The Info List - Qin Dynasty


Huangdi Sijing Huainanzi

Early figures

Guan Zhong Zichan Deng Xi Li Kui Wu Qi

Founding figures

Shen Buhai Duke Xiao of Qin Shang Yang Shen Dao Zhang Yi Xun Kuang Han Fei Li Si Qin Shi Huang

Han figures

Jia Yi Liu An Emperor Wen of Han Emperor Wu of Han Chao Cuo Gongsun Hong Zhang Tang Huan Tan Wang Fu Zhuge Liang

Later figures

Emperor Wen of Sui Du You Wang Anshi Li Shanchang Zhang Juzheng Xu Guangqi

v t e

History of China


Neolithic c. 8500 – c. 2070 BC

Xia dynasty
Xia dynasty
c. 2070 – c. 1600 BC

Shang dynasty
Shang dynasty
c. 1600 – c. 1046 BC

Zhou dynasty
Zhou dynasty
c. 1046 – 256 BC

 Western Zhou

 Eastern Zhou

   Spring and Autumn

   Warring States


Qin dynasty
Qin dynasty
221–206 BC

Han dynasty
Han dynasty
206 BC – 220 AD

  Western Han

  Xin dynasty

  Eastern Han

Three Kingdoms
Three Kingdoms

  Wei, Shu and Wu

Jin dynasty 265–420

  Western Jin

  Eastern Jin Sixteen Kingdoms

Northern and Southern dynasties 420–589

Sui dynasty
Sui dynasty

Tang dynasty
Tang dynasty

  (Second Zhou dynasty
Zhou dynasty

Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms 907–960 Liao dynasty 907–1125

Song dynasty 960–1279

  Northern Song

Western Xia

  Southern Song Jin

Yuan dynasty
Yuan dynasty

Ming dynasty
Ming dynasty

Qing dynasty
Qing dynasty


Republic of China 1912–1949

People's Republic of China 1949–present

Related articles

Chinese historiography Timeline of Chinese history Dynasties in Chinese history Linguistic history Art history Economic history Education history Science and technology history Legal history Media history Military history Naval history

view talk edit

The Qin dynasty
Qin dynasty
or the Qin Empire
(/tʃɪn/;[1] Chinese: 秦朝; pinyin: Qín Cháo; Wade–Giles: Ch'in2 Ch'ao2) was the first dynasty of Imperial China, lasting from 221 to 206 BC. Named for its heartland in Qin state (modern Gansu
and Shaanxi), the dynasty was founded by Qin Shi Huang, the First Emperor of Qin. The strength of the Qin state was greatly increased by the Legalist reforms of Shang Yang
Shang Yang
in the fourth century BC, during the Warring States period. In the mid and late third century BC, the Qin state carried out a series of swift conquests, first ending the powerless Zhou dynasty, and eventually conquering the other six of the Seven Warring States. Its 15 years was the shortest major dynasty in Chinese history, consisting of only two emperors, but inaugurated an imperial system that lasted, with interruption and adaptation, until 1912. The Qin sought to create a state unified by structured political power and a large military supported by a stable economy.[2] The central government moved to undercut aristocrats and landowners to gain direct administrative control over the peasantry, who comprised the overwhelming majority of the population and labour force. This allowed ambitious projects, such as connecting walls along the northern border eventually developed into the Great Wall of China. These projects involved three hundred thousand peasants and convicts.[3] The Qin introduced a range of reforms such as standardized currency, weights, measures, and a uniform system of writing, which aimed to unify the state and promote commerce. Additionally, its military used the most recent weaponry, transportation, and tactics, though the government was heavy-handedly bureaucratic. Han dynasty
Han dynasty
Confucians portrayed the dynasty as a monolithic tyranny, but this view has been rejected by modern scholars. There was indeed an attempt to restrict criticism and purge traces of old dynasties, but not the alleged burning of books and burying of scholars. Recently excavated Qin texts show a more pragmatic and eclectic approach in contrast with descriptions in traditional texts. Qin administration has been judged to be no harsher than was prevalent at the time. The Qin were not doctrinaire: Confucian
and Legalist philosophies coexisted during the reign of the First Emperor. When the first emperor died in 210 BC, two of his advisers placed an heir on the throne in an attempt to influence and control the administration of the dynasty. These advisors squabbled among themselves, resulting in both of their deaths and that of the second Qin Emperor. Popular revolt broke out and the weakened empire soon fell to a Chu general, Xiang Yu, who was proclaimed Hegemon-King of Western Chu, and Liu Bang, who later founded the Han dynasty. Despite its short reign, the dynasty greatly influenced the future of China, particularly the Han, and its name is thought to be the origin of the European name for China.


1 History

1.1 Origins and early development 1.2 Growth of power 1.3 Conquest of the Warring States 1.4 Southward expansion 1.5 Campaigns against the Xiongnu 1.6 Fall from power

2 Culture and society

2.1 Domestic life 2.2 Architecture 2.3 Philosophy and literature 2.4 Government and military 2.5 Religion 2.6 Etymology of China

3 Sovereigns of Qin dynasty 4 Imperial family tree 5 See also 6 Notes 7 References

7.1 Citations 7.2 Sources

8 Further reading 9 External links

History[edit] See also: Qin (state) Origins and early development[edit] In the 9th century BC, Feizi, a supposed descendant of the ancient political advisor Gao Yao, was granted rule over Qin City. The modern city of Tianshui
stands where this city once was. During the rule of King Xiao of Zhou, the eighth king of the Zhou dynasty, this area became known as the state of Qin. In 897 BC, under the regency of Gonghe, the area became a dependency allotted for the purpose of raising and breeding horses.[4] One of Feizi's descendants, Duke Zhuang, became favoured by King Ping of Zhou, the thirteenth king in that line. As a reward, Zhuang's son, Duke Xiang, was sent eastward as the leader of a war expedition, during which he formally established the Qin.[5] The state of Qin first began a military expedition into central China in 672 BC, though it did not engage in any serious incursions due to the threat from neighbouring tribesmen. By the dawn of the fourth century BC, however, the neighbouring tribes had all been either subdued or conquered, and the stage was set for the rise of Qin expansionism.[6] Growth of power[edit]

Map of the Warring States. Qin is shown in pink

Lord Shang Yang, a Qin statesman of the Warring States period, advocated a philosophy of Legalism, introducing a number of militarily advantageous reforms from 361 BC until his death in 338 BC. Yang also helped construct the Qin capital, commencing in the mid-fourth century BC Xianyang. The resulting city greatly resembled the capitals of other Warring States.[7] Notably, Qin Legalism encouraged practical and ruthless warfare.[8] During the Spring and Autumn period,[9] the prevalent philosophy had dictated war as a gentleman's activity; military commanders were instructed to respect what they perceived to be Heaven's laws in battle.[10] For example, when Duke Xiang of Song[note 1] was at war with the state of Chu during the Warring States period, he declined an opportunity to attack the enemy force, commanded by Zhu, while they were crossing a river. After allowing them to cross and marshal their forces, he was decisively defeated in the ensuing battle. When his advisors later admonished him for such excessive courtesy to the enemy, he retorted, "The sage does not crush the feeble, nor give the order for attack until the enemy have formed their ranks."[11] The Qin disregarded this military tradition, taking advantage of their enemy's weaknesses. A nobleman in the state of Wei accused the Qin state of being "avaricious, perverse, eager for profit, and without sincerity. It knows nothing about etiquette, proper relationships, and virtuous conduct, and if there be an opportunity for material gain, it will disregard its relatives as if they were animals."[12] It was this Legalist thought combined with strong leadership from long-lived rulers, openness to employ talented men from other states, and little internal opposition that gave the Qin such a strong political base.[13] Another advantage of the Qin was that they had a large, efficient army[note 2] and capable generals. They utilised the newest developments in weaponry and transportation as well, which many of their enemies lacked. These latter developments allowed greater mobility over several different terrain types which were most common in many regions of China. Thus, in both ideology and practice, the Qin were militarily superior.[8] Finally, the Qin Empire
had a geographical advantage due to its fertility and strategic position, protected by mountains that made the state a natural stronghold.[note 3] Its expanded agricultural output helped sustain Qin's large army with food and natural resources;[13] the Wei River
Wei River
canal built in 246 BC was particularly significant in this respect.[14] Conquest of the Warring States[edit] Main article: Qin's wars of unification

Map showing the unification of Qin during 230–211 BC

During the Warring States period
Warring States period
preceding the Qin dynasty, the major states vying for dominance were Yan, Zhao, Qi, Chu, Han, Wei and Qin. The rulers of these states styled themselves as kings, rather than using the titles of lower nobility they had previously held. However, none elevated himself to believe that he had the "Mandate of Heaven", as the Zhou kings had claimed, nor that he had the right to offer sacrifices—they left this to the Zhou rulers.[15] Before their conquest in the fourth and third centuries BC, the Qin suffered several setbacks. Shang Yang
Shang Yang
was executed in 338 BC by King Huiwen due to a personal grudge harboured from his youth. There was also internal strife over the Qin succession in 307 BC, which decentralised Qin authority somewhat. Qin was defeated by an alliance of the other states in 295 BC, and shortly after suffered another defeat by the state of Zhao, because the majority of their army was then defending against the Qi. The aggressive statesman Fan Sui (范雎), however, soon came to power as prime minister even as the problem of the succession was resolved, and he began an expansionist policy that had originated in Jin and Qi, which prompted the Qin to attempt to conquer the other states.[16] The Qin were swift in their assault on the other states. They first attacked the Han, directly east, and took their capital city of Xinzheng in 230 BC. They then struck northward; the state of Zhao surrendered in 228 BC, and the northernmost state of Yan followed, falling in 226 BC. Next, Qin armies launched assaults to the east, and later the south as well; they took the Wei city of Daliang (now called Kaifeng) in 225 BC and forced the Chu to surrender by 223 BC. Lastly, they deposed the Zhou dynasty's remnants in Luoyang
and conquered the Qi, taking the city of Linzi in 221 BC.[17] When the conquests were complete in 221 BC, King Zheng – who had first assumed the throne of the Qin state at age 9[18] – became the effective ruler of China.[19] The subjugation of the six states was done by King Zheng
King Zheng
who had used efficient persuasion and exemplary stratagem. He solidified his position as sole ruler with the abdication of his prime minister, Lü Buwei. The states made by the emperor were assigned to officials dedicated to the task rather than place the burden on people from the royal family.[19] He then combined the titles of the earlier Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors
Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors
into his new name: Shi Huangdi
Shi Huangdi
(始皇帝) or "First Emperor".[20][note 4] The newly declared emperor ordered all weapons not in the possession of the Qin to be confiscated and melted down. The resulting metal was sufficient to build twelve large ornamental statues at the Qin's newly declared capital, Xianyang.[21] Southward expansion[edit] Main article: Qin's campaign against the southern tribes In 214 BC, Qin Shi Huang
Qin Shi Huang
secured his boundaries to the north with a fraction (100,000 men) of his large army, and sent the majority (500,000 men) of his army south to conquer the territory of the southern tribes. Prior to the events leading to Qin dominance over China, they had gained possession of much of Sichuan
to the southwest. The Qin army was unfamiliar with the jungle terrain, and it was defeated by the southern tribes' guerrilla warfare tactics with over 100,000 men lost. However, in the defeat Qin was successful in building a canal to the south, which they used heavily for supplying and reinforcing their troops during their second attack to the south. Building on these gains, the Qin armies conquered the coastal lands surrounding Guangzhou,[note 5] and took the provinces of Fuzhou
and Guilin. They struck as far south as Hanoi. After these victories in the south, Qin Shi Huang
Qin Shi Huang
moved over 100,000 prisoners and exiles to colonize the newly conquered area. In terms of extending the boundaries of his empire, the First Emperor was extremely successful in the south.[21] Campaigns against the Xiongnu[edit] Main article: Qin's campaign against the Xiongnu However, while the empire at times was extended to the north, the Qin could rarely hold on to the land for long. The tribes of these locations, collectively called the Hu by the Qin, were free from Chinese rule during the majority of the dynasty.[22] Prohibited from trading with Qin dynasty
Qin dynasty
peasants, the Xiongnu
tribe living in the Ordos region in northwest China often raided them instead, prompting the Qin to retaliate. After a military campaign led by General Meng Tian, the region was conquered in 215 BC and agriculture was established; the peasants, however, were discontented and later revolted. The succeeding Han dynasty
Han dynasty
also expanded into the Ordos due to overpopulation, but depleted their resources in the process. Owen Lattimore said of both dynasties' attempts to conquer the Ordos, "conquest and expansion were illusory. There was no kind of success that did not create its own reaction."[23] Indeed, this was true of the dynasty's borders in multiple directions; modern Xinjiang, Tibet, Manchuria, Inner Mongolia, and regions to the southeast were foreign to the Qin, and even areas over which they had military control were culturally distinct.[24] Fall from power[edit]

A stone rubbing of a carved relief from the Han dynasty
Han dynasty
depicting Jin Ke's assassination attempt on Qin Shi Huang; Jing Ke
Jing Ke
(left) is held by one of Qin Shi Huang's physicians (left, background). The dagger used in the assassination attempt is seen stuck in the pillar. Qin Shi Huang (right) is seen holding an imperial jade disc. One of his soldiers (far right) rushes to save his emperor.

Three assassination attempts were made on Qin Shi Huang's life,[25] leading him to become paranoid and obsessed with immortality. He died in 210 BC, while on a trip to the far eastern reaches of his empire in an attempt to procure an elixir of immortality from Taoist magicians, who claimed the elixir was stuck on an island guarded by a sea monster. The chief eunuch, Zhao Gao, and the prime minister, Li Si, hid the news of his death upon their return until they were able to alter his will to place on the throne the dead emperor's most pliable son, Huhai, who took the name of Qin Er Shi.[18] They believed that they would be able to manipulate him to their own ends, and thus effectively control the empire. Qin Er Shi
Qin Er Shi
was, indeed, inept and pliable. He executed many ministers and imperial princes, continued massive building projects (one of his most extravagant projects was lacquering the city walls), enlarged the army, increased taxes, and arrested messengers who brought him bad news. As a result, men from all over China revolted, attacking officials, raising armies, and declaring themselves kings of seized territories.[26] During this time, Li Si
Li Si
and Zhao Gao fell out, and Li Si
Li Si
was executed. Zhao Gao decided to force Qin Er Shi
Qin Er Shi
to commit suicide due to Qin Er Shi's incompetence. Upon this, Ziying, a nephew of Qin Er Shi, ascended the throne, and immediately executed Zhao Gao.[26] Ziying, seeing that increasing unrest was growing among the people[note 6] and that many local officials had declared themselves kings, attempted to cling to his throne by declaring himself one king among all the others.[14] He was undermined by his ineptitude, however, and popular revolt broke out in 209 BC. When Chu rebels under the lieutenant Liu Bang attacked, a state in such turmoil could not hold for long. Ziying was defeated near the Wei River
Wei River
in 207 BC and surrendered shortly after; he was executed by the Chu leader Xiang Yu. The Qin capital was destroyed the next year, and this is considered by historians to be the end of the Qin Empire.[27][note 7] Liu Bang
Liu Bang
then betrayed and defeated Xiang Yu, declaring himself Emperor Gaozu[note 8] of the new Han dynasty
Han dynasty
on 28 February 202 BC.[28] Despite the short duration of the Qin dynasty, it was very influential on the structure of future dynasties. Culture and society[edit] Domestic life[edit] The aristocracy of the Qin were largely similar in their culture and daily life. Regional variations in culture were considered a symbol of the lower classes. This stemmed from the Zhou and was seized upon by the Qin, as such variations were seen as contrary to the unification that the government strove to achieve.[29] Commoners and rural villagers, who made up over 90% of the population,[30] very rarely left the villages or farmsteads where they were born. Common forms of employment differed by region, though farming was almost universally common. Professions were hereditary; a father's employment was passed to his eldest son after he died.[31] The Lüshi Chunqiu[note 9] gave examples of how, when commoners are obsessed with material wealth, instead of the idealism of a man who "makes things serve him", they were "reduced to the service of things".[32] Peasants were rarely figured in literature during the Qin dynasty
Qin dynasty
and afterwards; scholars and others of more elite status preferred the excitement of cities and the lure of politics. One notable exception to this was Shen Nong, the so-called "Divine Father", who taught that households should grow their own food. "If in one's prime he does not plow, someone in the world will grow hungry. If in one's prime she does not weave, someone in the world will be cold." The Qin encouraged this; a ritual was performed once every few years that consisted of important government officials taking turns with the plow on a special field, to create a simulation of government interest and activity within agriculture.[31] Architecture[edit]

Dujiangyan, an irrigation project completed in 256 BC during the Warring States period
Warring States period
of China by the State of Qin. It is located on the Min River (Chinese: 岷江; pinyin: Mínjiāng) in Sichuan, China, near the capital Chengdu. Although a reinforced concrete weir has replaced Li Bing's original weighted bamboo baskets, the layout of the infrastructure remains the same and is still in use today to irrigate over 5,300 square kilometers of land in the region.

Warring States-era architecture had several definitive aspects. City walls, used for defense, were made longer, and indeed several secondary walls were also sometimes built to separate the different districts. Versatility in federal structures was emphasized, to create a sense of authority and absolute power. Architectural elements such as high towers, pillar gates, terraces, and high buildings amply conveyed this.[33] Philosophy and literature[edit]

Stone slab with twelve small seal characters. Qin Dynasty (221 – 207 BC). The 12 characters on this slab of floor brick affirm that it is an auspicious moment for the First Emperor to ascend the throne, as the country is united and no men will be dying along the road. Small seal scripts were standardized by the First Emperor of China
Emperor of China
after he gained control of the country, and evolved from the larger seal scripts of previous dynasties. The text on it is "海内皆臣,歲登成熟,道毋飢人".

The written language of the Qin was logographic, as that of the Zhou had been.[34] As one of his most influential achievements in life, prime minister Li Si
Li Si
standardized the writing system to be of uniform size and shape across the whole country. This would have a unification effect on the Chinese culture for thousands of years. He is also credited with creating the "lesser-seal" (Chinese: 小篆, Pinyin: xiǎozhuàn) style of calligraphy, which serves as a basis for modern Chinese and is still used in cards, posters, and advertising.[35] During the Warring States period, the Hundred Schools of Thought comprised many different philosophies proposed by Chinese scholars. In 221 BC, however, the First Emperor conquered all of the states and governed with a single philosophy, Legalism. At least one school of thought, Mohism, was eradicated, though the reason is not known. Despite the Qin's state ideology and Mohism
being similar in certain regards, it is possible that Mohists were sought and killed by the state's armies due to paramilitary activities.[36] Confucius's school of thought, called Confucianism, was also influential during the Warring States period, as well as throughout much of the later Zhou dynasty
Zhou dynasty
and early imperial periods.[note 10] This school of thought had a so-called Confucian
canon of literature, known as the "six classics": the Odes, Documents, Ritual, Music, Spring and Autumn Annals, and Changes, which embodied Chinese literature at the time.[37] During the Qin dynasty, Confucianism—along with all other non-Legalist philosophies—was suppressed by the First Emperor; early Han dynasty
Han dynasty
emperors did the same. Legalism denounced the feudal system and encouraged severe punishments, particularly when the emperor was disobeyed. Individuals' rights were devalued when they conflicted with the government's or the ruler's wishes, and merchants and scholars were considered unproductive, fit for elimination.[38] One of the more drastic allegations, however the infamous burning of books and burying of scholars incident, does not appear to be true, as it was not mentioned until many years later.[39] The Han dynasty historian, Sima Qian
Sima Qian
wrote that First Emperor, in an attempt to consolidate power, in 213 BC ordered the burning of all books advocating viewpoints that challenged Legalism or the state, and also stipulated that all scholars who refused to submit their books to be burned would be executed by premature burial.[21] Only texts considered productive were to be preserved, mostly those that discussed pragmatic subjects, such as agriculture, divination, and medicine.[40] However, Sinologists now argue that the "burying of scholars" is not literally true, as the term probably meant simply "put to death".[41] Government and military[edit] The Qin government was highly bureaucratic, and was administered by a hierarchy of officials, all serving the First Emperor. The Qin put into practice the teachings of Han Feizi, allowing the First Emperor to control all of his territories, including those recently conquered. All aspects of life were standardized, from measurements and language to more practical details, such as the length of chariot axles.[20]

Terracotta Army, museum of the grave of Qin Shi Huang.

Qin warriors of the Terracotta Army.

The states made by the emperor were assigned to officials dedicated to the task rather than place the burden on people from the royal family. Zheng and his advisers also introduced new laws and practices that ended feudalism in China, replacing it with a centralized, bureaucratic government. The form of government created by the first emperor and his advisors was used by later dynasties to structure their own government.[19] Under this system, both the military and government thrived, as talented individuals could be more easily identified in the transformed society. Later Chinese dynasties emulated the Qin government for its efficiency, despite its being condemned by Confucian
philosophy.[20][42] There were incidences of abuse, however, with one example having been recorded in the "Records of Officialdom". A commander named Hu ordered his men to attack peasants in an attempt to increase the number of "bandits" he had killed; his superiors, likely eager to inflate their records as well, allowed this.[43] Qin Shi Huang
Qin Shi Huang
also improved the strong military, despite the fact that it had already undergone extensive reforms.[44] The military used the most advanced weaponry of the time. The invention of the sword during the Warring States period
Warring States period
was a great advance. It was first used mostly in bronze form, but by the third century BC, the Qin were using stronger iron swords. The demand for this metal resulted in improved bellows. The crossbow had been introduced in the fifth century BC and was more powerful and accurate than the composite bows used earlier. It could also be rendered ineffective by removing two pins, which prevented enemies from capturing a working crossbow.[10]

Qin dynasty
Qin dynasty
composite bow arrows (top) and crossbow bolts (bottom) Credit: Liang Jieming

The Qin also used improved methods of transportation and tactics. The state of Zhao had first replaced chariots with cavalry in 307 BC, but the change was swiftly adopted by the other states because cavalry had greater mobility over the terrain of China.[45] The First Emperor developed plans to fortify his northern border, to protect against nomadic invasions. The result was the initial construction of what later became the Great Wall of China, which was built by joining and strengthening the walls made by the feudal lords, which would be expanded and rebuilt multiple times by later dynasties, also in response to threats from the north. Another project built during Qin Shi Huang's rule was the Terracotta Army, intended to protect the emperor after his death.[44] The Terracotta Army
Terracotta Army
was inconspicuous due to its underground location, and was not discovered until 1974.[46] Religion[edit]

Floating on high in every direction, Music fills the hall and court. The incense sticks are a forest of feathers, The cloudy scene an obscure darkness. Metal stalks with elegant blossoms, A host of flags and kingfisher banners. The music of the "Seven Origins" and "Blossoming Origins" Are intoned as harmonious sounds. Thus one can almost hear The spirits coming to feast and frolic. The spirits are seen off to the zhu zhu of the musics, Which purifies and refines human feelings. Suddenly the spirits ride off on the darkness, And the brilliant event finishes. Purified thoughts grow hidden and still, And the warp and weft of the world fall dark.

Han shu, p. 1046

The dominant religious belief in China during the reign of the Qin, and, in fact, during much of early imperial China, was focused on the shen (roughly translating to "spirits" or "gods"), yin ("shadows"), and the realm they were said to live in. The Chinese offered animal sacrifices in an attempt to contact this other world, which they believed to be parallel to the earthly one. The dead were said to simply have moved from one world to the other. The rituals mentioned, as well as others, served two purposes: to ensure that the dead journeyed and stayed in the other realm, and to receive blessings from the spirit realm.[note 11][47][48] Religious practices were usually held in local shrines and sacred areas, which contained sacrificial altars. During a sacrifice or other ritual, the senses of all participants and witnesses would be dulled and blurred with smoke, incense, and music. The lead sacrificer would fast and meditate before a sacrifice to further blur his senses and increase the likelihood of perceiving otherworldly phenomena. Other participants were similarly prepared, though not as rigorously. Such blurring of the senses was also a factor in the practice of spirit intermediaries, or mediumship. Practitioners of the art would fall into trances or dance to perform supernatural tasks. These people would often rise to power as a result of their art—Luan Da, a Han dynasty medium, was granted rule over 2,000 households. Noted Han historian Sima Qian
Sima Qian
was scornful of such practices, dismissing them as foolish trickery.[49] Divination—to predict and/or influence the future—was yet another form of religious practice. An ancient practice that was common during the Qin dynasty
Qin dynasty
was cracking bones or turtle shells to gain knowledge of the future. The forms of divination which sprang up during early imperial China were diverse, though observing natural phenomena was a common method. Comets, eclipses, and droughts were considered omens of things to come.[50] Etymology of China[edit] The name 'Qin' (pronounced as 'Chin') is believed to be the etymological ancestor of the modern-day European name of the country, China. The word probably made its way into the Indo-Aryan languages first as 'Cina' or 'Sina' and then into Greek and Latin
as 'Sinai' or 'Thinai'. It was then transliterated into English and French as 'China' and 'Chine'. This etymology is dismissed by some scholars, who suggest that 'Sina' in Sanskrit
evolved much earlier before the Qin dynasty. 'Jin' (pronounced as 'Zhin'), a state controlled by the Zhou dynasty in seventh century BC, is another possible origin.[51] Others argued for the state of Jing (荆, another name for Chu), as well other polities in the early period as the source of the name.[52] Sovereigns of Qin dynasty[edit]

An edict in bronze from the reign of the second Qin Emperor

Note: King Zhaoxiang of Qin (秦昭襄王) had already been ruling Qin for 51 years when Qin annihilated the Zhou dynasty; however the other six warring states were still independent regimes. Some Chinese historiographers thus used the next year (the 52nd year of King Zhaoxiang of Qin) as the official succession from the Zhou dynasty. Qin Shi Huang
Qin Shi Huang
was the first Chinese sovereign
Chinese sovereign
to proclaim himself "Emperor", after unifying China in 221 BC. That year is therefore generally taken by Western historians to be the start of the "Qin dynasty" which lasted for fifteen years until 207 when it was cut short by civil wars.[53]

Posthumous names / title Chinese family names and given names Period of Reigns

Convention: "Qin" + posthumous name

Zhaoxiang (昭襄 Zhāoxiāng) Ying Ze (嬴則 yíng zé) or Ying Ji (嬴稷 yíng jì) 306 – 250 BC

Xiaowen (孝文 Xiàowén) Ying Zhu (嬴柱 yíng zhù) 250 BC

Zhuangxiang (莊襄 Zhuāngxiāng) Ying Zichu (嬴子楚 yíng zǐ chǔ) 249 – 247 BC

Qin dynasty
Qin dynasty
(221 – 207 BC)

Shi Huangdi
Shi Huangdi
(始皇帝 Shǐ Huángdì) Ying Zheng (嬴政 yíng zhèng) 246 – 210 BC

Er Shi Huangdi
Shi Huangdi
(二世皇帝 Èr Shì Huángdì) Ying Huhai (嬴胡亥 yíng hú hài) 210 – 207 BC

Ziying was often referred using personal name or Ziying, King of Qin (秦王子嬰 qín wáng zi yīng)

Did not exist Ying Ziying (嬴子嬰 yíng zi yīng) 207 BC

Imperial family tree[edit]

Qin Dynasty

See: family tree of the Kings of Qin

Zheng 政 259–210 BC King of Qin 秦王 247–221 BC Qin Shi Huang
Qin Shi Huang
秦始皇 221–210 BC


18 or 25 (disputed)

Fusu 扶蘇 d. 210 BC

Huhai 胡亥 229–207 BC Qin Er Shi
Qin Er Shi
秦二世 210–207 BC

Ziying 子嬰 d. 206 BC Qin San Shi 秦三世 207 BC

See also[edit]

Chinese sovereign Emperor of China Hata clan The Legend of Qin


^ Not to be confused with any Duke of the Song dynasty
Song dynasty
of a later period. ^ This was due to the large workforce available as a result of their landowning policies (implemented by Shang Yang), described in the culture and society section. ^ This was the heart of the Guanzhong
region, as opposed to the region of the Yangtze River
Yangtze River
drainage basin, known as Guandong. The warlike nature of the Qin in Guanzhong
evolved into a Han dynasty
Han dynasty
adage: " Guanzhong
produces generals, while Guandong produces ministers." (Lewis 2007, p. 17) ^ As the modern Chinese habit is to include dynasty names as a surname, this became Qin Shi Huangdi. Later, this was abridged to Qin Shi Huang, because it is uncommon for Chinese names to have four characters. ^ Formerly known as Canton. ^ This was largely caused by regional differences which survived despite the Qin's attempt to impose uniformity. ^ The first emperor of the Qin had boasted that the dynasty would last 10,000 generations; it lasted only about 15 years. (Morton 1995, p. 49) ^ Meaning "High Progenitor". ^ A text named for its sponsor Lü Buwei; the prime minister of the Qin directly preceding the conquest of the other states. ^ The term "Confucian" is rather ill-defined in this context—many self-dubbed Confucians in fact rejected tenets of what was known as "the Way of Confucius", and were disorganized, unlike the later Confucians of the Song and Yuan dynasties. ^ Mystics from the state of Qi, however, saw sacrifices differently—as a way to become immortal.

References[edit] Citations[edit]

^ "Qin". Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary. ^ Tanner 2010, p. 85-89 ^ Beck, B, Black L, Krager, S; et al. (2003). Ancient World History-Patterns of Interaction. Evanston, IL: Mc Dougal Little. p. 187. ISBN 0-618-18393-0. CS1 maint: Explicit use of et al. (link) ^ Lewis 2007, p. 17 ^ "Chinese surname history: Qin". People's Daily. Archived from the original on 10 May 2008. Retrieved 28 June 2008.  ^ Lewis 2007, pp. 17–18 ^ Lewis 2007, p. 88 ^ a b Morton 1995, p. 45 ^ Origins of Statecraft in China ^ a b Morton 1995, p. 26 ^ Morton 1995, pg. 26 ^ Time-Life Books 1993, p. 86 ^ a b Kinney and Clark 2005, p. 10 ^ a b Lewis 2007, pp. 18–19 ^ Morton 1995, p. 25 ^ Lewis 2007, pp. 38–39 ^ Lewis 2007, p. 10 ^ a b Bai Yang. Records of the Genealogy of Chinese Emperors, Empresses, and Their Descendants (中国帝王皇后亲王公主世系录) (in Chinese). 1. Friendship Publishing Corporation of China (中国友谊出版公司). pp. 134–135.  ^ a b c "China's First Empire
History Today". www.historytoday.com. Archived from the original on 17 April 2017. Retrieved 17 April 2017.  ^ a b c World and Its Peoples: Eastern and Southern Asia, p. 36 ^ a b c Morton 1995, p. 47 ^ Lewis 2007, p. 129 ^ Breslin 2001, p. 5 ^ Lewis 2007, p. 5 ^ Borthwick, p. 10 ^ a b Kinney and Hardy 2005, p. 13-15 ^ Bodde 1986, p. 84 ^ Morton 1995, pp. 49–50 ^ Lewis 2007, p. 11 ^ Lewis 2007, p. 102 ^ a b Lewis 2007, p. 15 ^ Lewis 2007, p. 16 ^ Lewis 2007, p. 75–78 ^ World and its Peoples: Eastern and Southern Asia, p. 34 ^ Bedini 1994, p. 83 ^ Readings in Classical Chinese Philosophy, p. 61 ^ Lewis 2007, p. 206 ^ Borthwick, p. 17 ^ Nylan, Michael (2001), The five "Confucian" classics (PDF), Yale University Press, ISBN 978-0-300-08185-5, archived from the original (PDF) on 11 June 2014.  pp. 29-30. ^ Borthwick, p. 11 ^ Bodde (1986), p. 72. ^ Borthwick 2006, pp. 9–10 ^ Chen, pp. 180–81 ^ a b Borthwick 2006, p. 10 ^ Morton 1995, p. 27 ^ "Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor". UNESCO. Archived from the original on 7 August 2008. Retrieved 3 July 2008.  ^ Lewis 2007, p. 178 ^ Lewis 2007, p. 186 ^ Lewis 2007, p. 180 ^ Lewis 2007, p. 181 ^ Keay 2009, p. 98. ^ Wade, Geoff (May 2009). "The Polity of Yelang and the Origin of the Name 'China'" (PDF). Sino-Platonic Papers. 188. Archived (PDF) from the original on 30 September 2011. Retrieved 4 October 2011.  "This thesis also helps explain the existence of Cīna in the Indic Laws of Manu and the Mahabharata, likely dating well before Qin Shihuangdi." ^ Bodde 1986, p. 20


World and Its Peoples: Eastern and Southern Asia. Marshall Cavendish. 2007. ISBN 978-0-7614-7631-3.  Readings in Classical Chinese Philosophy. Edited by Philip J. Ivanhoe and Bryan W. Van Norden. Hackett Publishing. 2005. ISBN 0-87220-780-3.  Breslin, Thomas A. (2001). Beyond Pain: The Role of Pleasure and Culture in the Making of Foreign Affairs. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 0-275-97430-8.  Bedini, Silvio (1994). The Trail of Time: Shih-chien Ti Tsu-chi : Time Measurement with Incense in East Asia. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-37482-0.  Bodde, Derk (1986). "The State and Empire
of Ch'in". In Twitchett, Denis; Loewe, Michael. The Cambridge History of China, Volume I: the Ch'in and Han Empires, 221 B.C. – A.D. 220. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-24327-0.  Borthwick, Mark (2006). Pacific Century: The Emergence of Modern Pacific Asia. Westview Press. ISBN 0-8133-4355-0.  Kinney, Anne Behnke; Hardy, Grant (2005). The Establishment of the Han Empire
and Imperial China. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-313-32588-X.  Keay, John (2009). China A History. Harper Press. ISBN 9780007221783.  Lewis, Mark Edward (2007). The Early Chinese Empires: Qin and Han. London: Belknap Press. ISBN 978-0-674-02477-9.  Chen Guidi; Wu Chuntao (2007). Will the Boat Sink the Water?: The Life of China's Peasants. Translated by Zhu Hong. PublicAffairs. ISBN 1-58648-441-9.  Morton, W. Scott (1995). China: Its History and Culture (3rd ed.). McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-07-043424-7.  Tanner (2010). China: A History=Harold. Hackett. ISBN 978-1-60384-203-7. 

Further reading[edit]

Cotterell, Arthur. (2007). The Imperial Capitals of China – An Inside View of the Celestial Empire. London: Pimlico. pp. 304 pages. ISBN 978-1-84595-009-5.  Fong, Wen, ed. (1980). The great bronze age of China: an exhibition from the People's Republic of China. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. ISBN 978-0-87099-226-1.  Paludan, Ann. (1998). Chronicle of the China Emperors. London: Thames & Hudson. pp. 224 pages. ISBN 0-500-05090-2.  Yap, Joseph P. (2009). Wars with the Xiongnu, A Translation from Zizhi tongjian. AuthorHouse, Bloomington, Indiana, U.S.A. ISBN 978-1-4490-0604-4.

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Qin Dynasty.

Preceded by Zhou dynasty Dynasties in Chinese history 221–207 BC Succeeded by Han dynasty

v t e

Qin dynasty
Qin dynasty


Qin's wars of unification Qin's campaign against the Xiongnu Qin's campaign against the Yue tribes Burning of books and burying of scholars Dazexiang Uprising Battle of Julu

See also

Xianyang Epang Palace He Shi Bi Terracotta Army Twelve Metal Colossi Shuihudi Qin bamboo texts Ten Crimes of Qin The First Emperor

v t e



Akkadian Egyptian Assyrian Babylonian Carthaginian Chinese

Qin Han Jin Northern Wei Tang


Macedonian Seleucid

Hittite Indian

Nanda Maurya Satavahana Shunga Gupta Harsha


Elamite Median Achaemenid Parthian Sasanian

Kushan Mongol

Xianbei Xiongnu


Western Eastern




Rashidun Umayyad Abbasid Fatimid Córdoba

Aragonese Angevin Aztec Benin Bornu Bruneian Bulgarian

First Second


Nicaea Trebizond

Carolingian Chinese

Sui Tang Song Yuan


Zagwe Solomonic

Georgian Hunnic Inca Indian

Chola Gurjara-Pratihara Pala Eastern Ganga dynasty Delhi Vijayanagara



Kanem Khmer Latin Majapahit Malaccan Mali Mongol

Yuan Golden Horde Chagatai Khanate Ilkhanate


Idrisid Almoravid Almohad Marinid

North Sea Oyo Roman Serbian Somali

Ajuran Ifatite Adalite Mogadishan Warsangali

Songhai Srivijaya Tibetan Turko-Persian

Ghaznavid Great Seljuk Khwarezmian Timurid


Ly Tran Le



Ashanti Austrian Austro-Hungarian Brazilian Central African Chinese

Ming Qing China Manchukuo

Ethiopian French

First Second


First/Old Reich Second Reich Third Reich


First Second


Maratha Sikh Mughal British Raj


Safavid Afsharid

Japanese Johor Korean Mexican

First Second


Saadi Alaouite

Russian USSR Somali

Gobroon Majeerteen Hobyo Dervish

Swedish Tongan Turkish

Ottoman Karaman Ramazan


Tay Son Nguyen Vietnam


American Belgian British


Danish Dutch French German Italian Japanese Omani Norwegian Portuguese Spanish Swedish




ancient great powers medieval great powers modern great powers

History of Imperial