5 min

1392 to 1897

Korean History: Joseon

by nonoumasy ▲⚬▲⚬

The Joseon dynasty was a Korean dynastic kingdom that lasted for approximately five centuries. It was the last dynasty of Korea and its longest-ruling Confucian dynasty, founded by Yi Seong-gye in July 1392 and replaced by the Korean Empire in October 1897.

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Yi Seonggye is crowned king, officially beginning the Joseon Dynasty.

1335 Oct 27 -

Kaseong, North Korea

Taejo of Joseon (October 27, 1335 – May 24, 1408), born 李成桂 (Middle Korean: Ni Syeng kyey(니셩계), Modern Korean: Yi Seong-gye(이성계)) was the founder and the first king of the Joseon dynasty of Korea. After ascension to the throne, he changed his name to 李旦 (Middle Korean: Ni Tan(니단),Modern Korean: Yi Dan(이단)). He reigned from 1392 to 1398, and was the main figure in the overthrowing of the Goryeo Dynasty.

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Capital moved to Hanyang. (modern day Seoul)

1396 Jan 1 -

Seoul, South Korea

In naming the new dynasty, Taejo contemplated two possibilities - "Hwaryeong" and "Joseon". After much internal deliberation, as well as endorsement by the neighboring Ming dynasty's emperor, Taejo declared the name of the kingdom to be Joseon, a tribute to the ancient Korean state of Gojoseon. He also moved the capital to Hanyang from Kaesong.


Paper currency initiated

1402 Jan 1 -


The founder of the dynasty, Taejong made several attempts to bring upon improvements in the prevailing monetary system but they were not a success initially. The attempts include issuing Korean paper currency and issuing coins instead of importing them from China. The coins issued in Korean being unsuccessful led to the issuance of a standardized note made of black mulberry bark called Jeohwa (저화/楮貨), that was used in place of coins. Bronze coins were not cast again until the Year 1423 during the reign of King Sejong. These coins had the inscription 朝鮮通寶 (Chosun Tongbo "Chosun currency"). The coins that were minted in the 17th century came out to be a success at last and as a result, 24 mints were established throughout Korea. Coinage formed a major part of the exchange system after this time.


The Hangul alphabet is created by King Sejong the Great.

1443 Jan 1 -


The Korean alphabet, known as Hangul (Hangeul)[note 1] in South Korea and Chosŏn'gŭl in North Korea, is a writing system for the Korean language created by King Sejong the Great in 1443. The letters for the five basic consonants reflect the shape of the speech organs used to pronounce them, and they are systematically modified to indicate phonetic features; similarly, the vowel letters are systematically modified for related sounds, making Hangul a featural writing system.

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The Japanese invasion of Korea

1592 Jan 1 -

Busan, South Korea

The Japanese invasion of Korea begins under the command of Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Admiral Yi Sun-Sin employs the Turtle ship to repel Japanese naval forces.

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The first Manchu invasion

1627 Jan 1 -

Uiju, Korea

The Later Jin invasion of Joseon occurred in early 1627 when the Later Jin prince Amin lead an invasion of Korea's Joseon kingdom. The war ended after three months with the Later Jin establishing itself as sovereign tributary overlord over Joseon. However Joseon continued its relationship with the Ming dynasty and showed defiance in solidifying its tributary relationship with the Jurchens. It was followed by the Qing invasion of Joseon in 1636.

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The second Manchu invasion

1636 Jan 1 -

North Korean Peninsula

The Qing invasion of Joseon occurred in the winter of 1636 when the newly established Manchu-led Qing dynasty invaded the Joseon dynasty, establishing its status as the center of the Imperial Chinese Tributary System and formally severing Joseon's relationship with the Ming dynasty. The invasion was preceded by the Later Jin invasion of Joseon in 1627.

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200-year period of peace

1637 Jan 1 -


After invasions from Japan and Manchuria, Joseon experienced a nearly 200-year period of peace. Externally, Joseon became increasingly isolationist. Its rulers sought to limit contact with foreign countries.


French Campaign against Korea

1866 Jan 1 -

Ganghwa Island, Korea

The French expedition to Korea was an 1866 punitive expedition undertaken by the Second French Empire in retaliation for the earlier Korean execution of seven French Catholic missionaries. The encounter over Ganghwa Island lasted nearly six weeks. The result was an eventual French retreat, and a check on French influence in the region. The encounter also confirmed Korea in its isolationism for another decade, until Japan forced it to open up to trade in 1876 through the Treaty of Ganghwa.

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United States expedition to Korea

1871 Jan 1 -

The United States expedition to Korea, known by the Koreans as the Shinmiyangyo (신미양요: 辛未洋擾, lit. "Western Disturbance in the Shinmi (1871) Year") or simply the Korean Expedition, in 1871, was the first American military action in Korea. On 10 June, about 650 Americans landed and captured several forts, killing over 200 Korean troops with a loss of only three American soldiers dead. Korea continued to refuse to negotiate with the United States until 1882.

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Donghak Peasant Revolution

1894 Jan 1 -

The Donghak Peasant Revolution (동학 농민 혁명; 東學農民革命; donghak nongmin hyeogmyeong), also known as the Donghak Peasant Movement (동학 농민 운동; 東學農民運動; donghak nongmin undong), Donghak Rebellion, Peasant Revolt of 1894, Gabo Peasant Revolution, and a variety of other names, was an armed rebellion in Korea led by peasants and followers of the Donghak religion, a panentheistic religion viewed by many rebels as a political ideology.

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The First Sino-Japanese War

1894 Jul 27 -

Manchuria, China

The First Sino-Japanese War (25 July 1894 – 17 April 1895) was a conflict between the Qing dynasty of China and the Empire of Japan primarily over influence in Joseon Korea. After more than six months of unbroken successes by Japanese land and naval forces and the loss of the port of Weihaiwei, the Qing government sued for peace in February 1895.

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Korean Empire

1897 Jan 1 -


The Korean Empire (transcribed as Daehan Jeguk, Korean: 대한제국; Hanja: 大韓帝國, lit. 'Great Korean Empire') was an independent unified Korean state proclaimed in October 1897 by Emperor Gojong of the Joseon Dynasty. The empire stood until Japan's annexation of Korea in August 1910. During the Korean Empire, Emperor Gojong oversaw the Gwangmu Reform, a partial modernization and westernization of Korea's military, economy, land system, and education system, and of various industries. In 1905 Korea became a colonial protectorate of Japan; in 1910 Japan annexed Korea outright.

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  • Hawley, Samuel: The Imjin War. Japan's Sixteenth-Century Invasion of Korea and Attempt to Conquer China, The Royal Asiatic Society, Korea Branch, Seoul 2005, ISBN 978-89-954424-2-5, p.195f.
  • Larsen, Kirk W. (2008), Tradition, Treaties, and Trade: Qing Imperialism and Chosǒn Korea, 1850–1910, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center, ISBN 978-0-674-02807-4.
  • Pratt, Keith L.; Rutt, Richard; Hoare, James (September 1999). Korea. Routledge/Curzon. p. 594. ISBN 978-0-7007-0464-4.

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