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Lesson 3
Warring Kingdoms Unite
Chapter 5
Ancient China
 Learn about the rise of the Qin dynasty.
 Find out how Emperor Shi Huangdi
attempted to unify the economy and culture
of China.
 Examine the actions of the Han dynasty’s
Key Terms
 Shi Huangdi – founder of the Qin dynasty and
China’s first emperor
 currency – the type of money used by a group or
a nation
 Liu Bang – the founder of the Han dynasty
 Wudi – Chinese emperor who brought the Han
dynasty to its greatest strength
 warlord – a local leader of an armed group
 In 1974, farmers and archaeologists found more
than 6,000 life-sized statues of soldiers and horses,
along with wood and bronze chariots and metal
weapons to protect Shi Huangdi’s tomb.
 Shi Huangdi had planned to rule a second empire
in the afterlife.
 He also made plans for a real-life empire.
 He believed his dynasty would last for 10,000
The Qin Dynasty
 Shi Huangdi conquered seven warring
kingdoms to unify China.
 His dynasty lasted two generations.
China’s First Emperor
 Shi Huangdi’s original name was Zhao Zheng.
 He ruled the Qin (Ch’in) people, which is where
the name China comes from.
 By 221 B.C., Zheng extended his rule over most
of the land and took the name Shi Huangdi (First
Strengthening the Empire
 Shi Huangdi strengthened China through strong
and harsh rule to protect his empire.
 Shi Huangdi started the construction of the Great
Wall of China as protection from nomads.
 Shi Huangdi connected all the different pieces of
the wall with labor provided by farmers and
 It took hundreds of thousands of workers ten
years to build the wall.
 Other emperors repaired and added new
sections to the 4,500 mile wall.
Organizing the Government
 Thousands of farmers were made to build roads.
 These roads allowed the armies to put down
rebellions quickly.
 The emperor imprisoned or killed any opposition.
 Shi Huangdi divided China into districts and placed
his trusted officials in control.
Reading Check
 How was China’s Great Wall built?
 For about ten years, hundreds of
thousands of farmers and merchants
were ordered by Shi Huangdi to connect
existing defensive walls.
Unifying Economy and Culture
 Shi Huangdi wanted to have one economy
and culture.
Economic and Cultural
 Shi Huangdi declared one currency,
common weights and measures, an
improved system of writing, and a law code.
 The common currency made it easier to
trade goods.
Restricting Freedoms
 In 213 B.C. Shi Huangdi tried to control the
thoughts of his people by outlawing the ideas
of Confucius and other important thinkers.
 He required that people learn the
philosophies of Qin scholars.
 The Qin believed in legalism, people should
be punished for bad behavior and rewarded
for good behavior, and that everyone should
serve the government and emperor.
 Shi Huangdi ordered all books except books
about medicine, technology, and farming,
be destroyed.
 The scholars that protested were killed.
The End of a Dynasty
 Shi Huangdi’s death in 210 B.C. was
followed by four years of chaos and civil war
ending with his son’s death.
 His grandson took power but could not
control China and rebellions broke out.
 His dynasty only lasted 15 years.
Reading Check
 How did Shi Huangdi try to limit his people’s
 Shi Huangdi limited his people’s freedoms by
outlawing the ideas of Confucius and other
thinkers, requiring that people learn the ideas
of Qin scholars, enforcing legalism, burning
many books, and having scholars who
protested killed.
The Han Dynasty
 Liu Bang was a rebel who helped overthrow the Qin
 He was the first emperor of the Han dynasty, which
was stable but less harsh than Shi Huangdi’s.
 It was the Han dynasty that educated people and
based the civil service system on Confucianism.
 The Han dynasty lasted for about 400 years.
Wudi: The Warrior Emperor
 In 140 B.C., Liu Bang’s great grandson, Wudi, came to
power when he was 15 and ruled for more than 50
 Wudi’s main interests were war and military matters.
 Wudi means “Warrior Emperor”.
 He improved the Great Wall and strengthened the
 He increased Chinese rule, west into Central Asia, east
into the Korean peninsula, and south into Vietnam.
The End of the Han Empire
 Eventually, after many Han emperors, the empire
began to weaken.
 As people in the government struggled for power the
empire fell apart, including the roads and canals.
 Eventually warlords started to gain power.
 Cao Pei was one warlord who took over northern
China and declared the Han dynasty over and started
the Wei dynasty.
 The Wei dynasty ended after 50 years, breaking up into
many smaller kingdoms.
Reading Check
 What happened in A.D. 220?
 Cao Pei declared an end to the Han
dynasty and set up his own Wei dynasty.
Section 3 Assessment
 1. (a) Describe
 What measures did Shi Huangdi take to
strengthen the empire and organize the
 He built the Great Wall to defend and roads
for the army to travel quickly, and divided
China into districts and selected officials to
 1. (b) Summarize
 Why is Shi Huangdi a major figure in
Chinese history?
 He was the first emperor of China and the
Qin dynasty.
 2. (a) Identify
 What measures did Shi Huangdi take to
unite the economy and culture of China?
 He standardized currency, weights,
measures, improved the system of writing,
and created a law code. He also outlawed
Confucianism and required everyone to
study the Qin scholars.
 2. (b) Analyze Information
 How did all of Shi Huangdi’s efforts
strengthen the empire? How did his
leadership hurt the empire?
 He facilitated commerce and
communication across the empire, but
people ultimately rebelled, leading to chaos
and civil war.
 3. (a) Recall
 What characterized the government of
China during the Han dynasty?
 Stability and a Confucian civil service
 3. (b) Compare and Contrast
 Compare the ways the emperors of the Qin
dynasty and the emperors of the Han dynasty
viewed the ideas of Confucius.
 How were their viewpoints similar or
 Qin- outlawed the ideas of Confucius, favored
 Han- based civil service system on Confucianism.