The Qin Dynasty Great Wall Of China
The Qin Dynasty lasted from (221BCE 206 BCE) Qin Shi huang was the first emperor in the history China. The Qin was a western state during the Warring States Periods in China. It had the strongest military of all the Warring states, but was not the most culturally advanced. Qin Shi huang’s reign helped to unify China by bringing together the six warring states that were all vying for power. After defeating all the warring states emperor Qin declared himself as the First Emperor of China.
Qin Dynasty lasted for about 15 years but had a profound impact on China history. During its rule, the Dynasty built a strong military security, improved agriculture and increased trade across China. It eliminated landowning lords to whom peasant farmers were obligated to. The government controlled the masses and had access to a very large workforce. This allowed the Qin Dynasty to implement ambitious projects and several reforms. The policies and practices of the Qin Dynasty were so significant and beneficial that they were adopted by the subsequent Han Dynasty and even continue to be practiced in present day China.
Statue of the first emperor of China Qin dynasty Qin Shi huang in xian
The Qin Dynasty adhered to bureaucratic principles which were strictly implemented by a chain of commanders who reported to the First Emperor. New laws and practices were introduced which led to the elimination of feudalism in China. Instead, the Qin had a centralized power structure that allowed the management and control of all of the areas under his authority as well as recently conquered territories. The Qin’s legalist ideology and leadership gave the dynasty a strong political base. They were open to employing the most knowledgeable and talented from other states and this approach helped to strengthen the empire. Qin Shi huang adopted the top down rule. He got his people to conform due to the strength of his personality. He was a visionary who showed his people what can be achieved in a future China.
The Qin Dynasty divided it territories into 36 commanderships which were subdivided into different counties. The commanderships had a governor in charge of civil affairs, a military commander as well as an imperial inspector whose job was to update the governor on all issues by submitting written reports. This proved to be a very effective way of governing and allowed for the standardization of various aspects of life. The Qin government was later replicated by other dynasties even though it was condemned by the Confucian doctrine and other schools of thought.
Standardization of Language, Currencies and Measures
The First Emperor after unifying China focused on standardizing writing, measures and weights all across China. This helped to improve commerce and enabled later dynasties to come up with a tax system. The language and writing of China had varied from different areas in China during the Warring States Period. The different states had their own language and writing, hence the need for a uniform and effective way of communicating across the country arose. A uniform written language was established by the Qin Dynasty and this was enforced across China. This led to an improvement in communication and allowed better policy implementation. Scholars were now able to communicate information to the masses and this helped in spreading culture that were hitherto only seen by the few and privileged. Standard measures and weights were also implemented and this helped to promote trade between the newly conquered states who had their own standards for weighing and measuring. The Chinese currency was also standardized by the introduction of a round copper coin with a square hole in the middle.
The overall impact of standardization helped strengthen the Qin Dynasty but it did not bode well for philosophical ideas. During this era many schools of thought were abolished. The only philosophy upheld was legalism. The Qin ordered the execution of more than 400 opponents and burned all books written by the great philosophers of the One Hundred Schools Period. The only books preserved were copies kept in the imperial library.
Improvement In Transportation And Agriculture
The Qin people were superior in both ideology and practice. The Dynasty improved the connections between major cities and provinces by the construction of new roads. It also came up with standardized axel lengths in carts to be used across the country on the newly constructed roads. The Qin had a large army and competent generals. They made use of advancements in transportation and weaponry, which gave them an edge on the battlefield. These advancements increased their ability to move over the different terrains types which were typical in many regions in China.
The Qin kingdom was protected by mountains which gave them a geographical advantage by naturally fortifying the kingdom. They were strategically positioned on very fertile soil. The Dynasty increased food production by expanding agriculture. They had ample food and natural resources making them a formidable force to battle with.
Construction of the great wall of china in the qin dynasty.
The Qin Empire covered a very large geographical area. It stretched all the way south to what is now known as Vietnam and Korea, but the main kingdom remained in the Yellow River Valley. The Great Wall of China is one of the symbols of ancient China and Qin Inventions. During the Warring States period, the seven rival dynasties made fortifications to protect their territories by building walls. The First Emperor decided to restore and connect the separate sections of the Great Wall which was started as far back as the 3rd century to ward off invaders from the north. Building the great wall came with a huge financial burden and cost a lot of human lives. The people of China harbored a great deal of resentment towards the Qin emperor due to the loss of human lives. They were also burdened with high taxes and numerous public projects.
Fall From Power
The power of Emperor Qin’s personality had a lasting impact on the Qin Dynasty. The Qin Emperor accomplished a lot for ancient China but these accomplishments did not endear him to his subjects. Several assassination attempts were made on Emperor Qin’s life. This made him paranoid and led to an obsession with immortality. Qin Shi Huang died in 210 BC, while traveling to the eastern part of his kingdom in search for a potion for immortality. The prime minister and the chief eunuch kept his death a secret until his will was altered, naming his son Hu Hai, who chose the name Qin Er shi, as the successor to the throne. A peasant rebellion led by Chen Sheng and Wu Guang ensued right after the second generation succeeded the throne. Under the rule of Qin Er Shi many imperial princes and ministers were executed. He raised taxes and increased the army. He also continued with expensive projects. The most notable being the lacquering of the city walls. This resulted in numerous uprising in China. The Qin Dynasty ended in 206 BCE, four years after the Emperor’s death. All the other Qin Dynasty emperors who came to power after the First Emperor did not last. The warring kingdoms sprang up again and China again fell under numerous emperors. These warring factions continued until China was later unified under the Han Dynasty. The Han Dynasty lasted more than 400 years but the Dynasty’s practices replicated those started by the Qin Dynasty. It is believed that the various reforms implemented by the Qin Dynasty redefined China.