Qin King Zheng conquered the six states-秦嬴政灭六国

In 230 B.C., the state of Qin annexed the smallest of the six states, Han. Han, situated in the central plains, had the smallest territory and population among the six states, constantly surrounded by Wei, Qi, Chu, and Qin, leaving no room for development. Thus, Qin first set its sights on Han. Qin King Zheng dispatched Neishi Teng to launch a surprise attack on Han. With ease, Neishi Teng breached the capital city of Han, Zhengcheng (now Xinzheng, Henan), and the Han king, knowing he couldn’t resist, chose to surrender, leading to the demise of Han. Qin King Zheng established Yingchuan Commandery in Han and set its capital in Yangzhai (now Yuzhou, Henan).

The following year, a drought engulfed the entire state of Zhao. Seeing this as an opportunity, Qin King Zheng immediately dispatched troops to attack Zhao, with one army heading north and the other south toward the Zhao capital of Handan. In 228 B.C., Handan fell to the Qin army, leading to the destruction of Zhao. The Zhao king was captured by Qin, while Prince Jia managed to escape to Daicheng (now northeast of Weizhou, Hebei), where he rallied the remaining troops and declared himself the king of Dai, awaiting a chance for revenge.

In 226 B.C., Qin King Zheng turned his attention to Yan, harboring resentment due to Jing Ke’s assassination attempt. He sent General Wang Jian to conquer Yan. Crown Prince Dan of Yan personally led the army into battle, but the Yan army was no match and quickly retreated, with many killed and others fleeing. Yan King Xi and Crown Prince Dan fled to Liaodong to hide. To appease Qin King Zheng’s anger, Yan King Xi even had Crown Prince Dan killed.

Now that Han was under Qin’s control, and Zhao only had Daicheng left, while Yan only had a small territory in Liaodong, there was no possibility for them to rebuild their countries. Qin King Zheng decided not to rush to attack the northern states of Zhao and Yan but to conquer the southern states of Wei and Chu first.

In 225 B.C., Qin King Zheng sent Wang Ben, the son of Wang Jian, to lead troops into Guanzhong. Wang Ben easily captured over a dozen cities in the northern part of Chu, serving as a solid base for attacking Wei. Wang Ben then led his army from the north to attack the capital of Wei, Daliang (now Kaifeng, Henan). However, the defenses of Daliang were excellent, and no matter how they attacked, they couldn’t break through the city walls. Wang Ben racked his brains and finally came up with a good idea. He ordered a canal to be dug from the Yellow River to Daliang. The Yellow River water flowed into the city along the canal. The city walls softened under the water’s erosion. After three months, the bottom of the city wall couldn’t withstand the weight above, and it collapsed. Daliang was instantly breached by the Qin army, and the Wei king, unwillingly, surrendered to the Qin army and became a captive.

While attacking Wei, Qin King Zheng also sent Li Xin to lead two hundred thousand troops to attack the northern part of Chu. Li Xin quickly captured Pingxing (now southeastern Runan, Henan) and Qin (now southeastern Shenqiu, Henan). However, he was too careless and was eventually defeated by Chu general Xiang Yan, retreating hastily back to Qin.

Qin King Zheng was very angry and appointed the veteran general Wang Jian to lead six hundred thousand troops to conquer Chu, which was almost the entire military force of Qin. When they reached Tianzhong Mountain (now northwest of Shangshui, Henan), Wang Jian ordered the army to stay put without engaging in battle. He never ordered an attack and just stayed there. Xiang Yan was very puzzled. He launched several attacks, but Wang Jian didn’t respond. Whatever needed to be done was done. After a year passed, the Chu army relaxed their vigilance, thinking that the Qin army was just stationed there, not here for battle. So Xiang Yan led the army back to the capital. When Wang Jian saw the Chu army preparing to retreat, he immediately ordered the Qin army to launch a sudden attack. The Chu army panicked, never expecting such a move from the Qin army. It turned out that everything before was just a pretense. Xiang Yan tried hard to resist, but the morale of the Qin army was high, pushing the Chu army to retreat continuously. The two armies clashed in Qicheng, and the Chu army suffered heavy losses. Afterwards, Wang Jian vigorously crossed the Huai River and continued to fight until reaching Shouchun.

In 223 B.C., Shouchun was captured by the Qin army, the Chu king was captured, and Xiang Yan fled with Changping Jun (the brother of the Chu king) to the area south of the Yangtze River, supporting Changping Jun as the new king of Chu, intending to resist stubbornly against Qin. After the fall of Chu, Qin established Jiujing Commandery within the former Chu territory.

Wang Jian decided to wipe out the remaining forces of Chu. He first ordered the construction of ships and trained a naval force. After the ships were built, he led the navy across the Yangtze River, launching another attack. They successfully killed Xiang Yan and Changping Jun. In 222 B.C., Wang Jian occupied Kuaiji (located in the southern part of the former Chu territory), and Qin King Zheng subsequently established Kuaiji Commandery in this area.

Also in the same year, Wang Ben led the army to capture Liaodong, then attacked Daicheng. Both Yan King Xi and King Jia of Dai were captured and taken back to Qin.

Before deciding to annex the six states, Qin King Zheng employed tactics to win over the Prime Minister of Qi, Hou Sheng, to his side. He wanted Qi to submit to him and not accept requests for assistance from other countries. Hou Sheng whispered in the ear of the Qi king, who, thinking that the only way to save Qi was to submit to Qin, complied with Qin King Zheng’s wishes, believing that obeying Qin’s every command would avoid the fate of being annexed. Little did he know.

After the other five states were annexed by Qin, it was revealed that Qin also intended to annex Qi. The Qi king hastily sent troops to guard the western territories, hoping to resist the Qin invasion. Suddenly, he realized that with other countries gone, unable to find anyone to help him, he regretted deeply understanding Qin King Zheng’s cunning.

In 221 B.C., Qin King Zheng prepared to attack Qi. He decided to come up with a better excuse as a pretext for the expedition, considering that Qi had always been obedient to him. Soon, Wang Ben led a massive army toward Qi, accusing the Qi king of neglecting the envoys from Qin and then launching an attack. Unfortunately, the Qi army had not fought in many years and was frightened by the momentum of the Qin army. Within a few days, the capital of Linzi was breached by the Qin army, and the Qi king had no choice but to surrender.

Qi was annexed. After more than 200 years of effort, under Qin King Zheng, the unification of the Chinese land was finally achieved. This was the inevitable trend of social development, and history would turn over a new page.