The Qin Dynasty in China, 221 BC(E)

For many years, China consisted of 7 warring kingdoms.  But one of these kingdoms, Qin, underwent a few changes.  First, in 356 BCE, the statesman Shang Yang instituted polices and reforms that strengthen Qin.  These included policies that set standards for weight and currency, favored the government over the individual, encouraged immigration to draw in more labor, and gave land based on merit (e.g. productive farms, military prowess).  He was hated by nobility (who could no longer rest on their entitlements), but this did strengthen Qin.  A century later, in 230 BC, an aggressive statesman (Fan Gui) drove Qin to conquer one kingdom at a time. By 221 BCE, Qin had conquered all the warring kingdoms, and King Zheng of Qin became ruler. Qin instituted a centralized and heavy-handed government, standards, and eliminated opposing view points, which helped keep a unified China.  

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The Qin Dynasty in China, 221 BC(E)

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