The land which later became China was ravaged by war within its states. Eventually, one state emerged victorious: the Qin, working on the principles of the legalist philosophy, took control of all the warring states in 221 BC. Once the king of Qin gained complete control he crowned himself Shi Huandgi, which means first emperor. Until now this title was only given to gods and mythological sages.
He created a central, nonhereditary bureaucracy. To reach his goal of controlling the six major states of Zhou, the Qin king relied on legalist philosophy to make their new empire work. The legalists stood for centralization, acquired by any means necessary. This was to be achieved by standardizing laws and other bureaucratic procedures, standard currency and language learning were also implemented. To make sure there was no disagreement over the new policies and imperial rule, all dissenting people and Confucian scholars were executed and their books were burned.
The Qin asserted their military might by expanding the new empire's borders in the north and south. To defend themselves from attacking barbarians, the Qin connected the many walls around the previous states into a giant 5,000-kilometer long wall. Today, this wall is known is known as the Great Wall of China. Other projects that required huge amounts of public work were also initiated, these included building up the imperial city and palace.
The people detested the repression imposed on them and as soon as the Emperor died in 210 B.C. revolts broke out throughout the land and the Qin dynasty ended. The empire that the Qin established, however would remain for another two thousand years.