Presentation on theme: "The First Emperor of China SS.6.W.4.9a. An Emperor is Born Prince Zheng of the royal family of the Chinese state of Qin (pronounced Chin) was born in."— Presentation transcript:
An Emperor is Born Prince Zheng of the royal family of the Chinese state of Qin (pronounced Chin) was born in 259 B.C.E. 3 years later, the Qin had taken over the region ending the previous Zhou dynasty. Prince Zheng became king of the Qin dynasty at 13 years old. By 221 B.C.E., he gained control of all of China and took the new title Qin Shihuangdi, or First Emperor of Qin.
Maintaining Power So that he would not be threatened by local lords, Qin Shihuangdi replaced the old feudal system with a government he controlled personally. He divided the territory into 36 districts with a governor of his choosing in charge of each. In order to unify China, Qin Shihuangdi also standardized many of the practices that differed from place to place. Standardize: to make the same
Laws Qin Shihuangdi was greatly influenced by Legalism. Recall that Legalists believed in strict laws, harsh punishments, and a strong central authority. Many of the new laws were aimed at government officials. For example, officials were punished if the grain in storehouses spoiled or if a wall built under their supervision collapsed. Other laws governed everyday life. For example, widows were not allowed to remarry.
Laws Continued Since Qin Shihuangdi’s laws were based on Legalist beliefs, they spelled out exact punishments for bad behavior. Rich and poor were punished equally. Typical punishments included fines, forced labor, whippings, and even beheadings. Qin Shihuangdi’s methods were especially unpopular with the Confucians who believed that proper behavior came from setting a good example, not harsh laws. In response, Qin Shihuangdi had 460 Confucian scholars executed and all Confucian books burned. Any man found studying Confucianism would be marked with a tattoo on his face!
Money, Money, Money! To make it easier to trade, Qin Shihuangdi standardized the system of money. Throughout China, people had used many types of items as money including shells, pearls, silver, tin, and various coins. Under the Qin dynasty, the only acceptable form of money became metal coins made of gold or bronze. The coins had holes in the center so that people could carry several of them together on a cord.
Other Achievements Qin Shihuangdi also simplified the writing system by getting rid of many of the written characters that were in use across China. A later dictionary listed 9,000 approved characters. To protect his empire from invaders, the emperor ordered a long wall to be built along China’s northern border. Earlier kingdoms had already built smaller walls of their own, so Qin Shihuangdi ordered that the sections be connected. It later became known as the Great Wall. Few traces of the original wall survive. The Great Wall as we know it today was built by later rulers.
The Death of Qin Shihuangdi In 210 B.C.E., after just over 10 years as ruler, Qin Shihuangdi died. No one knows the cause of his death, although some have suggested that he may have been poisoned. At the time, he was 600 miles away from the capital city searching for a potion which would make him immortal. His body was taken back and buried in a gigantic tomb in a man-made mound.
Qin Shihuangdi’s Tomb The tomb of Qin Shihuangdi is one of the most impressive tombs ever discovered. It included a complex of structures which stretched over several square miles. Over 700,000 workers helped to build it, and some of them were buried with the emperor to prevent grave robbers from learning about its contents. The treasures of Qin Shihuangdi’s tomb were discovered in 1972, and among them were tools, precious jewels, and other rare objects.
Qin Shihuangdi’s Tomb Continued Most amazing of all, archeologists discovered an entire army there made of terra- cotta, a kind of clay. The army included more than 6,000 life-size figures such as archers, foot soldiers, chariot drivers, and horses. So far, archeologists have not found any two figures that are exactly alike. The entire tomb has still not been completely excavated, and many speculate that they may have created a model of an entire underground city!
The End of the Qin Dynasty The Qin dynasty fell apart shortly after the death of Qin Shihuangdi. The harshness of his rule had caused a great deal of unhappiness, and soon after he died, rebellions broke out in the countryside. Civil war followed as various leaders struggled for control. Finally, in 206 B.C.E., Liu Bang, a peasant leader, defeated his rivals and established the Han dynasty.