Taejong of Joseon


Taejong of Joseon

Infobox Korean name
hangul=태종
hanja=太宗
rr=Taejong
mr=T'aejong
hangulborn=이방원
hanjaborn=李芳遠
rrborn=I Bang-won
mrborn=I Pangwŏn

Taejong (1367 – 1422, r. 1400-1418) was the third king of the Joseon Dynasty in Korea and the father of King Sejong the Great.

Early life

He was born as Yi Bangwon in 1367 as the fifth son of King Taejo, and was qualified as an official of Goryeo Dynasty in 1382. During his early days, he helped his father to extend his support with the citizenry and many influential figures of the government. He was sent to the Ming Dynasty of China in 1388. Taejong helped his father found a new dynasty by disposing of powerful Confucian officials such as Jeong Mong-ju, who remained loyal to the Goryeo kings.

In 1392, he helped his father to overthrow Goryeo and establish a new dynasty, Joseon. He thought he would be appointed as the successor to the throne, but his little half-brother, Yi Bangseok(Prince Uian) was favored more by Taejo and Prime Minister Jeong Dojeon, who were afraid of Taejong's strong leadership and hard-line policy against noble families. In 1398, he led a coup against Jeong Dojeon and Yi Bangseok, exterminating Jeong's faction and murdering Yi Bangseok, his siblings and the queen. He then gave a push to his older brother, Jeongjong of Joseon, as a crown prince. Disappointed, Taejo abdicated in 1399, and Jeongjong succeeded to the throne.

In 1400, General Bak Po, who was disappointed by Taejong for not rewarding him for his action in the 1398 coup, allied with Bangwon's older brother Yi Banggan(Prince Hoean) and rebelled against him. Yi Bangwon successfully defeated his brother's forces, then executed Bak Po and sent Yi Banggan into exile. King Jeongjong, who was afraid of his brother's harsh action, appointed him as crown prince and abdicated in the same year, thus Taejong became the third king of Joseon Dynasty. Fact|date=February 2007

Reign

First in his reign, he banned private armies and absorbed the soldiers who were privately owned by many nobles and princes into the official army, and removed opposition from the government. He also changed the political system, creating a strong central government and an absolute monarchy. He promoted Confucianism, which was more like political philosophy rather than religion; thus demoting Buddhism, which was far from daily living and decayed from the power given by Goryeo kings back then. He closed many temples that were established by Goryeo kings, and seized their large possessions and added them to the national treasury. He also initiated the system of "hopae", an early form of identification recording the bearer's name and residence, used to control the movement of people. [cite book|title=Korea: A Religious History|last=Grayson|first=James Huntley|publisher=Routledge|location=United Kingdom|date=2002|id=ISBN 070071605X (p108)] He also set a big drum in front of his court, so that the common people, when they had some problems, could come to palace and consult the king.Fact|date=February 2007

In foreign policy, he was straight hardliner-he attacked the Jurchens on the northern border and Japanese Pirates on the southern coast. Taejong is also known for being responsible for the Oei Invasion of Tsushima Island in 1419. He also promoted publications, commerce and education. He also founded and encouraged Uigeumbu, the royal guard and secret police at the same time. In 1404, He moved the capital back to Hanyang(Seoul), and abdicated in 1418-giving the throne to Sejong the Great of Joseon.Fact|date=February 2007

Taejong was known for his passion for hunting, considered unseemly in a ruler.

Family

*Father: King Taejo (태조)
*Mother: Queen Sin-ui of the Anbyeon Han clan (신의왕후 한씨)
*Consorts:
# Queen Wongyeong of the Yeoheung Min clan (원경왕후 민씨)
# Royal Noble Consort Hyo of the Kim clan (효빈 김씨)
# Royal Noble Consort Myeong of the Kim clan (명빈 김씨)
# Royal Noble Consort Sin of the Sin clan (신빈 신씨)
# Royal Noble Consort Seon of the An clan (선빈 안씨)
# Royal Noble Consort Ui of the Gwon clan (의빈 권씨)
# Royal Noble Consort So of the No clan (소빈 노씨)
# Choi "Suk-ui" (숙의 최씨)
# Princess Deoksun of the Lee clan (덕순옹주 이씨)
# Princess Soonhye of the Jang clan (순혜옹주 장씨)
# Concubine Go (후궁 고씨)
*Issue:
# Grand Prince Yangnyeong (양녕대군), 1st Son of Queen Wongyeong of the Yeoheung Min clan.
# Grand Prince Hyoryeong (효령대군), 2nd Son of Queen Wongyeong of the Yeoheung Min clan
# Grand Prince Chungnyeong (충녕대군), 3rd Son of Queen Wongyeong of the Yeoheung Min clan
# Grand Prince Seongnyeong (성녕대군), 4th Son of Queen Wongyeong of the Yeoheung Min clan.
# Prince Gyeongnyeong (경녕군), Only Son of Royal Noble Consort Hyo of the Kim clan.
# Prince Hamnyeong (함녕군), 1st Son of Royal Noble Consort Sin of the Sin clan.
# Prince Onnyeong (온녕군), 2nd Son of Royal Noble Consort Sin of the Sin clan.
# Prince Geunnyeong (근녕군), 3rd Son of Royal Noble Consort Sin of the Sin clan.
# Prince Iknyeong (익녕군), Only Son of Royal Noble Consort Seon of the An clan.
# Prince Huiryeong (희령군), Only Son of Choi "Suk-ui".
# Prince Huryeong (후령군), Only Son of Princess Deoksun of the Lee clan.
# Prince Hyeryeong (혜령군), Only Son of Concubine Go.
# Princess Jeongsoon (정순공주), 1st Daughter of Queen Wongyeong of the Yeoheung Min clan.
# Princess Gyeongjeong (경정공주), 2nd Daughter of Queen Wongyeong of the Yeoheung Min clan.
# Princess Gyeongan (경안공주), 3rd Daughter of Queen Wongyeong of the Yeoheung Min clan.
# Princess Jeongseon (정선공주), 4th Daughter of Queen Wongyeong of the Yeoheung Min clan.
# Princess Sukan (숙안옹주), Only Daughter of Royal Noble Consort Myeong of the Kim clan.
# Princess Jeongshin (정신옹주), 1st Daughter of Royal Noble Consort Sin of the Sin clan.
# Princess Jeongjeong (정정옹주), 2nd Daughter of Royal Noble Consort Sin of the Sin clan.
# Princess Sukjeong (숙정옹주), 3rd Daughter of Royal Noble Consort Sin of the Sin clan.
# Princess Soshin (소신옹주), 4th Daughter of Royal Noble Consort Sin of the Sin clan.
# Princess Sooknyeong (숙녕옹주), 5th Daughter of Royal Noble Consort Sin of the Sin clan.
# Princess Sookgyeong (숙경옹주), 6th Daughter of Royal Noble Consort Sin of the Sin clan.
# Princess Sookgeun (숙근옹주), 7th Daughter of Royal Noble Consort Sin of the Sin clan.
# Princess Sosook (소숙옹주), 1st Daughter of Royal Noble Consort Seon of the An clan.
# Princess Gyeongshin (경신옹주), 2nd Daughter of Royal Noble Consort Seon of the An clan.
# Princess Jeonghye (정혜옹주), Only Daughter of Royal Noble Consort Ui of the Gwon clan.
# Princess Sookhye (숙혜옹주), Only Daughter of Royal Noble Consort So of the No clan.
# Princess Sooksoon (숙순옹주), Only Daughter of Princess Deoksun of the Lee clan.

His full posthumous name

* King Taejong Gongjeong Seongdeok Sin-gong Geoncheon Chegeuk Daejeong Gye-u Munmu Yecheol Seongnyeol Gwanghyo the Great
* 태종공정성덕신공건천체극대정계우문무예철성렬광효대왕
* 太宗恭定聖德神功建天體極大正啓佑文武叡哲成烈光孝大王

Modern depiction

"Tears of the Dragon," a popular KBS television historical drama that aired from 1996-8, portrayed Taejong's life. It depicts him as being committed to the stability of the kingdom, a commitment that translated into affection and devotion towards his father and heir (originally Taejong's firstborn son), although these feelings were not reciprocated due to anger about the 1398 assassinations. The anger culminated in the retired Taejo's efforts to remove Taejong by backing the Cho Sa-Wei Revolt and personally shooting an arrow at him during a reconciliation meeting. According to the series, Taejong grew to become perpetually suspicious of others around him (especially his in-laws), resulting in purges, a typical example being his execution of the queen's influence-peddling-but-loyal oldest brothers and naїvely-innocent youngest brothers. In disgusted response, his Crown Prince rejected the throne to become a playboy and his second-born son joined the priesthood, deferring the position to the third-born son.

ee also

* List of Korea-related topics
* Rulers of Korea
* Cheonsang Yeolcha Bunyajido

References


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