In 256B.C, a great historical figure was born, his name is Ying Zheng, is the son of King Zhuanxiang of state Qin. He was born at the end of the Warring States Period before which there had been centuries of successive wars among the split vassal states. By then there existed only seven states. They were Qi, Chu, Yan, Han, Zhao, Wei and Qin. The so called "Seven Contending Powers of the Warring States Period" in Chinese history.
After the Shang Yang Reform in the state of Qin, it entered a period of rapid development. Its economic prosperity and military strength enabled it to conquer and annex the six states of that time. He ascend the throne at 13 years old in 246B.C.and began to taken order with state affairs himself in 238B.C. when he 19 years old. In 230B.C. the Qin conquered the Han, and than Zhao, wei, Chu, Yan, one after another. In 221B.C, the last one Qi was conquered. As a result, a unified, multi-nationality, autocratic and power-centralized feudal empire-The Qin Dynasty was established by Ying Zheng for the first time in Chinese history. Then, he proclaimed himself Shihuandi-the First emperor.
Qi Shi Huang, while deifying the Emperor, instituted a series of measures to strengthen central power and consolidate national unification. The emperor possessed supreme power while the ministers only had the right to discuss the state affairs and give advice but had no right to make decisions. The central government consisted of three "Gongs" (chiefs) and nine "Qings" (Ministers). Three"Gongs" include chengxiang (Prime Minister) who assisted the emperor in administrative affairs and was the highest administrative official of the country and the chief of all civil officials. yushidafu (Royal-Chief Procurator ) who performed the function of the Emperor's secretary and had a power to supervise the court officials of all ranks, he was next importance to that of the Prime Minister. taiwei (supreme commander) was a title for the highest military official in the central organ and the chief of all military officials and put in charge of military affairs. Each of three branches of power was independent. Though not subordinate to one another, they were all directly responsible to the Emperor, who uniquely had the power to make decisions. The emperor had a particularly tight control of military power.
The whole country was divided into 36 administrative prefectures, each of which comprised a number of counties and each county governed a certain number of xiang (district or township) and ting (village). Private land ownership was allowed. A unified system of household registration was practiced across the country.
Currency, weights and measures were standardized. During the Warring States Period, currency, used by different states varied in size, shape and weight. This variation led to complications in exchanging currencies between different states. Measures and weight were also varied during this period. Having unified China, Qin Shi Huang issued edicts to make known the standardized systems. He ordered that the imperial documents of standardization be engraved on the officially standardized utensils so that all the citizens of Qin would use it as the only criterion for measurement. His standardization aimed at convenience in collecting taxes, delivering wages and prevention officials from malpractices. It helped significantly to promote the development of trade. The writing system of the Chinese language was also different from state to state during the Warring States Period. In 221B.C, Qin Shi Huang carried out his reform on "writing with the same system". He ordered his Prime Minster Li Si to sort out a set of small seals (Qin seals), used them as standards for writing. The standardized Small Seal was unified in shape, and simplified in writing, with fewer and fixed strokes, which made it simpler and easier for both reading and writing. Many of these standardized Chinese characters have survived to the present day. Another writing style Li style had simpler strokes and clearer structure, which made writing easy. So, Li Style was adopted.
Many new roads and canals were built on a large scale. All these routes formed a communication network with Xianyang where was the capital of Qin Dynasty as their center. They connected different places throughout the whole empire together, they play an important role in strengthening the economic and cultural connections between the national minorities under the control of the empire. The rich were removed to Xianyang, while the common people transported to the frontiers for farming, and the criminals sent to defend border areas. The wall fortifications built in the Warring States Period were linked together and the new section was built to form the Great Wall as a protection against invasion of the Xiongnu.
At the same time, the First Emperor practiced despotic rule, books about historical records of the other six vassal states and poems were burned. Confucian scholars were persecuted. people conscripted to build the Great Wall, palaces, parks, and his tomb. He led an extremely extravagant life, imposed heavy and excessive taxes on the common people, levies and frequently took prodigal pleasure trips all over the country. The incessant forced conscription of laborer, the heavy burden of taxation, and the cruel punishment of criminals especially gave rise to much hatred and dissatisfaction late in the First Emperor's reign.
In 210 B.C. (the 37th year of his reign), the First Emperor died on his way back from an inspection tour in the south at the age of 49 years old. Before his death, he thought of his first son Fu Su and wanted him to succeed to the throne. Zhao Gao, a powerful eunuch, was instructed to draft the Emperor's will to grant Prince Fu Su with the imperial seal. But Prime Minister and Zhao Gao plotted to kill the Heir-Prince Fu Su and declared as successor Fu Su's younger brother Hu Hai who was soon enthroned as the Second Emperor. Hu Hai was actually a puppet manipulated by Zhao Gao, and carried out policies even more cruel and tyrannical than the First Emperor. In 209 B.C. (the 2nd year of the Second Emperor's reign), a large-scale uprising led by two conscripted peasants, Chen Sheng and Wu Guang finally broke out. A countrywide uprising soon followed, including the surviving forces of the lords of the former six mega-states, the low-ranked Qin officials and officers, and some local militias. The Qin army suffered severe losses. An anti-Qin war led by Xiang Yu, a descendant of a lord in the former six mega-states, and Liu Bang, a grass-roots official in the Qin government, entered Guanzhong to attack the Qin. By then, Zhao Gao had killed both Li Si and the Second Emperor and placed on the throne Zi Ying, the grandson of the First Emperor. In 207 B.C., Xiang Yu's army inflicted heavy losses on the Qin army. At the Battle of Julu, the Qin army was almost exterminated. That year Zi Ying had Zhao Gao killed. The following year, Liu Bang entered Guanzhong and reached Bashang, a suburb of the Xianyang City. Zi Ying went out of the capital to surrender and ended the Qin Dynasty. What followed was the "Chu-Han War" between Xiang Yu, the "King of Chu" and Liu Bang, the "King of Han". In 202 B.C., Xiang Yu being defeated killed himself and Liu Bang became the first emperor of the Han Dynasty.
No dynasty like Qin Dynasty so short but had a so long-lasting and deep influence on the later history of China.