Known as a capable administrator and yet a brutal tyrant, Qin Shi Huang was the first person to unify all of China under one single banner. This made him the first emperor of unified China. He has a very interesting life story that oscillates between visionary achievements and tyrannical eccentricities, between great reforms and extreme paranoia. Let us learn 40 interesting Qin Shi Huang fact and understand how he became China’s first emperor and how he eventually died.
Interesting Qin Shi Huang Facts: 1-10
1. Qin Shi Huang’s original name was Ying Zheng. He was born in 259 BCE in Qin state. He was the son of the King of Qin.
2. Back then (when he was born), the whole of China was divided into 7 states that used to engage in military conflicts very frequently. So common was the war between these states that the period became popular in annals of history as Warring States Period.
3. However, there were rumors that Zheng was actually the son of Yiren Zheng (father of Ying Zheng) and a concubine.
4. After the death of Yiren Zheng (aka King Zhuangxiang of Qin), Ying Zheng became the king of Qin. But at that time, Ying was only 13 years old with Lü Buwei (a rich merchant from State of Wey) acting as regent Prime Minister.
5. By the age of 22, Ying Zheng took over the full control of Qin and started dreaming of unifying whole of China by conquering the rest of the 6 states.
6. The vision of unified China led Ying Zheng to start a series of conquests. One of the smaller and weaker states at that time was the State of Yan. Yan was small and was of no match to Qin.
7. Tormented by Ying Zheng’s military assaults of Yan, Prince Dan of Yan plotted an assassination of King Ying Zheng. However, the attempt failed and after 5 years of battles, Qin finally conquered Yan.
8. During the first assassination attempt, the man who was in charge of assassinating Ying Zheng was Jing Ke. Jing Ke was captured and finally executed.
9. One of the close friends of Jing Ke was Gao Jianli who was renowned as a skilled lute player. Gao wanted to avenge the execution of his friend Jing Ke and one day when King Ying Zheng summoned him to play lute, he came prepared with a heavy lead ball hidden in his lute.
10. One of palace members of King Ying Zheng knew Gao from pervious associations and when he saw Gao, he immediately identified Gao as an associate and friend of Jing Ke. Once, Gao’s intent was clear, King Ying Zheng had his eyes removed because he did not want to execute a skilled musician.