Wuxia Edge - Ancient Chinese Series Blog

  • Qin Dynasty History

    Admired and cherished as a unifier, as a centralizer, as an architect of the Great Wall and of China herself, the First Emperor (Qin Shihuangdi) was on the other side feared and hated as a tyrant, as a book-burner and a mass murderer.

    The Qin empire was founded at end of a war between a few powers that had lasted for more than two centuries. And it was the result of a development that created a highly centralized bureaucratic state out of a loose feudal system. While the rule of the two Qin emperors endured not even two decades, it marks nonetheless the beginning of a more than two thousand years long history of a centralized state with an emperor being the head of thousands of officers in a state with a likewise uniform culture.

    Literature, thought, religion and philosophy

    Apart from his great achievements that were actually the base for the foundation also of the Han empire, the First Emperor was blamed to have burned the books (fen “burning” might be a writing error for the character jin “prohibiting”) and buried alive the (Confucian) scholars. The only books that were not forbidden, are writings about medicine, herbs, divining and agriculture. Inspite of later slanderings by Han time scholars which made him not only a murderer but also a bastard of a merchant, arts and thinking were still going on under the First Emperor and prepared the great flourishing of literature and philosophy under the Han Dynasty.

    Although the practical polity of the Qin rulers was legist and thus severe, bureaucratic and austere, the inscriptions in the steles the First Emperor had erected, also show that Confucian thinking like filial piety, humanity and righteousness of the ruler was still going on. The emperor himself was very interested in Daoist practices to prolong his life or to gain immortality. He sent out an expedition to search for the islands of immortality called Penglai. Generations of scholars tried to find out what country was meant with “Penglai” , some say, Japan, some even argue Penglai was America. After the proclamation as the First Emperor, he changed the official colors to black according to the theory of the Five Elements and their cosmic influence. Metors, flood and drought was a heavenly hint to him as well as it has been to the former Zhou kings. A comprehensive anthology of philosophical thinking around 250 BC is the “Spring and Autumn collection of Master Lü” Lüshi Chunqiu, compiled by the chancellor Lü Buwei.

    Like the Zhou Dynasty, the Qin Dynasty’s homelands were in the far west, between nomadic tribes, giving it probably more warfare energy than the people of the states in the Yellow River basin. One king of Qin is said to have died from an injury sustained during a contest in lifting a bronze vessel.

    Hundred Schools of Thought

    In the turbulent Spring and Autumn Period (770-476BC) and Warring States Period (475-221BC), many schools of thought were flourishing. The four most influential schools of thought that evolved during this period were Confucianism, Taoism, Mohism, and Legalism. There were also other schools like Yin & Yang, Eclectics, Logicians, Coalition persuaders and Militarism. The hundred schools of thought showed the fierce political and class struggles for survival among regional wars between the rising landed class and slaveholder class. The flouring thoughts intensified activities and debates in the intellectual and ideology system in ancient China and exerted great influence on Chinese culture.


    Confucius was the founder of Confucianism. He advocated a set of moral code on basis of five merits: benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom and trustworthiness. Among them, benevolence was considered as the cornerstone, which stands for faithfulness, filial piety, tolerance and kindness. He also requested people to keep in good harmony with each other and establish a community ruled by standard manners and behavior.

    Mencius (372-289BC) was a Confucian in the Warring States Period (475-221BC). He repeatedly tried to convince rulers that the ruler should cultivate moral perfection in order to set a good example to the people and the ruler who governed benevolently would earn the respect of the people. He held the view that human nature was fundamentally good as everyone is born with the ability to recognize what is right and act upon it. He also believed that people were more important than rulers.

    Xunzi (about 313-238BC), also a Confucian of the state of Chu, advocated the policy making a country rich and building up its military power, and sang high praise of the state of Qin.


    The Mohism founded by Mozi flourished in the latter half of the fifth century. It resembles Confucianism in its reverence for humanism. Master Mo called for a universal love encompassing all human beings in equal degree. He suggested a harmonious relationship between people on a reciprocal basis. Thus he was an assertor of unionism who suggested a practice of a political relationship of mutual benefit or dependence between states.


    The Taoism was founded by Laozi. The most important pre-Han Taoist bible was Laozi, also known as Dao De Jing (Classic of the Way and its Power). Laozi put forward a dialectic view: Good fortune follows upon disaster; Disaster lurks within good fortune. He tried to tell people not to exaggerate the importance of man too much because human life is only a small part of the universal and the only way can human actions make sense is to act in accord with the principles of the nature. It showed an integral concept of Taoism the withdrawal from the worldly affairs and the self-cultivation. Zhuangzi was a Taoist in the Warring States Period. He understood the Tao as the Way of Nature as a whole and the origin of the world. He believed that all things were in constant changes and there was no rule of right and wrong. In his mind, life was but a dream and only destruction could lead to the final peace of the society.


    The Legalist School sought by every means possible to strengthen the state and increase its military might. It began to take shape late in the fourth century. Earlier legalists were Shang Yang, Li Kui and Wu Qi. Later in the Warring States Period, the most important legalist named Han Fei advocated harsh rules and laws.

    He was born in a rich family in the state of Han. In the book Han Fei Zi, he bent on organizing society on a rational basis and finding means to strengthen their states agriculturally and militarily. He also advised elaborate means for controlling people’s lives and actions through laws and punishments. In his theories, law was the basis, strategies were the means in political struggle and power was the strength and high position. Only getting command of the three factors can a ruler establish a powerful state of central power. Han Fei’s theory was applied by Qin and played an important role in unification of China by Qin Emperor Shihuang.

    The Empire of Qin as a Modern State

    The victory over the many warring states was not only due to the military superiority of the Qin armies but was acheived by many reforms of the state itself. The great legist reformer of the Qin dukedom was Lord Shang Yang (d. 338 BC) who served as an advisor and as chancellor to Duke Xiao. Under his guidance, the capital was moved to Xianyang, and the country was divided in counties, administered by a magistrate (ling). Thus, the feudal system of an almost independent local aristocracy was given up in favour of of a centralized bureaucracy. The officers, high and low, were punished and rewarded according to their conduct. Shang Yang revised the tax system (taxation in kind instead of labour services) and made it possible to everyone to buy and to sell land. Peasantry and army became the centers of social politics. The more peasants worked the land, the richer the country and the stronger the army (in which the peasants had to serve). At least theoretically, a group responsibility of the population was introduced. Last but not least, weights and measures, coins and the track width of the roads were all standardized.

    A line of mighty chancellors kept on the reforms of Shang Yang to strenghten the state of Qin. The most important men of the last period before the unification are the former merchant Lü Buwei, said to have been the real father of the First Emperor and chancellor for a few years, the chancellor Li Si and the legist theoretician Han Fei.

    The Qin Dynasty’s order of events

    Early Life

    According to legend, a rich merchant named Lu Buwei befriended a prince of the Qin State during the latter years of the Eastern Zhou Dynasty (770-256 B.C.).

    The merchant’s lovely wife Zhao Ji had just gotten pregnant, so he arranged for the prince to meet and fall in love with her. She became the prince’s concubine, and then gave birth to Lu Buwei’s child in 259 B.C.

    The baby, born in Hanan, was named Ying Zheng. The prince believed the baby was his own.

    Ying Zheng became king of the Qin state in 246 B.C., upon the death of his supposed father. He ruled as Qin Shi Huang, and unified China for the first time.

    Early Reign of Qin Shi Huang

    The young king was only 13 years old when he took the throne, so his prime minister (and probable real father) Lu Buwei acted as regent for the first eight years.

    This was a difficult time for any ruler in China, with seven warring states vying for control of the land. The leaders of the Qi, Yan, Zhao, Han, Wei, Chu and Qin states were former dukes under the Zhou Dynasty, but had each proclaimed themselves king as the Zhou fell apart.

    In this unstable environment, warfare flourished, as did books like Sun Tzu’s Art of War.

    Lu Buwei had another problem, as well; he feared that the king would discover his true identity.

    Lao Ai’s Revolt

    According to the Shiji, or “Records of the Grand Historian,” Lu Buwei hatched a new scheme to depose Qin Shi Huang in 240 B.C.

    He introduced Zhao Ji to Lao Ai, a man famed for his large penis. The queen dowager and Lao Ai had two sons, and in 238 B.C., Lao and Lu Buwei decided to launch a coup.

    Lao raised an army, aided by the king of nearby Wei, and tried to seize control while Qin Shi Huang was traveling outside of the area. The young king cracked down hard on the rebellion; Lao was executed in a grisly fashion, along with his family. The queen dowager was spared, but spent the rest of her days under house arrest.
    Consolidation of Power:

    Lu Buwei was banished after the Lao Ai incident, but did not lose all of his influence in Qin. However, he lived in constant fear of execution by the mercurial young king.

    In 235 B.C., Lu committed suicide by drinking poison. With his death, the 24-year-old king assumed full command over the kingdom of Qin.

    Qin Shi Huang grew increasingly paranoid (not without reason), and banished all foreign scholars from his court as spies.

    The king’s fears were well-founded; in 227, the Yan state sent two assassins to his court, but he fought them off with his sword. A musician also tried to kill him with a lead-weighted lute.

    Battles with Neighboring States

    The incentive of the Qin rulers may just have been to strenghten their own state, not to unify the whole territory of China under their own rule. Only the course of events made it possible to a military superior Qin to subdue the warring states one by one. The first military step was the seizure of the two states of Shu and Ba in the Sichuan basin. From this base, it was possible to have a second flank to attack Chu, the stongest enemy of Qin.

    In 230 BC, Qin destroyed Han , 228 Zhao , 225 Wei, 223 Chu, 222 Yan and finally Qi in 221. The domain of the powerless Zhou kings already had fallen to Qin in 256.

    The reasons for the triumph of Qin over the other states are manifold. The geographical location of the half-barbarian state of Qin between protecting mountains and the Yellow River gave it enough chance to build up its strengh unchallenged. The building of a great canal made it possible to extend the irrigation system and to enhance the very important agricultural production. Esteeming manly virtues and disdaining the sophisticated culture of the eastern states created a state ready to engage in a ruthless war. The cultural backwardness, on the other side, made it necessary to the Qin rulers to employ foreign people with knowledge, especially in modern administration questions. Administration laws were codified and thus were more objective in difference to a personal rule.

    China Unified

    With the defeat of the other six warring states, Qin Shi Huang had unified northern China. His army would continue to expand the Qin Empire’s southern boundaries throughout his lifetime, driving as far south as what is now Vietnam.

    The king of Qin became the Emperor of Qin China.

    As emperor, Qin Shi Huang reorganized the bureaucracy, abolishing the existing nobility and replacing them with his appointed officials. He also built a network of roads, with the capital of Xianyang at the hub.

    In addition, the emperor simplified the written Chinese script, standardized weights and measures, and minted new copper coins.

    The Confucian Purge

    The Warring States Period was dangerous, but the lack of central authority allowed intellectuals to flourish. Confucianism and a number of other philosophies blossomed prior to China’s unification.

    However, Qin Shi Huang viewed these schools of thought as threats to his authority, so he ordered all books not related to his reign burned in 213 B.C.

    The Emperor also had approximately 460 scholars buried alive in 212 for daring to disagree with him, and 700 more stoned to death.

    From then on, the only approved school of thought was legalism: follow the emperor’s laws, or face the consequences.

    Qin Shi Huang’s Quest for Immortality

    As he entered middle age, the First Emperor grew more and more afraid of death. He became obsessed with finding the elixir of life, which would allow him to live forever.

    The court doctors and alchemists concocted a number of potions, many of them containing “quicksilver” (mercury), which probably had the ironic effect of hastening the emperor’s death rather than preventing it.

    Just in case the elixirs did not work, in 215 B.C. the Emperor also ordered the construction of a gargantuan tomb for himself. Plans for the tomb included flowing rivers of mercury, cross-bow booby traps to thwart would-be plunderers, and replicas of the Emperor’s earthly palaces.

    Qin Shi Huang sent Taoist alchemist Xu Fu with 500 young men and 500 young women to the eastern seas to find the elixir, but he never came back (legend has it that he found Japan instead). When Shi Huang Di visited, he brought 3000 young girls and boys, but none of them ever returned.

    The Great Wall

    In the year 221 BC, Emperor Qin Shihuang defeated all his enemies and unified China for the first time in its history. During his reign, the Huns from the north were a constant threat, often coming down to the Yellow River Basin and taking land from people in the Hetao Area, located at the top of the Great Bend of the Yellow River in Ningxia and Inner Mongolia. To protect his people and safeguard his political power, the Emperor ordered General Meng Tian, commanding 300,000 soldiers, to defeat the enemy force. To prevent further attacks by the Huns, he decided to consolidate and extend the Great Wall of China.

    Many people believed that it was Emperor Qin Shihuang who first built the Great Wall. But research showed that before Qin’s Great Wall, the six ducal states had already built their own walls to prevent attacks from each other and the Huns. Qin’s Great Wall was built by connecting parts of the walls belonging to the past ducal states Qin, Zhao and Yan, plus adding several thousand miles of its own. The Great Wall of Qin resembled a gigantic dragon, extending from Lintao in the west to Liaodong in the east. Thus it was named ‘Wanli Changcheng’ (Ten Thousand Li Great Wall).

    Generally speaking, Qin’s Great Wall can be divided into three sections: western, middle and eastern. Thewestern section started from the present Min County in Gansu Province, winding its way to Inner Mongolia via Guyuan County in Gansu Province; Jingbian, Yulin, Shenmu in Shaanxi Province; ending at the south bank of the Yellow River. The middle section started from Xinghe County in Inner Mongolia, winding its way to the north border of Wulanbuhe desert by way of Daqingshan Mountain, Guyuan County, Yinshan Mountain and the Yellow River. This part of the Great Wall was built mainly by using rubbles left from existing walls. The eastern section started from Huade County, Inner Mongolia, through Hebei Province, ending in Fuxin City in Liaoning Province. This part of the wall was built on the foundation of the ruins of Yan Dynasty walls.

    It took about nine years to finish this grand project. The construction of the Qin Great Wall took many lives and a great deal of money and materials. From a historical aspect, during Qin Shihuang’s rule, the Great Wall had served its ro

    The Terracotta Army

    To guard Qin Shi Huang in the afterworld, and perhaps allow him to conquer heaven as he had the earth, the emperor had a terracotta army of at least 8,000 clay soldiers placed in the tomb. The army also included terracotta horses, along with real chariots and weapons.

    Each soldier was an individual, with unique facial features (although the bodies and limbs were mass-produced from molds).

    They are the works made by craftsmen some 2,200 years ago and have been listed as “the eighth wonder of the world”. The Terra-Cotta Army is the funeral objects in Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s mausoleum. As most of the works are soldier and horse figures, they are also called “soldier and horse figures of the Qin Dynasty”.

    The Terracotta Army of the Qin Dynasty is modeled after Emperor Qinshihuang’s real army. Judging by the number and making techniques of the pottery soldiers and horses, they were produced in large batches with different people working on different parts. It was a remarkable feat, given the technological conditions at that time. The creation of the Terra-Cotta Army was based on real life and used realistic expression techniques, forming a distinctive artistic style.

    The exquisite pottery warriors were made with superb craftsmanship. There are subtle differences in each soldier’s hairstyle, expression, clothes and even the buttons of the battle robe and the edges of the armor. These warriors are unique in Chinese sculpture history, holding high artistic values and causing a great impact on the sculptural art after the Qin Dynasty.

    The Death of Qin Shi Huang

    A large meteor fell in Dongjun in 211 B.C. – an ominous sign for the Emperor. To make matters worse, someone etched the words “The First Emperor will die and his land will be divided” onto the stone.

    Since nobody would fess up to this crime, the Emperor had everyone in the vicinity executed. The meteor itself was burned and then pounded into powder.

    Nevertheless, the Emperor died less than a year later, while touring eastern China in 210 B.C. The cause of death most likely was mercury poisoning, due to his immortality treatments.

    Personal Intrigues

    On the sudden death of the First Emperor during his fifth inspection travel, the eunuch Zhao Gao and chancellor Li Si charged a plot against the crown prince Fusu. They wrote a faked letter to Fusu by what the deceased emperor ordered Fusu to commit suicide, and his younger brother Huhai, the deceased emperor’s favorite, was installed as Second Emperor. Already in his first year, rebellions of the old nobility and peasentry broke out. Zhao Gao arrested Li Si and let him suffer the five mutilating punishments. The emperor killed himself of fear of the rebellions, and Zhao Gao installed a child as king of Qin, only to be stabbed to death by the nameless king himself. The Kid submitted to Liu Bang 劉邦 who occupied the Qin capital Xianyang but the tyrant Xiang Yu sacked Xianyang and executed the Kid. In this way the glorious Qin Dynasty came to an unfamous end.

    The Downfall of the Qin Empire

    Except personal reasons, the main factor for the downfall of the Qin dynasty was the overextension of peasant labour. Peasants had to deliver corvée labour. The First Emperor had the palaces of the six old feudal states (Qi, Yan, Chu, Zhao, Wei and Han) rebuilt in his own capital, had built the Epang Palace and the imperial tomb at Lishan, constructed the Great Wall to protect China against the raids of the Xiongnu tribes, had built postal roads, and furthermore recruited peasants into his armies fighting against the Xiongnu and the tribes of the Southern Yue. Instead of stablizing the empire’s economical foundations after the long decades of conquest wars, the Qin government continued to exploit its economical and social sources to the utmost. A factor deeply aggravating this situation was the extremely harsh penal law issued by the Qin government. The penal law was in first place directed against the own state officials, and not so much against real criminals and evildoers. The fear of the central government that local officials might abuse their position or be lenient in their duties, caused the issuing of what is known as the “oppressive law” of the Qin. It was the rigidity of this law that lead to the rebellions of several overseers in the year 209. Instead of awaiting punishment for being late or not delivering the right number of labourers, the overseers decided to rise up against the Qin dynasty. Still during the reign of the First Emperor, there were attempts at assassinating the tyrant (like an attempt by Zhang Liang and his retainers in 218), and someone had made a stone inscription saying that after the First Emperor’s death the empire would disintegrate.

    The death of the First Emperor in 209 and the ensuing turbulences in the central goverment indeed seemed to have been a decisive factor. Zhao Gaodominated the court, eliminated his opponents, had executed officials remonstrating against him, controlled the emperor and had intensified the cruelty of the law and the amount of corvée labour the people had to deliver.

    Chen Sheng and Wu Guang were heads of a group of 900 corvée labourers that camped in Daze (near modern Suxian, province of Anhui) on the way to their destination. When a heavy rain set in, the group could not continue their march and risked being late, a crime to be punished by execution. Chen and Wu decided to raise in rebellion. In case of failure they would at least have a name in history. Chen Sheng was proclaimed king of Chu and was made highest commander, Wu Guang was his lieutenant.

    With the parole to do justice to late Prince Fusu and late general Xiang Yan of Chu, they took to the arms. The rebel army took Jixian, Zhi, Cuo, Ku, Zhe and Qiao. When the army arrived at Chenxian (modern Huaiyang, province of Henan) it disposed already of several ten thousand troops of all types of arms. Chen She convoked the old gentry of the region. Chen Sheng proclaimed himself king of “Enlarged Chu” (Zhang-Chu), Wu Guang was made supplementary king. In the meantime Ge Ying had advanced towards the southeast. Ge Ying installed Xiang Qiang as king of Chu, but when heard that Chen Sheng was the king, he killed Xiang. For his failure, Ge was called to Chenxian and was executed. Wu Chen, Zhang Er and Chen Yu advanced towards Anyang and conquered Handan, the ancient capital of Zhao. Wu Chen made himself king of Zhao. Zhou Wen supported Chu with his own troops and advanced to Xi but was defeated and died soon. Xiang Liang , a son of Xiang Yan, had made himself magistrate of Guiji and adopted the title of Lord of Wuxin.

    Tian Dan proclaimed himself king of Qi in the east. Liu Bang, village head of Sishui, joined the rebellion (known as Duke of Pei and eventual founder of the Han Dynasty, 206 BCE-220 CE), supported by some local sub-officials. Han Guang thereupon proclaimed himself king of Yan in the north, and Jiu, Lord of Ningling, was allowed to become king of Wei, but Chen Sheng did not allow him to leave Chenxian. His competitor for the kingship of Wei was Zhou Shi. Wu Chen, king of Zhao, was killed by Li Liang. Zhang Er and Chen Yu thereupon made Xie king of Zhao. Chen She had Wu Guang attacked Yingyang, Deng Zong conquered Jiujiang at the Huai River. Zhou Shi was to conquer the northeast, and Song Liu was to attack Nanyang. The proclamation of the kingdom of Chu instigated a lot of people to join the rebellion. It was especially the southern regions where people killed the local officials of the Qin and built rebel armies. But also Qin officials joined the rebellion, like magistrate Wu Rui . In the far south Ying Bu rose weapons, in Dongyang in the southeast Chen Ying rebelled. Qin Jia and Zhu Jishi controlled Tan in the east. An attempt by Zhou Wen to attack Xianyang failed. His army was annihilated by the Qin general Zhang Han. Tian Zang killed Wu Guang because he was not able to conquer Yingyang and sent his head to Chen Sheng. But Tian Zang himself was defeated by the troops of Qin. Deng Yue lost Tan to the Qin.

    In the next months the Qin general Zhang Han was able to defeat more and more rebel troops. He finally attacked Chenxian where Chen Sheng had his residence. Chen Sheng fled to Xiachengfu where he was killed by Zhuang Jia. He was posthumously given the title of King Yin and buried in Dang and was still venerated as a hero during the Han period(206 BCE-220 CE). This event constituted a catastrophy for the rebels. Song Liu submitted to the Qin. Qin Jia thereupon made Jing Ju king of Chu and asked Tian Dan, the king of Qi, for support against the troops of Qin, but Tian Dan refused. It was only Jing Bu who as able to repell the armies of Qin. Shao Pingjiao made Xiang Liang counsellor-in-chief of Chu. Xiang Liang crossed the Yangtse River and was joined by Cheng Ying, Jing Bu, and then Liu Bang. Xiang Liang advanced to Xue, killed King Jing Ju and made Prince Xin, a grandson of the late King Huai of Chu (r. 328-299), the new ruler of Chu, with the capital in Xutai and later in Pengcheng. In order to honour King Huai, Prince Xin was also called King Huai. At that time, Qin conquered the kingdom of Qi. Tian Dan was killed. King Jiu of Wei met the same feat. Tian Dan was followed by Tian Jia, and Wei Bao became king of Wei after the suicide of his brother Wei Jiu. Cheng was made king of Han. The army of Xiang Liang advanced to the north, liberated Dong’a, advanced to Dingtao and killed the magistrate of Sanchuan, Li You. Tian Dan’s son Tian Shi was thereupon named king of Qi. In the battle of Dingtao, Xiang Liang was defeated by the Qin general Zhang Han, and was killed. Xiang Yu, his nephew, was thereupon enfeoffed as Duke of Lu.

    The first general of the rebel armies was Song Yi, Xiang Yu the second. Liu Bang was enfeoffed as Marquis of Wu’an. King Huai of Chu promised that the first person conquering the capital of Qin, Xiangyang, would be made a king. In the meantime Zhang Han conquered Handan, the capital of Zhao. Xiang Yu thereupon killed Song Yi, crossed the Yellow River to the north and liberated Julu, a city of Zhao besieged by Qin troops. This victory was the impetus for further military success. The Qin general Su Jiao was killed, general Wang Li captured, Zhang Han was repelled by Ying Bu and General Pu and withdrew to the west. Liu Bang conquered Kaifeng. When Zhang Han sent for more troops, Zhao Gao, the factual ruler of Qin, refused.

    The most important general of Qin, Zhang Han, thereupon surrendered to Xiang Yu and was promised to be granted the title of king of Yong. Enraged, Zhao Gao forced the Second Emperor to kill himself and installed his nephew, the so-called Infant Ruler, as king of Qin. The central government of Qin clearly saw that the emperorship could not longer be sustained in the face of the resurgance of the old feudal states Chu, Zhao, Wei and Qi. The Infant Ruler was unexpectedly not a helpless child but was able to have Zhao Gao killed and dispatched troops to occupy the Yao Pass. Liu Bang circumvented the pass, defeated the last Qin troops at Lantian and entered Xianyang in January 206. The king of Qin surrendered. Awaiting his allies, Liu Bang withdrew his troops to Bashang. He used the time to proclaim the end of the oppressive law of the Qin and thus attracted the support of the inhabitants of the region of Guanzhong around the capital. Xiang Yu, exhibiting quite an opposite kind of politics towards the Qin dynasty, massacred a whole army of 20,000 surrendering troops of the Qin at Xin’an. He entered Xiangyang, killed the Infant King, plundered the capital and burnt it down.

    This was the sad end of the Qin dynasty. In the next four years Xiang Yu and Liu Bang fighted for dominance, a war that was ended in 202 with the suicide of Xiang Yu and Liu Bang’s accession to the imperial throne as founder of the Han dynasty.

    Marxists are happy to find here the first large-scale peasant uprising in Chinese history. It is said to not have been a success because Chen Sheng became “estranged from the masses”.

    The kingdoms of the rebels against Qin
    kingdom ruler(s)
    Chu Chen She (i.e. Chen Shen), Chu Yinwang opponent Xiang Qiang Jing Gou, a relative to the old house of Chu, killed by Xiang Liang Xin, Chu Huaiwang, called Yidi “Righteous Emperor”, grandson of King Huai of Chu (r. 328-299), killed by Xiang Yu In 206 Xiang Yu divides Chu in the kingdoms of West Chu, Hengshan, Linjiang and Jiujiang.
    (Xiang) Xiang Liang, Lord Wuxin, ruler of Wu, killed in battle Xiang Yu, Lord of Lu, nephew of Xiang Liang
    Zhao Wu Chen, killed by Li Liang Zhao Xie or Xie, King of Zhao, descendant of the house of Zhao, later King of Dai 代 In 206 Xiang Yu divides Zhao into Zhao and Dai.
    Qi Tian Dan, killed in battle Tian Jia, brother of Tian Jian, the last ruler of Qi (r. 264-221) opponent Tian Shi, son of Tian Dan In 206 Xiang Yu divides Qi into the kingdoms of Linzi, Jibei and Jiaodong .
    (Han) Liu Bang, Duke of Pei, Marquis Wu’an In 206 Xiang Yu divides the western area into the kingdoms of Han, Yong, Sai and Di.
    Yan Han Guang King of Yan, later of Liaodong later killed by Zang Tu In 206 Xiang Yu divided this area into the kingdoms of Yan and Liaodong.
    Wei Wei Jiu or Jiu, King of Wei, suicide after defeat against Qin Wei Bao, younger brother of Wei Jiu In 206 Xiang Yu divides Wei into the kingdoms of Wei and Yin.
    Han Han Cheng or Cheng, King of Han, later killed by Xiang Yu In 206 Xiang Yu divided his territory into Han and Henan.

    Xiang Yu kills the last king of Qin, sacks the capital Xianyang and installs new kingdoms under his rule as Hegemonial King of West-Chu (Xi-Chu Bawang). The following table covers the years from 206 to 202. There are two persons of the same name: King Han Xin and the general Han Xin (called Marquis Huaiyin).

    Chu Xiang Yu kills Chu Huaiwang.
    Xi-Chu Hegemonial King Xiang Yu; at Gaixia defeated by Liu Bang; Xiang Yu kills himself. For a short time in 202, general Hann Xin is King of Chu (degraded to the rank of Marquis Huaiyin in 201; rebelled and executed in 197).
    Hengshan King Wu Rui; surrenders to Han; installed as King of Changsha in 202.
    Xiang (Linjiang) King Gong Ao, later his son Gong Xiang (Wei) in 204; dethroned by Han in 202.
    Jiujiang King Ying Bu; surrenders to Han in 204; reinstalled in 203.
    Zhao (Changshan) King Zhang Er; surrenders to Han in 206. Zhao Xie King of Zhao; destroyed by Han in 204. In 203, Zhang Er is reinstalled as king, followed by his son Zhang Ao in 201.
    Dai King Zhao Xie; destroyed by Han. Zhao Xie becomes King of Zhao in 206 Chen Yu King of Dai, destroyed by Han in 204.
    Qi (Linzi) King Tian Du, later Tian Rong; Tian Jia is reinstalled by Xiang Yu, followed by his son Tian Guang; destroyed by Han in 203.
    Jibei King Tian An; destroyed by Qi.
    Jiaodong King Tian Shi; destroyed by Qi.
    Han King Liu Bang; after his victory over Xiang Yu Emperor of Han in 202.
    Yong King Zhang Han; destroyed by Han in 205.
    Sai King Sima Xin; surrenders to Han in 206.
    Di King Dong Yi; surrenders to Han in 206.
    Yan King Zang Tu; rebels against Han, is destroyed in 203; his follower is Lu Wan in 202.
    Liaodong King Hann Guang; destroyed by Yan.
    Wei (Xi-Wei) King Wei Bao; surrenders to Han in 205 and is reinstalled as King of Wei; destroyed by Han in 205.
    Yin King Sima Ang; surrenders to Han in 205.
    Hann King Hann Cheng; later Zheng Chang. Liu Bang installs Hann Xinn as king. Hann Xinn becomes King of Taiyuan in 201.
    Henan King Shen Yang; surrenders to Han 206.

    Green are the kingdoms surrendering to Han, the red kingdoms were destroyed by Han. Qi has conquered Jiaodong and Jibei, Yan conquered Liaodong. The decisive battle was in Gaixia (near modern Huaiyang /Henan).

    Be the first of your friends to like this.
    You may also be interested in these posts:

No comments

Leave a Comment

Let's make this a positive community where we really appreciate shows and actors for what they are. If something wasn't to your liking, please simply ignore it.

Please leave a comment and tell us what you think. Required fields are marked *

Click on the image to view top recommendations.

Watch Wuxia Series Online

We have some of our most recommended series on youtube, please click above to watch online.

  • No categories

Click to visit my personal website

"Let us be nourished together, let us grow together, let us withstand this treacherous weather, experience wind and rain, and emerge to become even stronger than before." - Xiaoqi (Seven of the Sky)

total hits
© 2010 - 2013 Wuxia Edge - Ancient Chinese Series. All Rights Reserved.