Why did the Qin Dynasty matter

Qin Dynasty, the first united empire in China

The spectacular Terracotta Army and the Great Wall are not only the landmarks of China, but also a symbol of the first united kingdom in China, the Qin Dynasty.

Overview of the Qin Dynasty

The Qin dynasty began with the annihilation of the six states and the unification of China under the supremacy of the Qin state in 221 BC. And ended with the Peasants' War in 207 BC. Chr. Its founder was Qin King Ying Zheng; he called himself Shi Huang Di (the first emperor).

The Qin Dynasty only lasted 15 years and had a total of two emperors. she was the shortest dynasty in Chinese history. Meanwhile in Europe the decline of the ancient Greek civilization began. Capital was Xianyang, near present-day Xian. The Qin Dynasty was the first imperial dynasty in Chinese history. It unified China and laid the foundation for thousands of years in the development of the Chinese nation. The Qin Dynasty had a great impact on many aspects of the coming historical periods, particularly on the political system and its thought.

In addition to the Terracotta Army and the Great Wall, other landmarks of Qin can be admired today, for example the Ling Canal in Guangxi, the irrigation system in Dujiangyan and many monuments in the Xi’an Museum.

How did Qin manage to unite China?

The Chinese keep analyzing the prerequisites for unification through Qin. There are parallels to the unification of Prussia in Germany: the ruler was confronted with the divided political situation and had confidants and appointed strong, talented people.

1. The Shangyang Reform

Shang Yang came as an imperial official in 361 BC. To power. During the two decades that he ruled, he made major political changes that took hold. He was eventually killed, but his philosophy, called legalism, took root in the ruling royal court. After that, the Qin State became more and more influential. The people of the other six states were very afraid of the Qin Army, and Qin was called the state of the tiger and the wolf.

2. Foreign policy strategy

Through clever maneuvers by Chancellor Zhang Yi, the alliance of the six states was torn apart during the reign of King Si. King Ji agrees to Fan Sui's proposal to ally Qin with the distant states of Yan and Qi, while the neighbors Han, Zhao and Wei were attacked at the same time.

3. Legalism

Legalism was the main idea. Qin ruled according to a defined set of strict rules. According to this, everyone should be treated equally, according to a clearly defined law. In some ways, this legal system was really fairer because it was less arbitrary. Under legalism, everyone should be ruled by the same laws, regardless of whether they were from a ruling clan or a peasant clan. So one of the strengths of the Qin was strict central control and the partial abolition of the power of the nobility.

4. Enlightened monarchs

King Zheng had great talent and vision. The success is not only owed to King Zheng. The last kings of the Qin Dynasty strove from generation to generation to achieve unification of China. They were enlightened and put brave generals and talented people in important positions, similar to how in Europe King Wilhelm I made Otto von Bismarck Prime Minister of Prussia in 1862.

Measures to consolidate the unification of the Qin Empire

1. Centralization of power

The feudal system of the first Qin emperor was abolished and converted into a county system in order to strengthen centralization.

2. Control of thoughts

Legalism continued to be the guiding principle. Strict laws and penalties were passed to prevent popular resistance and insurrection. The first Qin emperor ordered many scholars to be killed and many books burned in order to preserve unified thoughts and his brutal rule.

3. Standardization of writing and currency, measurements and weights.

Before that, the seven states had their own weights and measures, and different currencies were in circulation. It was a hurdle for the unified economy to develop. After the unification, the Qinbanliang copper cash was officially introduced across the country. The writing system later became the general language of literature for the entire area into the modern age.

4. Establishment of infrastructure

To strengthen the Qin Empire after unification, the first emperor used slaves for his most important building projects to create better infrastructure. During his reign, the first Qin emperor built the first great wall on the northern border, which was a high barrier and fortress to keep northern tribes like the Xiongnu out. A huge tomb, the Qin Mausoleum, was also built for Emperor Qin Shihuang and many other large projects.

The fall of the Qin Dynasty

Emperor Qin Shihuang died in 210 BC. He had a large army of terracotta warriors built to protect him.

Eunuch Zhao Gao and Chancellor Li Si installed the emperor's son, Huhai, as his successor against the actual will of the dead emperor, because they thought that he would be influenceable as the second emperor. He was called Qin Er Shi (the second emperor). In his drive for power, Zhao Gao killed Chancellor Li Si. Zhao Gao then forced Qin Er Shi to commit suicide and assisted the puppet Ziying to become emperor in order to strengthen his control over the empire.

Because of tyranny, the Qin Empire was doomed. The population felt the violence. During this time the peasants rioted across the country because of the long period of oppression. In 206 BC The Qin capital was destroyed. That represented the end of the Qin Empire.