Qin Shi Huang was the first and probably one of the greatest of all the emperors of china. His personal name was Ying Zheng. He was also sometimes called Qin Shi Huangdi. Though both are correct the more proper name was Huangdi over Huang. Now that we have filled your mind with useless info about his hard to pronounce name lets talk about the guy himself.
There is a lot of controversy over how Qin Shi Huang was born. However the story goes as follows. One of the sons of the king of Qin. Yiren was put on the throne by his friend Lu Buwei. Lu Buwei was a powerful and rich merchant who believed Yiren had the potential to become the next ruler of Qin and with his help he did. But before Yiren was king he was introduced to Lu Buwei's concubine and she bore him a son who grew up to be Qin Shi Huang. However the controversy is that Qin Shi Huang might actually be Lue Buwei's son as it is believed that she was already pregnant.
Whatever the story is Yiren (known as Zhaoxiang of Qin at the time) died and left Qin to his son Qin Shi Huang (known as Ying Zheng at the time). However has Qin Shi Huang was only 13 at the time Lu Buewei held actual power until Qin Shi Huang was old enough to rule. Lu Buewei had certain secrets that he wanted to keep from Qin Shi Huang and looked for a replacement king. However this replacement king couldn't keep quiet before their plan was put into action and was drunk bragging.
Shortly afterward a small civil war began in which case the replacement king (Lao Ai) was torn apart. His entire family was put to death. Lu Buwei took poison and died. While Qin Shi Huang's mother who was also in the plot was placed under house arrest until she died.
With incredible military genius Qin Shi Huang conquered all of china. The last country to fall was Qi which sent all of its military might to the west (an army of over 300,000). But Qin Shi Huang merely attacked from the north and seized it. With all of china under a single king Qin Shi Huang declared himself emperor as he was greater than any king.
Once he had conquered he began several construction projects including the great wall of china and the terracotta army. He also standardized the weighting system and the measuring system as well as currency.
The barbarians to the north were very resolute and the armies sent to battle them were unable to break their spirit. To stop the northern tribes slow encroachment the great wall of china was constructed. Most of the construction was simply to connect the already existing walls on the northern border.
The lesser known of the two great building projects that Qin Shi Huang did (if you don't count the roads he made) is known as the Lingqu Canal. Designed to make it easier to transport resources to the army. Connected to large rivers and there for two large supply lines.
However despite the great things he did Qin Shi Huang also started the great book burning. Any book that was not written by his scholars other than prophecy agriculture and medicine were burned. Also hundreds of scholars were put to death.
While ruling he became obsessed with immortality. He also greatly feared evil spirits. He even had a massive system of tunnels built between all 200 of his palaces so that he could go through them without being plagued by spirits. A year before he died a meteor fell with the words carved in it saying that he would day and china would crumble shortly afterward all the neighboring villages were put to death and the meteor was destroyed.
Hey died eating mercury pills which were supposed to give him immortality. The fact that he had died was hidden quite a while. His clothes were changed regularly dead fish were put next to his carriage to hide the stench and his face was always put in the shade.
His tomb is protected by an army of terracotta soldiers nearly 10'000 strong. The tomb itself was said to have rivers of mercury and there have been found mercury in the area around 100 times stronger than it should be. The tomb supposedly has replicas of towers and palaces. The tomb has never been opened and there is great debate about what is inside it. There is supposed to be countless traps inside as well.
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