The Wall of the Northern Wei Dynasty | History
Great Wall History

The Wall of the Northern Wei Dynasty

The Northern Wei Dynasty was developed from Xianbei, a nomadic nationality from the north. In 386, Tuoba Gui founded Wei. In 398, he set up the capital in Pingcheng, i.e. present Datong of Shanxi Province. One year after, he made himself king, i.e. King Dao Wu Di, and soon made Northern Wei a feudal state of influence in the north.

In 409, King Ming Yuan Di ascended the throne, when the state Rouran lying to its north became his powerful enemy. To defend against Rouran, he built fortresses and a wall more than 1000 kilometers long along its north border. The wall went from now Chicheng County of Hebei Province, along the north edge of Shanxi Province to Wuyuan County of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

The Northern Wei came to its best in its military power in the time of King Tai Wu Di. He unified the whole area around the main stream of the Yellow River through a series of wars, in which he also defeated Rouran, and, to protect the capital, in significant places set up the six military towns of Wuchuan, Fuming, Huaishuo, Rouxuan, and Yuyi. To enhance the defense over the capital, he built another lower and thinner wall. The wall ran more than 500 kilometers, going from present Guangling of Shanxi, along the border between Shangxi and Hebei Province to Tianzhen County of Shanxi Province, twisting westward and reaching the east bank of the Yellow River by way of Datong.