The Qin Dynasty
by Michelle and Grace
Emperor Shi, the first Qin emperor.
Before the Qin Dynasty, each state was fighting for control of China. A local king, Shi Qin Huangdi, used his strong army and advanced weapons to take control. He established the Qin Dynasty. He ruled under the practice of Legalism, which meant strict control and an absolute monarchy. He unified China by making everyone use the same alphabet, length measurements, and weight measurements. He also chose his own, trusted assistants to govern parts of his empire and become judges. This prevented rebellions because they were all loyal to Qin. In addition, he got together a huge army to prevent conquered kings from rebelling against him. His army expanded and defended borders of China, which reached from Mongolia in the north to Siberia in the south. Qin also built the Great Wall of China to keep out Mongolian and Siberian invaders. He forced poor peasants to work on constructing it. However, while building the Great Wall of China and other public projects, many workers died. Fields were not planted or harvested, making starvation common during the dynasty. When Shi died, he passed power on to his son, Ershi. He was not as powerful as Shi was. The poor peasants who had suffered under Shi rebelled, as well as local rulers who wanted more power. Ershi was not able to stop them. This ended the Qin Dynasty.
This is a coin from the Qin dynasty
ECONOMICSUnder the Qin Dynasty, the economy prospered. The Qin traded with many various countries nearby. For example, they traded with Korea, Japan, and various parts of African and European countries. They traded silk, tea, porcelain, paper, printing, gunpowder, compasses, plants, minerals, medicine, lacquer, various types of amusement (ex. kites, playing cards), and more. For their currency, the Qin dynasty used round coins with square holes in the center such as the one above. Architecture, harvesting silk, and farming were some very common occupations at that time. Working on the Great Wall of China could be considered a punishment (working there was very harsh and most people did not make it back). However, it could also be considered a job. Food and silk were very important products at that time. Silk was for trade. At one point, food was scarce since the Emperor forced many people to work on the Great Wall of China and there were not as many people farming.