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The Reign of Qin Shi Huang Di

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1 The Reign of Qin Shi Huang Di

2 Qin Shi Huang Di Qin Shi Huang Di is giving an order to an attendant
Details Qin Shi Huang Di, the 1st emperor of China, is seated on a throne The Emperor is giving an order; one of his first was to end feudalism throughout China

3 The Unification of China
Qin Shi Huang Di declared himself emperor of China in 221 BCE, after conquering and united the independent rival states of the region He ended feudalism and replaced it with a central government bureaucracy

4 The Unification of China
The empire of China was divided into 36 districts, each overseen by three officials and a judge, who enforced the laws of the emperor. Under the emperor’s legislation, all weapons from rival regions were confiscated and melted down Ex-feudal lords and their families were forced to move to the capital city of Xianyang, where the emperor could keep watch over their activities and prevent rebellion.

5 The Standardization of Chinese Culture
Qin Shi Huang Di touring the countryside Details Qin Shi Huang Di traveled the roads of China on inspection tours to make sure his laws were being followed.

6 The Standardization of Chinese Culture
Prior to the reign of Qin Shi Huang Di, each region of China had its own customs, money, measures and weights, and writing systems. He standardized the Chinese writing system, which improved communication. The emperor standardized all weights He made one unit of currency for the empire. He created a unified system of laws to regulate behavior in the empire; everyone (rich, poor, noble, peasant) was punished equally under the law. Punishments included forced labor, whippings, amputations, and beheadings.

7 The Book Burnings Qin Shi Huang Di’s soldiers are executing Confucian scholars. The scholars are being thrown into a pit, and their texts are burning in a pile at the left. According to legend, some scholars were buried alive, while others were buried up to their necks and then decapitated.

8 The Book Burnings Qin Shi Huang Di’s Legalist views were in direct conflict with the views of Confucian scholars, who believed that virtuous rulers could encourage morality among their subjects without enforcing harsh laws. Li Si, a trusted court official, advised burning the Confucian books and executing the scholars He executed 460 scholars in 214 BCE, and forced others (including his eldest son) to work on the building of the Great Wall.

9 The Building of the Great Wall
Workers were forced to build the Great Wall under harsh supervision. The Great Wall was constructed over mountain peaks and other rough terrain. The Great Wall was about 25 feet high and its base was 15 to 30 feet thick.

10 The Building of the Great Wall
At least 300,000 workers—including soldiers, peasants, disgraced government officials, and convicted criminals—labored for over 10 years to build the Great Wall. Workers were forced to labor through the winter and summer, and many became ill and died from the extreme heat and cold. Scholars estimate that tens of thousands of people died while building the 1500-mile-long Great Wall. Despite its size, the Great Wall did not keep invaders out of China; the Huns invaded in the 3rd century CE, and ruled the north of China for more than 200 years.

11 The Emperor’s Death & Burial
The tomb of Qin Shi Huang Di Many workers built the extensive tomb site, and artists crafted an army of life-size terra cotta soldiers, including archers, foot soldiers, chariot drivers, and horses facing forward to lead the emperor to the next world.

12 The Emperor’s Death & Burial
Qin Shi Huang Di was terrified of death and desired to be immortal so he consulted with magicians, who advised him to hide from evil spirits and drink potions Qin Shi Huang Di died unexpectedly at the age of 49, but work began on his tomb when he inherited the throne at age 13. Approximately 700,000 workers built the tomb, which covered 8 square miles. They worked for almost 40 years. Many tomb workers were buried alive with the emperor because the emperor’s son did not want robbers to learn of the tomb’s vast riches.


14 Shi Huang Di managed to unify many aspects of Chinese culture
By most accounts, Emperor Qin—sometimes referred to as the Tiger of Qin—was a strict and enormously powerful leader with a commanding presence. One advisor described the emperor as having “[all-seeing] eyes. His chest is like that of a bird of prey and his voice like that of a jackal. He is merciless, with the heart of a tiger or a wolf.” Shi Huang Di managed to unify many aspects of Chinese culture Laws Currency writing system Great Wall Terra Cotta Army

15 Legacy of the Emperor . A famous essay entitled, “The Sins of Qin” declared that the emperor “placed deceit and violence above kindness and justice, making tyranny the foundation of his empire.” However, current scholarship has portrayed Qin Shi Huang Di in a more balanced way. In the words of one recent biographer, “Qin Shi Huang Di was a conquerer, a unifier, a centralizer, a standardizer, a builder, and a destroyer.”

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