Qin's campaign against the Xiongnu

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Qin's campaign against the Xiongnu
Date215 BC
Result Qin victory
Qin empire Xiongnu
Commanders and leaders
Meng Tian Touman
Reported as 100,000 or 300,000 troops [1][2]

In 215 BC, Qin Shi Huangdi ordered General Meng Tian to set out against the Xiongnu tribes in the Ordos region, and establish a frontier region at the loop of the Yellow River.[1] Believing that the Xiongnu were a possible threat, the emperor launched a preemptive strike against the Xiongnu with the intention to expand his empire.[1]

Later in the year, Meng Tian succeeded in defeating the Xiongnu, driving them from the Ordos and seizing their homeland.[3] After the catastrophic defeat at the hands of Meng Tian, the Xiongnu leader Touman was forced to flee far north into the Mongolian Plateau.[4] As a result of the northward expansion, the threat that the Qin empire posed to the Xiongnu ultimately led to the reorganization of the many different Xiongnu tribes into a confederacy.[5]

Meng Tian was instructed to secure the frontier with a line of fortifications, which would become known as the Great Wall of China.[6] Crown Prince Fusu and General Meng Tian were stationed at a garrison in Suide and soon began with the construction of the walled defenses, which would be connected with the old walls from the Qin, Yan, and Zhao states.[7] The Qin walls ran from Liaodong to Lintao, thus enclosing the conquered Ordos region.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Cosmo 1999, 964.
  2. ^ Ebrey, Walthall & Palais 2009, 51.
  3. ^ a b Beckwith 2009, 71.
  4. ^ Beckwith 2009, 71–72.
  5. ^ Cosmo 1999, 892–893.
  6. ^ Higham 2004, 221.
  7. ^ Cheng 2005, 15.


  • Beckwith, Christopher I. (2009). Empires of the Silk Road: A History of Central Eurasia from the Bronze Age to the Present. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691150345.
  • Cheng, Dalin (2005). "The Great Wall of China". Borders and border politics in a globalizing world. Lanham: SR Books. ISBN 0-8420-5103-1.
  • Cosmo, Nicola Di (1999). "The northern frontier in pre-imperial China". The Cambridge history of ancient China: From the origins of civilization to 221 B.C. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-47030-7.
  • Ebrey, Patricia Buckley; Walthall, Anne; Palais, James B. (2009). East Asia: A cultural, social, and political history (2nd ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 978-0-547-00534-8.
  • Higham, Charles F.W. (2004). Encyclopedia of ancient Asian civilizations. New York: Facts On File. ISBN 0-8160-4640-9.