Chinese civilization

Ancient China was one of the largest and most influential empires in Asia, with more than 4000 years of existence, the Chinese built monumental dikes and walls that still remain today.

With an unequaled creativity and ambition of their rulers, they managed to unify China in a powerful empire, even stronger than the great empires of ancient Europe.

China before being a great empire, was submerged in the chaos and cruelty of war, made up of several states fighting for total control of the territory. This period would be known by historians as ” The States of War .”

But it was until the third century BC that a state known as the Qin who managed to impose themselves before the other kingdoms through their ingenuity and military strength, thus unifying a vast region of China and beginning one of the greatest empires in history That still endures.

The strong Qin because of their geographical position, which gave them access to the main navigable rivers of China and their rich fertile land for agriculture, gave them an advantage over their adversaries at the time of combat since they could be mobilized at large speed on navigable routes and could supply food to their army.

These geographical advantages and the discovery of materials such as iron allowed them to base their military tactics that focused on attacks with soldiers on horseback, to large-scale attacks through the infantry, these foot soldiers with swords spears and armor made with the Metal manipulation, managed to win the decisive battles to the states of Han, Zhao, Yan, Wei, Chu and Qi .

When conquering a vast region, the Qin faced a problem, which consisted of the lack of food supply and access roads for the conquered states.

This responsibility would be taken by a Qin army officer named Li Bing, for his knowledge in hydraulic engineering, he built a masterpiece of engineering with thousands of Chinese workers. His plan was to create a series of dikes and a channel of colossal magnitude, which he went through excavating with little technological tools such as hammers and chisels Mount Chian to control and change the course of the Min River to achieve a new waterway and have the sufficient water that allowed agriculture to the new territories.

In 247 BC Ying Zheng comes to power , was born in Handan, capital of the enemy state of Zhao . Son of Zichu , who was prince of the royal house of Qin and was held hostage to the state of Zhao and then released by a deal between him and the state of Qin.

Ying Zheng takes the power of the Qin state at age 13 along with his mother as a widow queen who was in control until his son reached the age of majority. When he turned 22, Zheng takes full power as the emperor of the town of Qin, this aroused envy in the people around him which led to planning his murder. Among the people who planned his death was his mother who already had 2 children with a wealthy man from the region.

When the emperor discovered the plan that would lead to his death, he ordered his mother to be banished from the kingdom, a sentence that would not be the same for his stepbrothers and their father as they were executed.

With the throne free of any threat, Ying Zheng orders his army to finish conquering the missing states to unify all of China, in this journey there would be a kingdom that would oppose fiercely so as not to be conquered. Chu’s state was a great obstacle for Emperor Zheng.

In 238 BC the Qin launched a frontal attack to bend and annex the Chu, fifteen years would take the Qin State to defeat the Chu in violent battles where thousands of soldiers died on both sides.

Yin Zheng after the victory to the state of Chu, he is named the first emperor of China, known as Shi Huangdi . Upon completing his goal of unifying all of China, he decides to build what would be one of the most ambitious projects of his reign.

Many states in northern China had built walls to protect themselves from the battles that were fought for total control of the territory. Yin Zheng had knowledge of these constructions and ordered his engineers to unite all these to create a single wall ” the great wall of China ” that would protect his new empire from any invader.

This wall with a length of 9,000 km and an age of more than 2000 years, is one of the wonders of the modern world. In principle it was not the wall that is known today, it was more a simple wall of compact earth bricks and adobe.

It presented a huge construction challenge for the time, because it had to go from the East Sea to the Gobi Desert , this in order to keep the Mongols out of China and their people inside this fortification.

For the creation of this megaproject, the people of China had to pay a high cost of living, having to work men, women and children with their hands without being able to refuse to do so, because they would be sentenced to death. In addition to illnesses and injuries they had to suffer intense work days with very little food.

This construction inspired many mothers to write poems that would be known years later; where they would describe what they lived there at the time that their children had to go to their workdays, since it could be the last time they would see them.

The First Chinese wall was built with an innovative technique for that time; it consisted of creating a wooden frame which would be filled with soil and flattened until it was compacted, when removing the wooden frame there would be a block of solid ground with enough force to stop an invasion.

In 210 BC the wall had been extended more than 5000 km leaving an important mark in the Chinese territory, these advances did not cause pride in the people considering that this construction was not worth the price they had to pay to create it.

Full of anger at the inhuman sacrifice that the Chinese people must suffer; A plan was initiated to assassinate the emperor, resulting in three failed assassination attempts.

Shi Huangdi, decides to discharge all his anger against China, burning all the documents that recorded the cruelty he unleashed on his people; and punished all people who spoke ill of his reign by forcing them to forced labor or the death penalty.

These events led the emperor to suffer paranoia for conspiracies to overthrow him from the throne, which would lead him to banish his own son and summon all his people again for the construction of one of the most impressive and mysterious structures of today.

He gathered more than 700 thousand men near the capital of China to build his tomb that he designed at the age of 13. His death occurred mysteriously while he was on a trip through eastern China; in search of the legendary islands of the immortals and the secret of eternal life.

Terracotta molded thousands of Chinese soldiers in battle formation, guard the entrance of the tomb of the first Chinese emperor; these statues with great detail on his face and armor measure around 1.72 cm to 2.30 cm; and they were designed to look like a royal army that would show the power and greatness of its emperor.

The terracotta soldiers were part of the imposing building design Shi Huangdi; these would protect the largest treasure that would be its mausoleum, with a height of 120 meters; according to historical writings, there is the bronze tomb of the first emperor dressed in gold armor; floating in rivers of mercury with a miniature representation of his entire kingdom.

The entrance and excavation of the tomb has not yet been allowed; since China has decided to wait until they develop the technology to preserve what is still protected there; although scientific evidence has shown that a large camera is found; and mercury rates are higher than normal, they would be the only evidence that ratify the writings that describe the imposing grave.

After the death of Shi Huangdi, China begins a civil war for total control of the empire; but it was in 260 BC that a new ruler comes to power; It would be known as Liu Bang a balance with great political skills; who knew how to reassure and win the people who were in the chaos of war.

The new emperor took four years to consolidate his government, which would be known as the Han dynasty  this emperor brought the peace that his people so longed for until his death in the year195 BC

The Han dynasty with a duration of 4 centuries; He sought to fortify the great wall of China with garrisons and expanded the wall much more than the first emperor had done. During this reign the population of China increased to 50 million inhabitants and its empire extended to the south; in what is known today as Vietnam and west to Afghanistan.

In 184 BC a peasant revolution would end the Han dynasty and China would again be submerged in the chaos of war; wars that would last three centuries until the Sui dynasty established order and unified China again.

With the leadership of Yang Di; who focused unlike his predecessors on fortifying the interior of his kingdom taking advantage of waterways such as the Yangtze River;  with a length of 6,300 km and the Yellow river, with a length of 5,464 km; these two great bodies of water would lead Yang Di to create a channel that linked these water sources; in order to link their entire kingdom and increase trade between their regions.

For this ambitious project, Yang Di led his people to precarious working conditions; where thousands of people lost their lives due to fatigue and hunger, this construction would last 6 years. At the end of the great channel; the cities around the new waterway would become the main sources of silk trade and high quality merchandise.

This important river construction boosted the art, poetry and painting of the region’s landscapes in China.

Emperor Yang Di, decides to tour its monumental construction by boat in order to closely observe the efficiency of his project. With an enormous amount of ostentatious and beautiful boats, he decided to go through the entire canal during the crossing; groups of villagers gathered to see the passing of the king; observing the luxury and waste of food by his emperor by throwing the food left over from his banquets to the river.

The emperor of China once again underestimated the power of his people; and he is full of anger at the contempt of his ruler; He decided to destroy his regime.

China is again in a civil war that would reach the gates of the palace; This caused Emperor Yang Di to be killed by his Generals in 618 AD thus ending the Sui dynasty. After this Chinese event would be ruled by the Mongols known as Yuan;  who held power for a century, until the Ming dynasty regained territory; giving back to its rightful owners the Chinese people.

One of the important people during the Ming dynasty was Naval Admiral Zheng He;  given as a gift to the son of the emperor in his childhood and castrated to protect the lineage of the throne.

Admiral Zheng together with the emperor of the Ming dynasty, decide to create the largest naval fleet in the history of mankind; with a total of 300 vessels ready for battle with thousands of sailors willing to explore the seas of Asia.

This naval exploration that sarpo in the year of 1405; He managed to reach the coast of Africa, generating trade agreements and demonstrating in his path the wealth and military power of his empire.

The last trip made by the Muslim eunuch admiral Zheng He would be in India, where he would die in strange circumstances; after his death a new emperor in China was already in power who ordered the immediate return of the entire fleet; and then dismantled and destroyed, this being the end of China’s exploration.

In the year of 1,449 the enemy of China the Mongol forces; they decide to carry out a decisive attack that led the Ming dynasty to carry out the restructuring of the Chinese wall; turning it into the colossal structure that is known today, fortifying it with bricks, stone and cannons; they defended themselves against the Mongol attacks.

By the year 1,600 a tribe known as the Manchu gathered forces to attack the Ming dynasty; that this was weakened by their social conflicts. And already in 1644 the Manchu forces take the capital of China Beijín; Completing the Ming dynasty, one of the most important in the history of China.

It took the Chinese people more than 250 years to expel the invaders, to achieve this a new society would be born, communist China; being one of the oldest societies in the history of humanity with an enormous cultural wealth that still endures.

by Abdullah Sam
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