BECK index

Korea to 1800

Koguryo, Paekche, and Silla to 668
Silla and Parhae 668-936
Koryo 936-1392
Yi Begins Choson Dynasty 1392-1567
Korea and Foreign Invasions 1567-1659
Korea and Practical Learning 1659-1800

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Koguryo, Paekche, and Silla to 668

Early humans were living on the Korean peninsula about a half million years ago, and modern humans hunted more than 40,000 years ago. Pottery was made there and in Japan ten thousand years ago. Koreans trace their ancestry back to the era of China's Xia dynasty in 2333 BC. The legendary Tangun was said to have been the son of a heavenly incarnation and a female bear, possibly indicating the totem of the original tribe. Farming and walled houses developed by 2000 BC, and bronze daggers were used about 1500 BC. As with most indigenous peoples, their spiritual beliefs were shamanistic. By the 8th century BC people with an Altaic language were practicing agriculture and using bronze on the Korean peninsula. Having benefited from iron plows, four centuries later a league of tribes formed the Choson state. During China's Period of Warring States refugees brought Chinese culture. About 190 BC Wiman, who was either Chinese or served the Chinese, usurped the Choson throne and established a capital on the Taedong River at what is now P'yongyang. In 109 BC Han emperor Wudi sent an army of 60,000 with a navy of 7,000 to invade the peninsula. The next year Choson was destroyed as Wiman's grandson was killed. The Chinese set up four commanderies, though by 75 BC this had been reduced to Lolang (called Nangnang in Korean). Wang Tiao led a revolt in 30 CE, but Lolang's new governor Wang Zun put it down.

According to legend, Chumong founded Koguryo in 37 BC north of the Yalu River. In 12 CE Koguryo warriors decided not to help Wang Mang fight the Xiongnu and attacked the Chinese army. The Puyo tribe living along the Sungari River in Manchuria had their chief recognized as a wang (king) by the Chinese in 49 CE, and Koguryo developed into a state during the long reign of Taejo that began four years later. Puyo made slaves of war captives and criminals, executing as many as a hundred at a time to accompany a clan patriarch to the grave and the next world. Koguryo also held slaves, excelled in iron work, and trained all their men for the military. The ruling class wore silk, furs, and caps decorated with gold and silver ornaments. The Old Choson law code authorized capital punishment for murder, compensation in grain for bodily injury, and enslavement or an expensive fine for stealing. At Puyo they also enslaved the family of a murderer and put women to death for adultery or even jealousy. Stealing was considered so shameful that no one would marry a thief.

Koguryo king Kogukch'on (r. 179-96) ruled over enclaves in the center, north, east, south, and west. King Sansang (r. 196-227) established the line of succession as father to son. In 242 CE Koguryo king Tongchon (r. 227-48) attacked people near the mouth of the Yalu River. Two years later the Chinese state of Wei sent a force of 20,000 and took the Koguryo capital while Puyo made an alliance by supplying the Chinese troops. Paekche in the southwest was thriving by the time of its eighth king, Koi (r. 234-86). When Xienpei tribes from the north attacked in 285, Puyo king Uiryo committed suicide; but the Chinese Qin state helped fight them off. Koguryo tribes ended four centuries of Chinese colonial exploitation of fish, salt, iron, timber, and farm produce by overthrowing Lolang in 313. The Xienpei, who became the Earlier Yen, invaded Koguryo in 342, and four years later they ended Puyo independence by carrying off their king Hyon along with 50,000 prisoners. King Kun Ch'ogo (r. 346-75) ruled the aristocratic state of Paekche. In 369 he led the destruction of Mahan and urged Japan to attack Silla. Two years later 30,000 Paekche men attacked Koguryo and killed their king Kogugwon. Koguryo's King Sosurim (r. 371-84) became a Buddhist and founded the National Confucian Academy in 372. With few exceptions Korean would be written in Chinese characters until the 15th century. Influenced by the Chinese, the Koreans also wrote histories-Paekche during Kun Ch'ogo's reign, Silla in 545, and Koguryo in 600.

Silla emerged as a powerful state in the southeast under its king Naemul (r. 356-402), who made it a hereditary monarchy. During the reign of Paekche king Kun Kusu (r. 375-84), scholar Wang In took the Chinese classics to the Japanese court at Yamato. In 384 the Chinese monk Malananda brought Buddhism to Paekche, and Kun Kusu's successor Ch'imnyu adopted it that year. When Japan invaded Silla in 399, a Koguryo army of 50,000 came to their neighbor's defense; another Japanese expedition five years later was also turned away. Koguryo expanded its kingdom under warrior king Kwanggaet'o (r. 391-413) to include 64 walled cities and 1,400 villages. From Manchuria he moved south to attack Paekche and the Wa (Japanese) invading Silla. During the long reign of King Changsu (r. 413-91) Koguryo formed diplomatic relations with the northern Wei and other Chinese states, "pitting one barbarian against another."1 The Koguryo capital was moved south to P'yongyang in 427. In 475 a Koguryo army of 30,000 captured Paekche's capital and killed their king Kaero (r. 455-75); Paekche moved their capital south to Ungjin. In 494 the state of Puyo disappeared when its aristocratic families migrated to live under Koguryo rule. Paekche king Tongsong (r. 479-500) strengthened defenses and formed a military alliance with Silla against Koguryo.

Nulchi (r. 417-58) established a father-to-son succession in Silla and formed an alliance with Paekche in 434. He was followed by Chabi (r. 458-79), who made a marriage tie with Paekche. Plowing with oxen and irrigation were introduced under King Soji (r. 479-500). Silla king Pophung (r. 514-40) formalized the aristocratic social hierarchy in a code of laws with his hereditary "bone-rank" social hierarchy. Conservative Silla did not officially recognize Buddhism until after the noble monk Ich'adon was martyred in 527. Paekche kings Tongsong (r. 479-501) and Muryong (r. 501-23) expanded their realm to include 22 districts. Paekche king Song (r. 523-54) spent most of his reign importing Confucian and Buddhist culture from Liang China. After Koguryo's army encroached into his territory in 551, King Song attacked them with Silla and the small kingdom of Kaya; but then Silla turned against them, killing Song and taking over the Kaya kingdom. According to Silla's history, Paekche's entire force of 30,000 was killed or captured. Buddhism flourished in Paekche, and in 599 new monasteries were built. Like Silla, they limited the slaughtering of animals.

While Koguryo was suffering a civil war, Silla king Chinhung (r. 540-76) sent a force into the upper Han area and then defeated Paekche, taking the lower Han also. Silla built the Tanghang fortress in the Han valley, which not only separated Koguryo from Paekche but gave Silla access to the gulf of Namnyang (Inchon) and Chinese commerce. Chinhung trained men in group cooperation and national service in the Hwarang (Flower Youths) program. The Buddhist monk Won'gwang Popsa wrote "Five Commandments for Mundane Life" to teach them to serve the king loyally and their parents with filial piety, be true to their friends, not retreat in battle, and not destroy life indiscriminately. Silla also practiced the Hwabaek system of consensus decision-making with conferences of selected aristocrats until the king's power supplanted it.

Koguryo encroached on the Chinese empire by crossing the Liao River in 598, and after five years of preparation in 612 Sui emperor Yang Di sent six armies reported to have a total of 1,133,800 soldiers. After they crossed the Yalu and the Ch'ongch'on, exhausting their supplies, Koguryo's envoy suggested that the Chinese general withdraw. A detachment of 300,000 Chinese soldiers that marched on the capital at P'yongyang fell into a trap; it was said that only 2,700 returned. Yang Di made two more attempts to invade Koguryo; but they failed, and he lost power to the Tang in 618. Koguryo accepted the Tang calendar in 624, and in 631 they began building a wall that ran 200 miles and took sixteen years to complete. In 642 General Yon Kaesomun seized power, and the same year Paekche king Uija (r. 641-60) captured forty fortresses from Silla. Paekche joined with Koguryo to take over the port of Namyang. In 645 Tang emperor Taizong personally led an army of 170,000 that invaded Koguryo, but two months of determined resistance, losses, and cold weather forced them to withdraw. Three more Chinese invasions in the next decade also failed. Koguryo made all men serve in the army and do forced labor.

Silla ended its highest "hallowed-bone" lineage when it was ruled by the queens Sondok (r. 632-47) and Chindok (r. 647-54). Kim Ch'un-ch'u went to the Yamato court in 647 to complain about Japanese raids and the next year visited Tang Taizong twice. When Queen Chindok died without an heir, her cousin Kim Ch'un-ch'u became King Muyol. In 655 Koguryo and Paekche invaded Silla, whose king Taejong asked for aid from Tang China. The despotic and unpopular Uija surrendered; but Paekche revived under Prince Pung's leadership. In 660 Tang emperor Gaozong sent a fleet commanded by Su Dingfang against Paekche while Kim Yu-sin led land forces from Silla. They captured Sabi, and King Uija surrendered. The noble Poksin and the monk Toch'im organized resistance, and Prince Yung returned from Japan to lead the effort to regain Sabi; but Poksin killed Toch'im and was killed by Yung. The Silla and Tang armies then ended the kingdom of Paekche. China imposed its administration under Silla king Munmu (r. 661-80). In 661 Su Dingfang led 40,000 Chinese forces up the Taedong River to attack P'yongyang, but they were defeated by Yon Kaesomun's Koguryo army. After Yon Kaesomun died, the Tang and Silla armies in 667 closed in on Koguryo and took P'yongyang the next year, removing 200,000 prisoners to China.

Silla and Parhae 668-936

Silla conquered Koguryo in 668. After two years of resistance led by Kommojam, Koguryo prince Ansung surrendered to Silla and was appointed a king. The Chinese converted Paekche's five provinces into commanderies and Koguryo into nine commanderies. When General Kommojam revolted against the Tang occupation in 670, Silla reinforced him with 10,000 men, causing Tang emperor Gaozong to reinforce P'yongyang. In 671 Silla captured Sabi and took over the former Paekche realm. By 677 Silla forces had driven the Chinese completely out of the Korean peninsula to form a unified state. In 698 the former Koguryo general Tae Cho-yong founded the state of Parhae (Pohai to the Chinese) in the north and became King Ko. In 732 Parhae king Mu (r.719-37) sent a naval force to attack the Chinese port of Dengzhou. While the Tang dynasty was suffering the An Lushan rebellion, Parhae under King Mun (r. 737-94) annexed the Liaodong peninsula. Parhae reached its greatest extent under King Son (r. 818-30), and the kingdom lasted until it was overcome by the Khitans in 926.

The Buddhist monk Wonhyo (617-86) studied Consciousness-Only philosophy and attempted to unify the different schools of Buddhism into Ilsung Pulgyo (One Vehicle) by writing 240 volumes, including a "Treatise on the Harmonious Understanding of the Ten Doctrines." The handsome Wonhyo gave up celibacy and married. Later in life he devoted himself to practicing and promoting the Pure Land sect that he believed was for everyone. Chinese Chan Buddhism, introduced in Silla in the mid-7th century, became popular as Son in Korea and Zen in Japan. A national school established in 682 gave aristocratic young men nine years of courses that culminated in examinations for public office. The Analects of Confucius and the Classic of Filial Piety were the basic texts for all three courses of study that also included the other classics, histories, and literary selections.

Silla's government followed the Chinese model and included a board of censors (Sajongbu) to investigate corruption and bad administration, though most power was reserved for the royal Chingol clan and other aristocrats. Former Koguryo and Paekche officials who supported Silla were given their old positions back, though in Paekche at one rank lower. King Sinmun (r. 681-92) won an internal struggle for power and had his rivals killed. Silla experimented with Tang-like land reform in 689, and in 722 King Songdok (r. 702-37) began distributing land directly to free farmers between the ages of 20 and 60 who were liable to military and labor service. However, the great estates of the rich and Buddhist temples deprived the government of tax revenue and prevented them from redistributing land by population. This effort was apparently abandoned by 757 when ownership was made hereditary. Two years later Silla king Kyondkok (r. 742-65) reorganized the government again along Chinese lines to try to control the aristocracy; but in 768 civil war broke out, and Kim Yang-sang seized power in 774. He killed King Hyegong in 780 and took the throne as King Sondok, ending the dynasty that had unified Silla two centuries before. Sondok's successor, King Wonsong (r. 785-98) claimed to be a descendant of King Naemul, as did all the subsequent Silla rulers. In the next 150 years succession violence would bring twenty kings to the Silla throne. The government attempted to improve civil service by instituting examinations in 788.

During King Hondok's reign (809-26) the monk Toui promoted the Son (Zen) sect of Buddhism by founding Mount Kaji at Porim-sa, and this spread to become the Nine Mountain Sects of Son. Buddhist monasteries were supported by powerful gentry and became so wealthy that the government put restrictions on their holdings. Conservatives in the royal Chingol clan struggled against Confucian reforms while other aristocrats resented their exclusion from power. Major revolts occurred in the countryside in 822 and 825 as Kim Hon-ch'ang tried to claim the throne and begin a new state; but he and his son failed. King Hungdok (r. 826-36) established a garrison on Wando, and the wealthy merchant Chang Po-go was given a force of 10,000 men to reduce Chinese piracy. After Hungdok died in 836, Chang helped Kim U-jing become King Sinmu after a three-year succession struggle. Sinmu's son Munsong (r. 839-46) wanted to marry Chang's daughter, but aristocrats in the capital blocked this and assassinated Chang in 846. The Ch'onghae Garrison was abolished in 851.

During the feuding wars, great estates became little kingdoms and exploited their workers unmercifully. Suffering unpaid corvée labor, many landless wanderers turned to banditry and plundering. According to Ilyon, Queen Chinsong (r. 888-98) let her lovers and favorites usurp authority and acquire fortunes by oppressing the people. Ch'oe Ch'i-won urged the appointment of men based on their learning rather than on their bone-rank lineage, but the aristocrats objected. Wang Ko-in also protested the bone-rank system and was arrested for criticizing the government with hidden meanings. Ch'oe Ch'i-won, when his proposals were not accepted, resigned and lived away from the capital. When the government attempted to enforce tax collection in 889, a peasant uprising led by Kyonhwon in Sangju spread throughout the country. In 892 he proclaimed the Later Paekche kingdom. Kungye was a Silla prince who became a monk, but in 891 he joined the rebellion led by Yanggil at Wonju. Put in command of forces, Kungye's growing army captured the provinces of Kangwon, Kyonggi, and Hwanghae. He overthrew Yanggil in 897 and four years later proclaimed the Later Koguryo kingdom. Kungye claimed to be the Maitreya Buddha, and he ruled despotically, trying to re-impose the old "bone-rank" system. His reign of terror was ended in 918 by his own generals, and the fleeing Kungye was killed by his own people. Wang Kon was from a wealthy family of merchants and served Kungye as a commander in the southwest and then as prime minister. In 918 the generals put him on the throne, and Wang Kon founded the Koryo dynasty, from which Korea is named. Wang Kon moved the capital to Songak (Kaesong) and formed an alliance with Silla.

Kyonhwon wanted revenge against Silla, and in 927 his Later Paekche forces killed King Kyongae and pillaged Kyongju, abducting high officials and seizing treasure, arms, and skilled craftsmen. Wang Kon wanted friendly relations with Silla and led his army against the invading Later Paekche forces. The people of Silla welcomed Wang Kon, and he made a truce with Later Paekche. In 930 the Koryo forces won a battle over the Later Paekche army, which retreated from Silla territory. The Koryo army attacked the Later Paekche at Unju in 934. Because Kyonhwon had named his fourth son his successor, his oldest son Sin'gom detained his father in a temple and ascended the throne of Later Paekche. Kyonhwon escaped to his former enemy Wang Kon, and in 935 the last Silla king Kyongsun surrendered to Koryo. Then the next year Kyonhwon helped the Koryo troops against his son's army, and the Later Paekche kingdom was ended. Wang Kon gave his oldest daughter to Kyongsun in marriage and incorporated Silla administration into his new state. He also welcomed refugees from the Parhae kingdom that had been recently overthrown by the Khitans.

Koryo 936-1392

In 936 Wang Kon as Koryo's first king T'aejo led the invasion that wiped out the Later Paekche regime and unified the country. T'aejo married a woman from the Silla royal family and was kind to the Silla nobles. He also married 29 women from various clans of gentry. He promoted Buddhism within limits, and using geomancy favored the cities of Kaeson and P'yongyang, while discriminating against people from inauspicious regions. In 940 T'aejo began distributing land to officials who had helped him found the Koryo dynasty. In 942 the Khitans sent an embassy with a gift of fifty camels for the Koryo court, but T'aejo banished the envoys to an island and let the camels starve to death. A month before he died in 943, T'aejo wrote a book of advice on governing called Ten Injunctions. His son Hyejong did not live long during the intrigues of Wang Kyu and his family, and Hyejong's successor Chongjong (r. 945-49) ended the rebellion of Wang Kyu. Chongjong began construction to improve the capital at P'yongyang and prepared the army for a northern invasion.

The Koryo also used Chinese administrative methods. After Kwangjong became king in 949, all opposition and suspected relatives were slaughtered. Seven years later he weakened the aristocrats and increased tax revenue by promulgating the Slave Review Act that freed many people who had been unlawfully enslaved, although many hereditary slaves who could be bought and sold still remained. Kwangjong also made landholding depend upon one's government rank. In 958 he adopted a more liberal examination system proposed by the Chinese scholar Shuang Chi, though aristocrats were still greatly favored. Kwangjong instituted court robes of four different colors to indicate rank. He made Kaesong the imperial capital and sent nobles to the western capital at P'yongyang. Kwangjong purged those who did not submit to his authority, and during his reign (949-75) the Koryo army pushed toward the Yalu River by establishing forts across the Ch'ongch'on River.

The Stipend Land Law was initiated by Kwangjong's successor Kyongjong in 976. Confucian Ch'oe Sung-no submitted a policy memorial before he died in 989, and the centralized bureaucracy of Songjong (r. 981-97) relied on his views. In 987 Songjong ordered private weapons confiscated and recast as agricultural tools, and in 992 he established the National University. After Mokchong (r. 997-1009) became king, grants were implemented in 998 based on Songjong's eighteen stipend grades.

In 993 a Khitan army of 900,000 crossed Koryo's northern border; but the Koreans were prepared, and their defense forced the Khitans to negotiate with So Hui, who persuaded them to withdraw. Summoned to squelch a subversive plot, military administrator Kang Cho eliminated the conspiracy of Kim Ch'i-yang but also assassinated King Mokchong, enthroning Hyonjong (r. 1009-31). However, this provided an opportunity for the Khitan Liao king to invade the next year with 400,000 troops. Kang Cho was captured and killed, and the Liao forces besieged P'yongyang. The capital at Kaesong was abandoned, resulting in raping, killing, and the destruction of many valuable monuments and documents. Yet Korean general Yang Kyu inflicted thousands of casualties on the retreating Liao army. Two military officers took control of the Koryo government in 1014. Four years later the Liao army crossed the frontier again; but a reorganized Koryo army decisively defeated them, and only a few Liao troops survived to return home the next year. In 1018 King Hyonjong tried to reform provincial governments by ordering their staffs to investigate the people's hardships, abilities of head clerks, crime, and the clerks' loss of public funds. Koryo used 30,000 laborers to build a wall around the capital in 1029, and between 1033 and 1044 they constructed a wall along the entire northern border that stretched from the mouth of the Yalu River on the west coast to Kwangpo on the east coast.

The Koryo aristocracy had civilian officials, military officers, court functionaries, and soldiers. The peasants could not hold offices, and below them were the slaves. Social status was usually hereditary, but one could rise through the civil service examinations. Soldiers could advance by meritorious service. A council advised the king, and officials were sent to the twelve provinces. The capital sent out officials as inspector-generals, and young aristocrats were assigned to duties at the capital. Using iron coins as a money economy developed, the Koryo culture prospered during the bureaucratic era of Munjong (r. 1046-83). When the Confucian scholar Ch'oe Ch'ung retired from the government in 1055, he accepted private students, who were so successful that soon there were twelve such private schools. The curriculum of government schools was improved too, and military subjects were dropped. Taking a half century of work, the Buddhist scriptures compiled in the immense Tripitaka were carved on blocks, and the printing was completed in 1087. Kaesong had seventy Buddhist temples, and monks took examinations. Yijong (r. 1103-22) established lectures on the Chinese classics and military studies.

When the Jurchens invaded Koryo in 1104, an army of 170,000 was organized that even included a unit of Buddhist monks. Three years later Yun Kwan led the Koryo army that routed the Jurchen forces at Chongp'yong. After continuing Jurchen attacks and diplomatic pressure, jealousy toward Yun Kwan at the Koryo court resulted in the return of the nine forts region to the Jurchens. In 1127 Yi Cha-gyom decided that Koryo should submit to the sovereignty of the now powerful Jin empire of the Jurchens in order to avoid a possible invasion. Eighty years of dominance by the Inju Yi clan ended early in Injong's reign (1122-46) when Yi Cha-gyom was driven out by Ch'ok Chun-gyong. Yi Cha-gyom had burned down the palace in Kaesong, and Myoch'ong urged Injong to move the capital to P'yongyang; but the Confucian Kim Pu-sik argued against him. Myoch'ong raised an army at P'yongyang and proclaimed a kingdom, but the Koryo army led by Kim Pu-sik captured P'yongyang and defeated him the next year. Six new colleges were added in the capital, and the Chinese classics remained the basic curriculum. Schools were also established in rural areas to educate the youth. Kim Pu-sik compiled the History of the Three Kingdoms for King Injong in 1145.

Military officers resented civilian superiority during King Uijong's decadent reign (1146-70). After being humiliated, the commanders Yi Ui-bang, Yi Ko, and Chong Chung-bu revolted against the royal party, banishing Uijong and replacing him with his younger brother Myongjong (r. 1170-97). A military council took control and murdered many civilian officials, replacing them mostly with military officers. Within four months Yi Ko executed several military officials for criticizing him, and so Yi Ui-bang killed Yi Ko. After Yi Ui-bang killed another military officer four months later, he made a pact with Chong Chung-bu. A civil war compounded by rebelling peasants resentful of Uijong's extravagance broke out and lasted a generation. The powerful military families became great landowners, using their private armies to collect arbitrary taxes from peasant farmers in the name of the government or in defiance of it. On public land the rent was a quarter of the harvest, but on private lands the aristocrats collected half the yield. Adult males between the age of 16 and 60 could be forced to work on government construction projects and did not even receive food.

In 1172 soldiers in the western region revolted against the local officials. The demoted military commissioner for the northeast, Kim Podang, revolted in 1173 but was defeated in a month. The next year Cho Wi-ch'ong, an official in the western capital at Sogyong, led a revolt that lasted a year and a half before they were captured. Also in 1174 more than two thousand monks of the Doctrine (Kyo) school of Buddhism tried to assassinate Yi Ui-bang. in 1176 an uprising broke out in the forced labor district of Myonghak. The rebels marched toward Kaesong but were put down after a year. Meanwhile Yi Ui-bang intended to marry his daughter to the crown prince, but Chong Chung-bu's son Kyun assassinated Yi Ui-bang in 1176. The Chong faction ruled until the young commander Kyong Tae-sung murdered Chong Chung-bu and Kyun in 1179. Kyong tried to protect himself from the hostility he aroused and died of illness. His rival Yi Ui-min was the son of a slave, and he had murdered Uijong in 1173. He advanced in the military by suppressing rebellions but stayed away from the capital while Kyong ruled. In 1182 soldiers and government slaves revolted again in Chonju and held the city for forty days. Yi Ui-min returned from the countryside to rule despotically from 1184 to 1196. In 1193 the rebellions led by Kim Sami and Hyosim joined forces and defeated government troops. The next year they were defeated in the battle at Miryang, where 7,000 rebels were killed.

General Ch'oe Ch'ung-hon became prominent for having defeated the rebels led by Cho Wi-ch'ong. Ch'oe Ch'ung-hon organized his own private army. He and his brother Ch'oe Ch'ung-su assassinated Yi Ui-min in 1196. Ch'oe Ch'ung-hon gained the approval of King Myongjong and control of the government the next year by defeating the forces of Yi Ui-min. Then Ch'oe forced Myongjong to abdicate in favor of his younger brother Sinjong. Ch'oe Ch'ung-hon consolidated his power by executing his nephew and killing his brother Ch'ung-su in the street for trying to marry his daughter to a crown prince. He revived the military council. The next year a plot of government slaves organized by Manjok was discovered, and more than a hundred of them were executed by drowning. Manjok asked why they should toil under the whip since the low-born were rising to become high officials. In the next two years revolting peasants and slaves killed thousands of local officials, and in 1202 an army mutiny had to be put down. Although these revolts did not end slavery, forced labor districts were abolished. Ch'oe established the Directorate of Decree Enactment to assert his dictatorial power. Ch'oe sent magistrates out from the capital to smaller counties that had lacked them.

Ch'oe Ch'ung-hon criticized Buddhists and compelled monks, even sons of kings, to leave the capital, and he used his military to crush the armed monks. The Chogye sect within Son Buddhism was founded by Chinul (1158-1210), who taught that "sudden enlightenment" should be followed by "gradual cultivation." He revived the Son school at the Suson temple. He taught meditation for the less intellectual but also encouraged scholars to study the texts. Chinul became known as National Preceptor Pojo and was succeeded by Hyesim (1178-1234). In 1212 Ch'oe forced King Huijong (r. 1204-11) and monks into exile for having plotted to kill him. He selected four kings, the last being Kojong (r. 1213-59). Ch'oe implemented ten reforms that included eliminating corruption, removing extraneous officials, making taxes impartial, prohibiting construction of temples, and reducing aristocratic extravagance. Several attempts to assassinate Ch'oe Ch'ung-hon failed, and he surrounded himself and his son U with more than ten thousand house troops. He died in 1219 and passed his power on to his son Ch'oe U (r. 1219-49).

In 1215 the Mongols captured the Jin capital, driving the Khitans into Koryo territory. After a few years of turmoil, the Mongols and Koryo combined forces to besiege the Kangdon Fortress in 1219, and the Khitans surrendered. Ch'oe U stopped a plot by generals to murder civilian officials by sending the conspirators into exile in 1223. The Mongols demanded tribute from Koryo, but their envoy Chu-ku-yu was killed returning from Koryo in 1225. Six years later the Mongol emperor Ogodei Khan sent an army to invade Koryo, and Ch'oe U had to accept a humiliating and expensive peace. In 1232 the court took refuge on the island of Kanghwa; a monk killing the Mongol general Sartai with an arrow led to the Mongol army's withdrawal. Ch'oe U had to send his own troops to put down a rebellion at Sogyong in 1233. A Mongol invasion got to Kyongju in 1235, and in thirty years the Mongols invaded Koryo six times. Koryo used movable type made of metal to print Prescribed Ritual Texts of the Past and Present in 1234. Emergency Remedies of Folk Medicine was published two years later. Ch'oe U died in 1249 and was succeeded in power by his son Ch'oe Hang, who ruled with mostly civilians on his council until 1257, when Ch'oe Ui, his son by a concubine, inherited his position.

Between 1253 and 1257 Mongols led by Jalairtai sacked all the major cities, killed too many to count, removed more than 200,000 male captives, and destroyed the 86,600 wood blocks the Koreans used to print the Buddhist Tripitaka. The people prayed to the Buddha, and the government sponsored the carving of a new set of Tripitaka woodblocks. In 1258 the civilian official Yu Kyong and the military officer Kim Chun assassinated the foolish dictator Ch'oe Ui and his main supporters, enabling King Kojong to govern. The next year Prince Chon submitted to the Mongol court and became king as Wonjong. The Kanghwa fortifications were dismantled. Resenting this submission, in 1268 Im Yon killed Kim Chun, seized power, and replaced Wonjong with his brother the next year. However, the Mongols got Wonjong restored, and he requested their troops. Im Yon died, and Wonjong had his son Im Yu-mu assassinated in 1270. That year ended the Koryo struggle against the Mongols as they moved the court back to Kaesong. The stipend land system broke down as land was allocated to office holders as salaries. Thus powerful families living at Kaesong became absentee landlords. Three Elite Patrols revolted against this and became the anti-Mongol opposition to the government at Kaesong before moving to the southern island of Chindo. Finally the resistance on Cheju Island was subdued in 1273.

The Mongols had proclaimed the Yuan empire in 1271, and Koryo princes had to live in Beijing as hostages. A daughter of Khubilai Khan was made Ch'ungnyol's queen, and the Mongols worked their way into the Koryo royal line by forcing Koryo kings to marry Mongol princesses. To support the Mongol invasions of Japan, 35,000 Korean workers built nine hundred ships, though both attempts of 1274 and 1281 failed because of storms. As farmers suffered under Yuan and Koryo taxes, many became brigands. Others were so poor that they chose to be slaves on private estates. Since most slaves were on private estates, the government had few to call on for corvée labor. Larger private estates and smaller public lands also decreased government revenue.

Under King Ch'ungnyol (r. 1275-1308), An Yu and others reorganized the national university system by adding buildings and by providing scholarships for students and seven professorships in Chinese classics and history. An Yu was the first to adopt the Neo-Confucian philosophy that spread quickly among Koryo literati. Many scholars went to study at the Yuan capital. The Buddhist monk Ilyon (1206-89) wrote Samguk Yusa, a legendary history of the three ancient kingdoms, especially Silla, that included a hagiographic account of the rise of Buddhism. When Ch'ungson became king in 1308, he brought scholars back with him along with 4,000 books. Five years later he abdicated in favor of his son Ch'ungsuk and returned to Beijing.

Japanese raiding of the coastlines increased after 1350. As Mongol power declined, Koryo king Kongmin (r. 1351-74) abolished the Yuan's eastern field headquarters. In 1356 Koryo regained Hamgyong-do province, and in 1359 about 40,000 rebelling Red Turbans fled from a Mongol army into Koryo and took P'yongyang. Two years later 100,000 of them took over the north and even the capital at Kaesong before they were defeated in a counter-attack. Mun Ik-chom brought cotton seeds from China in 1363, and his father-in-law Chong Ch'on-ik made both a cotton gin and a spinning wheel. In 1365 King Kongmin appointed the monk Sin Ton to reform the country. Sin Ton dismissed those of exalted lineage who were corrupt, and he reformed the examination system. He decreed that land and slaves be returned to their rightful owners while freeing some slaves. Sin Ton was popular, but the powerful families eventually had him killed. Kim Yong tried to assassinate King Kongmin in the Hungwang-sa temple but failed, while the Yuan proclaimed the Koryo king deposed. When the Ming dynasty overthrew the Yuan in 1368, Kongmin immediately sent envoys. Ch'oe Mu-son learned how to manufacture gunpowder, and in 1377 the Superintendency of Gunpowder Weapons began producing various cannons. New ships helped the Koryo navy fight the Japanese marauders.

General Yi Song-gye put down a pro-Mongol rebellion in 1370 and reduced Japanese piracy in the northeast. After King Kongmin was assassinated four years later, the legitimacy of King U (r. 1375-88) was questioned. Yi In-im, the military hero who brought him to power, reverted from favoring the Ming to supporting the Yuan, but he was opposed by Yi Song-gye, Chong Mong-ju, and others. Ch'oe Yong and Yi Song-gye drove out the Yi In-im faction. King U and Ch'oe Yong wanted to attack the Ming for trying to establish the Ch'ollyong commandery. When Yi Song-gye was ordered to attack Chinese Ming forces on the northern border in 1388, he declared this policy was wrong for the following four reasons: 1) a small country should not attack a larger one; 2) a military campaign should not proceed during the summer agricultural season; 3) this could provide an opening for Japanese pirates; and 4) the seasonal rain would damage bows and cause epidemics.

Yi Song-gye marched back to the capital at Kaesong, deposed King U, and removed Ch'oe Yong. Yi and his supporters also deposed U's son Ch'ang and put Kongyang from the royal Wang house on the throne in 1389. They began implementing the land reform advised by the literati. After a cadastral survey, the existing land registers were burned in 1390. Examinations were instituted for military service. The next year they promulgated the Rank Land Law that provided stipend land to the official class according to their rank. The rest of the agricultural land was taken over by the state, confiscating the powerful estates. Chong Mong-ju opposed this and was assassinated by Yi's fifth son Pang-won. Kongyang was compelled to abdicate, and in 1392 Yi Song-gye founded a new dynasty that used the ancient name Choson suggested by the Chinese emperor. Pang-won had taken 9,800 horses as tribute to the Ming court to get Emperor Hongwu to invest Yi as king.

Yi Begins Choson Dynasty 1392-1567

As T'aejo (Progenitor) of the Choson or Yi dynasty that he founded in 1392, Yi Song-gye enlisted the support of officials eager to apply Neo-Confucian principles. All land was nationalized, and grants were redistributed to support government officials, breaking up the great estates and making them taxable. Yi Song-gye removed remaining conservatives from office and even burned the old land registers. Coastal and reclaimed lands were reserved to support the army, which was reorganized with a royal guard. Landlords were not allowed to charge more than ten percent of the crop in rent. However, slaves, artisans, merchants, and Buddhist monks were not eligible for land grants. Peasants were restrained from leaving the land they worked by making them wear identification tags around their necks. In 1393 T'aejo named Pang-sok, his youngest son by his current queen as his heir, and two years later he moved the capital from Kaesong to Hanyang (modern Seoul).

Yi T'aejo formed a Privy Council of 39 Confucian advisors who had supported his taking power and were rewarded with large estates. Chong To-jon compiled the Administrative Code of Choson and in 1397 the Six Codes of Governance corresponding to the six governmental departments of personnel, revenue, rites, war, justice, and public works. Rites included education and the examination system. Relations with China were difficult because Korea refused to repatriate Manchurians migrating from China's Liaodong peninsula. T'aejo finally sent back 400 Manchurians, and most of the Liaodong refugees were absorbed into Korean society. Buddhism was attacked as a superstitious and anti-social religion by Neo-Confucians such as Kim Cho, who advocated returning Buddhist monks to farming and the military. T'aejo required monks to be registered so that their numbers would not increase. All but 242 Buddhist temples and monasteries were closed, and their lands and slaves were confiscated by the government in 1406.

In 1398 T'aejo's fifth son Yi Pang-won killed T'aejo's youngest son Pang-sok and his older brother, and Chong To-jon was beaten to death. T'aejo retired to his family home at Hamhung, as his son Chongjong moved the capital back to Kaesong. Another brother named Pang-gan attempted a coup, and so Pang-won and his brother Pang-ui appealed to their father. After shooting his envoy in the back with an arrow and missing Pang-won, T'aejo said he could have the throne. Pang-won as T'aejong (r. 1400-18) moved the capital back to Seoul, where a labor force of 120,000 had built a wall around the city. He supervised the construction of a sewage system and fire-walls, and he established a press for printing books. T'aejong abolished private armed forces and centralized military control. He changed the Privy Council to a State Council and gave the authority to the six ministries, who reported directly to him. He had the Six Codes revised to reflect these changes. Koreans began the tradition of writing a history of each reign with the Annals of T'aejo in 1413.

The Yi dynasty imitated Ming China and would not confiscate granted land except as punishment for a serious crime; so the lands of the yangban class of officials and the military became hereditary. The large yangmin class of free peasant farmers carried the burden of production and taxation. The low-born chonmin slaves were exploited for their labor; shamans, courtesans, butchers, tanners, actors, and other entertainers also fell into this lowest class. In 1414 a law was enacted discriminating against the children of concubines by barring them from most government positions even if the father was a yangban. T'aejong ordered printing from copper type in 1403, and moveable lead type was used in 1436. Neo-Confucian philosophy replaced Buddhism as the dominant view, as Zhu Xi's doctrines on social propriety and family relationships became orthodox. Of the five Confucian relationships, only friendship was reciprocal and not patriarchal, as the father expected filial piety from his sons, the ruler loyalty from his subjects, the husband submission from his wife, and the elder brother respect from his younger brothers. T'aejong prohibited women from marrying a third time. T'aejong found that his oldest son was mentally unstable, and his second son became a Buddhist monk; but he was so impressed by the Confucian qualities of his third son that he abdicated in his favor and returned to military pursuits on the frontiers in 1418.

King Sejong (r. 1418-50) founded the Chiphyonjon (Institute of Sages) in 1424 for the best scholars, and they published the six-volume Orthodox Code. Tribute of gold, silver, and horses to China was costing Korea until 1429 when they were allowed to substitute textiles for the precious metals. Tribute thus became trade missions, and they were increased to three per year. Korea exported horses, ginseng, hides, and textiles for silk, porcelain, chemicals, and books. However, Koreans resented the Ming court's demand to send castrated boys and virgin girls to the Chinese emperor's harem annually as tribute. In 1433 this was suspended, and three years later 53 women were repatriated. For a long time piracy had prevented trade with Japan; but in 1419 Sejong sent Yi Chong-mu to attack their lair at Tsushima Island, defeating them and making this a port for trade. In 1443 the Kyehae Treaty with the So family that ruled Tushima limited the amount of rice per ship and the trade to fifty ships per year. The Japanese traded sulphur, herbs, silver, copper, lead, chemicals, dyes, and aromatics for cotton, hemp cloth, ginseng, hides, embroidered cushions, porcelain, and books, especially Buddhist scriptures.

In 1425 Buddhism was reduced to the two main sects of Kyo (Doctrine) and Son (Zen) with only 36 temples remaining. Temple lands were taxed as were persons wishing to become monks. The research institute of Chiphyonjon published the 85-volume Library of Folk Medicine in 1433 and the 264-volume Classification of Pathologies in 1445. The Exemplar for Efficient Government was compiled in 1443 to guide administrators. In 1444 a land law defined six grades of land for fair taxation. The tax rate was lowered to five percent for the landlord, but with crop-sharing arrangements the peasant usually had to give the landlord between one-third and two-thirds of the crop. Agricultural research was conducted by 160,000 farmers and officials. Koreans used anemometers to measure the wind, and they began using rain gauges in 1442, two centuries before Europeans.

Scholars at the Chiphyonjon devised the phonetic Korean alphabet of 28 letters (17 consonants and 11 vowels) in 1443, and this Han'gul script was adopted by royal decree three years later. The shape of the letters depicts the position of the tongue in pronouncing them. Government records and serious works, such as histories, were still written in Chinese; but in 1447 verses were composed in the new Korean Han'gul for the eulogy cycle Songs of Flying Dragons to celebrate the founding of the Yi dynasty by General Yi Song-gye, including "Because robbers poisoned the people, he initiated land reform."2 Referring to Chinese classics and history, parallel verses justify how Yi gained the mandate of heaven for his heroic actions. The work shows the dominance of Confucian philosophy in current Korean policies, and it admonished future rulers to follow the virtuous example of Yi. When punishing and sentencing, it asked them to remember the mercy and temperance of Yi. If flattered by ministers to arouse the ruler's pride, he should remember Yi's prowess and modesty. Rulers who tax the people too much should recall his justice and humanity. In his old age King Sejong had the Buddhist Won'gak-sa temple built and allowed Buddhist sutras to be published in spite of protests by Chiphyonjon scholars and university students who went on strike.

After ruling only two years, King Munjon died in 1452. The young Tanjong was soon replaced by the ruthless Prince Suyang, who took control of the military and in 1453 massacred the regents and prominent officials, including his brother and a loyal general. Prince Suyang took the throne as King Sejo (r. 1456-68) and abolished the state council so that the six ministries would be directly under his control. Six Chiphyonjon scholars tried to restore the deposed Tanjong; but they were detected, and these leaders were executed along with more than seventy followers. Sejo degraded and banished Tanjong; but after another failed rebellion by Sejong's sixth son, Sejo had Tanjong murdered. In the northeast a rebellion allied itself with the Jurched tribes, but this revolt was crushed by the Korean army. Many conscientious Confucian officials withdrew from the government. Kim Si-sup was one of six young officials who chose to retire. Kim went to a monastery in the hills of Yongnam, where Kil Chae had retired when the Koryo dynasty was overthrown. There Kim Si-sup wrote New Tales of the Golden Turtle, the first major work of Korean fiction. In 1457 Sejo designated the monk Sumi to publish translations of Buddhist texts, and later he commissioned Kim Si-sup to translate more Buddhist scriptures.

In 1466 Sejo decreed that land could only be held by officials while they were in office, and taxes were to be paid directly to the King's government. Thus the yangban aristocracy was brought under royal control. In 1467 another local rebellion led by Hyeryong governor Yi Si-ae against the interference of the central government also failed. Yi Si-ae fled from the Korean army of 30,000 men but was caught and beheaded. Then King Sejo replaced every official in that Hamgyong province and abolished local councils. Commoner men were conscripted into military service, but most got out of it by paying a special tax. Sejo decreed that each man on active duty must be supported by two others exempted. He made communities mutually responsible for their good behavior and sent out officials to check on provincial administrators. He also replaced the Chiphyonjon Institute with the Office of Special Advisors who searched for precedents and prepared state documents. The Office of the Inspector-General evaluated official conduct and tried to correct public behavior, while the Office of the Censor was responsible for criticizing the king to restrain the arbitrary use of power. Sejo oversaw the most comprehensive recodification of Korean laws that was promulgated as the National Code in 1471, and he loosened the restrictions that had been imposed on Buddhism. Sejo came to regret his earlier violence and died a devoted Buddhist.

Sejo's 19-year-old son Yejong was put under the regency of Queen Dowager Yun but died a year later, succeeded by his 13-year-old nephew Songjong (r. 1469-94), who was under the regency of the dowager queen until 1477. Songjong was a conscientious Confucian and ruled Korea in an era of peace except for a brief war near the end of his reign on the northern frontier. During his reign junior officials were allowed to criticize their superiors. Most of the army was made up of volunteers. In 1470 he ended the land assignment system for officials by paying them only in salaries. Land reclamation policies of the Yi dynasty would triple the cultivated land of the late Koryo period, but the cost of reclaiming land tended to favor the wealthy. Emancipation of slaves to commoner status was promoted, though the chonmin class remained large. The number of slaves had increased from about 200,000 in 1420 to 350,000 in 1484 out of a total population of two million. Corvée labor was supposed to be limited to six days per year and was used by the army to construct and repair walls, roads, and dams, and for transportation of tax grain or tribute. One third of the navy's 45,000 men on active duty were supported by the other two thirds on reserve. Songjong disliked Buddhism and banned ordination of priests.

Each of the eight provinces was under a governor, but the county magistrates governed the people directly, collected taxes, and mobilized corvée labor. The magistrates' terms were for five years, and they had to be from another county. Each county had a school, and the capital Seoul had four schools and the National Confucian Academy. Private primary schools called sodang were established in every large village but were mostly for the yangban class. The national university was expanded to serve 200 students, who often got their demands met by sitting down in front of the royal palace. The increased size of the yangban class made the examinations even more important. Both lower and higher examinations were given every three years. Those passing local tests went to the capital to be tested on the Confucian classics, poetry, and composition. The higher exams were similar but had a third stage of testing in the presence of the king. The military exam tested for skill in archery, marksmanship, and saddle maneuvering as well as for knowledge of the classics and military texts. Four other examinations were in law, medicine, foreign languages, and astronomy, which included meteorology and geomancy.

In 1472 sorceresses, fortune-tellers, and Buddhist monks were banned from the capital, and scholars could only be tried before the college of scholars. There was a Korean saying that legal punishments do not apply to yangban, and Confucian principles do not apply to commoners. Songjong prohibited dancing girls, replacing them with boys. Yangbans and others usually only married within their class. A 1477 law banned women from marrying a second time. Some widows committed suicide, and monuments were often erected in their memory. Women, especially Yangbans, were not to be in public without a veil and were segregated even at home. A wife could be sent home (divorced) for sterility, licentiousness, jealousy, a bad disease, loquacity, stealing, or for disrespecting her husband's parents. However, a husband was not supposed to divorce his wife if she had no one to support her or if she had been with her husband during his three-year mourning period for a parent or if he had become rich since marrying her. Marriages were usually arranged by the parents, and as in China, one could not marry anyone with the same family name. A comprehensive history of Korea up to 1392 was completed in 1484 as a reference book to guide rulers. Nine volumes on music were published in 1493.

Kim Chong-jik (1431-92) was the leading Neo-Confucian scholar of the Mountain and Forest tradition, and his friendship with King Songjong got his conscientious disciples into government positions. These censors drove out many officials who had capitulated with Sejo's usurpation. However, the first purge of these radicals occurred in 1498 during the reign of Yonsan'gun (r. 1495-1506). Kim Chong-jik's disciple Kim Il Son (1464-98) got in trouble compiling an official history by alluding to Sejo's usurping the throne and executing his nephew Tanjong. In the purge of 1498 Yonsan'gun executed some and banished others. He was called "Prince" Yonsan because he ruled so badly that Koreans refuse to call him a king. He degenerated into debauchery, obsessive hunting, paranoid executions and banishment of officials, and destruction of educational and religious institutions. Yonsan used Buddhist temples as stables for his horses and the university for pleasure houses as provincial officials scoured the country for young girls to increase his harem. After Yonsan learned that his mother had been deposed and executed while he was a child, he conducted a second purge in 1504, executing hundreds of officials and their sons. Finally in 1506 he was deposed by senior officials with the tacit of approval of his step-mother, Queen Dowager Yun.

Queen Dowager Yun's son succeeded as Chungjong (r. 1506-44), and he brought reforms guided by Cho Kwang-jo (1482-1519) of the Mountain and Forest Confucianism. Neo-Confucians got this name after they withdrew from the court to Kyonsang province because of Prince Suyang's usurpation. By simplifying the examination system Cho recruited many young zealots into the government and promoted them quickly. Cho got Daoist rituals abolished and implemented village charters (hyangyak) for promoting community cooperation to encourage morality, reprimand wrong conduct, and provide relief for hardships and disasters. The population of Korea reached ten million in 1511. During this Confucian period the Book of Filial Piety was the most widely read book. Cho extended the yangban privilege by allowing the common people to mourn a parent for three years. In 1518 Cho Kwang-jo opposed a surprise attack on a Jurched rebellion as immoral, and Chungjong canceled the expedition. In 1519 Cho and his censors threatened to resign unless Chungjong took away the titles and land from 76 merit subjects who had helped him take the throne; but the King turned against the radicals and had them executed, banished, or dismissed.

Storage grain had been loaned to farmers during a lean year, but a series of poor crops around 1500 resulted in charging them ten percent interest on these loans. Local officials did not record these interest earnings until it was decreed in the middle of the 16th century so that some of it must go to the national government. In 1537 a decree forbade anyone except a yangban from wearing long flowing sleeves. In 1543 Chu Se-bung established the Paegundong Academy, the first local college or private academy (sowon) sponsored by the court.

Complaints by Japanese traders that the Tsushima daimyo had become dependent on Korean imports led to an uprising in 1510 that stopped trade. This stimulated the forming of a Defense Council, and in 1512 King Chungjong agreed to allow 25 Japanese ships to visit Korea each year in addition to the regular ship sent by the Shogun. Japanese pirates also caused uprisings in Korea's southern coastal provinces in 1541 and 1555. Economic development in the late 16th century increased the slim middle class of skilled workers and professionals between the yangban officials and the yangmin farmers. Social class was determined by the mother's status, and yangban children born from concubines usually fell into this growing middle class. Farmers were still about half the population but now outnumbered the slaves. Children of slaves were still slaves, but their efforts for emancipation brought increased litigation.

After ruling for only a year, Injong, Chungjong's son by his second queen, died of grief and was succeeded by Myongjong (r. 1546-67), the 12-year-old son of Chungjong's third queen. By the end of 1545 this faction had eliminated most of the other faction, and for the next twenty years they used corruption to increase their wealth. Queen Dowager Munjong was regent for the first seven years of her son Myongjong's rule, and a lull in the suppression of Buddhism occurred until her death in 1565. In 1553 a conscription law required all men over fifteen years of age to serve at least two years in the military; but this law was soon followed by another allowing men to pay a tax to be exempt from this service. Kkok-chong led peasants rebelling against the oppression from 1559 to 1562 in Hwanghae province. In 1563 a rebellion led by a butcher was tracked down by the army into the mountains and eliminated. Sejo's Rank Land Law was abolished in 1566, and officials were no longer given land but only salaries.

Neo-Confucian philosopher Yi Hwang or T'oegye (1501-70) believed in combining knowledge with action and that the human autonomy of one's own efforts can lead to a fulfilling life. Yi Hwang agreed with Zhu Xi in considering rational principle (li) more important than material energy (qi). He emphasized the Neo-Confucian virtue of kyong, which means seriousness or reverence. When Yi Hwang became ill, his older associate Yi Hyon-bo (1457-1555) explained how violations of social customs should be punished. He listed the most serious offenses as disobeying parents, quarrelling with brothers, disrupting the family, interfering with official business, arrogating public power for private gain, insulting village elders, and seducing or threatening virtuous widows.

Yi I or Yulgok (1536-84) argued that action is shaped by the energy of cosmic force, which influences the seven human emotions of joy, anger, sorrow, fear, love, hatred, and desire. Principle can not be bad, but the energy is what makes the conduct of individuals different. Yi I combined the Neo-Confucian ideas of both Zhu Xi and Wang Yangming, emphasizing the integration of the facts of nature with guiding moral principles. He promoted the community compact (hyangyak) that had the following four purposes: mutual encouragement of virtuous acts, mutual correction of wrong conduct, fellowship with social decorum, and mutual aid in case of illness or disaster. After one joined, records were kept of members' good and bad deeds. Yi I recommended the following liberal reforms: government insuring everyone's standard of living, removing corruption from tax collection, regulating financial institutions for fairness, recruiting from all social classes for the military, educating all social classes, creating jobs for all, allowing widows to remarry, and insuring support for the aged, handicapped, and orphans.

Korea and Foreign Invasions 1567-1659

During the reign of Myongjong more than twenty new colleges were founded, as were 124 under Sonjo (r. 1567-1608). These provincial colleges (sowon) provided teaching jobs for radical thinkers; but factionalism was increased by this, and an increasing number of educated yangban grouped around powerful families with geographical bases striving for the limited number of governmental positions. King Sonjo let the Neo-Confucians gain political influence in the capital as well, and during his reign the village codes were implemented throughout the country.

The Buddhist monk Hyujong (1520-1604) did much to promote an ecumenical movement and harmonized the value of Buddhism with philosophical Daoism and Confucianism in his Mirror of the Three Teachings. Hyujong emphasized meditation that is the Buddha's mind, which is superior to the doctrine that is the Buddha's words. Those with high spiritual ability can become enlightened quickly by their own efforts, but those with a lesser faculty can be enlightened slowly with help from others. Everyone has the Buddha-nature, but people differ because of greed and desire.

A conflict over the head of the personnel department in 1575 resulted in an Eastern faction that followed the ideas of Yi Hwang and a Western faction that believed in Yi I's philosophy. (These directions referred to portions of the capital, not the whole country.) The Easterners were dominant for a decade but then split into Northerners and Southerners in 1589, when the Westerner Chong Yo-rip, who appealed to Easterners, tried and failed to seize power. After another decade the Northerners prevailed but divided into Great Northerners and Small Northerners, showing the continuing factionalism. When a faction dominated the government, those from other factions were not given positions and usually did not even pass the examinations. In 1583 the Ruzhen tribes attacked northeastern forts, and Yi I recommended raising an army of 100,000; but Yi Hwang's disciple Yu Song-nyong quipped that maintaining an army in peacetime was buying misfortune, and he won the argument before King Sonjo. Manchus led by Nurhaci, who proclaimed himself king in 1589, raided northern Korea, and they also took advantage of the Japanese war that soon followed.

The imperialistic Japanese shogun Toyotomi Hideyoshi sent envoys to Korea demanding passage through their country so that his army could invade China. When the Koreans refused, Hideyoshi sent an army of about 160,000 to invade Korea in 1592. Japan had muskets that gave them a military advantage, and within two weeks they had taken the Korean capital. The court had fled north while the slaves burned the registry of slave rosters. The Japanese subjugated the country as far north as P'yongyang, which they entered unopposed. They sent 38,000 ears to the emperor at Kyoto as proof of the Koreans they had killed. General Sayaga and his 3,000 warriors were so impressed by the Confucian culture they found that they defected to the Korean side.

The Korean navy led by Yi Sun-sin had perhaps the first armored ships in history, and in four battles they destroyed more than three hundred Japanese ships without losing a vessel. Korea appealed to China, which sent 50,000 troops through Manchuria that drove the Japanese out of P'yongyang in 1593 and forced them to retreat to the south. Then the Japanese won a battle at Pyokchegwan, and the Chinese retreated back to P'yongyang. Meanwhile Koreans led by Confucian scholars and Buddhist monks organized a guerrilla campaign that harassed the Japanese. Buddhist Hyujong was 72 years old but led an army of 5,000 monks. These attacks and reprisals devastated the food supply. With the Korean navy cutting their supply lines, the Japanese held out in the south while they negotiated with the Chinese for years, causing more resentment among the excluded Koreans. In 1596 Yi Mong-hak led a rebellion in the Ch'ungch'ong province, and the government struggled without records for collecting taxes or enforcing corvée levies.

In 1597 Hideyoshi launched a second invasion with about 140,000 troops, but Japanese forces could not get beyond the southern Korean provinces. Korean admiral Yi had been replaced for disregarding an order, and a new Japanese fleet of more than three hundred ships defeated the Korean navy of more than two hundred and lost only eight vessels. The Japanese army then marched northward, but they were defeated south of the capital. Admiral Yi was reinstated and destroyed 33 Japanese ships without a loss. The Japanese army was confined to a coastal zone but held out against about 140,000 Korean and Chinese allies. In this stalemate news of Hideyoshi's death caused the Japanese to withdraw in 1598. After taking bribes from the retreating Japanese, the Ming fleet was persuaded by Admiral Yi to attack with his Korean navy; the allies destroyed two hundred Japanese ships, but Admiral Yi was killed.

The Japanese war caused much devastation in Korea; many were killed, and a hundred thousand prisoners may have been sold to Japanese and Portuguese slave merchants. The population had been fourteen million in 1591, but it went below eleven million before it reached fourteen million again in 1679. Cultivated land was reduced to less than a third and grain supplies to less than a sixth. Then famine and pestilence followed, stimulating the publishing of the influential Exemplar of Korean Medicine. Treasures of Eastern Medicine was published in 1606 and was still used in China and Japan in the 18th century. Amid the economic chaos and factionalism, yangban aristocrats claimed royal patronage and grabbed land. Slaves had burned the registers of their status, and some had gained status by serving in the military during the war. Now the government and the Yangbans emancipated many slaves because they could no longer house and feed them. Royal palaces and government buildings had been destroyed, and many rare books were lost. The government sold official positions and ranks for grain contributions. Koreans hated the Japanese for this imperialistic aggression and because the Japanese had taken away captive Koreans, including skilled potters. Books and Korean printing type were also taken and were imitated in Japan. In 1604 the monk Yujong went to Japan and brought back 3,000 Korean prisoners. Korea made peace with Japan in 1606 after Tokugawa Ieyasu became shogun. Japan released more prisoners, and in 1609 trade was resumed with Tsushima.

Korea's King Sonjo was succeeded by his son Kwanghaegun (r. 1608-23). He sent 10,000 soldiers to support the Ming army fighting the Jurchen Manchus in Manchuria, but at an opportune moment he ordered General Kang to surrender to the Manchus. Kwanghaegun was supported by the Northerners and tried to build up Korea's defenses, but the Westerners faction forced him off the throne. Yi Su-gwang was an envoy to Beijing, where he met the Jesuit Matteo Ricci. In 1614 Yi published his discussion of Ricci's writings on astronomy, mathematics, geography, and Christianity. He added his own views on Korean history, society, and government.

Ho Kyun wrote the fantasy Story of Hong Kil in Korean with the Han'gul alphabet between 1608 and 1613, satirizing social discrimination against concubines and their children. Hong Kil Tong is the son of a yangban minister of high rank and his slave-maid but is not even allowed to call him father. He becomes a leader of conscientious bandits called "Save the Poor" who loot a temple of its treasures and rob grain and money from the governor of Hamgyong. Hong uses occult powers and becomes a wanted man. Their private war causes reform when Hong becomes minister of war and abolishes the unjust law. Then they take over an island, and Hong rules it as king. Ho Kyun continued to agitate for the rights of such children, and during a coup attempt by some of them in 1618 he was executed.

Soon after Injo (r. 1623-49) became king, Yi Kwal led an insurrection and marched on the capital with 12,000 men that included a company of feared Japanese swordsmen. They captured Seoul so easily that later stronger defenses were built. After Yi Kwal died, his followers fled to Manchuria and urged the Manchus to invade Korea to restore Kwanghaegun. In 1627 an army of 30,000 Manchus attacked Kado Island and invaded Hwanghae province. The court fled from Seoul toward Kanghwa and negotiated. After the Koreans pledged to honor them as older brothers and stop supporting the Ming dynasty, the Manchus withdrew. When the Manchus declared the Qing dynasty and sent envoys to demand Korea recognize their sovereignty, King Injo rejected them. The Manchus led by Abahai invaded again in 1636 and took P'yongyang. Unable to flee because of winter ice, Injo was compelled to surrender in public and promised to support the Qing against the Ming. The crown prince Sohyon and his two half-brothers were taken as hostages, and three officials who had advised against making peace were put to death. Sohyon met the Jesuit Adam Schall in Beijing and in 1644 brought back books and tools of western science.

The Westerners faction dominated the governments of Injo and Hyojong (r. 1649-59). Song Si-yol (1607-89) was Hyojong's tutor and held a high position. He wanted to help the Ming empire and tried to build up the military secretly. Kim Cha-jom found out and told the Manchus, resulting in their killing the hostage, General Im Kyong-op. Hyojong then executed Kim. In 1653 the Choson court indicated its change in loyalty by using the Gregorian calendar that the Qing court had adopted. A Dutch castaway named Weltevree had been helping the Koreans manufacture cannons since 1628. He was sent to communicate with 36 Dutch survivors of a shipwreck on Cheju Island in 1653. They were taken to Seoul, detained as curiosities, put under military command, and banished to the southwest. Eight of them escaped to Nagasaki in 1666, and two years later Hendrik Hamel wrote the first book about Korea known in Europe. In 1654 and 1658 Korean forces helped the Qing army fight the Russians.

Korea and Practical Learning 1659-1800

When Hyojong died, he was succeeded by his son Hyonjong (r. 1659-74). He settled a controversy over how long dowager Queen Cho should mourn by accepting Song Si-yol's view. The radical Southerner Yun Hyu, who believed a scholar must seek the truth itself rather than anyone's interpretation, was banished. Song commented that Yun was even more evil than Wang Yangming. Song was criticized by Yun Son-go and, after his death in 1669, by his son Yun Chung, who founded the Soron (Young Doctrine) party. When Hyonjong's mother died in 1674, Song Si-yol lost the argument over the mourning period to the Southerners, who nonetheless divided into the Ch'ong and Tak factions.

Yu Hyong-won (1622-73) was the first scholar of the Practical Learning (Sirhak) to criticize the Yi land system, education, military service, and official appointments and salaries. He proposed a public land system with a fixed amount for each farmer. He wrote,

Under a system of public land ownership,
the people have a constant source of production,
their minds are secure,
their moral transformation through education can be achieved,
their mores and customs can be generous,
and in all matters there will be no one
who does not obtain his proper share.
Under a system of private land ownership,
everything will be contrary to this.3

Yu Hyong-won also argued that taxes and labor service should be based on land rather on individuals. He opposed hereditary slavery and noted that the ancients never penalized the descendants of criminals. Slavery, which in Korea was actually more like a class of serfs, was also condemned by Yi Ik and Yu Suwon.

King Sukchong (r. 1674-1720) succeeded his father Hyonjong at the age of 13. In 1680 his wife died, and Prime Minister Ho Chok's son Ho Kyon was accused of plotting to put Injo's oldest grandson on the throne. Ho Chok and Yun Hyu were compelled to drink poison, as Song Si-yol's Noron (Old Doctrine) party gained control. Kim Su-hang became prime minister, and Sukchong married Inhyon from a Noron family. When she did not produce an heir, Sukchong named the son of his concubine Lady Chang in 1689. Queen Inhyon refused to adopt him; she was accused of plotting to kill the child and was deposed. Song Si-yol and Kim Su-hang opposed this and had to take poison. In 1694 the Soron faction got Inhyon reconciled with King Sukchong; they replaced the Southerners, and Lady Chang was accused of crimes and deposed.

Queen Inhyon became the subject of two famous novels. One was anonymous, and Kim Man-jung, who had been banished with Norom officials in 1689, wrote Sassinamjong-ji before he died in 1692. He set the story at the Ming court and presciently concluded his story with the restoration of Lady Sa. Kim Man-jung also wrote the famous novel, Nine Cloud Dream (Kuun mong) to comfort his mother. His father had died heroically after destroying the ancestral tablets at Kanghwa so that they would not be desecrated by the Mongols. In the prolog of Nine Cloud Dream the Buddhist monk Xingzhen is persuaded to drink wine and on a bridge encounters eight fairy maidens. Fantasies of them disturb his meditation, and his teacher Liuguan sends him to the underworld for punishment. In the main part of the novel, he forgets his past as he is born in the Confucian Yang family as Shaoyu. His hermit father returns to the immortals, and Shaoyu is raised by his mother. He excels in the exams and is engaged to Jewel. Successful at court, Princess Orchid wants to marry him, and her mother agrees to adopt Jewel into the royal family. Shaoyu lives happily with two wives and six concubines. In the epilog he is sad in retirement and sees an old monk, who wakes him from his dream. Suddenly Xingzhen is back in the Lotus Peak monastery and remembers being reprimanded by his teacher, who now teaches him the Diamond Sutra in which everything is seen as illusion, dream, and fantasy.

The Life of Unyong is another dream novel that is anonymous. This novel describes the suffering of hundreds of women imprisoned in the royal palace who are not allowed to marry or raise a family. Unyong protests the unnatural circumstances, saying, "Sir, it is only our fear of your displeasure that keeps our feelings and desires tightly wrapped up within ourselves, thus withering away till death."4 She risks a secret love with Master Kim. After they are caught, she hangs herself with her silk handkerchief, and Kim starves himself to death. Unlike other Korean fantasies, this story is realistic and exposes the plight of many women.

The Soron faction led by Yun Chung would control the positions of power for the next period. There were 274 colleges founded during Sukchong's long reign, but only 131 had royal authorization. The government began minting copper coins in 1678, and they were so popular that people hoarded them as savings or lent them for interest. In 1688 the monk Yohwan and ten of his followers were executed for plotting against the state. Experiments with allowing payments in rice for the tribute tax began in Kyonggi province in 1623. This was extended to other provinces, and by 1708 was enforced throughout Korea as the Uniform Land Tax. About one percent of the harvest was collected in rice, and the tax could be paid in cotton cloth or coin. King Sukchong also reorganized the army into five garrisons that included the northern approaches, the southern approaches, the capital, and the royal guards. Instead of providing a soldier, peasant farmers could supply the government with two bolts of cotton cloth per year. Those with influence could get exempted, and so the burden fell on the poor. Corrupt officials also collected more by putting boys and the dead on the tax rosters. Taxes for those who fled had to be paid by their kin or neighbors. Merchant guilds formed at Kaesong and the northern border town of Uiju to conduct trade with China and Japan. The main export to Japan was silk from China, and it yielded more than 300% profit.

Sukchong was succeeded by Lady Chang's son Kyongjong (r. 1720-24). When Noron leader Kim Ch'ang-jip urged the new king to let his younger half-brother Yongjo rule because of Kyongjong's poor health, the Soron factions accused their rivals of treason. Four Noron ministers were killed in a purge, and a hundred officials were banished. When Kyongjong died three years later, the four leading Soron ministers were forced to drink poison. Yu Su-won spent eight years in prison writing a book on how to reform the society by allowing equal opportunity and government assistance to aid new businesses.

King Yongjo (r. 1724-76) wisely adopted the even-handed policy of appointing officials based on merit from all four colors of the Soron, Noron, Southerners, and Northerners. He called this Confucian policy magnificent harmony (t'angp'yong). Hearing complaints about high taxes in 1725, he immediately ordered a reduction. Yongjo also lessened the cruel torturing of suspects and criminals. With multiple factions in his administration, Yongjo had to resolve their conflicts. He rejected Min Chinwon's arguments against abolishing factions because Yongjo believed that moral judgments that lead to the taking of human lives are neither correct nor honest. In 1727 he replaced the leaders Min Chinwon of the Noron and Yi Kwanmyong of the Soron, but later that year he brought the Soron ministers back while dismissing 101 Noron officials who had gone on strike the previous year. He prohibited the defending of factions.

A famine led to a rebellion in 1728. Yongjo responded quickly by reducing taxes and distributing grain. Starving crowds occupied two mountains in Cholla province, and seditious posters soon spread to Seoul. Yongjo delayed mobilizing the army until military officers began joining the rebellion. He ordered capital punishment for any family assisting the rebels. The Ch'ungch'ong province fell to the rebels as they argued that Yongjo was not the legitimate ruler. The royal army defeated the rebels in Kyonggi province; leaders were arrested in Cholla; and by May 1728 the last rebel stronghold in the Kyongsang province was taken. Rebels were interrogated for two months, and about a hundred were executed; their families were enslaved. The organizers of the revolt were Soron extremists, and they had spread the rumor that Yongjo had murdered Kyongjong to become king. Yongjo continued his t'angp'yong policy by keeping both Noron and Soron officials in the bureaucracy. Yongjo's only son died in 1728, and the next year Prince Milp'ung was executed because the rebels had wanted to put him on the throne.

In 1730 the king tried to get Min Chinwon and Yi Kwangjwa to take each others' hands, but they politely refused. Another epidemic occurred in 1731 and led to cannibalism the next year. Relief measures were inadequate, and in 1733 even palace guards starved to death. Yongjo was childless when he fell in love with Lady Sonhui, and in 1735 he named her son Changjo crown prince Sado. Yongjo was frustrated by the conflicts and often fasted or refused to take medicine or went into seclusion. As Prince Sado got older, he would threaten to abdicate. In September 1737 Yongjo stopped eating to protest the factional disputes. He considered beheading the worst but after five days dismissed every official and censor who was not willing to accept punishment. Censors strengthened their criticisms by refusing to serve the king. In 1741 Yongjo burned the records of the 1722 purge and promulgated the Great Instruction, which warned that his legitimacy was no longer to be discussed. That year he abolished 170 private academies and shrines that had been built without government approval since 1714.

The censor Cho Chunghoe wrote a memorial in 1744 complaining about the lack of free speech because of punishments. Yongjo reacted by dismissing Cho and other censors who did not demand his punishment. In 1746 Yongjo prohibited the importation of richly patterned Chinese silk, and two years later he extended the ban to unpatterned silk and punished offending officials. Yongjo appointed a committee to investigate the military cloth tax in 1734, but their report in ten volumes was not completed until 1748. Two years later after an epidemic and famine, Yongjo reduced the military cloth tax from two bolts to one, but the revenue was made up by taxing fish, salt, ships, and grain. The yangban class was exempt from the grain surtax also. In 1751 the reform of the landholding tax was completed amid a favorable popular response to the reduction. Yongjo had overcome the bureaucratic resistance and implemented a Confucian policy to benefit the people.

In 1749 King Yongjo made Prince Sado regent. By 1752 officials were complaining there were two courts, and Sado felt his father's disapproval so much that he refused medical care and asked to be relieved of the regency. Yongjo treated Sado harshly and in 1754 began drinking heavily. After a trial, rebels were executed for believing that Yongjo had poisoned Kyongjong by sending him preserved crab. Yongjo denounced factionalism again. In 1756 he decided that Sado was useless and cancelled his orders. The Prince neglected his studies, and several ministers complained that the King was too severe on his son. When Queen Chongsong died in 1757, Yongjo married 14-year-old Chongsun. She came to hate Prince Sado, who tried to commit suicide twice by jumping into a well. He beat eunuchs and even beheaded one. He had orgies with Buddhist nuns. Sado lived with the lady-in-waiting Pingae, and she bore two children. In 1759 Sado's legitimate son, who would become Chongjo, was named the grand heir. In 1760 Yongjo moved to another palace. Prince Sado murdered other servants, and Prime Minister Yi Ch'on-bo and two other ministers took responsibility for such lapses by committing suicide. Yongjo executed several persons who raped women while pretending to be the prince. By 1762 Sado was obsessed with death and slept in a coffin; a rumor spread that he planned patricide. After Prince Sado's attempts to commit suicide were stopped by tutors on July 4, 1762, King Yongjo had him locked in a rice chest until he died. The Noron party split between the Sip'a who objected and the Pyokp'a who justified the execution. In 1764 Chongjo was made an adopted son of Yongjo's late son in order to sever his legal relationship with Sado.

Sado's widow, Lady Wong, wrote her memoirs of the crown prince in her Records Made in Distress, describing with psychological insights how the king did not understand his son, was displeased by him, and could not forgive him. At one point Sado explains to his father, "I am hurt because you do not love me and also, alas, I am terrified of you because you constantly rebuke me, sire."5

As in China, Confucian philosophy turned toward practical learning, which the Koreans called Sirhak. Scholars became more empirical and sought verification by evidence. Yun Chung (1629-1714) rejected a government position and taught reforms, emphasizing the welfare of the people. He and Chong Che-du (1649-1736) criticized the rigid orthodoxy based on Zhu Xi's writings. Chong based his ideas on the idealistic philosophy of Wang Yangming. Yi Ik (1681-1763) developed an encyclopedic system that divided knowledge into the physical environment, living organisms, human conditions, Chinese scholarship, and literature. He published his ideas for reform in his Record of Concern for the Underprivileged. He recommended an equal field for each peasant household, and he advocated the abolition of slavery and class restrictions. Yi urged commoners to devote themselves to farming rather than commerce, and he encouraged the use of new techniques and irrigation. He made his family motto "Shun usury," and he even proposed eliminating money. Yi Ik wrote on factionalism and recommended simplifying the civil examinations to prevent unqualified people from being promoted.

Yu Suwon (1694-1755) argued that the official censors were too judgmental and harsh. Like Yi Ik, he also criticized slavery and discrimination against the sons of concubines. Yi Chunghwan (1690-1752) suffered from factional persecution in his youth and believed that one should choose a community with ethical neighbors. In 1770 King Yongjo sponsored the publication of an encyclopedia called the Reference Compilation of Documents on Korea. In 1772 Yongjo lifted the ban on the sons of concubines occupying positions as high officials, and he appointed three of them to the Censorate.

In the 18th century proponents of the Northern Learning wrote diaries and travel memoirs that compared Chinese culture to their class society in which the yangban Confucians were parasites who disdained to work in commerce, manufacturing, or agriculture. They suggested using new technology and transportation to improve commerce. The bureaucracy should have professional public servants based on educational opportunity for all. The division of labor in society should be based on ability instead of genealogy. Gradually wealth replaced lineage as the main criterion for social status.

Pak Chi-won (1737-1805) published travel stories in the 26-volume Jehol Diary in 1780. In China he observed their superior building using bricks. Included in Jehol Diary is his satirical "Story of Master Ho." His wife reprimands Ho for studying seven years without accomplishing anything and suggests he become a merchant. Ho goes to Pyon, the richest man in town, and borrows 10,000 in cash, which he uses to corner the market in fruit. From this monopoly he makes much profit, and then he does the same with knives, hoes, cotton, hemp, and silk. He finds an island and pays unemployed bandits to go there and farm, thus reducing robbery on the mainland. Ho uses his money to buy goods that the bandits sell at Nagasaki. Ho throws 500,000 in silver into the sea to be found by others, and he gives 100,000 back to Pyon, saying the 10,000 made him ashamed. Ho explains how he made a million in five years, and Pyon tries to introduce Minister Yi Wan to him. Ho asks the king to visit him, suggests marrying refugee soldiers from the Ming army to Korean princesses, and proposes that the young men study under the Manchus. When the minister says these requests cannot be granted, Ho threatens to behead him. Yi Wan jumps out the window and returns to find that Ho has moved. This and other stories by Pak Chi-won satirized the pretentious and impractical yangban class. His story, "The Life of Mrs. Pak of Hamyang, a Faithful Wife," tells of a young woman who remains loyal to her ill fiancé and then is praised for her virtue in committing suicide as a widow. This tragedy reveals the absurdity of the Korean social prejudice against a widow remarrying. The author asks if such fidelity to a dead husband is not excessive.

King Chongjo (r. 1776-1800) continued his grandfather Yongjo's impartial policy toward the factions. He established a research library and institute within the palace and patronized scholars. In 1778 Yi Ik's disciple An Chong-bok completed a history of Korea through the Koryo era, and his Comprehensive Record of Successive Reigns brought the history up to his own time. Pak Chega suggested that the bureaucracy was dysfunctional because the civil service exams tested literary skills instead of administrative ability. Pak was sent on diplomatic missions to Beijing, and he believed that Koreans could learn from the Chinese. In 1786 Pak submitted a long memorial urging the King to promote agricultural reforms using Chinese techniques and tools as well as international trade.

The technique of transplanting rice seedlings enabled farmers to grow a winter crop of barley also. Irrigation became even more important, and in 1778 a comprehensive plan for maintaining irrigation works was implemented through the Office of Embankment Works that had been established in 1662. By the end of the 18th century there were about 6,000 reservoirs, and the double-cropping system greatly increased agricultural production. The furrow-seeding method in dry-field farming also reduced the labor needed for weeding. Thus these advanced techniques enabled a few farmers to prosper while others had to find other work. Farming became a capitalist endeavor, especially with commercial crops for export such as ginseng, tobacco, and cotton. Commerce developed and gradually became an acceptable profession for the yangban class as well as farming. Private trade with Japan and China developed at designated locations. Korea had about a thousand local markets that were open every fifth day.

In 1779 a group of young scholars formed the Society for the Study of Western Doctrine in southeast Seoul. Yi Sung-hun (1756-1801) accompanied his father to Beijing and was baptized by a Catholic priest before returning to Korea in 1784. He made converts among the Southerners. King Chongjo designated Christianity a heresy and prohibited it in 1785, and the next year he banned importing any book from Beijing. In 1790 a letter from Beijing informed Catholics in Korea that papal instructions forbade them from participating in Confucian mourning rituals. After Yun Chi-ch'ung buried his mother in a Catholic manner, in 1791 Chongjo sentenced him and Kwon Sang Yon to death for destroying their ancestral tablets. In 1795 Chou Wen-mu was the first Catholic priest to enter Korea, and by the end of the century there were about ten thousand believers in the country.

Korea 1800-1949


1. Traditional Korea by Wanne J. Joe, p. 49.
2. Songs of Flying Dragons 73 in Anthology of Korean Literature ed. Peter H. Lee, p. 75.
3. Pangye surok 2:12 by Yu Hyongwon, tr. James Palais in Sourcebook of Korean Civilization ed. Peter H. Lee, Volume 2, p. 56-57.
4. Unyong chon quoted in An Introduction to Classical Korean Literature by Kichung Kim, p. 167.
5. Hangjungnok by Lady Hong quoted in An Introduction to Classical Korean Literature by Kichung Kim, p. 103.

Copyright © 2005 by Sanderson Beck

This chapter has been published in the book CHINA, KOREA & JAPAN to 1800. For ordering information please click here.

Korea 1800-1949

Shang, Zhou and the Classics
Confucius, Mencius and Xun-zi
Daoism and Mo-zi
Legalism, Qin Empire and Han Dynasty
China 7 BC to 1279
Mongols and Yuan China
Ming Empire 1368-1644
Qing Empire 1644-1799
Korea to 1800
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Japan 1615-1800
Summary and Evaluation


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