The Great Wall of China was one of the greatest public
works ever built by an empire in the entire world. It was built by the
Chinese to keep the Xiang Nu, or mongolians, from attacking the Chinese
that lived on the Mongolia. The wall built by the Han Dynasty was just
an extension of the Qin great wall. The wall was extended all the way to
Xin Jiang in the west. Beacon towers were erected along the wall to warn
the other towers of attack. Ancient records report that at least one
million slaves and prisoners of war were used to create this defensive wall.
Many laborers died from exhaustion and starvation while working on this colossal
task, their bodies added to the rubble and masonry as the quickest means
of disposal. For centuries, the Wall was known as "the longest cemetery in
the world." Along with the construction of the Great Wall, laborers had to
build small canals and reservoirs. All peasants who were farmers were required
to harvest their grain and put it in granaries/
Granaries were used by the Han Dynasty to prevent famine during droughts
times. They were an important public work because they made sure that
the empire could go on during a drought or famine. Every farmer was required
to bring all their excess grain to granaries. Canals were also an important
public work because it allowed more transportation and irrigation opportunities.
Farmers could now be successful while farming away from the main rivers.
As well as granaries and canals, laborers also had to build roads throughout
china. The roads were built for ease of transportation and trade.
Prisoners of war and convicts were also used as laborers to build public
works. Many people died building the Great Wall which was probably the most
intense public work during the entire Han Dynasty. Farmers and peasants were
also required to serve on public works after the harvest, so that farming
would not be less strong during the year.