here is a summary of where the main parties stand on major issues.

For a more in-depth look at what each party has pledged, scour our  manifesto checker ...

TV presenter Rylan Clark has said he would "love" to become a politician - and replace the party system with a "Power Rangers of government" model.

The TV personality, 35, joined political editor Beth Rigby and former Scottish Conservative leader Baroness Ruth Davidson for this week's Sky News Electoral Dysfunction podcast.

Asked if he would ever consider the career change, he said: "If I wasn't in the job that I was in, I would love nothing more."

Rylan, who won Celebrity Big Brother and also appeared on the X Factor, appeared on the podcast in place of Labour candidate Jess Phillips after tweeting his praise for Rigby on the day Rishi Sunak announced the general election.

Sharing a clip of her and Sky presenter Sophy Ridge outside a rainy Downing Street waiting for Mr Sunak to appear at the lectern, he said: "Obsessed with the Rigby."

Speaking to her and Davidson, he said his "obsession" with politics began with Brexit - "as we've seen so many promises which weren't fulfilled" since then.

He added: "I lie there at night sometimes, and I think about [Volodymyr] Zelenskyy. He hosted one of the same shows I've hosted in Ukraine."

The TV presenter also shared his idea of abandoning political parties altogether.

Read the full story here: 

A short while ago, Rishi Sunak gave a speech BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, also known as Neasden Temple, which is a traditional Hindu temple in London.

Rishi Sunak, who is of the Hindu faith, told attendees: "Like all of you, I draw inspiration and comfort from my faith.

"I was proud to be sworn in as a member of parliament on the Bhagavad Gita [one of Hinduism's most prominent sacred texts].

"Our faith teaches us to do our duty, and not fret about the outcome as long as one does it faithfully."

"My family also strengthen my commitment to service," the PM said.

He spoke about the philanthropic work that his mother-in-law does in India, and praises his wife as "the greatest support that any husband could ever have" and "someone committed to a life of service".

To the attendees, Mr Sunak said: "I want to start by thanking all of you for your support, your prayers, and your love. You have been with me every step of the way.

"On the hardest days in this job, I have felt your backing, and I know the pride that it is to have a British-Asian prime minister, and I am determined to never let you down."

The PM argued that so many Indians are Conservatives because "our values bind us together", citing education, hard work, and family.

Mr Sunak said: "One of my most memorable moments of the last few years came on Diwali, sixty years after my [grandmother] boarded a plane in East Africa - her first ever, all by herself - to come ahead and make a new life for her family here in this country.

"Sixty years after that moment, her great-granddaughters, my girls, they played in the street outside our home."

They "had fun like so many other families do on Diwali - except, the street that they were playing in was Downing Street".

In reference to the racial slur a Reform UK campaigner had used about him, he said that the "events of the last few days should not make us forget that the United Kingdom is the world's most successful multi-ethnic, multi-faith democracy, and we should all by uplifted by that".

In conclusion, the PM said: "Thank you for all your support. I can only hope that I can make you all proud every day."

Even by Reform's standards, the frequency and ferocity of attacks flying out from the party has stepped up today.

We've had complaints going into Ofcom, the Electoral Commission and Essex Police.

The BBC boycotted, Channel 4 reported, and a former campaigner cut adrift.

This tells you more about Nigel Farage's mindset than his decision to suspend three candidates over online posts.

So, five days from the election, will these seemingly rolling controversies shift many votes?

Much like the row over the Reform leader's comments on Russia and Putin, that probably depends on how fully signed up you are to the party’s agenda.

For the diehards, talk of an establishment stitch-up will find sympathetic and supportive ears.

But wavering Tories dabbling with Reform may be queasier about all this talk of racism and a big media conspiracy.

One final point.

A fortnight ago, Nigel Farage demanded to be treated as one of the big players in this election, citing a poll putting him ahead of the Tories.

But with more coverage comes more scrutiny.

You can construct a fair argument that that's exactly what Reform has been exposed to in the last week.

We've also had the results in from a poll carried out by Opinium for The Observer. 

Similarly to the Savanta poll we mentioned in our previous post, it found Labour was still in the lead and the Conservatives remain unchanged. 

However, it found support for Labour hadn't dipped and was still the same at 40%. 

Reform UK were up one point to 17%, the Greens fell three points to 6% and the Lib Dems and SNP remained unchanged. 

 Labour has fallen four points to 38% - the party's lowest share since Rishi Sunak became prime minister - in a Savanta poll for the Sunday Telegraph. 

But, it still holds a 17 point lead over the Conservatives, who were unchanged on 21%, indicating a landslide majority for Sir Keir Starmer. 

"This is our lowest Labour vote share since Rishi Sunak became prime minister, and the Conservatives for their part do appear to have slowed or stopped their downward spiral," said Savanta's political research director Chris Hopkins. 

"However, that's where the good news ends for the prime minister, as if this vote share was replicated on polling day, Labour would still likely have a majority of over 200." 

Here's how some of the other parties did in the poll: 

  • Reform UK unchanged on 14%
  • Liberal Democrats up one point on 11%
  • Green Party up one point on 6% 
  • SNP down one point on 2%
  • Others up one on 7%

Mr Hopkins said the increase in vote share for the Greens and independent candidates is "notable".

"Not because it will have an impact on this election in any significant way, but could point towards trouble for the Labour Party in government and over the coming years," he added. 

Some 2,092 UK adults were polled from 26-28 June. The comparison is with an earlier poll conducted from 21-24 June. 

Thank you for watching tonight's edition of Politics Hub With Ali Fortescue .

We heard from:

  • Mark Spencer , Conservative candidate and farming minister;
  • Sir Anthony Seldon , educator and contemporary historian.

And on the panel were:

  • Max Wilson , former Labour political adviser;
  • Claire Pearsall , former Tory adviser.

Scroll down for all the key moments and highlights - and stick with us here in the digital Politics Hub for the latest political news throughout the evening.

Sir Anthony Seldon is our next guest on Politics Hub With Ali Fortescue .

He has penned a new book entitled '2010-2024: 14 wasted years?', and we ask for his reflections on the Tory years in power.

He says there were some good things, such as in education where standards rose, "aspects of pensions, aspects of science, aspects of the arts, Universal Credit".

But he goes on: "Overall, growth and productivity has been stagnant since the global financial crisis of 2007-8, and if we look at health, if we look at transport, if we look at housing, if we look at the state of defence, if we look at Britain's position in the world - we don't see the different historians and academics who wrote the book... there isn't the kind of significant change in the standard of all those various areas and other that we have tended to see in long periods of Tory government in the past."

He says there have been "some progressive, important, and incremental changes, but overall a disappointing performance, frankly".

"It's hard to think of any period of single-party domination by the Conservative Party that has achieved less than the party's achieved since 2010."

Infighting has been partly to blame, and it is also a party that is "unsure what it believes in" and is "confused", Sir Anthony says.

He also says "the flip flop" of policies and ideological direction has been a problem.

"There were so many opportunities that the Conservative government could have had for consistent and thoughtful policymaking, and it simply hasn't happened."

Despite the "stability" brought by Rishi Sunak and Lord Cameron, Labour is on track for "a very significant victory" on Thursday.

He notes that no party since 1832 have ever won five general elections in a row, and adds: "It is going to be a colossal Labour victory, akin to 1945."

Celebrities endorsing political parties is not a new phenomenon, but Sir Elton John publicly backing Labour today has got people thinking - do they actually help things shift? 

Max Wilson, former Labour political adviser, tells the Politics Hub With Ali Fortescue that endorsements from the famous are a "good thing".

But, he says that they are unlikely to "shift the dial" or increase the number of votes. 

"It is a nice thing to have, but I don't think it is a prerequisite to winning," he adds. 

Former Tory adviser Claire Pearsall feels the idea has "really gone out of fashion". 

"It has sort of slid away over the years... I would be more impressed if it was sort of Margaret from Burnley telling us exactly why she's voting for whichever party," she adds. 

"We're now in the realms of understanding that real people want to see people like them." 

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essay on china wall


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