Ying Zheng (called "Emperor Han" in the film) was only thirteen when he took the throne of Qin (Ch'in) in 247 BC, after his father died. What we know about him comes from The Records of the Grand Historian, written by Sima Tan (died circa 110 BC) and his son Sima Qian (Ssu-ma Ch'ien) who lived (it is said) between 145 and approximately 86 BC. Their history is also referenced by its Chinese name: Shiji.
China was a land of contrasts then, as it is now. From arid desert to waterfalls (this video depicts the beauty of Jiuzhaigou), from "stone forests" in stunning Yunnan Province to fragile flowers growing beside the Great Wall, the country is filled with beautiful, yet diverse, landscapes. Its ancient music is haunting (and is still played).
In the 3rd century BC, independent war lords were unwilling to recognize one supreme ruler. But Ying Zheng’s enemies were weak (because of constant warfare), so his main advisor (an ambitious fellow named Li Si) sensed that Zheng could accomplish his goal. To unify seven disparate states (Qin, Chu, Han, Wei, Qi, Zhao and Yan), however, Ying Zheng would have to use extraordinary force.
Because of his growing power, Zheng changed how the independent states (and their leaders) dealt with each other. Within twelve years, he and his army had crushed most of the opposition.
Along his route to victory, the young king made many enemies.