The Emergence of Unified China 350–221 B.C.E.
The Eastern Zhou Dynasty (770–256 B.C.E.) ruled China for some five centuries, but it did not create a clearly unified nation. Because the Eastern Zhou Dynasty lacked a strong central authority, numerous independent states emerged within China, including the Qin in the west (among others). The Qin would ultimately unify China into its first true empire. The state of Qin conquered the last independent states by 221 B.C.E. This map depicts the growth of the Qin territory from a single state in 350 B.C.E. to its ultimate imperial expansion in 221 B.C.E. The king of Qin bestowed upon himself the title of First Emperor, and imperial rule would continue for centuries in China until the Republican Revolution of 1911. Despite its unifying power, however, the Qin Dynasty did not last long. It did, however, set the groundwork for the Han Dynasty that followed, which lasted more than four hundred years.