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Gyeongjong
King of Joseon
Reign 12 July 1720 – October 1724
Predecessor Sukjong of Joseon
Successor Yeongjo of Joseon
Spouse Queen Danui,
Queen Seonui
House House of Yi
Father King Sukjong of Joseon
Mother Royal Noble Consort Hui of the Jang clan
Born (1688-11-20)20 November 1688
Changdeok Palace, Korea
Died 11 October 1724(1724-10-11) (aged 36)
Burial Uireung. Seokgwan-dong, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul
Korean name
Hangul 경종
Hanja 景宗
Revised Romanization Gyeongjong
McCune–Reischauer Kyŏngjong
Birth name
Hangul 이윤
Hanja 李昀
Revised Romanization I Yun
McCune–Reischauer I Yun
Courtesy name
Hangul 휘서
Hanja 輝瑞
Revised Romanization Hwiseo
McCune–Reischauer Hwisŏ

Gyeongjong (20 November 1688 – 11 October 1724, reigned 1720–1724) was the 20th king of the Joseon Dynasty of Korea. He was the son of King Sukjong by Royal Noble Consort Hui of the Jang clan.

Biography[edit]

In 1690, Gyeongjong's designation as heir to the throne precipitated a struggle between the Noron and the Soron political factions, which supported Gyeongjong of Joseon.

Following the death of King Sukjong in 1720, Royal Prince Successor Hwiso (Yi Yun, 이윤 왕세자) ascends the throne at age 33 as King Gyeongjong. When Sukjong died in 1720, he supposedly told Yi Yi-myoung to name Yeoning-geum as Kyungjong's heir, but suspicions arose between Soron, Noron enemies, from the absence of a histriographer or recorder.

Gyeongjong suffered from ill health during his reign, and the Noron political faction pressured Gyeongjong to step down in favor of his half-brother, Prince Yeoning. In 1720, two months after his enthronement, his half brother, Prince Yeoning (the future King Yeongjo) was installed as Royal Prince Successor Brother (wangseje, 왕세제, 王世弟) to handle state affairs, since the king weak health made impossible for him to manage politics.

Gyeongjong's mother, Lady Jang, is to blamed for his illnesses. She was sentenced to death by poison, in 1701, following the ruling, Lady Jang begged to see her son, the Crown Prince (later Gyeongjong). As she dashed towards him to greet him, she inflicted a severe injury to the Crown Prince's lower abdomen that left him sterile and unable to produce an heir. Due to King Gyeongjong’s fragile health, he had no energy or time to do anything significant in the four years of his reign.[1]

This aggravated the power struggle and led to a big massacre, namely the Shinimsahwa (辛壬士禍).[2] The Norons sent memorials to the king to no effect while the Sorons used this to their advantage—claiming the Noron faction were trying to usurp power and subsequently getting their rival faction removed from several offices. Members of the Soron faction then came up with an idea to assassinate the heir (Yeoning-geum) under the cover of hunting for a white fox said to be haunting the palace, but Queen dowager Inwon protected him and he was able to keep living, after this he said to the king he rather would go and live as a commoner.

During his four years reign, there were two major incidents of massacre; one is Sinchuk-oksa in which the ruling political party, Soron, swept the opposition Noron, a group that insisted that Gyeongjong's half-brother, Prince Yeoning, handle national affairs on behalf of the weak and ailing king during the first year of Gyeongjongreign 1720 and the other one is Imin-oksa which took place in the 2nd year of his reign, circa 1722. History calls both incidents as Sinim-sahwa. During his reign, he made small guns in imitation of the western weapons and reformed the land measurement system in the southern parts of the country.[3]

King Gyeongjong died in 1724 and was entombed in the Cheonjangsan Mountain of Yangju. The title of the tomb was granted as the Uireung.

There was some speculation from Soron party members that his half-brother, Prince Yeoning, had something to do with his death due to the earlier attempt by the Noron faction to have him replace Gyeongjong on the throne, but several historiographers now conclude that he could have died of eating spoiled seafood, as described in Homer's book, The History of Korea.[4] “But we may well doubt the truth of the rumour, for nothing that is told of that brother indicates that he would commit such an act, and in the second place a man who will eat shrimps in mid-summer, that have been brought thirty miles from the sea without ice might expect to die.”[5]

After his death, the chronicles of Gyeongjong's rule were published in 1732 under the reign of Yeongjo's reign. A few of Gyeongjong's youthful calligraphic works have also survived: [1]

Family[edit]

Monarchs of Korea
Joseon Dynasty
  1. Taejo 1392–1398
  2. Jeongjong 1398–1400
  3. Taejong 1400–1418
  4. Sejong the Great 1418–1450
  5. Munjong 1450–1452
  6. Danjong 1452–1455
  7. Sejo 1455–1468
  8. Yejong 1468–1469
  9. Seongjong 1469–1494
  10. Yeonsangun 1494–1506
  11. Jungjong 1506–1544
  12. Injong 1544–1545
  13. Myeongjong 1545–1567
  14. Seonjo 1567–1608
  15. Gwanghaegun 1608–1623
  16. Injo 1623–1649
  17. Hyojong 1649–1659
  18. Hyeonjong 1659–1674
  19. Sukjong 1674–1720
  20. Gyeongjong 1720–1724
  21. Yeongjo 1724–1776
  22. Jeongjo 1776–1800
  23. Sunjo 1800–1834
  24. Heonjong 1834–1849
  25. Cheoljong 1849–1863
  26. Gojong 1863–1907
  27. Sunjong 1907–1910
  • No issue
  • No issue

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.exploringkorea.com/uireung-tomb/
  2. ^ Royal Palaces and tomb http://jikimi.cha.go.kr/english/royal_palaces_new/Uireung.jsp?mc=EN_05_02_08
  3. ^ Uireng, Royal tomb of Queen Seonui http://www.seongbuk.go.kr/pms/contents/contents.do?contseqn=508&sitecdv=S0000200&menucdv=04010600&decorator=user02En
  4. ^ http://archive.org/stream/historyofkorea02hulbuoft#page/164/mode/2up
  5. ^ Uireung - A Story of King Sukjong and King Gyeongjong http://samedi.livejournal.com/359996.html
  6. ^ His consorts were entitled, at their respective marriages, as "Princess Consort to the Prince Successor" (세자빈) before being given the title "Queen" (왕후)
  7. ^ Daughter of Shim Ho (심호)
  8. ^ Daughter of Eo Yu-gu (어유구)

His full posthumous name[edit]

  • King Gyeongjong Gakgong Deokmun Ikmu Sunin Seonhyo the Great of Korea
  • 경종각공덕문익무순인선효대왕
  • 景宗恪恭德文翼武純仁宣孝大王

See also[edit]

Preceded by
Sukjong
Rulers of Korea
(Joseon Dynasty)

1720–1724
Succeeded by
Yeongjo

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gyeongjong_of_Joseon — Please support Wikipedia.
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