China did not become United until the middle of the 3rd century BC. Instead, it was a collection of smaller kingdoms. In 247 BC, the king of Western side far away kingdom Qin passed away, and his 13-year-old prince became king. He was able to do something that no other Chinese ruler had done before; unification of China.
The unification of China is a story full of wars, conspiracies, and power struggles. After many serious attempts in 221 BC, the unification of China was completed. Thus, King Qin became the first emperor of China.
Prince Yin Jian of the Qin Dynasty was born in 259 BC when China was a collection of seven kingdoms. Prince Yiren of Qin lived in Zhao at the time as a hostage to its royal family as a ceasefire condition. There he met the mistress of a merchant named Lü Buwei. They married with the consent of Buwei from which Prince Yin Jian was born.
According to some historical records, Lu Buwei was the father of Yin Jian. The reports state that she was pregnant by then. It may because to express he as an illegitimate child was later used by some to despise him. But this story is not so well accepted.
When prince Yiren returned to his homeland, Lu Buwei also arrived, became prime minister, continued associate with the queen. After Yiren’s death, then just 13 years old prince became the king. Appointed Buwei again as prime minister, queen and Buwei became the rulers.
Meanwhile, the history of the whole of China could be turned upside down. An educated young man named Li Si came to the palace in search of work and Buwei recruited him. Then Li could meet an arrangement with the king which Buwei did not attend. No know at the time knew that Li Si’s recruitment and allowing him to meet the king alone were two of the most decisive events leading to the end of Buwei and the beginning of the Chinese Empire.
Li Si emphasized that there was an unprecedented opportunity for the unification of the Chinese kingdoms and that young king as the right man for the job. He pointed out that modernizing and enlarging the army is important here. Li also emphasized the importance of concentrating power on the king. The army was the most important institution for that.
This led to the recruitment of new troops, the improvement of armaments, and the production of weapons. At that time, the Qin Dynasty began to produce longer swords than were used by the Chinese army. In time, the Qin Dynasty started its military operations.
A military force, as well as brutality, were used as a vital weapon in these battles. Until then, the general tradition was that the victorious army would take care of the soldiers and officers captured in battle. But there the king decided that the speed of his advance would be hampered, and they began to massacre. Due to rapid military operations, strong forces, and brutal operations, the Qin army captured other states one by one.
Conspiracy to Overthrown
Meanwhile, the Queen Mother had found a new lover. That was a general named Lao Ai known as a mutilated eunuch, but he wasn’t. The mother queen also had two children with him, and they grew up secretly in the queen’s palace. Lao Ai and the Queen Mother hoped that one day one from them would become king.
But the king heard about this attempt. Realizing that the king was about to reveal the secret, Lao Ai immediately became active. He is said to have stolen the king’s official seal and thereby persuaded an army corps in the capital, pretending right to command the army.
Meanwhile, Buwei informed the king about the disappearance of the official seal. Thus, the king’s army was at the king’s gate, ready for Lao Ai’s army which Ai was unaware. The king’s army did not attack until Lao Ai’s army approached the palace. The rebel forces were trapped in their ignorance. The army was destroyed by attacks by the king’s archers from hiding places, and Lao Ai was captured. At the king’s command, Lao Ai was executed, and the queen was forced to watch. Meanwhile, her two young children were also killed.
Buwei was also convicted of failing to protect the king at this time. The king ordered that he and his mother be deported from the capital. Some legends state that Buwei was not executed because he revealed to the king that he was the birth father of the king.
Just escaped an assassination attempt
The Yan province in northeastern China at the time pointed out that it wanted to build a friendship with Qin before the Chinese troops could come to it. They sent two envoys to the capital of Qin. The two envoys sent were assassins who came with gifts. They had brought a map showing the King of Qin’s victories and other prizes in two boxes.
When they arrived, one frightened and reluctant to go before the king. But, the other placed both prizes in front of the king and began to unfold the map. There was a dagger on end. As the map unfolds, he drew it and prepared to attack the king; however, he jumped back and escaped, but the king couldn’t draw his sword. The king ran to the back of the palace, avoiding stabbing, drew his sword and killed the assassin in an inner room. Based on the last conspiracy king didn’t allow to carry a weapon in his court. That’s why no one else could save him.
Defeat the Chu Kingdom
The most serious challenge to the Qin king during his conquest of other countries came from the Chu kingdom. It was the largest country in China at the time, apart from Qin with a large army which inspired Qin to recruit new troops.
When the armies of the two countries met face to face, the Qins played a trick, pointed out that their readiness was for a defensive war. But they were ready for an attack.
Archers were the first line of Qins. Then came the infantry and cavalry. Their method was to attack the enemy forces first with bows and arrows, then weaken them and then attack with infantry and cavalry.
Chu’s troops, suspecting that the Qin army was preparing for a defensive battle, retreated from the front supposing fight from a safer place. They were on a small high ground on the battlefield and got down. Qins’ archers advanced rapidly and attacked the returning Chu forces. The infantry and cavalry behind it stormed the Chu army in despair. It turned out to be a massacre of the Chu army alone.
After that, there was no one in the whole of China to stop the Qin, and Chu was defeated in 223 BC, Qin dynasty united the whole of China in 221 BC.
Thus, king proclaimed himself the first emperor of China titling Qin Shi Huang, divinely appointed emperor.