Qin Shi Huang is popularly known as the last king of the Qin, as well as the first Emperor of China. It was he who began the Qin dynasty which lasted from 221 to 206 BC when his sons failed to keep it. He was the first to unify China and is more known for laying the groundwork for what will much later become the Great Wall of China.
Despite the long and interesting history of China, there are still some individuals who will always be important when the history of the Celestial Empire is told; Qin Shi Huang is one.
Qin Shi Huang’s Biography
Qin Shin Huang was born as Yen Zheng, on the 18th of February 259 BC to King Zhuangxian of Qin and Lady Zhao. His paternity is often contested as in accordance to the grand history book of the Qin kingdom, King Zhuangxian became friends with a wealthy merchant by the name Lu Buwei. Lu acquainted the king to his lady friend, Zhao Ji. The king fell in love with and took her in as his concubine without knowing that Zhao had already conceived for Lu Buwei. She gave birth to a boy who was named Yen Zheng.
He grew up in the courts of the Han Palace and was heir apparent to the throne. The king died when Qin Shi Huang was only 13, and because he was a minor, he could not ascend the throne. Hence, Lu Buwei was placed as a regent until he came of age.
After some years, Lu Buwei decided to keep the throne to himself, so with the help of another member of the court named Lao Ai, he decided to stage a coup while the Zheng was away. However, the coup plotters were defeated by the king’s forces. Lao Ai and his family were all executed and sensing that his end had come, Lu Buwei ended his life while Zhao was placed on permanent house arrest as she allowed her signet ring to be used by Lao Ai to incite the army into revolting against the king.
After the coup had been dowsed, Qin Shi Huang set out to unify China’s seven major states, which were Qin – his own Kingdom, Han, Wei, Chu, Zhao, Yan and Qi. It took him nine years to complete the unification in 221 BC.
With the unification complete and becoming the Emperor, he banned the feudal system and replaced it with a more structured and centralized system of government, which was very autocratic. He made sure laws were written and available for the people and those who violated the laws were severely punished. In order to protect his kingdom from the nomads of the north, he started the construction of the Great Wall of China.
Additionally, the Emperor wanted eternal life and was consumed by the desire so much that he had a special team of court alchemist that toiled day and night on solutions and potions that would elongate his life. It was one of these drugs that sadly ended the life of Qin Shi Huang instead of giving him immortality or slow his aging process in the very least. He died at the age of 49 years in 210 BC.
Zheng was a very brutal Emperor who was despised by most of his subjects. His laws which brought about Cultural and economic advancement of the people didn’t make up for his brutality.
Children Of Qin Shi Huang
Qin Shi Huang had a strong sexual appetite. He didn’t take a wife legally be the queen but he had so many concubines and had as many as 50 children. Some of the known children were Fusu, Crown Prince (1st son) who he became emperor after his father, Gao, Jianglü, and Huhai.
His second son tricked his first son, the new emperor to commit Suicide and seized the throne. He, however, didn’t stay long on the throne as the kingdom, which was already divided, fell to the hands of the rebels of Chu in the Julu battle and Qin Shi Huang’s dynasty came to an end barely four years after his death.
Interesting Facts About The Emperor Of China
1. Apart from the wall which he began, he also began the construction of the Lingqu, a canal that connected the Pearl River and Yangzte.
2. Qin Shi Huang Burned more than 400 scholars and stoned more than 700 scholars to death.
3. In the event that his quest for eternal life failed, he had a giant tomb built for himself with more than 8000 clay soldiers accompanying him into the afterlife.