"A horrible tyrant, Chin was expanding his army to all corners of the continent. When they came to the neck of the peninsula where we lived, he demanded our immediate surrender. I warned him that I would not sit passively while he took our home. But he did not back down."
— AvatarKyoshi to the people of Chin Village.
Chin the Conqueror, known in Chin Village as "Chin the Great" or "Emperor Chin", was a ruthless earthbending warlord native to the northwestern part of the Earth Kingdom. During the life of AvatarKyoshi, he launched a largely successful conquest of the Earth Kingdom and aimed to overthrow the authoritarian 46th Earth King. As an extremely stubborn and proud man, Chin even tried to force the Avatar to submit to him. Eventually, the conqueror was indirectly killed by Kyoshi when he refused to move out of the way as she defended her home by splitting it from the mainland.
Chin was a highly capable and tyrannical leader who successfully took advantage of widespread dissatisfaction with the reign of the dictatorial 46th Earth King in order to launch a military conquest of the Earth Kingdom. He launched the campaign from a small island in the northwestern part of the kingdom, unifying the nation under his control. Amassing a large and formidable army, he managed to gain control of the entire continent, with the exceptions of Ba Sing Se and a small peninsula in the southwest which Avatar Kyoshi called home.
In 270 BSC, Chin and his army approached the peninsula, determined to conquer it by any means possible. When Chin commanded that the inhabitants submit to his rule, Kyoshi disregarded his demands. Chin then assumed an offensive position at the mouth of the peninsula, as his stubborn nature did not allow him to accept failure. Kyoshi acted in defense of her people by entering the Avatar State and splitting her village from the mainland, creating Kyoshi Island. In the process, Kyoshi's airbending blew away Chin's clothes and his troops, bitterly humiliating him. However, Chin's expression did not change and he refused to retreat.
As the landmass eventually parted with the mainland, the ground on which Chin stood became an unstable cliff over the ocean. Even though defeated, Chin did not move and instead screamed in frustration and anger. A little later the ledge collapsed beneath him and the warlord fell to his death. Although it appeared that Chin was murdered by Kyoshi, this was not the case; his obstinance was the ultimate cause of his demise as he had been given sufficient time to move to solid ground before his fatal fall to the ocean below.
Because of Chin's death, the Earth Kingdom civil war eventually ended with the victory of the Earth King's government. The 46th Earth King was able to restore his reign over the whole Earth Kingdom. However, his continuing tyranny eventually caused another open revolt, this time in Ba Sing Se. The peasants of the city, instigated by the notion that the Earth King's rule was outdated and that he did not represent their interests, tried to establish a "new government". Many of Chin's former supporters participated in the revolt as well, determined to avenge their leader. Nevertheless, Avatar Kyoshi eventually solved the problems peacefully and ended the uprising.
After his death, Chin's army also founded a settlement in the southern Earth Kingdom. This settlement, named Chin Village in his honor, was located at the point where Kyoshi Island split from the mainland. The locals still referred to Chin as a great hero over 370 years after his death and a statue of him was erected there in his honor. However, this statue was later destroyed by the Rough Rhinos in 100 ASC.
Chin was one of the most controversial characters in history. While his foes, especially Avatar Kyoshi and the inhabitants of Kyoshi Island, called him "a horrible tyrant", the descendants of his followers idolized him as a "glorious leader". Even 370 years after his death, there were still significant tensions concerning this topic.
Not much is known about Chin himself, but it is certain that he was a very aggressive and proud warlord. Sometimes his decisions were rather cruel, an example being when he killed a helpless emissary with his earthbending only to show his power. Nevertheless, the army of his loyal followers numbered in the thousands. The sheer size of his army and his successes during his campaign proved that Chin may have been cruel and ruthless, but was also a very charismatic person and an effective strategist.
However, it were his final moments that best showed his true character. When Chin prepared to invade the Avatar's peninsula, he gathered his massive army to intimidate Kyoshi, a plan that failed completely. Rather than wasting the life of his troops to deal with the fearless Avatar, he faced Kyoshi himself. This was a unique, respectable, and almost honorable decision for a leader. Chin apparently cared for his men, since he knew that they were no match for the Avatar. However, this action also proved that he overestimated himself such that he believed he could defeat Kyoshi in a duel. Due to this enormous pride and his obstinance, Chin died shortly afterwards, unwilling to accept defeat after Kyoshi's victory.
Overall, he was admired by his followers as successful and honorable, but due to his mercilessness and obstinance, he was hated and feared by his foes.
The Chinese characters carved on the lower part of the statue in ancient Seal Script read 秦帝, which means "Emperor Chin". He is named after and based on Qin Shi Huangdi (秦始皇帝), the first Emperor of China, who united the country and from whom China gets its English name.
In Mandarin Chinese, the "Q" in "Qin" is pronounced like the English sound "Ch", which is probably why Chin is spelled with a "Ch" instead of "Q", like his namesake.
The design of Chin's armor resembles that of Song and Ming Dynasty armors, commonly worn by generals and commanders. His hat, called a Tong Tian Guan, is often worn by the highest-ranking military officer.
Some people in the Earth Kingdom believed that Chin sought to conquer the Earth Kingdom simply to make up for his short stature. In the real world, this is called a "Napoleon Complex".
Notably, both Napoleon and Chin originally came from small islands in the periphery of their later empires (Corsica and the northwestern island respectively).
According to Avatar Kyoshi, Chin's death brought "a great era of peace". However, this was proven to be not entirely correct, as Chin's death caused the violent Peasant Uprising in Ba Sing Se and a time of civil unrest in the Earth Kingdom, even though there was no open warfare for the next 233 years.