Great Wall Chronology

Dynasties / States Construction Time Length

Western Zhou (1046 - 771BC)

Continuous forts were erected to defend against Xianyun tribe.

Eastern Zhou (770 - 256BC)

Chu State 7th century BC 310 miles
The Great Wall of Chu ran from Zhuxi County of Hubei Province, via Dengzhou, Neixiang, Nanzhao, Lushan, Yexian, Biyang, and Tongbai, and ended at Xinyang of Henan Province, forming a giant "∩" in central and south China. 
Qi State 6th century BC  398.5 miles
It extended across central Shangdong Province, starting from Guangli Village, Xiaoli Town, Changqing District of Jinan, and reaching the Yellow Sea in Huangdao District of Qingdao. 
Qin State 461BC and 409BC  unknown
The Qianluo Wall, built by Duke Ligong and Duke Jian of Qin, started from Xiaozhang Village at the foot of Mt. Huashan in Shaanxi, across Shaqu River, and reached Weihe River. Then, it ran along Luohe River, via Pucheng County, and ended at Huanglong Mountain in Baishui County.  
around 272BC  unknown
The Great Wall built by King Zhaoxiang of Qin ran from Lintao of Gansu, via Weiyuan, Tongwei, Jingning, and entered Guyuan of Ningxia. Then, it turned northeast to Huanxian of Gansu. It went by Wuqi, Jingbian, Zhidan, and Ansai of Shaanxi, and divided into two lines. One ran to Suide County, and ended at Yuhe Town of Yulin. The other ran northward to Inner Mongolia, and reached the western bank of the Yellow River.
Zhongshan State 374BC  unknown
It was built at the boundary of Hebei and Shanxi Provinces in north China.
Wei State 361 - 352BC  unknown
The West Line ran from Mt. Huashan in Shaanxi, and crossed the Weihe River. Then, it went along the Luohe River, via Dali, Chengcheng, and Hancheng until it reached the Yellow River. Finally, it ended at Guyang County in Inner Mongolia.
unknown unknown
The South Line extended from Juanxian County in today's northeast Yuanyang of Henan Province to Yangwu in southeast Yuanyang. Then, it turned southwest, and arrived at Mixian County, today's Xinmi of Zhengzhou.
Han State 356BC  unknown
It was connected with the west line of Wei State Great Wall. It was originally built by Zheng State. After conquering Zheng State, Han State continued using the wall. Thus, the wall was known as Zhenghan Wall.
Zhao State 333BC  124 miles
The Southern Wall ran between Fushui River and Zhangshui River at today's boundary of Hebei Province and Henan Province.
300BC 404 miles
The Northern Wall extended eastward from Gaoque Fortress to Dai, today's Zhangbei County in Hebei Province, via Yinshan Mountains.
Yan State before 312BC 155 miles
The Southern Wall started from the Taihang Mountain of Hebei Province, arriving at the northeast of Xiong County via Xushui and Anxin Counties, and southward to Ziya River.
unknown unknown
The Northern Wall ran from Zhangjiakou in Hebei Province and ended at the northern bank of Qingchuan River in Liaoning Province.

(221 - 207BC)

around 214BC  3,107 miles
The Southern Great Wall of Qin Dynasty ran from Lintao, today's Minxian County in Gansu Province, via Guyuan in Ningxia, Huanxian in Gansu, Jingbian, Hengshan, Yuyang, and Shenmu in Shaanxi, Tuoketuo in Inner Mongolia, and ended at the southern bank of the Yellow River.
The Northern Wall started from Langshan Mountain in the west, via Ulanqab in Inner Mongolia, Shangyi, Zhangbei, and Weichang in Hebei, and entered Fushun and Benxi in Liaoning Province. Then, it turned southeast, and ended at the estuary of Qingchuan River.  

Han Dynasty (202BC-220AD)

127 - 110BC  6,214 miles
Great Wall of Han Dynasty spanned over north China, extending from Liaoning in the east to Lop Nur, Xinjiang in the west.
Jin Dynasty (265 - 420)
281 4,600 miles
Great Wall of the Jin Dynasty traverses from today's Yangyuan County in Hubei Province to Tateishi in North Korea. Additionally, there is also a section of wall in Linhai, Zhejiang Province along the southeast coast.
Northern Wei (386-534)  423 621 miles
The Northern Wall ran westward from Chicheng County in Hebei to Wuyuan County in Inner Mongolia.
446 311 miles
The Sai Wei Wall, lower and thinner than the Northern Wall, was erected around the capital city of Pingcheng, today’s Datong of Shanxi. It started from Shanggu in today's Guangling County of Shanxi, and ran northward to Tianzhen County. Then, it turned westward, and ended at the eastern bank of the Yellow River.
Eastern Wei (534-550)  543  47 miles
It started from Maling Garrison to Tudeng near Ningwu County, Shanxi. 
Northern Qi (550-577) 552 - 557  932 miles
In order to prevent the attacks of northern Turks and the neighboring Western Wei, the Northern Qi renovated the previous walls built by Northern Wei and Eastern Wei, and added many sections. The whole wall extended from Shanxi in the west to Bohai Sea near Shanhaiguan Pass in the east.
Northern Zhou (557-581)  579 unknown
After restoring the Northern Qi Wall, the Northern Zhou Great Wall stretched from Shanhaiguan in the east to Yanmenguan in the west.  


581 - 608 unknown
The wall ran from Shanhaiguan in the east to Gansu Province in the west.


619 93 miles
It stretched from Pingcheng in modern Heshun County in Shanxi to Lukou in modern Qixian County in Shanxi. 
Liao Dynasty
(907 - 1125)
908 457 miles
The Wall traversed the Inner Mongolia in China and finally reached Mongolia via Russia. There is also a section in today's Dalian, Liaoning that was built to defend against the neighboring Bohai Kingdom.


To stop the incursions of Liao, Western Xia, and Jin Dynasties, the Song built a comprehensive defensive system, including forts, water walls, and stone walls.


before 1138 435 miles
The Northern Jiehao Wall started from the Genhe River, Hulunbuir, Inner Mongolia in the east, and ran westward to Argun River. Then, it went to Russia and Mongolia, and ended at the southern slope of Khentii Mountains.
1194 - 1201  4,039 miles
The Southern Jiehao Wall ran from Morin Dawa Daur Autonomous Banner of Hulunbuir in the east, and ended at Daqing Mountains in Wuchuan County of Inner Mongolia.
1210 - 1211 171 miles
The Wushabao Wall ran from Fengning County of Hebei via Duolun County, Xulun Hoh Banner, Taibus Banner in Inner Mongolia, Kangbao County in Hebei, and Huade County in Inner Mongolia, and ended at Shangdu County in Inner Mongolia.  


unknown 5,500 miles
The Ming Great Wall ran from Hushan by the Yalu River in the east, and ended at Jiayuguan Pass in China's west Gansu Province. 

Qing Dynasty (1644-1911)

1644 - 1878 unknown
It was built in most provinces to the north of Huaihe River, especially by the Yellow River.
1911 - Present
1911 - present 8,780 miles, about 2/3 of the total length of the previous dynasties and states
There was no construction work of new Great Wall sections during this period. A massive repair work of some existing sections from Liaoning Province to Xinjiang has been implemented until now.

 Further Reading: 
History of China
Fun Facts about Great Wall: 25 Things You didn't Know
Which Dynasties didn't Build the Great Wall?

- Last updated on Jul. 15, 2019 -
Questions & Answers on Great Wall Chronology
Asked by sreeni kashyap from INDIA | Apr. 19, 2014 04:36Reply
how long years took to complete the great wall
Answers (1)
Answered by Joe from FRANCE | Apr. 21, 2014 20:56

As it was made during many dynasties, it is hard to tell how many exact years it took to build that in total. Anyway, as early as the Warring States Periods (476 BC - 221 BC), people started to build that as defense against the enemy! Late, the states of Chu, Qi, Yan, Wei, Zhao and Qin, as well as Han and Ming were engaged with constructing that too!
Asked by Mr.Matthew Saunders from CHINA | Nov. 10, 2009 23:00Reply
Is it true that those who built the great wall were buried at the wall?
Answers (3)
Answered by Ms.Tina | Nov. 11, 2009 00:56

They were not buried at the wall which would cause wall crack but they were buried in the nearby trenches.
Answered by Mr.Bob from PLANET X | Apr. 13, 2011 11:35

the dead were buried in the wall. it was called the longest graveyard in the world so in your face Ms. tina
Answered by Nia from UNITED KINGDOM | Jan. 13, 2012 17:24

It is called the longest graveyard in the world because the workers who made it died of exaustion and of dehydration more than 2000 of them died and the bones were buried under the wall so the different dynasties werent buried there but the workers were so Ha to all of you.
Asked by Mr.Mojibur from BANGLADESH | Aug. 17, 2009 04:08Reply
Above brefing we don't reialise that what is the actual starting point and what is the finishing point. We know that CGW made part by part and then unifying. It was not clear that creating any contract within several state how it is completing. One emperor or several set of emperor proposal are made to finish the CGW? Great wall is great no dought but 2000 years how they (Different nation or emperor)are unifying in the case CGW?
Answers (1)
Answered by Ms.Cherry | Aug. 17, 2009 21:24

The starting point is Hushan part in Liaoning Province, but not Shanhaiguan Pass, according to new survey. And the finishing point is Jiayuguan Pass. The wall is made by many dynasties in 2,000 years. In this long period, only Qin Dynasty, Han Dynasty and Ming Dynasty built the wall on a large scale and extended the wall to 10,000 li. Other dynasties also built the wall, but in a rather small scale, such as to repair it, extend it by the military strategy, or just used the wall built by previous dynasties.
Asked by Mr.Anonymous from ANONYMOUS | May. 27, 2009 18:58Reply
Were they all parts of the great wall?
Answers (1)
Answered by Ms.Hannah | Aug. 03, 2009 19:44

Of course they were.
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