The city was hidden in darkness until 1974 when farmers decided to dig a well on their communal farm in Yang village.
Qin Shi Huangdi, the first Emperor of China, had an estate plan long before he took the seat of absolute power. Confidence was his forte, amongst all of his other talents. The burial-place was the focal point – something to remember his time on earth and confirm his continuing power in the afterlife. Subsequent dynasties vilified him for his ruthlessness, brutality and political intolerance. Yet he remains the quintessential ruler who epitomized China and the power needed to govern and unify such an immense realm.
In today’s vocabulary, Qin Shi Huangdi’s marketing skills would be unparalleled. Branding was his specialty. Absolute Monarch is a catchy title, after all! And 2,000+ years later, we are still talking about his legacy. And for good reason!
Qin Shi Huangdi was 22 years old when he started taking power into his own hands. He mastered the other six kingdoms of central, northern and eastern China. They were all bigger, but he was smarter. Skilled in diplomacy and able to see the divisions amongst his opponents, his strategies were sound and flawlessly executed. They all fell: the Han kingdom in 230 BC, followed by Zhao (228 BC), Wei (225 BC), Chu (223BC), Yan (222 BC) and Qi (221 BC). He established a strong centralized government, expanded agriculture to increase the supply of food, constructed 5000 miles (8000 km) of roads, established standardized weights and measures, and launched a simplified writing system. There were a few drawbacks such as his decree to burn most books to encourage conformity and his obsessive search for immortality. Even so, it was these shortcomings that produced the incomparable Terracotta Warriors.