The Chinese Emperors

Qin Dynasty
The Emperors of Qin Dynasty (Name by which most commonly know !)
Qin King ZhaoXiang Qin King XiaoWen Qing King ZhuangXing Qin ShiHuangDi Qin Er ShiHuangDi

The history of Qin

The Qin Dynasty(Wade-Giles Ch'in; 221 BC - 207 BC) was preceded by the Zhou Dynasty and followed by the Han Dynasty in China. Qin, which has a pronunciation similar to the English word "chin," is a possible origin of the word "China" (see China in world languages). The unification of China 221 BC under the First Emperor marked the beginning of imperial China, a period that lasted until the fall of the Qing Empire in 1912. The Qin Dynasty left a legacy of a centralized and bureaucratic state that would be carried onto successive dynasties.

Much of what came to constitute China proper was unified for the first time in 221 B.C. In that year the western frontier state of Qin, the most aggressive of the Warring States, subjugated the last of its rival states, putting an end to the Warring States Period.

The King of Qin, Zheng, named himself Shi Huangdi (First Emperor), a formulation of titles previously reserved for deities and the mythological sage-emperors. He is known by historians as Qin Shi Huang. He wanted his successors to rule China forever with the title "Second Emperor", "Third Emperor", etc.

In consolidating power, Qin Shi Huang imposed the State of Qin's centralized, non-hereditary bureaucratic system on his new empire in place of the Zhou's feudalistic one. The Qin Empire relied on the philosophy of legalism (with skillful advisors like Han Fei and Li Si). Centralization, achieved by ruthless methods, was focused on standardizing legal codes and bureaucratic procedures, the forms of writing and coinage, and the pattern of thought and scholarship. Characters from the former state of Qin became the standard for the entire empire. The length of the wheel axle was also unified and expressways standardized to ease transportation throughout the country. To silence criticism of imperial rule, the emperor banished or put to death many dissenting Confucian scholars and confiscated and burned their books.

To prevent future uprisings, Qin Shi Huang ordered the confiscation of weapons and stored them in the capital. In order to prevent the resurgence of feudal lords, he also destroyed the walls and fortifications that had separated the previous six states. A national conscription was devised: every male between the ages of seventeen and sixty years was obliged to serve one year in the army. Qin aggrandizement was aided by frequent military expeditions pushing forward the frontiers in the north and south. To fend off barbarian intrusion (mainly against the Xiongnu in the north), the fortification walls built by the various warring states were connected to make a wall; this was an early precursor of the 5,000- kilometer-long Great Wall of China built later during the Ming Dynasty. A number of public works projects, including canals and bridges, were also undertaken to consolidate and strengthen imperial rule. A lavish tomb for the emperor, complete with a Terracotta Army, was built near the capital Xianyang, a city half an hour from modern Xi'an. These activities required enormous levies of manpower and resources, not to mention repressive measures.

Endless labor in the later years of Qin Shi Huang's reign started to provoke widespread discontent. However, the emperor was able to maintain stability thanks to his tight grip on every aspect of the lives of the Chinese.

During his reign Qin Shi Huang made five inspection trips around the country. During the last trip with his second son Huhai in 210 BC, Qin Shi Huang died suddenly at Shaqiu prefecture. Huhai, under the advice of two high officials ª the Imperial Secretariat Li Si and the chief eunuch Zhao Gao forged the altered Emperor's will. The faked decree ordered Qin Shi Huang's first son, the heir Fusu to commit suicide, instead naming Huhai as the next emperor. The decree also stripped the command of troops from Marshal Meng Tianª a faithful supporter of Fusu ª and sentenced Meng's family to death. Zhao Gao step by step seized the power of Huhai, effectively making Huhai a puppet emperor.

Within three years of Qin Shi Huang's death, widespread revolts by peasants, prisoners, soldiers, and descendants of the nobles of the Six Warring States sprang up all over China. Chen Sheng) and Wu Guang two in a group of about 900 soldiers assigned to defend against the Xiongnu, became the leaders of the first revolution by commoners.

In the beginning of October 207 BC, Zhao Gao forced Huhai to commit suicide and replaced him with Fusu's son, Ziying . Note that the title of Ziying was "king of Qin" to reflect the fact that Qin no longer controlled the whole of China. The Chu-Han contention ensued. Ziying soon killed Zhao Gao and surrendered to Liu Bang in the beginning of December 207 BC. But Liu Bang was forced to hand over Xianyang and Ziying to Xiang Yu. Xiang Yu then killed Ziying and burned down the palace in the end of January 206 BC. Thus the Qin dynasty come to an end, three years after the death of Qin Shi Huang, and less than twenty years after it was founded.

Although the Qin Dynasty was short-lived, its legalist rule had a deep impact on later dynasties in China. The imperial system initiated during the Qin dynasty set a pattern that was developed over the next two millennia.

Qin King ZhaoXiang(255 B.C.-250 B.C.)
~~ King Zhaoxiang of Qin had already been ruling Qin for 51 years when Qin annihilated Zhou Dynasty; however the other six warring states were still independent regimes. Historiographers thus used the next year (the 52nd year of Qin Zhaoshang Wang) as the official continuation from Zhou Dynasty therefore so should we. Qin Shi Huang was the first Chinese sovereign proclaiming himself "Emperor".
Qin King XiaoWen(250 B.C.)
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Qing King ZhuangXing(249 B.C.-247 B.C.)
~~ King Zhuangxiang of Qin, personal name Zichu, was a ruler of the State of Qin, a part of what is now China, during the 3rd century BCE. This article is based on the biography of L¹ Buwei which is part of the Records of the Grand Historian written by Sima Qian.

Qin ShiHuangDi(246 B.C.-210 B.C.)
~~ Qin Shi Huang (November or December 260 BC-September 10, 210 BC), personal name Zheng, was king of the Chinese State of Qin from 247 BC to 221 BC, and then the first emperor of a unified China from 221 BC to 210 BC, ruling under the name First Emperor.

~~ Having unified China, he and his prime minister Li Si passed a series of major reforms aimed at cementing the unification, and they undertook some Herculean construction projects, most notably the precursor version of the current Great Wall of China. For all the tyranny of his autocratic rule, Qin Shi Huang is still regarded today as some sort of a colossal founding father in Chinese history whose unification of China has endured for more than two millennia (with interruptions).

Qin Er ShiHuangDi(209 B.C.-207 B.C.)
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~~ Qin Er Shi (229 BC - beginning October 207 BC), literally Second Emperor of Qin Dynasty, personal name Huhai, was emperor of the Qin Dynasty in China from 210 BC until 207 BC.

~~ Qin Er Shi was the son of Qin Shi Huang (the First Emperor of Qin), but he was not the original crown prince. In 210 BC, he accompanied his father on a trip to Eastern China, during which trip his father died suddenly. Under the advice of the chief eunuch Zhao Gao and prime minister Li Si, he forged a fake decree of his father, which ordered his brother, the heir Fusu, to commit suicide and appointed himself to be the heir.

~~ As emperor, he was not able to contend with nationwide rebels. He depended on Zhao Gao so much that he himself acted like a puppet emperor. In 207 BC, the Qin dynasty was on the brink of collapse and Zhao Gao was afraid that Qin Er Shi would ask him to take the blame. Therefore Zhao Gao and conspired with others to force the emperor to commit suicide.

~~ A son of Fusu, Ziying, was made king of Qin by Zhao Gao. Ziying soon killed Zhao Gao and surrendered to Liu Bang one year later.

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