The First Emperor Of China
By Jessica Ravi
Qin Shi Huangdi
The Qin leader who defeated the Zhou was a 39-year-old man who called himself Qin Shi Huangdi (chin shur hwung-dee), meaning ‘supreme emperor of the first generation’. Qin Shi Huangdi was the first to rule a united empire within China. Apart from periods of disunity, this system of imperial rule lasted from 221 BC to AD 1911.
- He increased his control over China through building projects
- He created irrigation systems that helped farmers to control flooding and ensure a good water supply
- Ordered that the old walls, built as protection from northern invaders, be joined to form one very long wall — the Great Wall of China
- He enforced a common coinage and introduced a single system of weights and measures
- He encouraged use of a common language and writing script and applied the same laws and punishments throughout the whole of China
- He even 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.