Qin Shi Huang

Qin Shi Huang (Chinese: 秦始皇; lit. 'First Emperor of Qin', pronunciation ; 18 February 259 BC  10 September 210 BC) was the founder of the Qin dynasty, and first emperor of a unified China. From 247 to 221 BC he was Zheng, King of Qin (秦王政, Qín Wáng Zhèng, personal name 嬴政 Yíng Zhèng or 趙政 Zhào Zhèng). He became China's first emperor when he was 38 after the Qin had conquered all of the other Warring States and unified all of China in 221 BC.[2] Rather than maintain the title of "king" ( wáng) borne by the previous Shang and Zhou rulers, he ruled as the First Emperor (始皇帝) of the Qin dynasty from 221 BC to 210 BC. His self-invented title "emperor" (皇帝 huángdì) would continue to be borne by Chinese rulers for the next two millennia.

Qin Shi Huang
秦始皇
King of Qin
Reign7 May 247 – 221 BC
PredecessorKing Zhuangxiang
Emperor of China
Reign221 – 10 September 210 BC[1]
SuccessorQin Er Shi
Born18 February 259 BC
Died10 September 210 BC (aged 49)
Issue
  • Prince Fusu
  • Prince Huhai
  • Prince Gao
  • Prince Jianglü
Names
Regnal name
Shi Huangdi (始皇帝)
Posthumous name
None
Temple name
None
DynastyQin
FatherKing Zhuangxiang
MotherQueen Dowager Zhao
Qin Shi Huang
"Qin Shi Huang" in seal script (top) and regular (bottom) Chinese characters
Chinese秦始皇
Literal meaning"First Emperor of Qin"
Shi Huang Di
Chinese始皇帝
Literal meaning"First Emperor"

During his reign, his generals greatly expanded the size of the Chinese state: campaigns south of Chu permanently added the Yue lands of Hunan and Guangdong to the Chinese cultural orbit; campaigns in Central Asia conquered the Ordos Loop from the nomad Xiongnu, although eventually it would also lead to their confederation under Modu Chanyu.

Qin Shi Huang also worked with his minister Li Si to enact major economic and political reforms aimed at the standardization of the diverse practices of the earlier Chinese states.[2] He is traditionally said to have banned and burned many books and executed scholars. His public works projects included the unification of diverse state walls into a single Great Wall of China and a massive new national road system, as well as the city-sized mausoleum guarded by the life-sized Terracotta Army. He ruled until his death in 210BC during his fourth tour of Eastern China.[3]