The First Emperor Of China

Qin Shi Huangdi

Qin Shi Huangdi's Government

Qin Shi Huangdi established one government over people who had fought one another for centuries. He forced the main families who had opposed him to live in his capital city, Xianyang. His officials went around the country collecting all weapons, which they then brought back to Xianyang and melted down.

Qin Shi Huangdi divided China into 36 areas and sent three officials to govern each area.

  • One official organised control of the army.

  • Another organised taxation, law and daily life.

  • The third checked that all was going according to the emperor's orders.

He also increased his control over China through building projects. He created irrigation systems that helped farmers to control flooding and ensure a good water supply. Workers constructed major roads and bridges to link Xianyang with the rest of the empire and improve trade. Qin Shi Huangdi also ordered that the old walls, built as protection from northern invaders, be joined to form one very long wall — the Great Wall of China.

The Emperor's Death

Qin Shi Huangdi survived many assasination attempts. One attacker used a poisoned dagger, and a musician attacked him with a lead-filled harp! He slept in a different part of his palace every night to confuse would-be assassins.

He had hoped to find an elixir that would enable him to live forever. Instead he died of natural causes in 210 BC while making a trip around his empire. His advisers tried to hide his death by taking him back to Xianyang in his carriage. They attached a load of dead fish to the carriage to cover up the smell of the emperor's decaying body. These advisers then tried to take power themselves by forging a document in which Qin Shi Huangdi ordered his own son to commit suicide. His son obeyed.

High taxes and famine (shortage of food) caused rebellion against each of the two emperors who followed. After eight years of war and rebellion, a peasant named Liu Pang (le-you pang) defeated the armies of Qin Shi Huangdi's successors. Liu Pang became emperor and founded the Han dynasty.

Qin Shi Huangdi's achievements

Qin Shi Huangdi had many great achievements.He increased his control over China through building projects, such as the great wall of china.He created irrigation systems that helped farmers to control flooding and ensure a good water supply.Qin Shi Huangdi's government unified many aspects of life in China.He enforced a common coinage and introduced a single system of weights and measures.He ordered that cart axles all be made to a standard width. This meant that wheel ruts worn into the earth roads would be the same width throughout China.He encouraged use of a common language and writing script and applied the same laws and punishments throughout the whole of China.