Periods of Chinese History
The dukes and kings of the Zhou period 周 (11th cent.-221 BCE) state of Qin 秦 (in the map signified by the green lined pattern) were among the first rulers to establish commanderies (jun 郡) in their territory as an administrative unit, instead of enfeoffing princes and persons thad had won merits. When King Ying Zheng 嬴政 unified China and became the First Emperor of Qin 秦始皇帝 (r. 246-210 BCE), he dissolved the old feudal kingdoms and established commanderies (names in black) in the whole territory of China. Some of them, especially the lands in the south where the native tribes of the Yue 越 lived (Nanyue 南越, Dongyue 東越, and Minyue 閩越), were incorporated for the first time into the realm of China. The capital was Xianyang 咸陽 (modern Xianyang, Shaanxi). The territory near the capital (neishi 內史) was directly administered, a measure still in practice during the following dynasties.
The commanderies of the Qin empire were:
|Center, W and S:
Hengshan (1) 衡山郡
Hengshan (2) 恆山郡
Guangyang 廣陽郡 (modern Beijing)
To defend his empire against the intruding northern nomad tribes like the Xiongnu 匈奴 and Hu 胡 (rather a general term for "barbarians"), a long fortification wall, today known as the "Great Wall 長城, was built along the northern frontier, in the map shown as a black line.
A very important instrument to control the local governors were the inspection tours of the First Emperor, in the map shown with red lines. In 210, the emperor died during an inspection tour (big dot). After his death local leaders rose against the Qin dynasty, defeated the imperial armies and sacked the capital.
Source: Tan Qixiang 譚其驤 (ed. 1987), Zhongguo lishi ditu ji 中國歷史地圖集, Vol. 2, Qin, Xihan, Donghan shiqi 秦·西漢·東漢時期 (Beijing: Zhongguo ditu chubanshe).
October 30, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail
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