The Seven Warring States or Seven Kingdoms () were the seven leading
states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, Un ...
during the
Warring States period The Warring States period () was an era in ancient Chinese history characterized by warfare, as well as bureaucratic and military reforms and consolidation. It followed the Spring and Autumn period#REDIRECT Spring and Autumn period The Spri ...
(c. 475 to 221 BCE) of
ancient China The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty The Shang dynasty (), also historically known as the Yin dynasty (), was a Chinese dynasty Dynasties in Chinese h ...
: *
QinQin may refer to: Dynasties and states * Qin (state) (秦), a major state during the Zhou Dynasty of ancient China * Qin dynasty (秦), founded by the Qin state in 221 BC and ended in 206 BC * Daqin (大秦), ancient Chinese name for the Roman Empi ...
(秦) * Qi (齊/齐) *
Chu Chu or CHU may refer to: Chinese history * Chu (state) (c. 1030 BC–223 BC), a state during the Zhou dynasty * Western Chu (206 BC–202 BC), a state founded and ruled by Xiang Yu * Chu Kingdom (Han dynasty) (201 BC–70 AD), a kingdom of the Han ...
(楚) * Yan (state), Yan (燕) * Han (state), Han (韓/韩) * Zhao (state), Zhao (趙/赵) * Wei (state), Wei (魏) Over the Warring States period, many of the seven states underwent bureaucratic and military reforms in order to mobilise resources on a greater scale. This led to an intensification of warfare over the period, but also led to economic and cultural developments on a large scale. Of the Seven Warring States, Qin eventually grew to be the strongest and successfully annexed the other six states; Han was the first to fall, in 230 BCE, while Qi was the last to surrender in 221 BCE. Zheng, the King of Qin, created the new title of huangdi (emperor), and became China's first emperor, Qin Shi Huangdi.


The formation of the Seven Warring States was the culmination of trends during the preceding Spring and Autumn period, when the patchwork of states created by the Western Zhou dynasty were conquered and absorbed through warfare, coalescing into seven larger polities. Qin, Qi, Chu and Yan already existed as states during that period; Qin and Yan, owing to their remote locations, were traditionally considered second-tier powers, while Chu and Qi were among the dominant states of the period, in direct competition with the Jin (Chinese state), State of Jin. In 403 BCE, King Weilie of Zhou recognized Jin's partition, leading to the creation of three new states: Wei (state), Wei, Zhao (state), Zhao and Han (state), Han. Other major states included Wu (state), Wu and Yue (state), Yue, with the latter conquering the former in 473 BCE. Minor Chinese and sinicized states and polities continued to exist well into the Warring States Era, such as Shu (state), Shu (annexed by Qin in 316 BCE), Zhongshan (state), Zhongshan (annexed by Zhao (state), Zhao in 296 BCE), Song (state), Song (annexed by Qi in 286 BCE), Lu (state), Lu (annexed by Chu in 256 or 249 BCE). These political changes led to changes amongst the ruling families as well: in 481 BCE, the Tian clan Usurpation of Qi by Tian, usurped the state of Qi in a coup and replaced the ruling Jiang clan. Meanwhile, the state of Jin, which had been controlled by different noble clans for decades, was Partition of Jin, partitioned between the Han, Zhao and Wei clans in 403 BCE.

See also

* Five Hegemons (Spring and Autumn period) Former countries in Chinese history Ancient Chinese states Zhou dynasty {{China-stub