Qin Shi Huang

258 BC - 209 BC

Qin Shi Huang was the founder of the Qin dynasty, and first emperor of a unified China. From 247 to 221 BC he was Zheng, King of Qin. He became China's first emperor when he was 38 after the Qin had conquered all of the other Warring States and unified all of China in 221 BC. Rather than maintain the title of "king" borne by the previous Shang and Zhou rulers, he ruled as the First Emperor of the Qin dynasty from 221 BC to 210 BC. His self-invented title "emperor" would continue to be borne by Chinese rulers for the next two millennia.
During his reign, his generals greatly expanded the size of the Chinese state: campaigns south of Chu permanently added the Yue lands of Hunan and Guangdong to the Chinese cultural orbit; campaigns in Central Asia conquered the Ordos Loop from the nomad Xiongnu, although eventually it would also lead to their confederation under Modu Chanyu.
Qin Shi Huang also worked with his minister Li Si to enact major economic and political reforms aimed at the standardization of the diverse practices of the earlier Chinese states. He is traditionally said to have banned and burned many books and executed scholars.
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“I have collected all the writings of the Empire and burnt those which were of no use.”

Qin Shi Huang
258 BC - 209 BC
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