The time referred to as the Warring States Period happened over a period of 250 years. More specifically, it took place from 475 BC to 221 BC. This period’s name came from the conflict that took place during the Zhou dynasty that caused the region to be divided into 8 different states. Throughout the next 250 years, these 8 different states would be in constant war with one another. The reasons for these wars varied depending on who was involved. Some of the states wanted more land and power over China while others fought to defend themselves and to keep their lives. For the most part, they all wanted to conquer all the other 7 states. These 8 warring states were Qin, Chu, Qi, Yan, Han, Wei, Yue, and Zhao.
At the beginning of this war period, the boundaries of all the states remained about the same size. The two largest states were Chu, which controlled about a third of the region in the South. The second was Qin, which also controlled about a third of the region in the west. The rest of the states were in the land in between the Chu and Qin. Chu, the largest of all the states started out as the strongest. However, the Chu government later became corrupt and inefficient and the Chu military was weakened. Causing the Chu state to lose its power.
The Warring States Period created a need for skilled men in order to meet complex demands in the military and in politics. The ability to come up with strategies of war became a much needed skill which was prized in the society. Another prized talent was the ability to come up with ideas for economic and diplomatic policies. People were encouraged to learn through the study of books and teachers in order to obtain these advantages.
This period was the time at which iron tools became popular and when China entered the Iron Age. Philosophical movements also became big during this time and Confucian philosophy was further developed. The Confucian philosophers Mencius and Hsun-tzu taught and wrote during this period. In the end, it was the kingdom of Qin that was finally able to conquer all the other states in the region. This not only put an end to the Warring States Period, but also to the Zhou dynasty that had also been going on at this time.