Qin Shi Huang

Emperor Qin Shi Huang – First Emperor of China

Statue of Emperor Qin Shi Huang
Statue of Qin Shi Huang

Emperor Qin Shi Huang (259 BC - 210 BC) fascinates people when they talk about the Great Wall and the Terracotta Warriors and Horses - his two greatest achievements. As the first emperor of China, he indeed has a profound influence on Chinese history and culture.
 

How did he come to the throne?

Qin Shi Huang, born as Ying Zheng in 259 BC, was the son of the king of the Qin State. At the age of thirteen, he succeeded his father's regality. Ying Zheng was very aggressive and ambitious at an early age. He assumed full power at 22 by ridding himself of his premier, Lu Buwei, who acted as regent while he was a minor. He wanted to unify and subjugate all the states like Han, Zhao, Wei, Chu, Yan and Qi by the powerful political, economic and military strength of the Qin State. Ying Zheng realized his ambition and built the first feudal and centralized empire in Chinese history in 221 BC. This was what we called - the Qin Dynasty (221 BC - 206 BC). Ying Zheng was the first emperor of a united China, so he proclaimed himself Qin Shi Huang.
 

Qin Shi Huang

When Ying Zheng unified China, he considered his achievement surpassing the legendary "San Huang (three emperors)" and "Wu Di (five sovereigns)". He created a new title for himself: "Huangdi" together with "Shi (means the first)", hence get the name "Qin Shi Huang" or "Qin Shi Huangdi", which means he was the first emperor of China. He hoped his descendants would follow in his steps to rule the country for eternity.
 

Achievements and Defects

Qin Clay Figures
Clay Figure Soldiers in Qinshihuang's Tomb

In order to consolidate the nascent empire, Qin Shi Huang reformed politics, economy and culture. In politics, he abolished the hereditary vassal enfeoffment system and established prefectures and counties, ruled directly by the emperor. Based on the original rules of the Qin State, the emperor adopted some regulations of other rival states to form a workable law of the Qin Dynasty. In economy, he claimed that both the agriculture and commerce were very important. People should have them developed together. Besides, tax system began to function and coinage and metrology were all standardized. In culture, the emperor unified the Chinese characters in writing, which promoted the development of culture. However, he also suppressed scholars who were not to his liking. Consequently, many scholars involved were killed in Xianyang.

The symbol of the Chinese ancient civilization, the Great Wall bears witness to Qin Shi Huang's centralism. He ordered conscript laborers to link together the defensive works against marauding nomads already built by the former states. That was the forerunner of the modern Great Wall. Another world-famous achievement is the Terracotta Warriors and Horses in Xi'an, which was discovered nearby the mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shi Huang. Both are the wonders of China. But during their construction, countless conscripts lost their lives. It's really wasting manpower and resources.
 

Decline of the First Emperor

Emperor Qin Shihuang''''s Mausoleum
Qin Shihuang's Mausoleum

Qin Shi Huang longed for longevity, so he sent his ministers to go on quests seeking for an elixir of immortality. However, death claimed him before he could find success on that matter. He departed from the world of the living in 210 BC while traveling. The Peasant Uprising led by Chen Sheng and Wu Guang broke out soon after Hu Hai, the second generation, got onto the throne. Accordingly, the Qin Dynasty came to an abrupt end in 206 BC. Qin Shi Huang is truly an epoch-making historic emperor in history.

 Mystery about Emperor Qin Shi Huang
 What did Qin Shi Huang die from?
 Why the Emperor Qin Shi Huang did not determine the empress?

 Two Sons of Emperor Qin Shi Huang
 Fu Su           Hu Hai

- Last modified on Nov. 14, 2018 -
Questions & Answers on Emperor Qin Shi Huang
Asked by china from CHINA | Nov. 07, 2018 15:31Reply
what are peoples thoughts on Qin shi Huang
what do you think is he good or bad???
Answers (1)
Answered by Ivey from USA | Nov. 07, 2018 18:59
00Reply


He has his failures and achievements and you cannot say he is a bad or good emperor. He is China's first emperor and also the founder of the Chinese emperor system, so that China has entered a multi-ethnic centralized monarchy era. He made the first time that China has completed the political unification, which laid a foundation for subsequent dynasties to seek unity. But since the ancient times, he has always been a controversial figure. He was also cruel. He burned books and potholes, so that the free thought and spirit since the spring and autumn period were attacked, and also destroyed the culture. He enacted harsh laws that put people in a hard life.
Asked by hannah from AUSTRALIA | Nov. 06, 2018 22:11Reply
what punishments did Qin Shi Huang use against his people?
I need to write an essay on whether he was a good or a bad leader
Answers (1)
Answered by Penny from USA | Nov. 07, 2018 19:11
00Reply


Qing Shi Huang made the severe law and heavy taxation to control his people and people at that time lived a hard life.
Asked by Joeylie Celestin from USA | Nov. 06, 2018 15:05Reply
How did China move from the Warring States period to Shi Huangdi's successful control of the entire
Answers (1)
Answered by Ollie from CANADA | Nov. 07, 2018 19:09
00Reply


Many small and medium-sized vassal states have been gobbled up, and the rest of the Qin, Chu, Yan, Han, Zhao, Wei, Qi - seven countries become the main vassal states during the warring period. Shang Yang’s reform played an important role in Qin, and Qin got strong, defeated the other six countries and unified China.
Asked by Addie from USA | Mar. 26, 2018 18:38Reply
What were failures Qin Shihuang had?
For example why he was sometimes a bad ruler, failures in inventions.
Answers (1)
Answered by Alex from GERMANY | Mar. 26, 2018 19:50
169Reply


He burned many books and buried plenty of scholars.
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