Last modified on 26 August 2017, at 21:18

Qin dynasty

Qin dynasty
Chinese 秦朝

The Qin dynasty replaced the Zhou dynasty in 221 BC and ruled until 206 BC. It was the first unified Chinese empire, and followed a philosophy known as Legalism to great effect in amassing its force and overriding all the other states of the Warring States period.

The dynasty was founded by the ruler of the state of Qin, Prince Ying Zheng. The state was excellent in battle and conquered all the states, unifying the country. The state of Qin was originally a fief of the Zhou state, a military province intended to provide a buffer against western "barbarians" and to produce horses; it was in an out of the way area, and the region was part-desert. There was little indication that this state would prove to be the most powerful, or that it would unify China in the end. However, victories at such key battles as Battle of Changping, the bloodiest engagement in history until the Second World War, against the state of Zhao, allowed Qin to develop and conquer the other 6 states by 221 BC under Ying Zheng.

History of China
Xia c. 2070–c. 1600 BC
Shang c. 1600 – 1046 BC
Zhou 1045–256 BC
Qin 221–206 BC
Han 206 BC – 220 AD
Three Kingdoms 220–280
Jin 265–420
Northern and Southern
Sui 581–618
Tang 618–907
Five Dynasties and
Ten Kingdoms
Song 960–1279
Yuan 1271–1368
Ming 1368–1644
Qing 1644–1911
Republic 1912–1949
People's Republic 1949–present

The Qin dynasty began building the Great Wall of China, although this was a much earlier wall, made of tamped earth, not the more modern stone structure constructed under the Ming dynasty, over 1500 years later. The wall was a large project, and produced by corvee labour, but it built on earlier structures produced by various states in the Warring States period to keep out the nomads of the steppes to the north and west.

The Qin dynasty's highly authoritarian approach led to a rebellion which replaced it with the Han dynasty, although many modern scholars agree that it was not the tight rule of Ying Zheng (or "Qin Shihuang Di") that was unpopular; rather, it was the breakdown of the law instituted by the Qin under Ying Zheng's successor that caused unrest and rebellion in 206 BC. The period following the Qin was a short period of warlords, the two most famous being Liu Bang, the governor of Pei, and Xiang Yu, a nobleman of the former state of Chu. Liu Bang defeated Xiang Yu and founded the Han Dynasty, although both are famous in Chinese history and culture, with Xiang Yu being the subject of much of Chinese opera, the famous aria, "Xiang Yu bids farewell to his concubine" being based on an event in his life according the famous Chinese history, the Records of the Historian by Sima Qian of the Han.

See also