Kingdom of Goryeo

Empress Gi
Empress Gi ©Image Attribution forthcoming. Image belongs to the respective owner(s).
1333 Jan 1

Empress Gi

Beijing, China
Empress Gi was born in Haengju, Goryeo to a lower-ranked aristocratic family of bureaucrats. In 1333, the teenage Lady Gi was among the concubines sent to Yuan by the Goryeo kings, who had to provide a certain number of beautiful teenage girls to serve as concubines of the Mongol Emperors once every three years. It was considered prestigious to marry Goryeo women. Extremely beautiful and skilled at dancing, conversation, singing, poetry, and calligraphy, Lady Gi quickly became the favorite concubine of Toghon Temür. In 1339, when Lady Gi gave birth to a son, whom Toghon Temür decided would be his successor, he was finally able to have Lady Gi named as his secondary wife in 1340. Toghon Temür increasingly lost interest in governing as his reign went on. During this time power was increasingly exercised by a politically and economically talented Lady Gi. Lady Gi's older brother Gi Cheol was appointed the commander of the Mongol Eastern Field Headquarters—making him in effect the real ruler of Goryeo—owing to her influence. and she closely monitored Goryeo affairs. Depending on Lady Gi's position in the imperial capital, her elder brother Gi Cheol came to threaten the position of the king of Goryeo, which was a client state of the Mongols. King Gongmin of Goryeo exterminated the Gi family in a coup in 1356 and became independent of the Yuan. Lady Gi responded by selecting Tash Temür as the new king of Goryeo and dispatched troops to Goryeo. However, the Mongol troops were defeated by the army of Goryeo while attempting to cross the Yalu River.

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