The Emperor’s Clay Army. How did Shi Huangdi build an empire in China?. In 1974 farmers in the Huang He uncovered life-size clay soldiers while digging a well. An entire clay army- more than 8,000 soldiers, horses, and chariot has been unearthed!.
The Emperor’s Clay Army
How did Shi Huangdi build an empire in China?
In 1974 farmers in the Huang He uncovered life-size clay soldiers while digging a well.
An entire clay army- more than 8,000 soldiers, horses, and chariot has been unearthed!
No two soldiers looked alike. Each soldier held a real weapon to fight off the enemy.
Qin’s most famous ruler was a general who would one day order the making of the clay army. He led an army to take control of the Huang He delta, and won battle after battle, conquering all of northern China.
The Qin general declared himself China’s emperor. An emperor is the supreme ruler of an empire.
The Qin general took on the name Shi Huangdi,or “First Grand Emperor.” Shi Huangdi boasted that his dynasty would last for 10,000 generations.
Geography played a part in the emperor’s victory. The Qin region was protected by the Qinling Mountains on one side and the Huang He River on the other.
In addition to strong armies, Shi Huangdi split his empire into provinces, or political divisions of land. To weaken the power of the nobles, Shihuangdi let farmers own land. This forced many nobles to move to the capital city, Xianyang.
To further weaken the power of the nobles in Xianyang, Shi Huangdi took away their bronze weapons.
To unify China, Shi Huangdi set up a single system of writing throughout the empire. Local leaders used this writing to report to the capital, and to record and collect taxes.
Shi Huangdi also created a single system of money. Standardized gold and copper coins were used throughout China. Holes in the coins allowed people to keep their money on a string.
The empire became rich, as taxes from China’s farmers flowed into the capital. But farmers were required to build highways, and walls along the northern border. These walls were built to keep out people of the northern steppes.
Much later, similar walls would be built across these same mountains and valleys, making up the Great Wall of China. The Great Wall of China grew to be more than 1,500 miles long.
Farmers worked as soldiers and builders, and were the backbone of the empire. Farmers kept the empire strong, but their lives centered around the seasonal floods of the Huang. Farmers continued to grow wheat, rice, and other crops to feed the empire.
One of the greatest building projects of the Qin Empire was the construction of a tomb for Shi Huangdi. The emperor wanted his tomb to be a spectacular mirror of the real world.
The tomb’s many horses and soldiers stood guard, ready to protect the emperor from attack.
Shi Huangdi’s burial place lies under a giant mound near the clay army. Archaeologists have not yet uncovered the contents of the tomb.
The tomb contained a map of the empire, models of the Huang He, and bright stars on the ceiling. To keep out robbers, crossbows were set up that would shoot arrows if the tomb was disturbed.
Shihuangdi’s Empire lasted only 15 years. After his death, farmers and nobles revolted against his harsh rule. However, Shi huangdi left a legacy of systems of writing, money, and government that would last for centuries.