How Many People Died Building the Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China is one of the most remarkable feats of engineering in history. Stretching over 13,000 miles, it was built over a period of 2,000 years to protect China from invading armies. However, the construction of this magnificent structure came at a great cost, and many workers died during its construction. In this article, we will explore the number of people who lost their lives building the Great Wall of China.

The Historical Context

The construction of the Great Wall of China began in the 7th century BC and continued until the Ming dynasty in the 16th century AD. During this time, the wall was built, dismantled, and rebuilt numerous times, with each dynasty adding their own unique touch to the structure. The work was carried out by millions of laborers, including soldiers, peasants, and prisoners of war.

The Human Cost

It is difficult to estimate the exact number of people who died building the Great Wall of China, as the records from that time are not entirely accurate. However, historians believe that the number of casualties could be as high as one million. The workers who were involved in the construction of the wall faced numerous dangers, including falls from great heights, accidents with heavy machinery, and diseases such as cholera and typhoid fever.

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The working conditions on the wall were harsh, and the workers were subjected to long hours of hard labor in extreme weather conditions. Many of them were malnourished and suffered from illnesses due to the lack of sanitation and hygiene facilities. In addition, they had to face constant attacks from the invaders they were trying to repel.

The Legacy of the Great Wall

Despite the high human cost of its construction, the Great Wall of China remains one of the most iconic structures in the world. It has become a symbol of the perseverance and dedication of the Chinese people, who were willing to sacrifice their lives to protect their country. The wall is now a major tourist attraction, and millions of people visit it every year to witness its grandeur and learn about its history.


The Great Wall of China is a testament to the ingenuity and determination of the Chinese people. While its construction was undoubtedly a monumental achievement, it came at a great cost in terms of human lives. It is important to remember and honor the workers who lost their lives building this magnificent structure, and to continue to strive for better working conditions for laborers around the world. As we continue to learn from history, we can ensure that the sacrifices made by those who came before us are not forgotten.

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In conclusion, the number of people who died building the Great Wall of China is estimated to be around one million. Their sacrifice is a reminder of the human cost of great achievements and should serve as a testament to the importance of human rights and labor conditions.