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Chinese Porcelain Marks - Shunzhi 1644-61; Shunzhi 1644-61. The Shunzhi Emperor's given name was Fulin. Born in March 15, 1638 he was the second emperor of the Manchu Qing dynasty and the ...

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Qin Shi Huang - Biography of China's First Emperor Qin Shi Huang was the first emperor of a unified China. He is famous for the terracotta army, and for beginning work on the Great Wall of China.

Qin Shi Huang - Biography of China's First Emperor Qin Shi Huang or Shi Huangdi was the First Emperor of a unified China and ruled from 246 BCE to 210 BCE A Day On The Grand Canal With The Emperor Of China In his 35year reign he managed to create magnificent and enormous construction projects He also caused both incredible cultural and intellectual growth and much destruction within China Whether he should be remembered more for his creations or his tyranny is a matter of dispute but everyone agrees that Qin Shi Huang the first emperor of the Qin Dynasty was one of the most important rulers in Chinese history Early Life According to legend a rich merchant named Lu Buwei befriended a prince of the Qin State during the latter years of the Eastern Zhou Dynasty 770256 BCE  The merchants lovely wife Zhao Ji had just gotten pregnant so he arranged for the prince to meet and fall in love with her She became the princes concubine and then gave birth to Lu Buweis child in 259 BCE The baby born in Hanan was named Ying Zheng The prince believed the baby was his own  Ying Zheng became king of the Qin state in 246 BCE upon the death of his supposed father He ruled as Qin Shi Huang and unified China for the first time Early Reign The young king was only 13 years old when he took the throne so his prime minister and probably real father Lu Buwei acted as regent for the first eight years  This was a difficult time for any ruler in China with seven warring states vying for control of the land The leaders of the Qi Yan Zhao Han Wei Chu and Qin states were former dukes under the Zhou Dynasty but had each proclaimed themselves king as the Zhou fell apart In this unstable environment warfare flourished as did books like Sun Tzus The Art of War  Lu Buwei had another problem as well he feared that the king would discover his true identity Lao Ais Revolt According to Sima Qian in the Shiji or Records of the Grand Historian Lu Buwei hatched a new scheme to depose Qin Shi Huang in 240 BCE He introduced the kings mother Zhao Ji to Lao Ai a man famed for his large penis The queen dowager and Lao Ai had two sons and in 238 BCE Lao and Lu Buwei decided to launch a coup Lao raised an army aided by the king of nearby Wei and tried to seize control while Qin Shi Huang was traveling outside of the area The young king cracked down hard on the rebellion Lao was executed by having his arms legs and neck tied to horses which were then spurred to run in different directions His whole family was also wiped out including the kings two halfbrothers and all the other relatives to the third degree uncles aunts cousins etc  The queen dowager was spared but spent the rest of her days under house arrest Consolidation of Power Lu Buwei was banished after the Lao Ai incident but did not lose all of his influence in Qin However he lived in constant fear of execution by the mercurial young king  In 235 BCE Lu committed suicide by drinking poison With his death the 24yearold king assumed full command over the kingdom of Qin Qin Shi Huang grew increasingly paranoid not without reason and banished all foreign scholars from his court as spies The kings fears were wellfounded in 227 the Yan state sent two assassins to his court but he fought them off with his sword A musician also tried to kill him by bludgeoning him with a leadweighted lute Battles with Neighboring States The assassination attempts arose in part because of desperation in neighboring kingdoms The Qin king had the most powerful army and neighboring rulers trembled at the thought of a Qin invasion The Han kingdom fell in 230 BCE In 229 a devastating earthquake rocked another powerful state Zhao leaving it weakened Qin Shi Huang took advantage of the disaster and invaded the region  Wei fell in 225 followed by the powerful Chu in 223 The Qin army conquered Yan and Zhao in 222 despite another assassination attempt on Qin Shi Huang by a Yan agent  The final independent kingdom Qi fell to the Qin in 221 BCE China Unified With the defeat of the other six warring states Qin Shi Huang had unified northern China His army would continue to expand the Qin Empires southern boundaries throughout his lifetime driving as far south as what is now Vietnam  The king of Qin was now the Emperor of Qin China As emperor Qin Shi Huang reorganized the bureaucracy abolishing the existing nobility and replacing them with his appointed officials He also built a network of roads with the capital of Xianyang at the hub A Day On The Grand Canal With The Emperor Of China In addition the emperor simplified the written Chinese script standardized weights and measures and minted new copper coins The Great Wall and Ling Canal Despite its military might the newly unified Qin Empire faced a recurring threat from the north raids by the nomadic Xiongnu the ancestors of Attilas Huns In order to fend off the Xiongnu Qin Shi Huang ordered the construction of an enormous defensive wall The work was carried out by hundreds of thousands of slaves and criminals between 220 and 206 BCE untold thousands of them died at the task This northern fortification formed the first section of what would become the Great Wall of China In 214 the Emperor also ordered construction of a canal the Lingqu which linked the Yangtze and Pearl River systems The Confucian Purge The Warring States Period was dangerous but the lack of central authority allowed intellectuals to flourish Confucianism and a number of other philosophies blossomed prior to Chinas unification However Qin Shi Huang viewed these schools of thought as threats to his authority so he ordered all books not related to his reign burned in 213 BCE The Emperor also had approximately 460 scholars buried alive in 212 for daring to disagree with him and 700 more stoned to death From then on the only approved school of thought was legalism follow the emperors laws or face the consequences Qin Shi Huangs Quest for Immortality As he entered middle age the First Emperor grew more and more afraid of death He became obsessed with finding the elixir of life which would allow him to live forever  The court doctors and alchemists concocted a number of potions many of them containing quicksilver mercury which probably had the ironic effect of hastening the emperors death rather than preventing it Just in case the elixirs did not work in 215 BCE the Emperor also ordered the construction of a gargantuan tomb for himself Plans for the tomb included flowing rivers of mercury crossbow booby traps to thwart wouldbe plunderers and replicas of the Emperors earthly palaces The Terracotta Army To guard Qin Shi Huang in the afterworld and perhaps allow him to conquer heaven as he had the earth the emperor had a terracotta army of at least 8000 clay soldiers placed in the tomb The army also included terracotta horses along with real chariots and weapons Each soldier was an individual with unique facial features although the bodies and limbs were massproduced from molds The Death of Qin Shi Huang A large meteor fell in Dongjun in 211 BCE an ominous sign for the Emperor To make matters worse someone etched the words The First Emperor will die and his land will be divided onto the stone   Some saw this as a sign that the Emperor had lost the Mandate of Heaven Since nobody would fess up to this crime the Emperor had everyone in the vicinity executed The meteor itself was burned and then pounded into powder Nevertheless the Emperor died less than a year later while touring eastern China in 210 BCE The cause of death most likely was mercury poisoning due to his immortality treatments Fall of the Qin Empire Qin Shi Huangs Empire did not outlast him long His second son and Prime Minister tricked the heir Fusu into committing suicide The second son Huhai seized power However widespread unrest led by the remnants of the Warring States nobility threw the empire into disarray In 207 BCE the Qin army was defeated by Chulead rebels at the Battle of Julu This defeat signaled the end of the Qin Dynasty Sources Mark Edward Lewis The Early Chinese Empires Qin and Han Cambridge Harvard University Press 2007 Lu Buwei The Annals of Lu Buwei trans John Knoblock and Jeffrey Riegel Stanford Stanford University Press 2000 Sima Qian Records of the Grand Historian trans Burton Watson New York Columbia University Press 1993

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