The Qin Dynasty
221 BCE - 206 BCE
The Qin Dynasty was the dynasty that redefined China. The emperor of this era wanted to conquer the warring states that the Chou dynasty had in essence created. This emperor succeeded and China was one nation once more. Upon conquering all the warring states, the emperor pronounced himself as the first emperor of China or, Shih Huang Ti. The unified China was larger than it ever was. This was the first time outside forces acknowledged the existance of another race of people, and aptly named the nation China after the then current dynasty, the Qin.
The first emperor not only unified China, but went about standardizing writing, weights, and measures throughout his kingdom. This was used to promote internal trade among the newly aquired states. The states each had their own standards of measuring and weighing, and the Qin emperor wanted his kingdom to be as one to strengthen it. This standardization was good for the weights and measurements but was not good for philisophical ideas.
During this time, many schools of thought were outlawed; only legalism was given official sanction. In 213 BCE, all the books of the opposing schools of thought were burned except for the copies held in the Qin imperial library. The only way for emperor to keep his nation together was to have all his subjects think the same way. Any deviation would throw China back to the hundreds of years of warring.
The Qin empire was vast. The first emperor pushed China's borders South to current day Vietnam, and current day Korea. But the central kingdom was still in the Yellow River Valley. Regardless, of all the accomplishments of the Qin, the best known is the Great Wall of China.
The construction of the Great Wall of China did not come without a price. It came with massive financial burden as well as human life. This led to resentment of the Qin emperor by his people. Not only that, the intellectuals were not happy with the emperor either; the books they coveted were burned at his hands.
By this time, the emperor had grown old and he did not want to face death. He wanted to be immortal. He set all the court scientists and doctors to work to make some sort of medicine that would make him a god. The doctors came up with a deadly solution that they truely thought would work. The medicines the doctors prescribed were pills that contained traces of mercury which eventually lead to the emperors death.
When the emperor died, China went into a rage, and a rebellion against the Qin dynasty ensued, leading to the next dynasty, the Han.
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