Zhao was one of the seven major states during the Warring States period of ancient China. It was created from the three-way Partition of Jin, together with Han and Wei, in the 5th century BC. Zhao gained significant strength from the military reforms initiated during King Wuling's reign, but suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of Qin at the Battle of Changping, its territory included areas now in modern Inner Mongolia, Hebei and Shaanxi provinces. It bordered the Xiongnu, the states of Qin and Yan, its capital was Handan, in modern Hebei Province. Zhao was home to administrative philosopher Shen Dao, sophist Gongsun Long and the Confucian Xun Kuang; the Zhao clan within Jin had accumulated power for centuries, including annexing the Baidi state of Dai for themselves during the mid-5th century BC. At the end of the Spring and Autumn Period, Jin was divided up between three powerful ministers. In 403 BC, the king of Zhou formally recognized the existence of the State of Zhao along with two other States and Wei, marking the start of the Warring States Period.
At the onset of the Warring States period, Zhao was one of the weaker states. Despite its extensive territory, its northern border was subject to harassment by the Xiongnu and by other northern nomadic peoples. At the same time, Zhao was surrounded by strong states and lacked the military strength of Wei or the prosperity of Qi. Zhao became a pawn in the struggle between the states of Wei and Qi, this struggle came to a climax in 354 BC when Wei invaded Zhao, Zhao had to seek aid from Qi; the resulting Battle of Guiling was a major victory for Qi, it lessened the threat to Zhao's southern border. Zhao remained weak until the military reforms of King Wuling of Zhao; the soldiers of Zhao were ordered to dress like their Xiongnu neighbours and to replace war chariots with cavalry archers. This reform proved to be a brilliant strategy. With the advanced technology of the Chinese states and nomadic tactics, the cavalry of Zhao became a powerful force; the result was that the newly strengthened Zhao was evenly matched against its greatest enemy, the state of Qi.
Zhao demonstrated its enhanced military prowess by conquering the State of Zhongshan in 295 BC after a prolonged war, annexing territory from its neighbouring states of Wei and Qin. During this time, the cavalry of Zhao occasionally intruded into the state of Qi in campaigns against the state of Chu. Several brilliant military commanders of the period appeared concurrently, including Lian Po, Zhao She and Li Mu. Lian Po proved instrumental in defending Zhao against the Qin. Zhao She was most active in the east. Li Mu defended Zhao from the Xiongnu and from Qin. By the end of the Warring States Period, Zhao was the only state strong enough to oppose the powerful Qin state. An alliance with Wei against Qin commenced in 287 BC but ended in defeat at Huayang in 273 BC; the struggle culminated in the bloodiest battle of the whole period, the Battle of Changping in 260 BC. The troops of Zhao were defeated by Qin. Although the forces of Wei and Chu saved Handan from a follow-up siege by the victorious Qin, Zhao would never recover from the enormous loss of men in the battle.
In 229 BC, invasions led by the Qin general Wang Jian were opposed by Li Mu and his subordinate officer Sima Shang until 228 BC. Li Mu was one of the best generals of the Warring States era, although he was unable to defeat Wang Jian, Wang Jian was unable to make headway either; the invasion developed into a stalemate. Realizing that he had to get rid of Li Mu to conquer Zhao, the emperor of Qin, Qin Shihuang, attempted to sow discord among the Zhao leadership. Zhao King Youmiu fell for the scheme: acting on faulty advice from disloyal court officials and Qin infiltrators, he ordered the execution of Li Mu and relieved Sima Shang from his duties. Li Mu's replacement, Zhao Cong, was promptly defeated by Wang Jian. Qin captured King Youmiu and conquered Zhao in 228 BC. Prince Jia, the stepbrother of King Qian, was proclaimed King Jia at Dai and led the last Zhao forces against the Qin; the regime lasted until 222 BC, when the Qin army defeated his forces at Dai. In 154 BC, an unrelated Zhao, headed by Liu Sui, the Prince of Zhao kingdom, participated in the unsuccessful Rebellion of the Seven States against the newly installed second emperor of the Han dynasty.
Before the state of Qin unified China in 221 BC, each region had their own unique customs and culture, although they were all dominated by an upper class that shared a common culture. In the Yu Gong, a section of the Book of Documents, most composed in the 4th century BC, the author describes a China, divided into nine regions, each with its own distinctive peoples and products; the core theme of this section is that these nine regions are unified into one state by the travels of the eponymous sage, Yu the Great and by sending each region's unique goods to the capital as tribute. Other texts discussed these regional variations in culture and physical environments. One of these texts was Wuzi, a Warring States military treatise written in response to a query by Marquis Wu of Wei on how to cope with the other states. Wu Qi, the author of the work, declared that the government and nature of the people were linked to the physical environment and territory they live in. Of Zhao, he said: The two states of Han and Zhao train their troops rigorously but have difficulty in applying their skills to the battlefield.
Han and Zhao are states of the Central Plain. Theirs are a gentle p
The Qin dynasty was the first dynasty of Imperial China, lasting from 221 to 206 BC. Named for its heartland in Qin state, the dynasty was founded by Qin Shi Huang, the First Emperor of Qin; the strength of the Qin state was increased by the Legalist reforms of Shang Yang in the fourth century BC, during the Warring States period. In the mid and late third century BC, the Qin state carried out a series of swift conquests, first ending the powerless Zhou dynasty, conquering the other six of the Seven Warring States, its 15 years was the shortest major dynasty in Chinese history, consisting of only two emperors, but inaugurated an imperial system that lasted from 221 BC, with interruption and adaptation, until 1912 CE. The Qin sought to create a state unified by structured political power and a large military supported by a stable economy; the central government moved to undercut aristocrats and landowners to gain direct administrative control over the peasantry, who comprised the overwhelming majority of the population and labour force.
This allowed ambitious projects involving three hundred thousand peasants and convicts, such as connecting walls along the northern border developing into the Great Wall of China. The Qin introduced a range of reforms such as standardized currency, measures, a uniform system of writing, which aimed to unify the state and promote commerce. Additionally, its military used the most recent weaponry and tactics, though the government was heavy-handedly bureaucratic. Han dynasty Confucians portrayed the dynasty as a monolithic tyranny, notably citing a purge known as the burning of books and burying of scholars although some modern scholars dispute the veracity of these accounts; when the first emperor died in 210 BC, two of his advisers placed an heir on the throne in an attempt to influence and control the administration of the dynasty. These advisors squabbled among themselves, resulting in both of their deaths and that of the second Qin Emperor. Popular revolt broke out and the weakened empire soon fell to a Chu general, Xiang Yu, proclaimed Hegemon-King of Western Chu, Liu Bang, who founded the Han dynasty.
Despite its short reign, the dynasty influenced the future of China the Han, its name is thought to be the origin of the European name for China. In the 9th century BC, Feizi, a supposed descendant of the ancient political advisor Gao Yao, was granted rule over Qin City; the modern city of Tianshui stands. During the rule of King Xiao of Zhou, the eighth king of the Zhou dynasty, this area became known as the state of Qin. In 897 BC, under the Gonghe Regency, the area became a dependency allotted for the purpose of raising and breeding horses. One of Feizi's descendants, Duke Zhuang, became favoured by King Ping of Zhou, the thirteenth king in that line; as a reward, Zhuang's son, Duke Xiang, was sent eastward as the leader of a war expedition, during which he formally established the Qin. The state of Qin first began a military expedition into central China in 672 BC, though it did not engage in any serious incursions due to the threat from neighbouring tribesmen. By the dawn of the fourth century BC, the neighbouring tribes had all been either subdued or conquered, the stage was set for the rise of Qin expansionism.
Lord Shang Yang, a Qin statesman of the Warring States period, advocated a philosophy of Legalism, introducing a number of militarily advantageous reforms from 361 BC until his death in 338 BC. Yang helped construct the Qin capital, commencing in the mid-fourth century BC Xianyang; the resulting city resembled the capitals of other Warring States. Notably, Qin Legalism encouraged ruthless warfare. During the Spring and Autumn period, the prevalent philosophy had dictated war as a gentleman's activity. For example, when Duke Xiang of Song was at war with the state of Chu during the Warring States period, he declined an opportunity to attack the enemy force, commanded by Zhu, while they were crossing a river. After allowing them to cross and marshal their forces, he was decisively defeated in the ensuing battle; when his advisors admonished him for such excessive courtesy to the enemy, he retorted, "The sage does not crush the feeble, nor give the order for attack until the enemy have formed their ranks."The Qin disregarded this military tradition, taking advantage of their enemy's weaknesses.
A nobleman in the state of Wei accused the Qin state of being "avaricious, eager for profit, without sincerity. It knows nothing about etiquette, proper relationships, virtuous conduct, if there be an opportunity for material gain, it will disregard its relatives as if they were animals." It was this Legalist thought combined with strong leadership from long-lived rulers, openness to employ talented men from other states, little internal opposition that gave the Qin such a strong political base. Another advantage of the Qin was that they had a efficient army and capable generals, they utilised the newest developments in weaponry and transportation as well, which many of their enemies lacked. These latter developments allowed greater mobility over several different terrain types which were most common in many regions of China. Thus, in both ideology and practice, the Qin were militarily superior; the Qin Empire had a geographical advantage due to its fertility and strategic position, protected by mountains that made the state a natural stronghold.
Its expanded agricultural output helped sustain Qin's large army with food and natural resources.
Hebei is a province of China in the North China region. The modern province was established in 1911 as Chihli Province, its one-character abbreviation is "冀", named after Ji Province, a Han dynasty province that included what is now southern Hebei. The name Hebei means "north of the river", referring to its location to the north of the Yellow River; the modern province "Chili Province" was formed in 1911, when the central government dissolved the central governed area of "Chihli", which means "Directly Ruled" until it was renamed as "Hebei" in 1928. Beijing and Tianjin Municipalities, which border each other, were carved out of Hebei; the province borders Liaoning to the northeast, Inner Mongolia to the north, Shanxi to the west, Henan to the south, Shandong to the southeast. Bohai Bay of the Bohai Sea is to the east. A small part of Hebei, Sanhe Exclave, consisting of Sanhe, Dachang Hui Autonomous County, Xianghe County, an exclave disjointed from the rest of the province, is wedged between the municipalities of Beijing and Tianjin.
A common alternate name for Hebei is Yānzhào, after the state of Yan and state of Zhao that existed here during the Warring States period of early Chinese history. Plains in Hebei were the home of Peking man, a group of Homo erectus that lived in the area around 200,000 to 700,000 years ago. Neolithic findings at the prehistoric Beifudi site date back to 7000 and 8000 BC. During the Spring and Autumn period, Hebei was under the rule of the states of Yan in the north and Jin in the south. During this period, a nomadic people known as Dí invaded the plains of northern China and established Zhongshan in central Hebei. During the Warring States period, Jin was partitioned, much of its territory within Hebei went to Zhao; the Qin dynasty unified China in 221 BC. The Han dynasty ruled the area under two provinces, You Prefecture in the north and Ji Province in the south. At the end of the Han dynasty, most of Hebei came under the control of warlords Gongsun Zan in the north and Yuan Shao further south.
Hebei came under the rule of the Kingdom of Wei, established by the descendants of Cao Cao. After the invasions of northern nomadic peoples at the end of the Western Jin dynasty, the chaos of the Sixteen Kingdoms and the Northern and Southern dynasties ensued. Hebei in North China and right at the northern frontier, changed hands many times, being controlled at various points in history by the Later Zhao, Former Yan, Former Qin, Later Yan; the Northern Wei reunified northern China in 440, but split in half in 534, with Hebei coming under the eastern half, which had its capital at Ye, near modern Linzhang, Hebei. The Sui dynasty again unified China in 589. During the Tang dynasty, the area was formally designated "Hebei" for the first time. During the earlier part of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period, Hebei was fragmented among several regimes, though it was unified by Li Cunxu, who established the Later Tang; the next dynasty, the Later Jin under Shi Jingtang, posthumously known as Emperor Gaozu of Later Jin, ceded much of modern-day northern Hebei to the Khitan Liao dynasty in the north.
During the Northern Song dynasty, the sixteen ceded prefectures continued to be an area of hot contention between Song China and the Liao dynasty. The Southern Song dynasty that came after abandoned all of North China, including Hebei, to the Jurchen Jin dynasty after the Jingkang Incident in 1127 of the Jin–Song wars; the Mongol Yuan dynasty did not establish Hebei as a province. Rather, the area was directly administrated by the Secretariat at capital Dadu; the Ming dynasty ruled Hebei as "Beizhili", meaning "Northern Directly Ruled", because the area contained and was directly ruled by the imperial capital, Beijing. When the Manchu Qing dynasty came to power in 1644, they abolished the southern counterpart, Hebei became known as "Zhili", or "Directly Ruled". During the Qing dynasty, the northern borders of Zhili extended deep into what is now Inner Mongolia, overlapped in jurisdiction with the leagues of Inner Mongolia; the Qing dynasty was replaced by the Republic of China. Within a few years, China descended with regional warlords vying for power.
Since Zhili was so close to Peking, the capital, it was the site of frequent wars, including the Zhiwan War, the First Zhifeng War and the Second Zhifeng War. With the success of the Northern Expedition, a successful campaign by the Kuomintang to end the rule of the warlords, the capital was moved from Peking to Nanking; as a result, the name of Zhili was changed to Hebei to reflect the fact that it had a standard provincial administration, that the capital had been relocated elsewhere. During the Second World War, Hebei was under the control of the Reorganized National Government of the Republic of Japan, a puppet state of Imperial Japan; the founding of the People's Republic of China saw several changes: the region around Chengde, previo
Traditional Chinese characters
Traditional Chinese characters are Chinese characters in any character set that does not contain newly created characters or character substitutions performed after 1946. They are most the characters in the standardized character sets of Taiwan, of Hong Kong and Macau, in the Kangxi Dictionary; the modern shapes of traditional Chinese characters first appeared with the emergence of the clerical script during the Han Dynasty, have been more or less stable since the 5th century. The retronym "traditional Chinese" is used to contrast traditional characters with Simplified Chinese characters, a standardized character set introduced by the government of the People's Republic of China on Mainland China in the 1950s. Traditional Chinese characters are used in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau. In contrast, Simplified Chinese characters are used in mainland China and Malaysia in official publications. However, several countries – such as Australia, the US and Canada – are increasing their number of printed materials in Simplified Chinese, to better accommodate citizens from mainland China.
The debate on traditional and simplified Chinese characters has been a long-running issue among Chinese communities. A large number of overseas Chinese online newspapers allow users to switch between both character sets. Although simplified characters are taught and endorsed by the government of China, there is no prohibition against the use of traditional characters. Traditional characters are used informally in regions in China in handwriting and used for inscriptions and religious text, they are retained in logos or graphics to evoke yesteryear. Nonetheless, the vast majority of media and communications in China is dominated by simplified characters. In Hong Kong and Macau, Traditional Chinese has been the legal written form since colonial times. In recent years, simplified Chinese characters in Hong Kong and Macau has appeared to accommodate Mainland Chinese tourists and immigrants; this has led to concerns by many residents to protect their local heritage. Taiwan has never adopted simplified characters.
The use of simplified characters in official documents is prohibited by the government of Taiwan. Simplified characters are understood to a certain extent by any educated Taiwanese, learning to read them takes little effort; some stroke simplifications that have been incorporated into Simplified Chinese are in common use in handwriting. For example, while the name of Taiwan is written as 臺灣, the semi-simplified name 台灣 is acceptable to write in official documents. In Southeast Asia, the Chinese Filipino community continues to be one of the most conservative regarding simplification. While major public universities are teaching simplified characters, many well-established Chinese schools still use traditional characters. Publications like the Chinese Commercial News, World News, United Daily News still use traditional characters. On the other hand, the Philippine Chinese Daily uses simplified. Aside from local newspapers, magazines from Hong Kong, such as the Yazhou Zhoukan, are found in some bookstores.
In case of film or television subtitles on DVD, the Chinese dub, used in Philippines is the same as the one used in Taiwan. This is because the DVDs belongs to DVD Region Code 3. Hence, most of the subtitles are in Traditional Characters. Overseas Chinese in the United States have long used traditional characters. A major influx of Chinese immigrants to the United States occurred during the latter half of the 19th century, before the standardization of simplified characters. Therefore, United States public notices and signage in Chinese are in Traditional Chinese. Traditional Chinese characters are called several different names within the Chinese-speaking world; the government of Taiwan calls traditional Chinese characters standard characters or orthodox characters. However, the same term is used outside Taiwan to distinguish standard and traditional characters from variant and idiomatic characters. In contrast, users of traditional characters outside Taiwan, such as those in Hong Kong and overseas Chinese communities, users of simplified Chinese characters, call them complex characters.
An informal name sometimes used by users of simplified characters is "old characters". Users of traditional characters sometimes refer them as "Full Chinese characters" to distinguish them from simplified Chinese characters; some traditional character users argue that traditional characters are the original form of the Chinese characters and cannot be called "complex". Simplified characters cannot be "standard" because they are not used in all Chinese-speaking regions. Conversely, supporters of simplified Chinese characters object to the description of traditional characters as "standard," since they view the new simplified characters as the contemporary standard used by the vast majority of Chinese speakers, they point out that traditional characters are not traditional as many Chinese characters have been made more elaborate over time. Some people refer to traditional characters as "proper characters" and modernized characters as "simplified-stroke characters" (sim
Feast at Hong Gate
The Feast at Hong Gate known as the "Banquet at Hong Gate", "Hongmen Banquet", "Hongmen Feast" and other similar renditions, was a historical event that took place in 206 BC at the Hong Gate outside Xianyang, the capital of the Qin dynasty. Its location in present-day China is at Hongmenbao Village, Xinfeng Town, Lintong District, Xi'an, Shaanxi province; the main parties involved in the banquet were Liu Bang and Xiang Yu, two prominent leaders of insurgent forces who rebelled against the Qin dynasty from 209–206 BC. The event was one of the highlights of the Chu–Han Contention, a power struggle for supremacy over China between Liu Bang and Xiang Yu which concluded with Xiang Yu's defeat and the establishment of the Han dynasty with Liu Bang as its first emperor; the Feast at Hong Gate is memorialised in Chinese history and popular culture. Between 209 BC and 206 BC, rebellions erupted throughout China to overthrow the Qin dynasty; some of these insurgent forces claimed to be restoring the former six states which were annexed by the Qin state in a series of wars from 230–221 BC.
Liu Bang and Xiang Yu were two prominent leaders. In 208 BC, Xiang Yu and his uncle Xiang Liang installed King Huai II as the nominal ruler of the Chu state while they were the ones in power. In late 208 BC, Xiang Liang was killed in action at the Battle of Dingtao so the Chu military came under King Huai II's control. King Huai II sent Xiang Yu and Liu Bang to lead two separate forces to attack the Qin heartland of Guanzhong, promised that whoever entered that region first would be granted the title of "King of Guanzhong". In late 207 BC, Liu Bang's rebel army conquered Wu Pass and seized control of Guanzhong and the Qin capital Xianyang; the last Qin emperor Ziying surrendered to Liu Bang. After occupying Xianyang, Liu Bang gave strict orders to his men, forbidding them from looting and pillaging the city and harming the civilian populace. Liu Bang sent troops to garrison at Hangu Pass to block Xiang Yu from entering Guanzhong. Around the time, Xiang Yu's force had just defeated a Qin army led by Zhang Han at the Battle of Julu.
When Xiang Yu arrived at Hangu Pass, he was displeased to hear that Liu Bang had occupied Guanzhong, so he attacked and conquered the pass, pushing on to west of Xishui. Liu Bang and his army were based in Bashang then; the strengths of Xiang Yu and Liu Bang's forces were estimated to be 400,000 and 100,000 respectively. Cao Wushang, a defector from Liu Bang's side, secretly sent a messenger to Xiang Yu's camp, telling Xiang that Liu Bang was planning to declare himself "King of Guanzhong" in accordance with King Huai II's earlier promise, while Ziying would be Liu's chancellor. Cao Wushang added that Liu Bang had seized all the riches of Xianyang for himself. Xiang Yu was furious when he planned to attack Liu Bang. Xiang Yu's advisor Fan Zeng felt that Liu Bang posed a threat to his lord so he urged Xiang Yu to eliminate Liu Bang as soon as possible. One of Xiang Yu's uncles, Xiang Bo, shared a close friendship with Liu Bang's advisor Zhang Liang. Xiang Bo feared for his friend's life so he sneaked to Liu Bang's camp to warn Zhang Liang about the peril he was in, telling Zhang to flee.
Liu Bang was shocked when Zhang Liang related the news to him, he sought advice from Zhang to avoid danger. Zhang Liang instructed Liu Bang to enlist the help of Xiang Bo to reduce Xiang Yu's suspicions. Liu Bang met Xiang Bo and treated him like an honoured guest, flattering Xiang Bo and pretending to arrange for a marriage between his son and Xiang Bo's daughter while asking Xiang Bo to plead with Xiang Yu on his behalf; when Xiang Bo returned to Xiang Yu's camp he assured his nephew that Liu Bang had no ill intentions, conveyed Liu Bang's message that he was willing to submit to Xiang Yu. The following day, Liu Bang brought around 100 men with him to meet Xiang Yu at Hong Gate, where Xiang had prepared a banquet to entertain him. Liu Bang expressed that he managed to enter Guanzhong first because of sheer luck, apologised to Xiang Yu for robbing him of his glory while extolling Xiang's valour in battle. Liu Bang explained that the misunderstanding was caused by vile words from someone plotting to sow discord between him and Xiang Yu.
Xiang Yu pointed out that it was Cao Wushang who told him about Liu Bang's supposed intentions. He invited Liu Bang to partake in the banquet; the main parties involved in the feast were seated in the following arrangement: Xiang Yu and Xiang Bo faced east. By the custom of Qin, the east-facing seat is the most respectable place reserved for the guest, while south-facing seat is reserved for the Emperor, while his serviant ministers would be facing north. During the banquet, Fan Zeng made signals and hinted many times to Xiang Yu to kill Liu Bang, but Xiang ignored him. Fan Zeng summoned Xiang Yu's cousin Xiang Zhuang, instructing him to pretend to perform a sword dance to entertain the guests and find an opportunity to assassinate Liu Bang. Xiang Zhuang started dancing after Xiang Yu approved, but Xiang Bo offered to join the performance and he blocked Xiang Zhuang with his body whenever the latter thrust his sword towards Liu Bang. In the meantime, Zhang Liang went outside to summon Liu Bang's general Fan Kuai.
He gave some instructions to Fan Kuai and retu
Dongping County is a county in the southwestern part of Tai'an, in the west of Shandong Province, China. In 2007 a remarkable series of well-preserved frescoes dating to the Western Han Period was discovered in a tomb as construction workers were excavating for a planned shopping mall; the frescoes show, among other things, one of the earliest pictorial representations of Confucius meeting Laozi. Article explaining the discovery of the Dongping frescoes article with pictoral details of the frescoes
Xiang Ji, courtesy name Yu, better known as Xiang Yu, was a prominent warlord who lived in the late Qin dynasty. A noble of Xiaxiang, Xiang Yu was granted the title of "Duke of Lu" by King Huai II of the insurgent Chu state in 208 BC; the following year, he led the rebel forces to victory at the Battle of Julu against the Qin armies led by Zhang Han. After the fall of the Qin dynasty, Xiang Yu proclaimed himself "Hegemon-King of Western Chu" and ruled a vast area of land covering parts of present-day Shanxi, Hubei and Jiangsu, with Pengcheng as his capital, he engaged Liu Bang, the founding emperor of the Han dynasty, in a long struggle for power, known as the Chu–Han Contention, which concluded with his eventual defeat at the Battle of Gaixia. He committed suicide at the bank of the Wu River. Xiang Yu's family name was Xiang while his courtesy name was Yu, he is best known as Xiang Yu. Xiang Yu is popularly known as "Xi Chu Ba Wang", translated as "Overlord of Western Chu", "Hegemon-King of Western Chu", "Conqueror of Western Chu", "King of Kings of Western Chu", other renditions.
This title is sometimes simplified to "Ba Wang", without the link to "Western Chu". Since Xiang Yu's death, the term Ba Wang has come to be used to refer to him. Xiang Yu's subjects sometimes address him as "Xiang Wang", which means "King Xiang". There are two accounts of Xiang Yu's family background; the first claimed that Xiang Yu was from the house of Mi, the royal family of the Chu state in the Zhou dynasty. His ancestors were granted the land of Xiang by the king of Chu and had since adopted "Xiang" as their family name; the other account claimed that Xiang Yu was a descendant of a noble clan from the Lu state and his family had served in the Chu military for generations. Xiang Yu's grandfather Xiang Yan was a well known general who led the Chu army in resisting the Qin invaders led by Wang Jian, was killed in action when Qin conquered Chu in 223 BC. Xiang Yu was born in 232 BC in the late Warring States period when the Qin state started unifying the other six major states. According to the descendants of the Xiang family in Suqian, Xiang Yu's father was Xiang Chao, Xiang Yan's eldest son.
Xiang Yu was raised by his elder uncle Xiang Liang. In 221 BC, when Xiang Yu was about 11 years old, the Qin state unified China and established the Qin dynasty. Xiang Yu had a double pupil in one of his eyes just like the mythical Emperor Shun and Duke Wen of Jin, he was thus seen as an extraordinary person because his unique double pupil was a mark of a king or sage in Chinese tradition. Xiang Yu was taller than eight chi and possessed unusual physical strength as he could lift a ding. In his younger days, Xiang Yu was instructed in scholarly arts and swordsmanship but he did not manage to master what he was taught, his uncle Xiang Liang was not satisfied with him. Xiang Yu said, "Books are only useful in helping me remember my name. Mastering swordsmanship allows me to face only one opponent, so it's not worth learning. I want to learn how to defeat thousands of enemies." Hence, his uncle tried to educate him in military strategy and the art of war instead, but Xiang Yu stopped learning after he had grasped the main ideas.
When Xiang Yu grew older, Xiang Liang killed someone. At the time, Qin Shi Huang was on an inspection tour in that area and Xiang Yu and his uncle watched the emperor's procession pass by. Xiang Yu said, "I can replace him." Xiang Liang was shocked and covered his nephew's mouth with his hand. Afterwards, Xiang Liang began to see his nephew in a different light. In 209 BC, during the reign of Qin Er Shi, peasant rebellions erupted throughout China to overthrow the Qin dynasty, plunging China into a state of anarchy. Yin Tong, the Administrator of Kuaiji, wanted to start a rebellion as well, so he invited Xiang Liang to meet him and discuss their plans. However, the Xiangs lured Yin Tong into a trap and killed him instead, with Xiang Yu striking down hundreds of Yin's men. Xiang Liang rallied about 8,000 men to support him. Xiang Liang proclaimed. Xiang Liang's revolution force grew in size until it was between 60,000 and 70,000. In 208 BC, Xiang Liang installed Mi Xin as King Huai II of Chu to rally support from those eager to help him overthrow the Qin Dynasty and restore the former Chu state.
Xiang Yu distinguished himself as a competent marshal and mighty warrior on the battlefield while participating in the battles against Qin forces. That year, Xiang Liang was killed at the Battle of Dingtao against the Qin army led by Zhang Han and the military power of Chu fell into the hands of the king and some other generals. In the winter of 208 BC, another rebel force claiming to restore the Zhao state, led by Zhao Xie, was besieged in Handan by Zhang Han. Zhao Xie requested for reinforcements from Chu. King Huai II granted Xiang Yu the title of "Duke of Lu", appointed him as a second-in-command to Song Yi, ordered to lead a