In February 1866 anti-Christian persecutions by the Taewǒn'gun resulted in the execution of nine French Jesuit missionaries secretly proselytizing in Korea. French reaction was extreme, with the French Far Eastern Squadron undertaking a small-scale invasion that fall. The attack, made in hopes of inflicting retribution and gaining concessions, was a dismal failure, ending in French withdrawal and the end of French missionary activity in Korea for a decade. The decision to attack has usually been viewed solely in its "Korean context" and thus been interpreted as a rash reaction to events there by the leading French diplomat in China. When viewed in the broader context of French policy in the Far East, especially China, the French decision to attack can be better understood.


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