It was not until 770 BC that the State of Qin came into existence as one of the vassal states in western China. Later, it emerged as one of the seven most powerful states in China, assisted by Shang Yang"s reform. King Ying Zheng (259 - 210 BC) embarked on a campaign of expansion. In the space of only ten years, from 230 BC, Qin vanquished Han, Zhao, Wei, Chu, Yan and Qi one after another, and united the whole of China in 221 BC. Emperor Qin Shi Huang (259 BC - 210 BC) fascinates people when they talk about the Great Wall and the Terracotta Warriors and Horses - his two greatest achievements to China. As the first emperor of China, he indeed has a profound influence on Chinese history and culture. Ying Zheng called himself "the First Emperor of the Qin Dynasty"(Qinshihuang).
Of great significance for the development of communication and culture was the standardization of Chinese characters. The first reform of the characters resulted in the seal script (zhuan). Then, the official script (lishu), a simplified version of the seal script, was devised. Today"s regular script (kaishu) developed from the official script. In 213 BC, Qinshihuang"s prime minister, Li Si, had all books, except for those on medicine and agriculture, burned, in order to strengthen the regime"s ideological control of the people. To further guard against dissent, the emperor had 460 Confucian scholars buried alive.
Qinshihuang established the first united multi-ethnic feudal country on Chinese soil. Qin"s territory, embracing over 20 million people, reached the Pacific in the east, Longxi (west of the Longshan Mountains) in the west, the Great Wall in the north and the South China Sea in the south. However, to achieve this, Qinshihuang had to resort to tyrannical methods.