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It’s been said that “good fences make good neighbors.” Since antiquity, people have felt compelled to build walls around their huts, houses, places of worship, towns and even countries. But back then it wasn’t so much about keeping immigrants out as it was about defending from invaders. For example, around 122 CE, the Romans built Hadrian’s Wall in northern England to protect Roman England
from marauding Picts and other northern “barbarian” tribes. Its remains are still there today. It stretches about
In spite of how impressive Hadrian’s Wall might be, the wall that immediately comes to mind when the topic comes up is the Great Wall of China. It is, in fact,
a combination of
Babylon was supposedly surrounded by walls as early as 1792 BCE and walled cities, for purposes of defense, became common in the 10th century BCE; Jericho (now in the West Bank) and the Sumerian city of Uruk (in modern day Iraq) are examples.
It is thought that the first wall build to define (and defend) a national territory rather than just a city, was built by the Sumerian King Shulgi of Ur in 2038 BCE. It was 250km long. Shulgi, his son and his grandson all tried to maintain this wall in an attempt to defend their lands, but eventually Ur fell in 1750 BCE bringing to an end the state of Sumer.
And so it has been with all such walls from the distant past to recently in history.
The Berlin Wall was erected in 1961. Its purpose was more to keep people (in E. Berlin) in, rather than to
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