Qin Dynasty (221–207 BC) is the first empire that united China. It lasts about fourteen years, in which there are three emperors. It affects the history and development of ancient China like unifying the currency and words, formulating the law, constructing the Great Wall, and establishing a highly centralized system of government, etc.
1. The Rise of Qin Empire
Qin people is a tribe of Han nationality that migrated to the west. When Qin Xiaogong came into power, he issued a decree to attract the talents. Shang Yang from the Wei came to Qin and helped Qin Xiaogong reform the politics. Under the rule of this political reform, Qin became stronger, wealthy, orderly within a short ten-year period.
2. The Establishment of Qin Dynasty
- The First Emperor (221 – 210BC)
In 221 BC, Ying Zheng defeated the Six States and eventually established the new dynasty — the Qin Dynasty. He claimed himself Shi Huangdi, historically known as Qin Shihuang, which literally means the first emperor of Qin Dynasty.
- The Centralization of Power
The First Emperor set up a new system of prefectures, which was the first two-tier administrative system in ancient China. The writing system, currency, and measurements were standardized.
- The Infrastructure Construction
In 214BC, to consolidate the northern frontier, Qin Shihuang appointed Meng Tian lead an army to fight against nomadic Xiongnu and constructed the Great Wall. In the same year, Ling canal was built to attack the Baiyue tribes. The canal is located in Guilin city of Guang Xi province.
3. The Fall of Qin Dynasty
In 210BC, Qin Shihuang died. Hu Hai, the youngest son of Qin Shihuang, succeed to the throne. He exploited and repressed the peasants more severely by raising taxes, building E Pang Palace, and extending the number of those who must serve in the army. Due to the exploitation, various uprisings were intrigued, and the most popular and influential one is the troops led by Wu Guang and Chen Sheng. Meanwhile, the two troops led by Xiang Yu and Liu Bang started to attack the rule of Qin Dynasty. Qin Dynasty ended after Liu Bang occupy Xian Yang, the capital of Qin Dynasty.
4. Achievements of Qin Dyansty
As the first empire that united China, Qin Dynasty makes great contributes to the unity of currency and words, laws and construction.
- Unite China
The first point is obviously that Qin ended the situation disintegration and united China.
- Unify Words
After unifying China, Qin,to strengthen its domination, started to unify the words to Xiaozhuan, which is said to be created by Li Si.
- Build the Great Wall
The Great Wall is first built in the Zhou Dynasty. After defeating the Six Nations, Qin Shihuang recruited a large labor force to connect and renovate the Great Wall of Warring States.
- Standardize the Currency
Qin Shihuang started to abandon various currencies built by different Nations, and standardized as gold and circular copper with square hole.
Except for above achievements, there are apparently other contributions such as standardizing the transportation, defeating the invaders, creating the system of prefectures and counties.