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32 The Growth of Koguryŏ The Early Development of Koguryŏ Beginning as a small walled-town state before the second century bc, Koguryŏ grew increasingly into a confederated kingdom after its expulsion of the Chinese commandery of Hyŏndo in 75 bc. At around that time there werefivelargetribalenclaves:Sono-bu(orPiryu-bu),Chŏllo-bu(orYŏnna-bu), Sunno-bu (or Hwanna-bu), Kwanno-bu (or Kwanna-bu), and Kyeru-bu. In 37 bc Chumong and his Kyeru-bu people, the so-called horse-riding warriors, tookpoliticalleadershipintheconfederatedkingdom,heraldingthebeginning of “New Koguryŏ.” AtfirsttheKoguryŏpeoplewereahuntingtribethathadsettledinthemountainousregionsof southernManchuria.ThusKoguryŏhadtobreakoutof these regions and make inroads into the south, with its vast stretches of plains. In ad 3Koguryŏtransferredits capitalfromCholbon (Hwanin)toKungnae-sŏngon the Yalu. Defended by Hwando-sŏng in the rear and fronted by the Yalu River, the new capital was a natural stronghold. By the first century ad Koguryŏ was firmly established as a state power. King T’aejo(53–146?)vigorouslyexpandedtheKoguryŏterritorythroughaggressive military activities allowing Koguryŏ to exact tribute from its neighbors. T’aejo 2 THE PERIOD OF THE THREE KINGDOMS (57 bc–ad 676) The Period of the Three Kingdoms 33 subjugatedOkchŏtosecureabaseintherearandconsolidatethematerialfoundationsbyacquiringatributarystate .Healsoactivelytooktheoffensiveagainst the Chinese, attacking the Liaodong region east of the Liao River and the Chinese commandery of Nangnang. T’aejo and his successors then absorbed the newly won resources and manpower into Koguryŏ, thus continuing Koguryŏ’s territorial expansion. Domestically T’aejo established the permanent right to the throne by the Ko house (clan) of the Kyeru-bu lineage, and thus he came to be called T’aejo, or the founder-king. During the reign of King Kogukch’ŏn (179–197) the monarch’s authority became further consolidated and the kingdom’s political structure became increasingly centralized. First, the five original tribal enclaves from the earlier, traditional society were reorganized into five centrally ruled districts termed pu, or provinces, and given names connoting the directions north, south, east, west, and center; these were the administrative units of the capital and its neighboring areas. Chieftains of the former enclaves were integrated into the central aristocracy. Second, royal succession changed from a brother-tobrother pattern to one of father to son, representing a growth in monarchical power. Third, it became established practice for queens to be taken from the Myŏngnim house of the Chŏllo-bu (or Yŏnna-bu) lineage, which allowed the king to secure a permanent ally against potential political centers that might oppose the strengthening of royal power. Fourth, King Kogukch’ŏn appointed as prime minister an obscure individual named Ŭlp’aso to enforce the chindaepŏp, or relief loan law, which prevented poor peasants from becoming slaves of the aristocracy and enabled them to borrow grain from the state during the spring famine season and repay it at low interest after the autumn harvest. As Koguryŏ achieved domestic stability, it gained great momentum for waging military campaigns against the Chinese. Repeated Chinese counterattacks failedtocrushtheelusivewarriorsof Koguryŏ,whowerewellprotectedintheir mountainous habitat and highly mobile as a result of long experience with a huntingeconomy.Inthefirstsuchcampaign,in242KingTongch’ŏn(227–248) attacked Xianping(Sŏanp’yŏng in Korean), a Chinese strategic county at the estuary of the Yalu, in order to cut off the land route linking China proper with its Nangnang Commandery. The Chinese Wei dynasty immediately retaliated . The Wei (222–280) was one of three dynasties that had been established in China after the Han empire fell in 220 and was the closest to Koguryŏ. In 244, with the intention of succeeding the Han empire in Nangnang, Wei sent 34 A History of Korea an invading force led by Guanqiu Jian to Koguryŏ, capturing Hwando-sŏng near the capital of Kungnae-sŏng. When Wei’s military forces, led by Wang Qi, invaded Koguryŏ again the next year, King Tongch’ŏn had to flee and seek refuge in Okchŏ. Wei’s attempt to punish Koguryŏ was short-lived, however, as Wei itself was destroyedbythesubsequentdynasty,theJin,in265.Jinwasonlyabletoachieve a brief reunification of China, as it, too, was soon overtaken by the nomadic peoples in 316. China was divided into the Northern and Southern dynasties until the Sui empire under Wendi achieved its unification in 589. Seizing upon the opportunity of China’s division and internal struggles, Koguryŏ renewed its offensive against the Chinese territory east of the Liao River. Finally, in 313, King Mich’ŏn (300–331) drove out the Chinese from their Nangnang Commandery in 313. Koguryŏ’s control of the former domain of...


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