Ancient China is called one of the world's cradles of civilization. China has the longest continuous history in the world with over 3,500 years of written history! Many superlatives can be applied to Ancient China: It has the highest mountains! The longest rivers! The largest plateau! The longest wall! And, some of the world's earliest empires. This teacher guide utilizes the popular G.R.A.P.E.S. acronym for teaching about ancient civilizations and focuses on the geography, religion, achievements, politics, economy, and social structure of Ancient China.
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Qin Shi HuangdiEmperor of China(259 BCE - 210 BCE)
A Brutal RulerQin Shi Huangdi was a tyrannical and brutal ruler. He ordered books to be burned and outlawed most religions insisting that people be loyal to him and the government first and foremost. He had political opponents assassinated.
Early Life and Becoming KingQin Shi Huangdi was born Prince Zheng in 259 BCE to the king of the Qin state. Young Prince Zheng was well-educated and groomed to rule the state of Qin like his father. Zheng's father died when he was 13 years old. Since Zheng was so young a regent helped him rule for several years. However, when King Zheng was 22, he took complete control and set about the ambitious task of conquering other Chinese states and uniting them under his leadership.
Accomplishments Qin Shi Huangdi wanted to organize his empire with reforms that would help keep the states unified for years to come. Qin established the first standardized monetary unit - the Ban Liang coin.He created standard units of measure and a standard way to teach and use writing. Emperor Qin had roads and canals built throughout China to increase travel and trade.He also started construction of the Great Wall to keep out Mongol invaders from the north.
Terracotta Army and DeathEmperor Qin believed in the afterlife and insisted that he have artifacts in his tomb to protect him. During his life he had over 700,000 workers create a massive tomb that included a terracotta army of 8,000 soldiers, horses and chariots. The tomb was like an entire underground city meant for Qin to rule in his afterlife.Qin Shi Huangdi died in 210 BCE while on a trip with his second son, Huhai, who hid his death and tricked his older brother into killing himself so that Huhai could seize the throne and become emperor!
Becoming EmperorThere were six other Chinese States: Han, Zhao, Wei, Chu, Yan, Qi and King Zheng used his armies to gain control of them one by one. After conquering all the Chinese states, King Zheng declared himself Emperor of all of China and renamed himself "Shi Huangdi" which means first emperor.