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Ancient China


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Biography of Qin Shi Huang Di

Biography of Qin Shi Huang Di


           Qin Shi Huang was born in the Chinese month zheng,which is the first month of the Chinese calendar. 


            When Qin Shi Huang Di was born, China was divided into two warring states. Zheng was born in Handan.  He is thought to be the son of Zichu, prince of the royal house.  According to some stories, Zheng was the son of Lu Buwei, prime minister of Qin. This story come from the fact Zheng’s mother was a concubine of Lu Buwei and he gave her to Zichu shortly before Zheng was born.   It is still now unknown who the correct father of Zheng is.


            In 247 B.C. Zheng was 12 years old and he was king under a regent until 238 B.C.  At 21 he staged a plan to takeover the palace and assumed full power.  After conquering the last independent state in 221 B.C., Qin Shi Huang Di became the king over China at the age of 38.  He did not want to be compared to the other “simple kings” of the past, so he entitled himself “First Emperor,”(or huangdi in Chinese) which marked the beginning of imperial China.


            Qin Shi Huang Di developed great networks of roads and canals that connect the provinces and increased trade between them and transportation of the military.  He also helped unite China economically and standardized Chinese units of measurement like weight, currency, and the legal system.  Also the Chinese written language was unified. However, the script was very hard to write so and informal Qin script was also used.  Qin Shi Huang Di had most previously existing books burned and many ancient scholars were executed so the writing was all the same and everyone would agree on what he thought.


            Qin Shi Huang Di expanded the military during his reign and fought nomadic tribes in the north. After they were defeated, Qin Shi Huang Di ordered than a huge defensive wall be built to prevent the nomad warriors from re-entering the country. This was built north of the current Great Wall and little of the wall still exists today.


            While on a tour of Eastern China searching for the Islands of the Immortals, he died swallowing a mercury pill that was made by his scientist and doctors.  However, it contained too much mercury resulting in his death.  They had created the pill to make him immortal.  His death was official on September 10, 210 B.C., and was considered an assassination. He died in Shanqiu, China. In fear that the people would up rise if they knew their emperor was dead, Prime Minister Li Si hide Qin Shi Huang Di’s death from the people. Qin Shi Huang Di had not written a will so a man by the name of Qin Er Shi became the Second Emperor.

            Qin Shi Huang Di was buried in his mausoleum and for over 2000 years an army of clay soldiers protected it.  There were approximately 7000 life-size terra cotta soldiers around his mausoleum. 

            It is believed by historians that Qin Shi Huang Di was a very brutal ruler and his bad character was often emphasized. However, the perspective of him is continuing to change. He was the man that tried to bring China together and unify it as a whole country.
The terra cotta warriors that protected the First Emperor in the afterlife.

Thanks for Visiting!
Sarah, Eric, April and Jenna