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Ancient China

Emperor Qin Shi Huang

History for Kids >> Biography >> Ancient China Biography:

Early Life

Prince Zheng was born in 259 BC. His father was king of the Qin state. At the time Zheng was born, China was divided up into 7 major states. These states fought each other all the time. Historians call this time in Chinese history the Warring States period.

Emperor Qin - First emperor of China
Qin Shi Huangdi by Unknown
Growing up as a prince, Zheng was well educated. He learned about China's history and also about war. He would someday rule the Qin and would lead his warriors into battle against the other states.

Becoming King

When Zheng was just thirteen years old his father died. Zheng was now king at a very young age. For the first several years, a regent helped him to rule the land, but by the time he was 22, King Zheng took full control. He was very ambitious. He wanted to conquer the other Chinese states and unite China under one rule.

Uniting China and Becoming Emperor

Once he had complete control of the state of Qin, King Zheng set out to conquer the other six Chinese states. He took them on one by one. The first state he conquered was the Han state. Then he quickly conquered the Zhao and the Wei. Next he took on the powerful Chu state. Once the Chu state was defeated the remaining Yan and Qi states fell easily.

Now King Zheng was leader of all of China. He declared himself emperor and changed his name to Shi Huang, which meant "first emperor".

Organizing the Empire

Qin Shi Huang did much to organize his new empire. He wanted it to run smoothly for thousands of years. He established reforms in many areas including: A Tyrant

Although Emperor Qin was a skilled leader, he also was a tyrant. He outlawed most forms of religion requiring people to be loyal and obedient only to the government. He also ordered that most of the existing books be burned. He wanted history to begin with his rule and the Qin dynasty. Those scholars who did not bring their books to be burned were killed.

Building a Tomb

Today Qin Shi Huang may be most famous for his tomb. He had over 700,000 workers constructing his tomb throughout his life. They built a vast terracotta army of 8,000 soldiers, horses, and chariots that he thought would protect him in the afterlife. Go here to learn more about the terracotta army.

Death

Qin Shi Huang died while traveling on a tour of Eastern China in 210 BC. His second son, Huhai, was on the trip with him. He wanted to become emperor, so he hid his father's death and forged a letter from his father to his older brother telling him to commit suicide. After his brother killed himself, Huhai became emperor.

Interesting Facts about Emperor Qin Activities

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  • For more information on the civilization of Ancient China:

    Overview
    Timeline of Ancient China
    Geography of Ancient China
    Silk Road
    The Great Wall
    Forbidden City
    Terracotta Army
    The Grand Canal
    Battle of Red Cliffs
    Opium Wars
    Inventions of Ancient China
    Glossary and Terms

    Dynasties
    Major Dynasties
    Xia Dynasty
    Shang Dynasty
    Zhou Dynasty
    Han Dynasty
    Period of Disunion
    Sui Dynasty
    Tang Dynasty
    Song Dyanasty
    Yuan Dynasty
    Ming Dynasty
    Qing Dynasty

    Culture
    Daily Life in Ancient China
    Religion
    Mythology
    Numbers and Colors
    Legend of Silk
    Chinese Calendar
    Festivals
    Civil Service
    Chinese Art
    Clothing
    Entertainment and Games
    Literature

    People
    Confucius
    Kangxi Emperor
    Genghis Khan
    Kublai Khan
    Marco Polo
    Puyi (The Last Emperor)
    Emperor Qin
    Emperor Taizong
    Sun Tzu
    Empress Wu
    Zheng He
    Emperors of China

    Works Cited

    History >> Biography >> Ancient China





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