Friday, March 27, 2009
Qin Shihuang Di, the first Emperor
After unifying China, he and his chief adviser Li Si passed a series of major economic and political reforms. He undertook gigantic projects, including the
- first version of the Great Wall of China, the
- famous city-sized mausoleum guarded by a life-sized Terracotta Army, and a
- massive national road system, all at the expense of many lives. To ensure stability, Qin Shi Huang
- outlawed Confucianism and
- buried many scholars alive. All
- books other than those officially decreed were banned and burned in what is known as the great Confucian purge. Despite the
- tyranny of his autocratic rule, Qin Shi Huang is regarded as an important figure.
Qin Shi Huang and his prime minister Li Si completely abolished feudalism. The administration was now
- based on merit instead of hereditary rights.
Qin Shi Huang and Li Si unified China economically by
- standardizing the Chinese units of measurements such as
- weights and measures, the
- currency, the
- length of the axles of carts to facilitate transport on the road system. The emperor also developed an extensive
- network of roads and canals connecting the provinces to
- improve trade between them. The currency of the different states were also standardized to the Ban liang coin (半兩). Perhaps most importantly, the
- Chinese script was unified.