China is one of the world’s four ancient civilizations, and the written history of China dates back to the Shang Dynasty (c. 1600–1046 BC), over 3,000 years ago.
From the first centralized feudal empire, the Qin Dynasty, which was established in 221 BC, until the collapse of the Qing Dynasty in 1912, this period is known as the imperial era of China.
The imperial China period makes up the bulk of Chinese history. With the cyclical rise and fall of dynasties, Chinese civilization was cultivated and prospered in times of peace, then reformed after rebellions and conquests.In ancient China, an emperor enjoyed the ultimate power and often determined the fate of the nation. Over five thousand years of history, China has witnessed 67 dynasties with 446 emperors.
Who is considered the first emperor of China?
Ying Zheng, who holds the seminal title of China’s first emperor, reportedly proclaimed that his dynasty would last “10,000 generations.” Apparently, Ying Zheng, who was born in 259 B.C. and declared himself Qin Shihuang or the first emperor of the Qin dynasty at age 38, wanted to be around long enough to see that prediction come true.
When was the first emperor of China?
Qin Shi Huang 18 February 259 BC – 10 September 210 BC) was the founder of the Qin dynasty and the first emperor of a unified China. From 247 to 221 BC he was Zheng, King of Qin. He became China’s first emperor when he was 38 after the Qin had conquered all of the other Warring States and unified all of China in 221 BC.Rather than maintain the title of “king” borne by the previous Shang and Zhou rulers, he ruled as the First Emperor of the Qin dynasty from 221 BC to 210 BC. His self-invented title “emperor” would continue to be borne by Chinese rulers for the next two millennia.
what did the first emperor of china do
Unification of China
In 230 BC, King Zheng unleashed the final campaigns of the Warring States period, setting out to conquer the remaining independent kingdoms, one by one.
The first state to fall was Hán, in 230 BC. Then Qin took advantage of natural disasters in 229 BC to invade and conquer Zhào, where Qin Shi Huang had been born.He now avenged his poor treatment as a child hostage there, seeking out and killing his enemies.
Qin armies conquered the state of Zhao in 228 BC, the northern country of Yan in 226 BC, the small state of Wei in 225 BC, and the largest state and greatest challenge, Chu, in 223 BC.
In 222 BC, the last remnants of Yan and the royal family were captured in Liaodong in the northeast. The only independent country left was now state of Qi, in the far east, what is now the Shandong peninsula. Terrified, the young king of Qi sent 200,000 people to defend his western borders. In 221 BC, the Qin armies invaded from the north, captured the king, and annexed Qi. Some of the strategies Qin used to unify China were to standardize the trade and communication, currency and language.
Conscription and Construction
One of the first decrees of the Qin Empire was that all weapons had to be surrendered to them. They ordered that every man had to serve for a year in the army.
The Qin Empire is known for using their great wealth and power to build on an unprecedented scale. They built many roads and some canals for transporting troops and supplies. They also built a huge necropolis for Qin Shihuang, including the Terracotta Army, and many other big projects including the Ling Canal in Guilin.
The Great Wall
the great wall Some of the modern Great Wall was built along the foundations of the Qin Great Wall.
The First Emperor of Qin ordered the destruction of defensive walls of the former states, but he ordered the construction of a Great Wall across the north to fend off northern tribes like the Xiongnu.
In 214, the First Emperor secured his northern frontier. He appointed Meng Tian to lead an army of about 100,000 to drive away the nomadic Xiongnu and construct the Great Wall and forts along the border. He used hundreds of thousands of laborers.
Standardization and Servitude
Weights, measurements, and coinage were standardized. Under Li Si, the emperor’s head official, the writing system was standardized by ordering everyone to write in the Qin script. The rulers wanted everyone to be able to understand their orders and for the officials to be able to communicate with each other.
Officials were chosen based on their ability to serve the First Emperor and obey him. To promote obedience, punishment was severe. Even the First Emperor’s own son, who warned him not to kill scholars, was demoted and sent to the north to build the Great Wall — notorious as a place where people were likely to die.
first emperor of china death
In 211 BC a large meteor is said to have fallen in Dōngjùn in the lower reaches of the Yellow River. On it, an unknown person inscribed the words “The First Emperor will die and his land will be divided” .When the emperor heard of this, he sent an imperial secretary to investigate this prophecy. No one would confess to the deed, so all the people living nearby were put to death. The stone was then pulverized.
During his fifth tour of Eastern China, the Emperor became seriously ill after he arrived in Pingyuanjin, and died on 10 September 210 BC at the palace in Shaqiu prefecture , about two months away by road from the capital Xianyang.
where is the first emperor of china’s tomb
Located at the northern foot of Lishan Mountain, 35 kilometers northeast of Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, Qinshihuang Mausoleum is the tomb of Emperor Qinshihuang, founder of the first unified empire in Chinese history during the 3rd century BCE. Begun in 246 BCE the grave mound survives to a height of 51.3 meters within a rectangular, double-walled enclosure oriented north-south. Nearly 200 accompanying pits containing thousands of life-size terra cotta soldiers, terra cotta horses and bronze chariots and weapons – a world-renowned discovery – together with burial tombs and architectural remains total over 600 sites within the property area of 56.25 square kilometers. According to the historian Sima Qian (c. 145-95 BCE), workers from every province of the Empire toiled unceasingly until the death of the Emperor in 210 in order to construct a subterranean city within a gigantic mound.
As the tomb of the first emperor who unified the country, it is the largest in Chinese history, with a unique standard and layout, and a large number of exquisite funeral objects. It testifies to the founding of the first unified empire- the Qin Dynasty, which during the 3rd BCE, wielded unprecedented political, military and economic power and advanced the social, cultural and artistic level of the empire.