Learning Objective

Support the discussion that the Qin Dynasty, though short-lived, was one of the most vital periods the China’s classical Age

Key Points

The leader of the victorious Qin state developed the Qin Dynasty and recast himself as Shi Huangdi, the very first Emperor the China.The Qin empire was among the shortest in all of Chinese history, lasting only about 15 years, but was also one the the most important. The was marked by a solid sense of unification and an important technological and cultural innovation.Shi Huangdi standardized writing throughout the empire, developed expansive infrastructure, such as highways and canals, standardization currency and also measurement, conducted a census, and also established a postal system.Legalism to be the official philosophy, and also other philosophies, such together Confucianism, to be suppressed. Shi Huangdi also built the good Wall that China, approximately 1,500 mile long and also guarded through a massive army, to protect the nation against north invaders.The Qin Dynasty broke down after just 15 years. There to be a brief duration of chaos until the Han dynasty was established.

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Terms

Legalism

A Chinese approach claiming the a solid state is vital to curtail human self-interest.

Mandate the Heaven

The belief, date from old China, that heaven provides a ruler the ideal to preeminence fairly.

Great wall of China

An old Chinese fortification, nearly 4,000 mile long, originally designed to protect China from the Mongols. Construction started during the Qin Dynasty, under Shi Huangdi.


When the Qin state emerged victorious native the Warring States period in 221 BCE, the state’s leader, King Zheng, declared the Mandate that Heaven and also established the Qin Dynasty. He renamed himself Shi Huangdi (First Emperor), a far grander title than King, creating the means in i m sorry China would certainly be ruled because that the next two millennia. Today he is well-known as Qin Shi Huang, definition First Qin Emperor. The relied top top brutal techniques and Legalist theory to consolidate and expand his power. The nobility were stripped that control and also authority so that the independent and also disloyal the aristocracy that had plagued the Zhou would certainly not posture a problem.

The Qin empire was one of the shortest in all of Chinese history, lasting only around 15 years, but it was likewise one that the most important. Through Qin Shi Huang’s standardization of society and marriage of the states, because that the first time in centuries, into the an initial Chinese empire, he allowed the Chinese come think of themselves as members the a single kingdom. This laid the foundation for the consolidation the the Chinese regions that we understand today, and also resulted in a very bureaucratic state through a large economy, capable of sustaining an expanded military.

Innovations that Emperor Shi Huangdi

The an initial Emperor separated China into provinces, with civil and also military public official in a power structure of ranks. He built the Lingqu Canal, which joined the Yangtze River container to the Canton area via the Li River. This canal helped send fifty percent a million Chinese troops to dominate the lands to the south.

Qin Shi Huang standardization writing, a an essential factor in the overcoming of social barriers in between provinces, and unifying the empire. He additionally standardized equipment of currency, weights, and also measures, and conducted a census of his people. He developed elaborate postal and also irrigation systems, and built great highways.

In contrast, in line v his attempt to i charged Legalism, Qin Shi Huang strong discouraged ideology (particularly Confucianism) and also history—he hidden 460 Confucian scholar alive and also burned countless of their philosophical texts, and many historical texts the were not about the Qin state. This burn of books and also execution of philosophers significant the finish of the Hundred colleges of Thought. The philosophy of Mohism in details was completely wiped out.

Finally, Qin Shi Huang started the structure of the good Wall the China, among the greatest building feats of all time, to protect the country against barbarians. 7 hundred thousand compelled laborers were supplied in building the wall, and also thousands the them to be crushed in ~ the massive gray rocks. The wall surface was around 1,500 mile long, and wide enough for six equines to gallop abreast follow me the top. The nation’s an initial standing army, maybe consisting of millions, guarded the wall surface from northern invaders.


The an excellent Wall the China.


The Terracotta Army

Another that Qin Shi Huang’s most impressive building projects to be the ready he created his very own death. He had a enormous tomb developed for the on mountain Li, near modern-day Xi’an, and was hidden there when he died. The dig was filled through thousands and also thousands that life-sized (or larger) terracotta soldiers supposed to safety the emperor in his afterlife. This terracotta army was rediscovered in the twentieth century. Each soldier was sculpted with a different face, and also those that were equipped had genuine weapons.


The Terracotta Army. A close-up of 2 soldiers in the terracotta army. Note how their deals with differ from every other—each soldier was created to it is in unique.

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Collapse that the Qin Dynasty

Qin Shi Huang was paranoid about his death, and also because of this he had the ability to survive countless assassination attempts. He became increasingly obsessed through immortality and also employed numerous alchemists and also sorcerers. Ironically, he ultimately died by poisoning in 210 BCE, when he drank one “immortality potion.”

The an initial Emperor’s brutal techniques and tyranny developed resistance amongst the people, especially the conscripted peasants and also farmers whose labors constructed the empire. ~ above the first Emperor’s death, China plunged right into civil war, exacerbated by floods and droughts. In 207 BCE, Qin Shi Huang’s kid was killed, and the dynasty broke down entirely. Chaos reigned till 202 BCE, once Gaozu, a petty official, ended up being a general and reunited China under the Han Dynasty.