Goguryeo (Koguryo) was a kingdom which ruled northern Korea during the Three Kingdoms period from the 1st century BCE to 7th century CE. The kingdom flourished in the 5th and 6th century CE and has left a rich cultural heritage best seen in its tomb art and architecture. Goguryeo gave its name to the modern state of Korea.

Goguryeo was in constant rivalry with the smaller Baekje (Paekche) and Silla kingdoms, as well as the contemporary Gaya (Kaya) confederation and regional heavyweight China. The kingdom was finally crushed by a combined Tang and Silla army in 668 CE. Thereafter it became a Chinese province.

Historical Overview

The traditional founding date of the Goguryeo kingdom was 37 BCE and credited to one Dongmyeong, a refugee from Buyeo (Puyo). In this period five horse-riding warrior tribes formed a loose alliance, the most powerful being the Sono and Gyeru. Their capital was established at Gungnae in 3 CE. During the reign of Taejo (53-146 CE) the Chinese commandery at Lintun was taken over in a general campaign of territorial expansion spreading out from the Yalu and Tumen Rivers.

The various tribes of the region began to create a more homogenous political unit structured around five provinces (pu) during the reign of Gogukcheon (179-196 CE). Gogukcheon is also credited with creating a centralised and hierarchical aristocracy, appointing a prime minister, and establishing a system whereby peasants could borrow grain from the state in times of famine and so avoid enslaving themselves to the local aristocratic land owners.

The reign of Gwanggaeto the Great (391 - 413 CE) was known as Yongnak or 'Eternal Rejoicing.'

Despite these noble developments, modern historians consider the 4th century CE to be a more certain date for the establishment of a fully centralised kingdom. The same century saw further expansion with the last Chinese commandery at Lelang taken in 313 CE, but disaster struck in 342 CE when Murong Huang invaded from China and sacked Gungnae, taking 50,000 inhabitants prisoner. Goguryeo eventually recovered and the Xianbei were subdued in the north in 370 CE. In 371 CE the Baekje king Geunchogo attacked Pyongyang and killed king Gogugwon (r. 331-371 CE). However, by the end of the 4th century CE, Goguryeo had formed an alliance with neighbouring Silla against Baekje, allowing some, if only brief, stability in the region.

The early 5th century CE saw the beginning of Goguryeo's greatest period when, during the reign of Gwanggaeto (391-413), who was appropriately named 'broad expander of domain,' it dominated northern Korea, most of Manchuria, and a portion of Inner Mongolia. So successful was this period that Gwanggaeto even coined a new term for it: Yongnak or 'Eternal Rejoicing'. During the long reign of king Jangsu (413-491 CE), Goguryeo continued to prosper and Pyongyang replaced Gungnae as the capital in 427 CE. Diplomatic relations were maintained with China (which was weakened and divided at that time into two rival dynasties) while Goguryeo attacked Hansong (modern Gwangju), the Baekje capital, in 475 CE, executing their king Gaero in the process. Goguryeo now controlled 90% of ancient Korea.

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In the 6th century CE, after facing both its rival kingdoms to the south in the previous century, Goguryeo now allied itself with the Baekje kingdom against Silla. All three kingdoms were ambitious for each other's territories, and China was now once more a threat under the Sui dynasty. Goguryeo struck first by attacking the Sui regions to the north. This brought a military response from China, but the general Eulji Mundeok won a great victory for Goguryeo at the battle of the Salsu River in 612 CE. According to legend, of the 300,000-strong Sui army, only 2,700 returned to China. Two more attacks we rebuffed in 613 and 614 CE and Goguryeo built a 480-km (300 miles) long defensive wall in 628 CE so as to deter any further Chinese ambitions.

The new Tang Dynasty did not learn the lesson of their predecessors or worry about the wall, but once again, in 644 CE, the Goguryeo army defeated a combined Chinese land and naval force. The celebrated Gorguryeo general Yang Manchun had crucially managed to hold out at the fortress of Anshi despite a three-month siege. Undeterred by this setback, the Tangs attacked Korea three more times in the next decade, but each time without success.

In 655 CE, in another round of complex regional alliances, Baekje attacked Silla who then called for Tang aid once again, which, when it came, was overwhelming. In 661 CE a Tang army besieged Pyongyang which was weakened by an internal power struggle for the throne. The Tangs were forced to withdraw, but when they attacked again in 667 CE, the city, although this time holding out for a year, finally fell. In 668 CE the Goguryeo king Bojang (r. 642-668 CE) was removed to China along with 200,000 of his subjects in a forced resettlement programme. Both the Baekje and Goguryeo kingdoms were swept aside and became Chinese provinces leaving Silla to dominate the Korean peninsula for the next three centuries.

Government & Social Classes

As with the other two kingdoms of the period Goguryeo was ruled by a monarch with senior administrative positions held by a landed aristocracy. In a structure similar to the Silla sacred bone rank system, individuals belonged to specific social groups based on birth. One's rank dictated which of the 14 levels of administration one could apply for. Below the aristocracy were the taega and soga social ranks and below them the peasantry who worked their own land. At the very bottom of the social ladder were slaves and criminals, who were forced to work on the estates of the aristocracy. The state extracted a tax, usually payable in kind, and could oblige citizens to fight in the army or work on government projects such as building fortifications.

Relations with China

Despite the conflicts between Goguryeo and China over the centuries, the two states were frequent trading partners with the former exporting gold, silver, pearls, and textiles while China sent weapons, silk, and writing materials in return. There were also close cultural ties between the two with Goguryeo adopting the Chinese writing system, wuzhu coins (known locally as oshuchon), Chinese poetry style, architectural elements (especially regarding tombs), art motifs (again seen in tombs such as constellations painted on ceilings and images of the Chinese animals of the four directions), and belief systems. In 372 CE a National Confucian Academy was created and Buddhism was adopted as the official state religion (replacing the predominant Shamanism) when it was introduced by the Chinese monk Shundao (Sundo to the Koreans).

Goguryeo Art

An important art form was wall-painting. Perhaps the most famous surviving examples are found in the 5th-century CE Tomb of the Dancers at Gungnae (modern Tonggou). One mural, which gives its name to the tomb, has rows of dancers with arms raised. They wear either long-sleeved robes or jackets and trousers tied at the ankles. Other chambers have paintings of the tomb's occupants, warriors on horseback, a tiger hunt, mythical animals, and details of daily life and architecture. Around 80 Goguryeo tombs contain murals, either painted directly onto the stone chamber walls or applied to a lime plaster. Bright colours and flowing outlines are a typical feature of Goguryeo paintings. It is likely that just as Korean painters learned from their Chinese counterparts, so too, they passed on their knowledge to artists in Japan.

Tombs are also a rich source of artefacts, but the tendency to build easily accessible horizontal entrances has meant that many Goguryeo tombs were looted long ago. Some few surviving art pieces include gilt-bronze crowns and jewellery, which are testimony to the craftsmanship of their creators. Very few examples of Goguryeo pottery have survived and are of dubious provenance. More numerous are bronze and gilt-bronze figurines of the Buddha, which typically show Northern Wei influence with a flaming mandorla and flanked by seated bodhisattvas.

Goguryeo Architecture

There are no extant temples from this period, but some of the more substantial surviving archaeological remains from the Goguryeo towns are walls and fortifications from Tonggou, Fushun, and Pyongyang. Pyongyang, one-time Goguryeo capital, had very large buildings measuring up to 80 x 30 m and palaces with gardens which had artificial hills and lakes. Buildings were decorated with impressed roof tiles carrying lotus flower and demon mask designs, which are found in abundance at the sites.

Better survivors than external buildings are the 10,000 Goguryeo tombs, and the earliest ones took the form of stone cairns using river cobbles. However, by the 4th century CE, square tombs were placed within pyramids made of cut-stone blocks. The largest example is at the former capital Gungnae and thought to be that of King Gwanggaeto the Great. 75 metres long and using blocks measuring 3 x 5 metres, it also has four smaller dolmen-like structures at each corner.

Another important tomb is that of Tong Shou, last ruler of Taebang. Located near Pyongyang, an inscription dates the tomb to 357 CE. Its central chamber has 18 limestone columns and wall-paintings; it is surrounded by four smaller chambers. More typical, though, of Goguryeo-period tombs than these two examples are more modest hemispherical earth mounds built over a square base and with an interior tomb of stone. Other architectural features seen in various Goguryeo tombs include corbelled roofing, octagonal pillars, and pivoted stone doors.

This content was made possible with generous support from the British Korean Society.

Naju-si, Jeollanam-do, Korea

If you go from Naju to the West Sea with the Yeongsan River next to you, you encounter an unexpected past. As the old you and the roof gathered at the foot of a mountain, whose name is unknown, and old structures such as castle walls and watchtowers caught the eye, it was indispensable as a travel journalist. This time, we introduce every corner of Naju's treasure, Naju Video Theme Park, which is wrapped around the Yeongsan River. We need to capture the impression of the drama, the scenery of the Naju Plain, and the Yeongsan River, so let's get a big basket called slack.

Naju Video Theme Park began to become famous as the location of Jumong, opened as Samhanji Theme Park, and was renamed as 'Naju Video Theme Park' after undergoing massive remodeling. It is the largest in Korea at about 140,000m2 and has been visited by about 1 million visitors. Inside the park, more than 100 buildings are structured for each theme, and the grandeur of the palace is also outstanding.

I can't say anything except 'Jumong' when talking about Naju Video Theme Park. It is not an exaggeration to say that the first work photographed there lays the cornerstone of the atmosphere of the scene, but the first work here is called Jumong.

At the time Jumong was aired, its popularity was the highest for 25 weeks in a row. It was interesting because it reconstructed the story from 2,000 years ago, not a thousand years ago. Besides, Jumong's narratives that go back and forth between history and legends have attracted the attention of many people because they were relatively less illuminated than Silla and Baekje on the Korean Peninsula, such as China, Buyeo, and Goguryeo. In addition to Jumong, several dramas such as the Kingdom of the Winds, Taewangsa Shingi, Isan, the legendary hometown, Iljimae, and recent Sinui have been filmed here, and the Ssanghwajeom is the representative filming film here. If you are a person who enjoys historical dramas like this, Naju Video Theme Park is a must-visit place, and the more you will be inspired by the historical drama enthusiasts.

If you enter the ticket office at the ticket office, you will find the entrance to the park, Seongru. For a more impressive journey, hypnotize 'I came to 2,000 years ago'. Even the main buildings shown on the guide map were difficult to count, so the steps ahead of the mind crossed the threshold of Goguryeo.

In the first gate, 'Moat', there is a gate that cannot be seen anywhere else. It is a 'gate' designed to lower and raise the bridge over flowing water. According to the guide, it is the only place in the history of our country that the place where the front door existed is called Naju.

Moat of the first gate Moat

After passing the entrance to Haejaseong, works taken here are guided from side to side. Subsequently, the road leads to the sol headquarters. In the drama Jumong, it was also an important place for the founding of Goguryeo in history.

Sol headquarters headquarters

Inside, historical stories about Goguryeo are each briefly displayed. Among them, there is a statement that 'general guns should be called tombs of longevity', and 'general guns' refers to the tombs of generals in China, and it is not true that 'guns' are not proper because longevity king or king gwanggaeto is not general. In addition, there is an art museum where you can touch and feel famous masterpieces.

Myeonghwa Museum of Art

When you leave the sol headquarters headquarters, it is a work of harmony between you and the roof and Park Seok. You and the roof are mainly made of Hwajeon people in a form that is often found in mountainous areas. In such a common atmosphere, there is a main restaurant, so it is possible to prevent the situation from turning back because of hunger.

Authoring Authoring

After the authoring street, go through the second castle gate and go to where the pond palace is located. The small pond is decorated with charming landscaping. The scenery here is a cool view over the pond to the Yeongsan River. It is a picture that I want to hang on the frame, as it goes all the way up and the work around it.

Pond Palace

Over the rounded door, you can see a part of the palace that is not unusual, and if you pass through the door as you are drawn, you can see Goguryeo Palace. I have seen royal palaces in many locations, but unlike the feeling that they seemed to be similar to each other, this royal palace falls overwhelmingly at the same time as its unique dignity meets. Four watchtowers are erected between the Yeongsan River and the royal palace, and between the watchtower and the royal palace, stairs are made from the square to the high royal palace. The ascending dragon was carved in the center of the stairs.

From Pond Palace to Goguryeo Palace

The texture of space or the hierarchy. As if measured with a ruler, the extension lines of the building meet neatly vertically, and the upper and lower spaces also form a phased composition. In addition, major buildings serve as strict standards. It wasn't actually Goguryeo Palace, but it was a dignity itself, recreated with modern technology. I was just standing in front of the Goguryeo Palace. I want to leave the day empty and see the historical dramas I want to run to the last episode, and I only want to run.

Goguryeo Palace from the Watchtower View from Goguryeo Palace View from Goguryeo Palace

Taejagung is next to Goguryeo Palace. Inside each building, scenes that were actually shot are displayed, and it is also fun to take a look at each of the props with careful management. After passing through the Taejagung, you can reach the outskirts of the wide park, and you can easily find the 'Shindan', another park observatory. It is a unique building and has a unique architectural beauty.

location Goguryeo Palace

When you enter the relatively high standing Shindan, you will be enchanted by a landscape different from the Pond Palace. Along with the Yeongsan River, the day courtyard that adds to the charm of the scenery is good. With the installation of the beam, its taste changed, but fortunately only the tranquility remained in the courtyard.

The beauty of Goguryeo and Taejagung pokes the sky Shindan

This is not the end. The uphill of the park naturally leads to a mountain path, but the ridgeline overlooking the scenery behind the mountain is close. If you climb the slope for about 10 minutes, it is a narrow ridge and cool scenery spreads from side to side. Soon after arriving at Jeongja, the scenery of Naju, which surrounds 360 degrees, will enrich this journey. The park looks small in the middle of the landscape. It feels like you're traveling past in the park and then returning to the present and looking down on the past.

sperm West view East view

The history of about 2,000 years ago is indeed a distant story, and it may not be realistic. When I think of Goguryeo, if it is a concrete figure, I can only imagine the Goguryeo territory drawn on the map of the national history book. However, Goguryeo seemed to be getting closer while looking around Naju video theme park.

Seohaean Expressway Muan IC, Hampyeong IC → School Intersection → Deokum-ro → Naju Video Theme Park

Naju Gomtang Presbyopia Collection: Geumgye-dong, Naju-si, 061-333-2053
Mihyang Gomtang: Seongbuk-dong, Naju-si, 061-334-2550
Yeongsan Hongga: Yeongsan-dong, Naju-si, 061-334-0585
Youngsan Podae Park Hong-eo: Lee Chang-dong, Naju-si, 061-335-5544
Great Eel: Daji-myeon, Naju-si, 061-336-1265
Emerging Eel: Daji-myeon, Naju-si, 061-335-9109

Pastor Naju: Geumgye-dong, Naju-si, 061-332-6565
Dorae Village Old House: 06-336-3675, Dado-myeon, Naju-si
The Ritz-Carlton Motel: Daeho-dong, Naju-si, 061-334-9777
Jungheung Gold Spa & Resort: Nado-si Dado-myeon, 1688-5200

※ The above information was updated in June 2019, and may be changed later, so please check before you travel.
※ Information, such as text, photos, and videos used in this article, is copyrighted by the Korea Tourism Organization, and unauthorized use of the article is prohibited.

Home > Culture > Korean Heritage


Name: Goguryeobi Monument, Chungju

Period: Goguryeo (37 B.C. to A.D. 668)

Location: Chungju, North Chungcheong

Status: National Treasure No. 205

This is the only existing Commemorative Stone from the Goguryeo period on the Korean Peninsula.

The monument was set up to commemorate the occupation of a number of fortresses along the Namhangang River by Goguryeo troops. It was discovered in 1979 in a village named Ipseok.

The monument had been severely eroded when discovered.

It is in the form of a natural stone pillar, a smaller version of the monument to King Gwanggaeto of Goguryeo located in Manchuria, China.

Inscriptions are engraved on four sides, but only the letters on the front and one side are legible. Based on the mention of the King of Goryeo in the preface of the inscription (meaning Goguryeo), the inclusion of official posts unique to Goguryeo, and terms referring to Silla used by Goguryeo, this is undoubtedly a Goguryeo monument.

Judging from what is legible, the monument is believed to date to the late fifth century when King Jangsu of Goguryeo moved the capital to Pyongyang and extended the dynasty's territory southward to the basin of the Han River.

With its valuable content illustrating relations between Goguryeo, Silla and Baekje, this monument is of great importance in the study of Korean history.

The photos and text for National Treasure are provided by the Cultural Heritage Administration. For more information, call (042) 481-4650 or visit www.cha.go.kr.

-75 BCE to 313 CE: Early Goguryeo

Welcome to the History of Korea. I’m your host, Allen Lee. In this episode, we talk about the kingdom of Goguryeo.

In our last episode, we followed the history of Gojoseon, the first Korean state, from its birth in 300 BCE to it’s fall to the Chinese Han Dynasty in 108 BCE. We then followed that storyline to the Han Dynasty’s 400 years of rule, the last time Han China would ever rule over Korea, until Korea’s independence in 313 CE. That independence was partially won by peoples from the Kingdom of Goguryeo.


Gojoseon and Goguryeo are the two most prominent kingdoms from early Korean history the former because of it was the first to enter the record books as a state and the second because it was the largest and most powerful.

From what I’ve researched, I would put the difference between Gojoseon and Goguryeo thusly:

You may recall from my previous episode on Gojoseon about its origins. Named by the Chinese as Chiaoxian (朝鮮) or morning calm, and first entering the record books in the 3rd century BCE, Gojoseon was a vague area of land east of the Yan kingdom as recorded by the Chinese. When Han China attacked in 108 BCE near the Amnok River it in essence ended the reign of Gojoseon.

Meanwhile, around the same time, you had tribal people living within proximity and also likely among the Gojoseon people. While Gojoseon was centered around the Amnok River (or present day border of N Korea), these tribal people were centered farther northwest along the Hun River (near present day Shenyang, China in the Liaoning peninsula).

Gojoseon might have been more agricultural. That kingdom expanded into parts of present day South Korea, which was definitely an agricultural land.

Goguryeo was founded by some very hard scrabble mountain people. Near the Hun River, they were cramped into the mountains which did not have enough arable land to sustain them. Thus they were hunters, horse traders and ultimately raiders, becoming a terror to the agricultural neighbors at the foot of the mountains which they called home. However, Goguryeo didn’t just span the mountains along the Hun River. Their influence spanned across the mountains to the northeastern coast of Korea.

While Gojoseon was under attack by the Han Chinese in the 1st century BCE, the Goguryeons were just getting started as a more organized group.

From a geopolitical context, the biggest difference might be this: Gojoseon succumbed to the Han Chinese, thereby giving up their territory to Chinese rule via the Han Commanderies. Goguryeo attacked the Han Chinese, including their commanderies, and thus eventually took that land back for the indigenous people. Gojoseon lasted maybe 300-400 years. Goguryeo lasted at least 700 years.


So let’s research where the Goguryeons came from.

To talk about Goguryeo we need to talk about the ethnic tribe that made up a large part of that state, the Yemaek. The Yemaek themselves are known to be a combination of two tribes, the Ye and the Maek. In a prior episode I recounted the founding myth of Korea, Dangun, in which a tiger and a bear enter a cave and the tiger emerges as a woman after eating garlic and mugwort. The exact provenance of this myth is unknown, as the earliest written record of it is from the 13th century. But there is wide consensus that the Ye people worshipped tigers while the Maek people were named after bears. Thus there is a strong indication that the Dangun myth may trace as far back as the Yemaek. The Yemaek are known to have occupied the wide swath of land in northeastern Asia with roughly the North Korea / China border as its horizontal midpoint. Their land spanned north into Manchuria and southward into the heart of present day Korea.

The Ye tribe originated in the Buyeo region in Manchuria.

We learned that prehistoric Koreans are believed to have originated somewhere north in the Amur river valley, and therefore the speculation is that the Yemaek were from there as well. From what we know, while Gojoseon had become a full fledged state in the northwest part of Korea and Liaoning, the Yemaek people had consolidated within the eastern seaboard of northern Korea, into Heilongjian province of China.

When you look at the three chinese characters used for Goguryeo, the first one is 高, meaning large or high, and the latter two elements are a phonetic compound 句麗 (contracted into 麗) meaning village or walled town. Together they mean large village or large fortress. In the 10th century, Goryeo state would adopt that name as their own, except they would shorten it to just the two characters Goryeo. From that you get the origin for the modern day word, “Korea.”

The sound of these characters should not to be confused with Gojoseon the “Go” `in Joseon was added by modern historians to distinguish it from the 13th century Joseon dynasty (itself named after the original) the “go” in Gojoseon means old, while the “go” in Goguryeo means high or large.

How do we distinguish these two kingdoms? Gojoseon was formed around 500-300 BCE and ended in 108 BCE, while Goguryeo formed around 37 BCE, a little after Gojoseon ended. To be clear, one kingdom did not spring from the other. They were separate kingdoms but had overlapping geographies and so we can speculate as to the ethnicities of both (which we will).

The early days of Gojoseon are proto-historical in that references to it as a state in the Chinese records are not as explicit. Goguryeo is definitely historical because historical texts acknowledge it as a state clearly from its founding.

Location-wise, and with the understanding that during these early times geopolitical boundaries were either imprecise at the time or the records of them are imprecise (and most likely both), Gojoseon and Goguryeo had significant overlap. Current archeological evidence suggests that the center of Gojoseon was either in the Liaodong peninsula or farther east near the Yalu River.

Goguryeo’s early days are much better documented in the histories and there is better evidence of it as well. There is a lot of material evidence that Goguryeo’s heart was centered around the river valley between the Yalu and Hun Rivers, which is just north of the current North Korea and China border. Goguryeo’s first capital was at Cholbon (졸본卒本 辽宁省本溪市桓仁满族自治县浑江西岸), around 50-100 km north of the present border in 3 CE it was moved to Kungnae (국내 國內), in present day Ji’an (集安市 Tonghua, Jilin, China), which itself is literally right on the border on the Amnok river, just north of it in China and in 427 CE it moved to Pyeongyang Fortress, which is in modern day Pyeongyang (平壤城 평양).

Goguryeo sites have been found as far north as the Songhua River (parallel to Harbin) and as far south as Kyeongsangbukdo in Korea, and as far west as the Liaodong region. Broadly speaking, Goguryeo was a bit more northeast than Gojoseon based on these data points.

Goguryeo capital cities had at least 2 fortresses one built on level ground for every day use, and the other built on a mountainside for defense. Some of these mountainside fortresses are breathtaking. If you want to see an example take a look at Guknae in J’ian it’s a large stone fortress built on a towering cliff above the surrounding dense forest treeline, and the scale reminds me of Jaipur’s Amer Fort in Rajasthan.

Three Claims over Provenance

There are three distinct viewpoints over the provenance of Goguryeo, and I’ll discuss each in turn. The first one, set forth by North Korea, can be easily summarized as it is overtly politicized. One of their origin stories is that the whole of human civilization itself originated via the Taedong River Culture, and that Pyongyang is the center of it all. It’s not worth getting too much into, but one example of how this theory conflicts with evidence involves the location of King Tongmyong. Although the North Koreans acknowledge that before Pyongyang, the capital of Goguryeo was Ji’an China, their attempt to restore the tomb of King Tongmyong, who was actually in Ji’an, has lead them to try to locate the tomb in Pyongyang.

The second viewpoint is that of China, which claims Goguryeo was established by one of the minority nationalities of China’s northern regions. Specifically, they claim that Goguryeo was a polity of the Gao Yi tribe (고이족 高夷族), one of the ancient minorities who were administered under the Xuantu commandery. Their assertion is that Goguryeo was established as a state in 37 BCE when Chumong came south from Buyeo and absorbed the existing cultures there. They merge Cholbon and Puyeo as one ethnicity.

Their primary claim seems to be built on the historical record stating that Jumong, the founding king of Goguryeo, came south from Buyeo. Material evidence they use to corroborate this claim includes the discovery of Han Chinese coins as well as the similarity of gold earrings found in tombs in Buyeo and Cholbon.

The third viewpoint is that put forward by South Korea. Their prevailing theories on the origins of Goguryeo continue to evolve along with new archeological discoveries. In the 1970s, historians argued that tombs found in Goguryeo were similar to those found in Gangshang (街上) and Loushang (接上) in the southern part of Liaodong peninsula. But, although these stone piled mounds were similar, there was too large a temporal and spatial gap between the two to indicate the relationship they sought.

In the 1980s, after bronze daggers were excavated from tombs from Qian mountain range to Ji’an, the theory shifted to Goguryeo sharing a culture with groups farther north on the Liaoning Peninsula.

The latest archaeological evidence, specifically relating to piled stone burials found in Jilin’s Changbai County, however, returns back to a shared Buyeo-Goguryeo heritage.

Perhaps the strongest point that the South Koreans are making is not that China’s Buyeo-Goguryeo hypothesis is necessarily wrong, but that it deserves much more material research. Current archeologists are better documenting the rich, indigenous culture that thrived in each of the regions within that monolith state. Specifically, tombs in Goguryeo buried their dead above ground under mounds of rocks whereas those in Han China were buried deep beneath the ground.

The Samguk Sagi states that Goguryeo was founded in 37 BCE by a Buyeo prince. King Dongmyeong of Goguryeo (58 BCE – 19 BCE, r. 37 BCE – 19 BCE) or Dongmyeongseongwang ( Korean : 동명성왕 Hanja : 東明聖王). We could spend an episode on Buyeo but suffice it to say that it was a proto-Manchurian kingdom far north of present day Korea. It was farther north than what would become Goguryeo. The prince’s name was Jumong, and after some internal strife in Buyeo he moved southward and established control over the Yemaek people living there at the time. In that way his story is a bit similar to Wiman, the Chinese military leader who established Wiman Joseon, and somewhat reminiscent of the Scandinavian Vikings who founded Kievan Rus by establishing control over the Slavs living there.

(This, by the way, contributes to the debate between Chinese and Koreans over the provenance of Goguryeo. The Chinese will, as expected, argue that Goguryeo is a kingdom founded by one of the ethnic tribes in their empire because of Jumong, while the Koreans argue that Goguryeo is a Korean kingdom because of the Yemaek people who already had many of the characteristics of a state, who fell under his rule. We should note that in general, Kievan Rus is recognized as the proto-Russian, Slavic state, and Goguryeo as as proto-Korean state.)

However, the earliest mention of Goguryeo is in the Chinese Book of Han, which writes of Gaogouli County as a province under the rule of the Xuantu Commandery since 113 BCE (you may recall that this was the commandery that moved around a bit, from the northeast corner of Korea to the middle of China, at one point).

What we know for sure is that the Yemaek people who formed the bulk of Goguryeo were a powerful, militaristic people from the beginning. In 75 BCE they would be recorded as incurring into the Xuantu Commandery. In 12 CE they revolted and broke away from Xuantu, and therefore Chinese, control.


Historian Gina Lee Barnes categorizes Goguryeo into four broad stages.

The traditional founding of Goguryeo is recorded as 37 BCE according to the Samguk Sagi. But the first stage starts at 75 BCE. That’s because in that year, the Xuantu commandery was shut down. You’ll know from a prior episode that Xuantu was the most remote commandery set up by the Chinese in the Korean peninsula on a narrow strip of land along the northeastern coast. Many historians credit the Yemaek tribe for inciting that insurgency.

What we do know is that the people who would eventually form Goguryeo were clearly causing all types of problems for the Chinese in that area. They are known to be the Yemaek people occupying the territory from northern Liaoning across to the northeastern coast of Korea.

Some historians see the early Goguryeo people (at this point, they were known as just Yemaek) as clients of the Chinese Han empire who were recruited to fight against the steppe nomads. Other historians assign much more power to the Yemaek as the agents of the downfall of an earlier Chinese colony in 128 BCE.

As Goguryeo was forming as a state they were known to be divided into five main clans: 소노, 계로, 관노, 절노, 순노.


What is verifiable fact is that by 12 CE, the Goguryeons rebelled against the Han and in the year 32 sent an embassy to the Han court on behalf of their leader, whom they addressed for the first time as King.

This starts the second stage, when they have clearly established themselves as a (1) a state around the area of the Hun River (which is just north of the Liaodong peninsula in modern day China) and (2) a state that is independent of Han China.

But a state does not a prosperous society make. Unfortunately the Yemaeks occupied a mountainous land and they weren’t able to eke out an adequate living. So they resorted to raiding surrounding tribes and settlements. By mid 1st century they may have demanding regular tribute from their peninsular neighbors. In 47 CE they attacked Han China and advanced deep into the mainland, even occupying Peking at one point.

In the 2nd century, they attack the Chinese Xuantu commandery, which they had forced from northeastern Korea to Manchuria, in 105 CE and the Liadong commandery in 167. In 109 Goguryeo had sent tribute to Han China, showing that this was not just a one-dimensional state.

The second stage is also notable for a well documented civil war that occurred in Goguryeo. According to the Samguk Sagi, in 204, King Nammu (고남무 高男武) died, sparking a war of succession among his younger brothers. I have to say the language as written in the samguk sagi is quite colorful, and historians speculate that this particular passage originated from Korea’s oral tradition, which has tended towards the baudy since the beginning. If I’m not mistaken there’s quite a bit of euphemistic word play going on I won’t elaborate on these but I will read you the quotes and let you draw your own conclusions. So here’s the Korean recorded version of the civil war:

When the old king died, his queen leaves the palace and seeks help from his younger brother, Palgi. Palgi, not realizing yet that his brother had died, reprimands her for “wandering about the night”. Properly chagrined, she then sets off for the palace of the next younger brother, Yonnu, who is much more accommodating. He welcomes her into his house and seats her in the place of honor, and has meat and drink brought to her.

The queen tearfully recounts what happened to her, helpfully points out that the deceased king has no sons, and though Palgi is the rightful next in line, recounts how he was so “arrogant and cruel” and thus she now turned to him.

Yonnu quickly gets the picture and rushes to her side, at one point taking the knife from the table to cut the meat for her himself. As he did so, he cuts his finger. So the Queen “loosened her waist band and bound it about his wounded finger”. When she was about to return, she said to him: “The night is dark I am frightened of what might happen. I wish you would accompany me to the palace.”

And so “the next morning”, they enter the palace together and she tells the council of ministers to salute Yonu as king.

This obviously didn’t sit well with Palgi, who quickly launches an attack on the palace with his followers. Having failed that, he flees to Liaodong.

The version recorded in the Chinese record books, circa the 3rd century, is decidedly less colorful. It only records that Palgi was “unworthy to succeed”, and was rejected by his countrymen in favor of a younger brother. It also records that Palgi would eventually defect to Gongsun Kang, the warlord who had taken control of Liaodong and Lelang commanderies at this time, which we will describe later.

You can decide which version of the story you prefer.

In 207 CE Goguryeo moves its capital from the Hun River valley at Jolbon (졸본) to the Yalu River valley near Mt. Wandu after retaliatory attacks from the Liaodong commandery. Goguryeo has essentially been driven from a richer farming area to one which is tougher, which has all types of implications and thus begins the third stage Goguryeo.

In China, the Han dynasty finally ended its 400 year rule in 220, splitting into the famous three kingdoms. In 238, Goguryeo formed an alliance with Wei, the northernmost Chinese kingdom, to overthrow the Liaodong commandery, which had gone rogue for half a century.

Although this alliance was successful by knocking off the warlord Gongsun clan from the commanderies, this now brought Wei to the Liaoning peninsula, and sure enough the two allies began to bump heads. Partially because the Yalu river valley didn’t have enough farmland to support the Goguryeons, in 242 they plundered the Liaodong district of Xi’anping (西安平 near present-day Dandong, Liaoning). This area was long under control by the Goguryeons. But it now belonged to the Wei.

The Wei would retaliate with enormous force, driving Goguryeo and its king once again from its capital. It would be the strongest reassertion of Chinese authority in Korea since the days of the first Han China conquest in 108 BCE against Gojoseon. By conquering Goguryeo, Wei gained a lot of prestige, with envoys visiting the Wei court from as far away as Japan.

On the more socio-political front, the Chinese history, the Sanguozhi, suggests that Goguryeo began sinicization earlier around the 2nd century, but historians believe it was during the 3rd century that the social and political structure of Goguryeo really began to develop, influenced by China. The Sanguozhi describes the kingdom as consisting of five “tribes”. Note that the term “tribe” is the contemporary Chinese one. Having said that, Goguryeo’s structure as five distinct groups which included the royal house and the former royal house. Social classes were separated broadly into two: the upper order, which did not work in the fields and ate at raised seats and presumably the rest. There were six other ranks: senior, deputy senior, record keeper, clan head and assistant.

During this period we also see a further evolution of Goguryeo’s political structure, which is best stated by Gina Barnes, quoting historian Gardiner:

Gardiner states that the greatest change in Koguryŏ structure during this time implied in the Sanguozhi is that of an increase in kingly power from primus inter pares [first among equals] to a central ruler no longer relying on a hierarchy of clan nobles but on a nexus of appointed officials subject to his word alone

Barnes, Gina. State Formation in Korea (Durham East Asia Series) (p. 48). Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.

Thus in 245, after being driven once again from their capital, this time by the Wei kingdom, the Goguryeons were essentially driven underground to lick their wounds and re-group, thus ending the 3rd stage of their evolution.

We open the fourth stage with Goguryeo having been driven from their capital. They re-established their capital at Wandu in 245 but for the rest of century very little is written about them, even as China was undergoing another one of their dynasty changes, with the establishment of Jin in 265 and reunification in 280. Tribute missions from the southern Korean tribes of the Han, Buyeo and Japan would make frequent journeys to the capital of China (Luoyang) through the Lelang and Daifeng commanderies on the peninsula it were almost as if the Goguryeons hadn’t driven the Chinese out of there in the first place.

The gap in knowledge about Goguryeo between 245 and 313 is all the more glaring because of what happens in 313. Goguryeo attacks the Lelang commandery in 313 AD. Lelang is the commandery surrounding modern day Pyongyang. The Lelang commander, Zhang Tong, is said to have fled northwards and established a new commandery.

Barnes points out this huge hole in our understanding of Goguryeo. How could they have been so completely routed by Wei in 245, and allow the Wei, and later the Jin Empire to re-establish control over their commanderies in Korea during that time, only to re-emerge with such effective force and defeat the Chinese once again?

In order for the Goguryeons to have re-grouped and re-established their power so quickly, they had to have completely re-structured their state. Prior to 245, they had relied on the Okcho people (the poor farmers who occupied the narrow strip of northeastern Korea who were forever subjugated into a role of supplying food to the militant Goguryeons), and also on raiding the farmers in the Liaoning Peninsula. After Wei so thoroughly routed them, however, they had neither of those options.

That means they had to re-structure their economy around the Lelang commandery near present day Pyongyang. Barnes speculates that perhaps the Buyeo, the erstwhile cousins and potential ancestors of Goguryeons, had something to do with it. Around 286, the Buyeo people were expelled from their homeland in Manchuria by the Murong, a steppe nomad people who would later attack the Goguryeo capital in 314. The Buyeo would eventually re-settle in Okcho and other parts of the Goguryeo stomping grounds.

The Buyeo and Goguryeons were known to be hostile to each other but perhaps they teamed up?

There is still lots to learn. But generally 313 is generally taken as the final end of Chinese domination in the peninsula and the establishment of Goguryeo as suzerain.

Gardiner writes that the 4th century is the turning point between the ancient and medieval in Korea. And so we will stop here with the history of Goguryeo because at this point, we enter the Three kingdom period in Korean history in which significant events are the principal result of interaction between three kingdoms: Goguryeo, Silla and Baekje.

I’d like to spend the rest of this episode on something that is not history, but is historic and certainly an important part of history. In a prior episode we described at length the founding myth of Gojoseon, which involved a bear, a tiger, garlic, and a cave. Goguryeo’s founding myth is no less fantastic it is recorded on a 4th century stele called the Gwanggaeto Stele, and goes like this:

Jumong was the first king of Goguryeo and descended from gods on both sides of his family.

His biological father, Hae Mosu (or “god of the sun”), was sent to earth from heaven.

Haemosu, the sun of the heavenly emperor, descended to the seat of the capital and made it his own. Through brilliant five color clouds (오방색) he came down Woongshim mountain in a coach pulled by five dragons amidst beautiful music, with his entourage following him on the backs of white crested ibises. They descended to earth every day to do their business and then ascended back to heaven every evening. So they were commuters, kind of like living in Jersey and commuting into Manhattan.

Quick scientific side note: the people of this day thought the distance between heaven and earth was 2 thousand billion ri (ri is 4 km), which is around 8 trillion kilometers. A light year is 9.5 trillion kilometers.

His mother, Yuhwa, was the daughter of Habaek (하백 河伯), the god of Amnok River or the sea.

One day, Yuhwa was swimming in the Amnok river with her two sisters, Hwunhwa and Wihwa. Their faces were as beautiful as flowers and their jewels jingled as they played in the water.

Haemosu happened to be hunting in the area at the time. Haemosu had reached old age without any heirs. So went he saw them, he told his aide that if he caught one of them he could perhaps get one.

The three sisters submerged under water to hide from the old king but with the flick of his whip Haemosu created a splendid copper room with three seats in it on the spot. In the room were three jars of fragrant wine. Attracted by that sweet smell, the three maidens slipped in and drank the wine, and were soon drunk. The old king had literally honey potted them. But when the old codger showed up to collect his prizes the three managed to flee, except for Yunhwa, the eldest.

The river god was enraged when he heard the news. “Who are you!?” he demanded. Haemosu replied that he was the son of the heavenly emperor and that he was going to marry his daughter.

This was not a satisfactory answer and the river god demanded that Haemosu prove that he was divine.

Thus the sea god transformed himself into a carp. Haemosu turned into an otter and latched on to him the sea god then transformed into a deer, and Haemosu followed as a jackal, overcoming him again and lastly the sea god transformed into a pheasant a flew high into the sky, only to have Haemosu turn into a hawk, overcoming the sea god again.

Bested, the sea god begrudgingly held a feast for the couple. But upon getting Haemosu drunk, he locked up the couple in a leather covered dragon coach and sent them off towards heaven. But Haemosu roused himself in time and escaped, but not before pulling a golden pin from Yuhwa’s hair.

Yuhwa returned to her father alone in the coach. Angered, he cast her down to earth for good to another river.

One day, the fisherman in that river informed the king of Buyeo, King Geumwa (金蛙 or 金蝸), that they had spotted a mysterious being in the water and that many of their fish were stolen. Using an iron net they pulled up Yuhwa she levitated out of the water sitting on a stone.

Recognizing her as the eldest daughter of the sea / river god, the king set her up in his villa. There, once the sunlight poured its warm rays on her body she conceived and gave birth to a large egg. In time Jumong was born from that egg. He learned to speak at 1 month and told him mother he couldn’t sleep because of some annoying flies, and to make him a bow and arrow so that he could shoot them. She obliged and sure enough he shot each fly dead, and with that skill he earned his name Jumong, which means outstanding archer in the Buyeo language.

Jumong’s step dad, King Geumwa, was no mortal either. The Samguk Sagi states that the prior king of Buyeo, Hae Buru (解夫婁, which means sun and light), did not have any children well into old age. I’ll quote from this great tumblr page I found:

When his horse arrived in a place named Gonyan, the horse started to shed tears after seeing a large rock there. The king (Hae Baru) wondered why and asked a person to move the rock. He found a golden frog-like child there. The king was pleased and, believing that Heaven had given him a wise heir, immediately took him in and raised him. He named the child Geumwa.

The Early History of Korea. Gardiner, Kenneth H.J. 1965: ANU Press

The Koguryo Foundation Myth: An Integrated Analysis By Sun-hee Song, Indiana University

Goguryeo – Founding and Growth

Koguryo was an ancient Korean empire whose brilliant history flourished on a vast expanse of land in East Asia.

Goguryeo thrived for 705 years from 37 B.C., when it was founded to A.D. 668, when it collapsed, and its historical achievements was the source of enormous pride to its descendants. Like most nations from that time, Goguryeo started out from a modest beginning at the Zolbon area in the Yalu River valley.

The founder of Goguryeo was King Chumo, or Gojumong, who originally came from the State of Buyeo. When he left Buyeo and founded Goguryeo, Gojumong was so hard pressed to afford a decent palace or secure sufficient grain output. Furthermore, the fledgling state was surrounded by stronger nations like Biryu, Seonbi, and Buyeo. So, unless one was strong enough, a weak nation was destined to subjugation to others as a feudal state. Soon, however, Goguryeo developed strong leadership and military power, and began to pursue a policy of expansion by conquering smaller nations one by one. Conquering small neighboring nations like Biryu, Okjeo, Haeng-in and Yangmaek, Goguryeo grew up to be a strong country that even overpowered Buyeo by the early first century A.D.

By the middle of the first century A.D., during King Taejo’s reign, Goguryeo was able to absorb various foreign cultural elements on top of the cultural foundations of preceding kingdoms of Old Joseon (Korea) and Buyeo and established itself as a stable state with a systematic ruling structure. King Taejo successfully advanced into Liaodong and the plains of the northern Korean peninsula by attacking Later Han’s eastern Commanderies of Lolang, Xiantu and Liaodong, driving them out toward the west.

In 246, however, Goguryeo had to suffer a humiliating defeat and its capital temporarily fell into enemy hands when forces from China’s Wei attacked it from the west. It soon regained its national strength and was able to repulse repeated subsequent attacks from Wei. Goguryeo continued to grow up and held sway over Buyeo and Suksin in the north, and by the early fourth century,

during king Micheon’s reign, it successfully destroyed Chinese Commanderies of Lolang and Taifang altogether. Its early history was not smooth, however. In 342, Goguryeo’s capital once again fell into enemy hands during the invasion of the Moyong Seonbi tribe. It also sustained another severe blow in 371, when Baekje attacked it from the south. King Gogukwon died during this attack.

Goguryeo: from its origin to its fall

Goguryeo(&#39640&#21477&#40599 was once famous for its successful defense against a millions of forces from Sui(&#38539-Tang(&#21776 empire having incoporated most of neighboring Asian people. In some Chinese folk legends, Li Shimin(&#26446&#19990&#27665, one of most excellent emperors both in politician and military talents, had his one-eye hit and lost with an arrow drawn by a Goguryeo-archer in his own Goguryeo's campaign(645). It is said that his final days have been filled with severe sorrows and groans over his mental and physical diseases. He died at the age of 50, 4 years after his Big Failure in Goguryeo.

Unfortunately to Goguryeo, these events happened only 2 decades before their fall. If Goguryeo, enterning so deeply into the declining seasons, could repulse millions of Asian superpowered troops, I'd like to guess how much greater power and flourishment it enjoyed at its golden age? (A Korean representative nationaliist historian Shin Chaeho complainted that the conventional historian concentrated on the Korean decaying time so many older proud Korean history was lost.)

Until todays, much details about strong and wealthy Goguryeo were not known except their defensive wars displayed in the last stages of history. As in the other Korean ancient history, Goguryeo has been pointed out to not have enough records. As much as the deficiency in historical records, their origin remains mysterious in various aspects.

For example, the contemporary Goguryeo people proclaimed themselves as a descendent of older kindom of Buyeo(&#25206&#39192. Although their own inscription in Gwanggaeto Stele referred well to the origin from it consistently with other Chinese and Korean literatures, the develoment of modern archaeology does not support it to much large degree. The relation to Gojoseon(&#21476&#26397&#39854 is another mystery. Some scholars claimes even that in the last stage of Gojoseon the two nation was independently-separted while it was orthodox and conventional explanation that pre-Goguryeo undertook a successive processes under a Gojoseon-subject and Chinese Xuantu Commandery. Some in somewhat nationalistic veiws says the Goguryeo territory is more wider than a universal theory. A decades ago, China started to absorb its history as a part of their own to ignite the Korean-Chinese historical wars. So lot of Korean media greatly have been interested in the history of Goguryeo. Here I collected and linked one of series by Korean scholars in newspaper. I'm grad to share all of you because it has been written in an international common language.

Goguryeo, o scurta istorie


Primul regat aparut pe actualul teritoriu coreean a fost Joseon (un alt regat coreean Joseon a fost fondat in 1392 e.n., iar de atunci cand se face referire la regatul antic se foloseste adjectivul „go”, care inseamna vechi – Vechiul Joseon). Se spune ca a fost fondat de catre Dangun in anul 2333 i. Hr., desi anul este inca disputat de istorici. Cert este ca Vechiul Joseon era un regat infloritor, date fiind dovezile arheologice bogate, care dateaza din Epoca Bronzului. Regatul era si o puternica forta militara in zona. In anul 300, Joseon pierde o serie de teritorii vestice, in urma razboaielor cu dinastia chineza Yan. In anul 206 i. Hr. in China ajunge la putere Dinastia Han. La acea vreme Gojoseon era deja un regat mult slabit din cauza problemelor interne si a coruptiei. In 195, regele Jun primeste un refugiat din Han, Wi Man. Acesta se va revolta in jurul anului 194 impotriva regelui coreean, care va fi nevoit sa plece in sudul Peninsulei Coreeene, in Confederatia Mahan. In 109 i. Hr. Imperiul Han, deja un stat puternic ataca Vechiul Joseon. Un an mai tarziu, Wanggeom, capitala Joseonului, capituleaza. In urma cuceririi, Imperiul Han imparte vechiul regat in patru comandamente: Lelang, Lintun, Xuantu si Zhenfan. O serie de alte mici state sau triburi au aparut in urma destramarii Joseonului. Cele mai importante state au fost Buyeo, Okjeo si Dongye.


Din multele state ramase in urma destramarii Vechiului Joseon, cel mai important a fost Buyeo. Conducatorii statului continuau sa foloseasca numele de „Dangun”. Acest regat este cunoscut sub numele de Bukbuyeo (Buyeo de nord). In 86 i. Hr., dupa ce Hae Buru a ajuns rege, a schimbat numele regatului in Dongbuyeo (Buyeo de Est) si isi lua titlul de „Wang” (rege). Dupa caderea Vechiului Joseon, unele dintre triburile care au ramas independente fata de Han au fost cele din Buyeo Jolbon. Acestea vor juca mai tarziu un rol important in crearea statului Goguryeo. Multi ani mai tarziu, statul Baekje din sudul peninsulei Coreene va fi redenumit Nambuyeo (Buyeo de Sud).


Nasterea regatului Goguryeo nu ar fi fost posibila fara acest tanar print al Buyeo. Despre nasterea lui au aparut mai multe legende, cea mai cunoscuta fiind, cu diferite variatii, legenda gasita in Samsuk Sagi si Samsuk Yusa. In aceste doua carti despre istoria si legendele celor Trei Regate, Jumong este descris ca fiul lui Hae Mo Su si al Yu Hwa. Hae Mo Su era un luptator, fondatorul Armatei Damul, care lupta impotriva Dinastiei Han pentru eliberarea fostului Joseon. Acesta se aliase cu printul mostenitor al Dongbuyeo, Geum Wa. Yu Hwa era fiica lui zeului raului Ha Baek. Cei doi s-au intalnit cand Yu Hwa se scalda. Tatal tinerei fete nu l-a acceptat pe Hae Mo Su, si a trimis-o pe aceasta departe de raul Ubal. Aici, Yu Hwa l-a intalnit pe Geum Wa si ii va deveni concubina. Yu Hwa a fost impregnata de soare, dand nastere unui ou, pe care Geum Wa a incercat sa il distruga. Vazand ca nu poate, i l-a inapoiat concubinei sale. Din ou s-a nascut un baietel, care va primi numele Jumong, care in vechea limba buyeo insemna „arcas iscusit”.

Intre timp, in urma unei capcane pregatite de primul ministru al Dongbuyeo, impreuna cu un general al Han, Hae Mo Su este prins si dus la Chang’an, capitala Imperiului Han. Acolo, dupa ce va fi torturat, i se vor scoate ochii.

Jumong va creste la curtea regelui Geum Wa, unde isi va dezvolta abilitatea de a trage cu arcul, insa si lupta cu sabia. Fiii regelui, vazandu-i indemanarea devin gelosi pe el, si temandu-se ca ar putea reprezenta o amenintare pentru ei, incearca sa il omoare. Jumong va parasi Buyeo impreuna cu cativa oameni loiali lui si va incerca sa refaca Armata Damul. Armata intemeiata de Jumong isi va face ascunzatoarea pe varful unui munte de unde va conduce mai multe atacuri de succes impotriva Imperiului Han. Totusi, nu puteau ramane prea multa vreme in acel loc. Jumong a apelat atunci la ajutorul lui So Seo No, fiica lui Yeon Ta Bal, conducatorul tribului Gye Ru din Jolbon Buyeo. Jumong si armata sa sunt primiti in cadrul tribului. La acea vreme, toate cele sase triburi ale Jolbon se aflau intr-o competitie de dominare asupra celorlalte triburi, disputa cea mai apriga fiind data intre triburile Gye Ru si Bi Ryu. Intr-o infruntare ce a avut loc intre cele doua triburi, Wu Tae, sotul lui So Seo No este ucis. Jumong va incepe apoi o campanie de unificare pasnica a triburilor din Jolbon. Dupa ce va reusi cu greu sa alature si tribul Biryu micii confederatii de triburi, Jumong va incepe apoi campania de cucerire a vechilor teritorii pierdute de Joseon.

Dupa o serie de cuceriri rapide, confederatia de triburi devine un regat in adevaratul sens al cuvantului si ajunge in curand sa se lupte cu Imperiul Han pentru peninsula Liaodong. Intre timp, in Dongbuyeo, regele Geum Wa moare si este urmat la tron de catre fiul sau cel mare, Dae So. Cata vreme Geum Wa a fost in viata, relatiile dintre Goguryeo si Dongbuyeo au fost bune, Jumong nedorindu-si sa atace regatul in care s-a nascut. De altfel, nici Geum Wa nu a dorit un conflict cu Goguryeo. Insa odata cu venirea la putere a lui Dae So, lucrurile se schimba acesta atacand Goguryeo, fiind insa infrant.

Cand a parasit palatul din Donbuyeo, Jumong si-a lasat mama si sotia care era gravida, pe Ye So Ya in grija regelui Geum Wa. Insa odata cu urcarea lui Dae So pe tron, lucrurile se complicau pentru cele doua femei si noul nascut. Intr-o incercare de a fugi de la palat, sunt prinsi, si se raspandeste zvonul ca au murit. Astfel, Jumong o va lua de sotie pe So Seo No, care avea si ea doi copii, pe Bi Ryu si Onjo, din prima casatorie. la aproximativ 20 de ani de la aceste evenimente, o un tanar strain apare la poarta palatului lui Jumong pretinzand ca este fiul acestuia. Acesta purta cu el o sabie rupta, pe care era o inscriptie. La plecarea din Dongbuyeo, Jumong i-a lasat primei sale sotii o jumatate de sabie rupta, celalalta jumatate pastrand-o. Aceasta sabie rupta reprezenta, pentru tanarul ce aparuse la palat, dovada ca este fiul regelui Goguryeo. Jumong il primeste pe tanar la palat, iar securitatea celor doi fii ai lui So Seo No este pusa in pericol. So Seo No decide sa plece cu fiii sai si cativa slujitori in sud, spre a intemeia un nou regat.

De obicei Onjo, fiul cel mic al lui So Seo No este considerat fondatorul noului regat Baekje. Insa o alta varianta alternativa a povestii, adevaratul fondator al Baekje este considerat fiul cel mare, Biryu. In varianta din Samguk Sagi se spune ca Biryu s-a stabilit la Michuchol (posibil orasul Incheon din zilele noastre), iar Onjo in nordul raului Han. Onjo s-a mutat apoi in sudul raului, la Wiryeseong, langa orasul Seul din prezent. Biryu a realizat ca pamanturile Michucholului sunt neroditoare si a mers la fratele sau cerandu-i sa-l lase sa conduca regatul Sipje (primul nume al Baekje). Onjo l-a refuzat, iar intre cei doi s-a iscat un razboi. Biryu a fost invins si s-a sinucis. Mai tarziu slujitorii lui Biryu care au supravietuit s-au unit cu oamenii condusi de Onjo, formand Baekje.

Jumong a murit la varsta de 40 de ani, la cinci luni dupa ce tanarul Yuri aparuse la poarta palatului. Unii istorici moderni pun la indoiala legitimitatea lui Yuri, acestia avansand ipoteza ca acel tanar sa nu fie fiul lui Jumong, ci doar un uzurpator care gasise sabia si stia povestea ei. Un alt indiciu ar fi schimbarea numelui de familie, Jumong numindu-se Go, iar Yuri, Hae. Si moartea prematura a lui Jumong poate fi un indiciu ca acesta ar fi putut fi ucis de catre Yuri, la fel ca si faptul ca Hyeop Bo, unul dintre primii trei oameni care l-au urmat pe Jumong a cazut in dizgratiile lui Yuri cand acesta din urma a devenit rege. Insa, nu la fel s-a intamplat cu Oiy si Mari, ceilalti doi prieteni ai lui Jumong. Au ramas la curtea lui Yuri, primind in anul 14 i.e.n. misiunea de a ataca statul Yangmaek. Insa toate acestea sunt doar teorii, nimic nu este inca dovedit. Ce se stie sigur e ca, dupa ce Jumong a murit, Yuri i-a organizat funeralii grandioase, si i-a construit o piramida unde i-a fost asezat siciriul. Tot Yuri a fost cel care i-a dat lui Jumong numele post-mortem Dongmyeongseongwang, Sfantul Rege al Estului.


Yuri a domnit 37 de ani, din anul 19 i.e.n., pana in anul 18. e.n.. Yuri este vazut de istorici ca un rege puternic. In anul 9 i.e.n., a cucerit Xiongnu, o populatie mongola, stamosii hunilor. In anul 3 i.e.n. a mutat capitala Goguryeo de la Jolbon la Gungnae. In anul 31 e.n. a atacat Dinastia Xin.

A avut 6 fii, cel mai mare fiind Dojeol, care era printul mostenitor. Insa, dupa moartea acestuia, Haemyeong a devenit mostenitorul coroanei. Avand un caracter neadecvat pentru un print mostenitor, Yuri il inlocuieste pe acesta cu Muhyul in anul 14 e.n.. Muhyul era fiul pe care Yuri l-a avut cu fiica lui Songyang, conducatorul tribului Biryu.

Yuri a murit in anul 18 e.n., fiind urmat la tron de catre Muhyul, care a domnit pana in anul 44. Cand a preluat tronul, Muhyul avea doar 11 ani. A dus o campanie de extindere a statului, totodata facandu-l mai puternic din interior. In anul 22, a anexat Dongbuyeo, omorandu-l pe batranul sau rege, Dae So. In anul 32, l-a trimis pe fiul sau Hodong, in varsta de 16 ani sa atace comanderia Lelang, pe care a si cucerit-o. A murit in anul 44, primind post-mortem numele Daemushin, care inseamna „Marele Zeu al Razboiului”, fiind urmat la tron de fratele sau mai mic, Saek-Ju, cunoscut ca regele Minjung.


Majoritatea regilor regi ai Goguryeo au dus campanii de extindere a teritoriilor regatului. Apogeul l-a atins in jurul anilor 400. Regele Gwanggaeto (391-413) a fost monarhul care a extins cel mai mult granitele statului. In plus, sub domnia sa, tarile coreene rivale aproape ca au incetat sa mai existe. A preluat tronul la 17 si a domnit peste Goguryeo, pana in anul 413 cand a murit de o boala necunoscuta. Fiul sau Jangsu (413-490) i-a urmat la tron. in timpul domniei lui Goguryeo ajungand la maxima sa intindere.

In secolul al VI-lea, regatul a inceput sa piarda din teritoriile cucerite anterior. relatiile cu vecinele sale, Baekje si Silla erau instabile, osciland intre alianta si razboi foarte usor. In cele din urma, Silla a incheiat o alianta stabila cu regatul chinez Tang. Simtindu-se amenintate, Baekje si Goguryeo s-au aliat si ele.

In anul 660, Silla, cu o armata de 50000 de soldati a invadat Baekje. Regele Uija l-a trimis pe generalul Gye Baek sa opreasca invazia, insa acesta avea la dispozitie doar 5000 de oameni. Batalia decisiva s-a dat pe 9 iulie 660, la Hwangsanbeol, armata lui Gye Baek fiind anihilata, desi tinuse piept trei zile mult mai numeroasei armate a lui Kim Yushin, provacandu-i numeroase pierderi. Odata cu armata Sillei, Imperiul Tang trimisese si el 150000 de soldati care au atacat Baekje pe mare. Odata cu caderea Baekje, Goguryeo a ramas izolat, iar alianta Silla-Tang si-a indreptat atacurile spre el.

In 642, in Goguryeo, regele Yong-Nyu a initiat o actiune prin care viza eliminarea celor mai puternici ofiteri militari ai tarii. Primul vizat era generalul Yeon Gae Somun. Acesta, afland despre complot, preia initiativa si il omoara pe rege, inlocuindu-l cu un rege marioneta, nepotul lui Yong-nyu, Bo Jang.

In 661 si 662, alianta Silla-Tang a atacat Goguryeo la Pyong Yang respectiv raul Sasu, ambele atacuri fiind respinse de armatele conduse de catre Yeon Gae Somu. In 663, resturile armatei Baekje, ajutate de o armata japoneza au incercat resuscitarea Baekje, fara succes insa. Dupa ce au fost infrante, trupele si-au gasit refugiu in Goguryeo. Dupa moartea lui Yeon Gae Somun in 666, regele Bo Jang nu a reusit sa aduca tara sub controlul sau, luptele dintre fiii lui So Mun si fratele acestuia slabind regatul.

In 668, Silla-Tang ataca din nou capitala Goguryeo, de data aceasta iesind invingatoare, insusi regele Bojang fiind capturat. Dupa 700 de ani in care a dominat Manciuria si Nordul Coreei, regatul a a cazut.


In 698, in sudul Manciuriei si in China de Nord, a luat nastere alt stat, Balhae, care se considera urmasul regatului Goguryeo. Acesta a cazut in 926,

In 918, a aparut in zona un alt regat, Goryeo. Acesta a realizat unificarea celor Trei Regate Tarzii, Silla, Hu Baekje si Hu Goguryeo, controland toata Peninsula Coreeana. Numele este o prescurtare a regatului Goguryeo. Regatul a cazut in 1392, sub presiunea mongolilor. A fost urmat de Joseon, regat care a durat pana in anul 1910 (desi oficial din 1897 a fost redenumit Imperiul Coreean).

The Military Conquests of King Gwanggaeto The Great

After the death of his father King Gogukyang, in the year 391, the young prince accepts the title Supreme King Yeongnak, meaning Supreme King of The Eternal Peace, making him equal in rank to the Chinese rulers at that time and the king of Baekje, and straight away he goes to war.

In 392, leading an army of 50,000 mounted warriors the young Korean king will march to the neighboring kingdom of Baekje, managing to capture over a dozen villages along the border.

The continues attacks over the years from 392 to 399 shrunk the Baekje kingdom and the mass conscriptions of Kings like Jinsa and Asin alienated their subjects and caused some to flee to Silla.

During those years Gwanggaeto led surprise attacks by land, sea and river, destroying about 58 Baekje fortresses. In the autumn of 393, he countered the attacks of Baekje from the north.

To protect his kingdom from the attacks he built seven fortresses alongside the borders in 394. In 396, when King Asin was preparing his capital for an attack by land, Gwanggaeto surprisingly attacked his capital from the river.

At that time, King Asin of Baekje is the 17th ruler of the kingdom. Ordering few unsuccessful attempts to stop Gwanggaeto, he decided to turn to Japan for help. Thus, as he was suffering from the vicious attacks from the north, led by King Gwanggaeto, he sought an alliance with the Wa kingdom of Japan, and sent his son Jeonji, in a try to strengthen the connection between the two kingdoms, also uniting with the southern confederacy of Gaya.

Together they attack the Kingdom of Silla, afraid that Silla may be in alliance with Goguryeo. In response, Silla turns to Goguryeo for help, and Gwanggaeto answered the call, leading his men into Silla territory and soon defeating the combined forces of the Japanese, Baekje, and Gaya.

By the end of 402 he successfully took over the Silla kingdom in the southeast, the western kingdom of Baekje, and the entire southwestern Gaya Confederacy, forcing the Japanese out of the Korean peninsula.

The three Kingdoms of Korea

In the end, King Asin was hiding in his last castle – the Sanghyeon Castle, in an attempt to protect his remaining territories north of the Han River. King Asin died in 405, desperate and helpless watching his once great kingdom fall into the hands of Gwanggaeto.

Parallel with his war with Baekje Gwanggaeto succeeds in subduing the Kitan tribe in 395, conquering their capital of Beili. Then again from 400 to 404, king Gwanggaeto took control over the entire Liaodong Peninsula, defeating the Later Yan founded by the clan of Murong Xianbei, that had been engaged in warfare with the Wei to the north.

King Gwanggaeto The Great even conquers Inner Mongolia, west of Goguryeo. After that he decides to march north to the Korean kingdom of Dongbuyeo, taking control of its 64 walled cities, and in the meantime also invading the territories of Ainu and Sumo Mohe.

Goguryeo - History

This princess held her father to his word in the most unexpected way: by demanding to marry the stupidest man in Korea. Surprisingly enough, this worked out pretty well for her, her husband, and Korea itself.

Princess Pyeonggang (6th century)
The Weeping Princess

Let’s face one of the uncomfortable truths of the world: sometimes kids can be insufferable little turdblossoms. If you’ve got such a tot, what are you to do? Say your kid starts crying, and just won’t stop. Hugs, pacifiers, toys, sweets: nothing has any effect. You haven’t slept in a week. You’ve got a migraine. You’re at wits end.

You probably end up threatening them. Which is what King Pyeongwon of Goguryeo (modern day North Korea) did. And as Pyeongwon found out, while such threats can work in the short term, they have a way of backfiring in the long run.

The child in question was Pyeongwon’s daughter, Princess Pyeonggang. In her youth, she was a nonstop tear factory, a fact which grated on her dad’s last nerve. In order to get her to be quiet, he warned her that if she didn’t shape up, he’d marry her off to Ondal the Fool. Now, no tellings of the story mention what deeds actually earned Ondal this moniker, but the poor man was apparently so legendarily stupid that even the king had heard of him — despite Ondal, as an underage commoner in another city, being entirely outside the king’s social sphere. The mind reels to think what moronic feats Ondal had accomplished to reach the king’s ear.

When she turned 16, Pyeonggang got into an argument with her father. The king wanted to marry her to the son of a nobleman named Go in Sang province, but she refused — she said that since the king had always said she was going marry Ondal, she would do so. When Pyeongwon said that those had just been empty threats, she replied that the king should never break his word. From this we can deduce that she was the sort of kid who’d a) always remind the teacher to give homework at the end of class b) not have a lot of friends c) send lots of corrections to the editors of various newspapers.

This infuriated her impatient father. “If you’re going to be so impossible, then go ahead and do it! Leave!” So she did.

When Pyeonggang showed up at Ondal’s door and informed him of her matrimonial intentions, her would-be husband was understandably wary. Ondal’s mother didn’t think the princess should marry below her station, and Ondal didn’t believe that Pyeonggang was being serious. After some time, Pyeonggang eventually convinced the two, and, to the shock of everyone in town, she and Ondal married.

Their marriage did not go smoothly at first, but Pyeonggang held it together. Before leaving the palace, she’d been smart enough to gather up her jewelry and take it with her. Selling those to get a solid foundation for her new household, she worked tirelessly to grow the family fortunes. Her efforts paid off: not only did they become more financially stable, but Ondal, due to his wife’s training in archery and horsemanship, worked his way up to become a brilliant general.

Ondal cemented his new reputation when the Han Chinese invaded. Grabbing the armor and sword that his thoughtful wife had given him as a present, Ondal rallied the townsfolk to confront the invaders. However, upon meeting the Chinese on the field of battle, the villagers were so intimidated that nobody dared make the first move. Nobody, that is, save Ondal: leaping forward to fight the Chinese, he caught them by surprise and killed their general with one blow. After that, the remaining Chinese soldiers decided that they were not getting paid enough for this, and fled. Ondal was the victor.

Upon hearing of this unexpected Chinese defeat, King Pyeongwon summoned this unknown provincial hero to thank him personally. When Ondal arrived, the king asked his name.

“My name is Ondal.”
“…what? Are you serious?”
“…yeah. That’s me.”

The king, both dumbfounded and impressed, showered his newly-introduced son-in-law with gifts, and sent him on his way. Ondal continued defending the country for some time, against both China and the neighboring Korean kingdom of Silla. Eventually, Ondal was killed on Mt. Acha. According to legend, when it came time to move his coffin for burial, no one could budge it.

Pyeonggang knelt beside the coffin, putting her arms around it, and gently whispered to her late husband, “the question of life and death has already been decided. So why don’t we go back, my dear?”

The coffin became unstuck and General Ondal was buried soon thereafter.

Art Notes
The image is a bit of a mishmash of visual reference — all around the same time, but maybe not from the exact same place and time.

As helpers, Pyeonggang has three sacred animals of Korean mythology on screen left: a blue dragon, a three-legged crow, and a bonghwang (roughly equivalent to a phoenix). The bonghwang is designed like a turkey, because it is nigh-impossible for turkeys to look majestic.

The building they’re standing in front of is Bulguksa Temple, which was built a century earlier (and was not in Goguryeo), but its architecture should be fairly similar to what was around at the time.

This story is widely regarded as a folk tale rather than straight history, although Ondal and Pyeongwon are both verifiable historical figures. Heck, Wikipedia even lists Pyeongwon as one of the worst kings in Goguryeo’s history.

If there isn't a drama based on her story already, there should be. Wacky hijinks all over the place and a nice sad ending - sounds like a drama to me!

Today I Learned That China Has Been Trying to Steal Goguryeo As Their History Since 2002

I guess it's better to discover it now than never. CCP China has always been a paranoid shameless asshole. Fuck the CCP.

China's revisionist Northeast Project got a boost when Korea culture gained momentum across Asia. I remember a Goguryo exhibition in Seoul that shattered records and freaked Beijing out. The World Cup put Korea on the map beyond Kdrama and Kpop, and their revisionism amplified. They want to rewrite Korea as part of Chinese culture, and the roots of Korea (Goguryo, gimchi etc) on Chinese soil. Doubled with nationalism so that ethnic Koreans in China get the full twisted message. They even redrew the great wall to claim land and history beyond it.

Yeah. They redrew every historical map and then lobbied across the world to change history and got away with it. For example, the "Khitians" are actually Koreans/people of Goryeo, so many historians had sided with Koreans that Goryeo controlled much of Manchuria and these people are not called "Khitians". In addition, there's clear evidence that Goryeo were frequent allies of the Gokturks and the mural depicting a victory against the Tang Dynasty in Samarkand shows Goryeo soldiers which proves this point even more since Gokturks were around West China, west Mongolia, Siberia, and etc. It's so sad that many Korean historians would accept China money and accept this smh

China claims Goguryeo and Baekje while Japan claims Gaya and Baekje. It's why all three of their Wikipedia articles are edit blocked, due to their constant revisionist vandalism.

Yeah and Wikipedia leaves the versions where it favors China and Japan sadly.

It's so sad and I feel like Korea's gotta do something about this. I visited museums and during my internship, my neighbor was a history professor at SNU and I would learn history from him during barbecues on weekends. Korea's clearly got the evidence on their side but I don't understand why they haven't done anything about it.

Honestly, I'm just done and I'm pissed off. It's clearly not their history and many Chinese historians have even acknowledged that the Goguryeo records written in Hanja are grammatically different from Traditional Chinese, which means that the language being used is not Chinese, but rather Korean.

It's even more disgusting now that I realize that in AP World, they didn't even teach us about Korea's Three Kingdoms and Balhae and would always claim that Manchuria was always China's, when it's quite the contrary (Korean Kingdoms have historically held onto Manchuria until the Qing Invasion of 1692). It's upsetting that they get away with this and also spend billions on lobbying and changing history in their own vision.

China's recent actions also had them claim that Korea's tradition attire is theirs and several historical figures being chinese. Thier culture appropriation is slowly expanding but I don't think western societies are aware of what their doing.

Well, I think that China’s revisionist tactics against Korea isnt working because of Korea’s prestige at the world stage compared to China and the Northeast Asia Project has lost almost all of its credibility and steam outside of China because of an amazing counter-revisionist response by Korea and other non-government agencies like VANK. A lot of the world also knows of a clear distinction between Korean and Chinese cultural and historical identities (there are countless lectures about this.) and most of the world knows how distinctly unique Korean culture and history is from other countries. A lot of Koreans and non-Koreans think that these revisionists are buffoons and they are even a laughing stock of the academic world. I am studying Sociology and History as a part of my degree right now, and we are rarely given contemporary readings that are from China because of fact-checking and credibility concerns by our universities. Most of our Asian history readings come from Korean, or other Western sources. China does this to instill a false sense of nationalism (which is dangerous for the CCP) within China because Goguryeo is widely known as a state that conquered parts of China, Inner Mongolia, and Manchuria. Goguryeo also historically has defeated 3 consecutive Chinese dynasties in numerous wars and Goguryeo monarchs had a title equal to Chinese Emperors which “Daewang” and Overlord of the East. This was found in Korean, Chinese, and Japanese records. (Silla, a southern kingdom also defeated the Chinese in battles and even controlled all trade routes in East Asia at its peak). I think that this will bite China back in the ass the more they try to clash with Korea in regards to Chinese revisionism because it will further isolate China, tarnish China’s already tarnished global image, and it spells less credibility for Chinese intellectuals on the world stage and they will keep on being treated as a laughing stock of the rest of the world.

Success in battle

Thus, the stage was set for an ambitious king like Gwanggaeto to expand territory greatly. Jinsa and Asin of Baekje were weak warriors, and their mass conscriptions alienated their subjects and caused some to flee to Silla. After steadily losing territory, Asin prepared his capital at Wiryeseong against a land invasion in 396. Gwanggaeto attacked from the river instead, catching them unprepared, and subjugated Baekje. In 399 as noted above they rebelled with the assistance of Wa, but were defeated.

With Baekje and Silla neutralized in the south, Gwanggaeto could turn his attention to the north. The Later Yan, weakened by misrule and warfare with the Northern Wei, were expelled from the Liaodong Peninsula, and their successor, the Northern Yan, made peace in 408 and survived as a vassal. That in turn freed Gwanggaeto to annex the remnant Buyeo in 410.