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Qin Shi Huangdi, First Chinese Emperor

Qin Shi Huangdi, First Emperor of China A ruler from the western state of Qin united and subjugated the Warring States and formed China in 221 B.C. He declared himself the first emperor of China and named himself Shi Huangdi (meaning First Emperor).

During the Qin (Ch'in) Dynasty (221 B.C. - 206 B.C.), the emperor connected and extended the old fortification walls along the north of China that originated about 700 B.C. (over 2500 years ago), forming the Great Wall of China to stop invading barbarians from the north.

The Emperor standardized Chinese writing, bureaucracy, scholarship, law, currency, weights and measures. He expanded the Chinese empire, built a capital in Xian, a system of roads, and massive fortifications and palaces.

Shi Huangdi (259-210 B.C.) was a cruel ruler who readily killed or banished those who opposed him or his ideas. He is notorious for burning virtually all the books that remained from previous regimes. He even banned scholarly discussions of the past.

The Qin dynasty ended soon after his death, but a unified China remained for over 2,000 years. China's name is derived from his short but seminal dynasty, Qin (pronounced Chin).

In 1974, thousands of life-sized terra cotta warriors and horses from the Emperor's extravagant tomb were unearthed in Xian.


The Great Wall The First Emperor of China
Map of the Great Wall Great Wall Web Links



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