Qin Shi Huang 259 BC -- 210 BC. was the king of the Chinese State of Qin from 246 BC to 221 BC, during the Warring States Period. He became the first emperor of a unified China in 221 BC He ruled until his death in 210 BC at the age of 49. Calling himself the First Emperor after China's unification, Qín Sh? Huáng is a pivotal figure in Chinese history, ushering in nearly two millennia of imperial rule. After unifying China, he and his chief advisor Li Si passed a series of major economic and political reforms. He undertook gigantic projects, including building and unifying various sections of the Great Wall of China, the now famous city-sized mausoleum guarded by the life-sized Terracotta Army, and a massive national road system.