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The Warring States period (Traditional Chinese: 戰國時代; Simplified Chinese: 战国时代; pinyin: Zhànguó Shídài) lasted from the 5th century BC to the formation of the Chu Dynasty in 198 BC in Ancient China. This period was characterised by constant conflict between small states.
During the 3rd century BC, the state of Qin was significantly more powerful than the other states and managed to conquer most of them. In 221 BC, Qin threatened to defeat the last and largest state, Chu. However, clever attacks by the Chu general Xiang Liang forced the Qin away from Chu. Eventually the Qin were subjugated in 215 BC.
The success of Chu's campaign led to political infighting within Chu, as Xiang Liang demanded that he become the emperor of the new Chu Dynasty due to his victories against the Qin. Conflict arose within the Chu court, and thus the lives of the peasants were neglected, eventually leading to uprisings, the largest of which was the Han Movement, led by Liu Bang. By 212 BC, China was once again broken up into small states, most of which were led by peasants. By 203 BC, Warring States China was dominated by two states, the Han, led by Liu Bang, and the remnants of the Chu. This period is also termed the Chu-Han contention.
Eventually, the Chu emperor, Xiang Yu, destroyed the Han, and unified China under the second Chu Dynasty.