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Jeongjo
King of Joseon
Reign 27 April 1776 – 18 August 1800
Predecessor Yeongjo of Joseon
Successor Sunjo of Joseon
Spouse Queen Hyoui,
Royal Noble Consort Won, concubine
Royal Noble Consort Hwa, concubine
Royal Noble Consort Ui, concubine
Royal Noble Consort Su, concubine
Issue Crown Prince Munhyo
Sunjo of Joseon
House House of Yi
Father Crown Prince Sado
Mother Lady Hyegyeong
Born (1752-10-28)28 October 1752
Changgyeong Palace, Kingdom of Joseon
Died 18 August 1800(1800-08-18) (aged 47)
Changgyeong Palace, Kingdom of Joseon
Burial Geolleung, Hwaseong, Gyeonggi
Jeongjo of Joseon
Hangul 정조
Hanja 正祖
Revised Romanization Jeongjo
McCune–Reischauer Chŏngjo
Birth name
Hangul 이산
Hanja 李祘
Revised Romanization I San
McCune–Reischauer Yi San

King Jeongjo (28 October 1752 – 18 August 1800) was the 22nd ruler of the Joseon Dynasty of Korea (r. 1776-1800). He made various attempts to reform and improve the nation of Joseon. He was preceded by his grandfather King Yeongjo (r. 1724–1776) and succeeded by his son King Sunjo (r. 1800–1834).

Some say Jeongjo is one of the most successful and visionary rulers of the Joseon Dynasty. But it is also pointed out that he was overestimated.

Early life[edit]

Born as Yi San, he was the son of Crown Prince Sado (who was put to death by his own father, King Yeongjo) and Lady Hyegyeong (who wrote an autobiography, The Memoirs of Lady Hyegyeong detailing her life as the ill-fated Crown Princess of Joseon). Lady Hyegyeong's collection of memoirs serves as a significant source of historical information on the political happenings during the reigns of King Yeongjo (her father-in-law), King Jeongjo (her son), and King Sunjo (her grandson).

When he was the Crown Prince, King Jeongjo met Hong Guk-yeong[1] (홍국영, 洪國榮; Westernized spelling also as Hong Gook Young), a controversial politician who first strongly supported Jeongjo's accession and toiled to improve the king's power, but ended up being expelled because of his desire for power.

Jeongjo spent much of his reign trying to clear his father's name. He also moved the court to the city of Suwon to be closer to his father's grave. He built Hwaseong Fortress to guard the tomb. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Accession[edit]

The era before his rule was in disorder as his father was killed by royal decree of his own father, King Jeongjo's grandfather. King Yeongjo's ultimate decision to execute Crown Prince Sado was greatly influenced by other politicians who were against the Crown Prince. After King Yeongjo's death and on the day that Jeongjo became the King of Joseon, he sat on his throne in the throne room and looked at everyone and said, "I am the son of the late Crown Prince Sado..."[citation needed] This was a bold statement that sent shivers down the spines of all the politicians who were complicit in his father's death.

During his accession, he also issued a royal decree that his mother, Lady Hyegyeong, be a Dowager Queen since his father, her husband, was supposed to be the King before him. Thus, she became the Queen Dowager, the widow of Crown Prince Sado. From then on, King Jeongjo experienced many turbulent periods, but overcame them with the aid of Hong Guk-yeong.[1]

Renaissance[edit]

King Jeongjo led the new renaissance of the Joseon Dynasty, but was initially stopped by continuing the policy of Yeongjo's Tangpyeong rule. He tried to control the politics of the whole nation to advance and further national progress.

He made various reforms throughout his reign, notably establishing Kyujanggak (규장각), a royal library. The primary purpose of Kyujanggak was to improve the cultural and political stance of Joseon and to recruit gifted officers to help run the nation. Jeongjo also spearheaded bold new social initiatives, including opening government positions to those who were previously barred because of their social status.

Jeongjo had the support of the many Silhak scholars who supported Jeongjo's regal power, including Scholars Jeong Yak-yong, Yu Deuk-gong, Pak Ji-won, Pak Je-ga and Yu Deuk-gong. His reign also saw the further growth and development of Joseon's popular culture.

Death[edit]

King Jeongjo was known as an innovative person despite his high political status in Joseon. In 1800, he died suddenly under mysterious circumstances at the age of 48, without seeing his lifelong wishes that were later realized by his son, Sunjo.[2] There are many books regarding the mysterious death of Jeongjo, and speculation as to the cause of his death continues even today.

He is buried with his wife, Queen Hyoui, at the royal tomb of Geolleung (건릉, 健陵) in the city of Hwaseong.

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
  • Father: Crown Prince Sado (사도세자, 1735–1762)
    He is given the posthumous title, "Jangjo" (장조)
  • Mother: Queen Heongyeong of the Poongsan Hong clan (헌경왕후 홍씨, 1735–1815)[3][4]
  • Consorts and Issues:
  1. Queen Consort Hyoui of the Cheongpung Gim clan (효의왕후 김씨, 1753–1821)[5]
  2. Royal Noble Consort Won Bin of the Pyeongsan Hong clan (원빈 홍씨, 1766–1779)[6]
    1. Prince Sang Gye (상계군, 1770–1786): Adoptive son following her death[7]
  3. Royal Noble Consort Hwa Bin of the Yun clan (화빈 윤씨, 1765–1824)[8]
  4. Royal Noble Consort Ui of the Seong clan (의빈 성씨, 1753–1786)[9]
    1. Prince Successor Mun Hyo (문효세자, 1782–1786; Westernized name also spelled as Moon Hyo); birth name, Prince Yi Hyang
    2. Unnamed Princess (1784)[10]
    3. Unborn child (1786); died in utero as a result of mother's death
  5. Royal Noble Consort Su of the Bannam Park clan (수빈 박씨, 1770–1822)[11]
    1. Prince Yi Gong, and later Sunjo the Royal Prince Successor (왕세자,1790–1834)
    2. Princess Suk Seon (숙선옹주, 1793–1836)-who created Kkakdugi alongside the wife of Hong Hyeon-ju

Full posthumous name[edit]

  • King Jeongjo Gyeongcheon Myeongdo Hongdeok Hyeonmo Munseong Muryeol Seongin Janghyo the Great of Korea
  • 정조경천명도홍덕현모문성무렬성인장효대왕
  • 正祖敬天明道洪德顯謨文成武烈聖仁莊孝大王

Portrayal in works of media[edit]

Jeongjo portrayed in modern films and TV dramas:

Ancestry[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Digital Korean studies (Korean site) http://www.koreandb.net/koreanking/html/person/pki60022.htm Archived 23 January 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ National Heritage – Hwaseong
  3. ^ Daughter of Hong Bong-han (홍봉한) and Lady Yi of the Hansun Yi clan
  4. ^ Queen Heongyeong is also called "Lady Hyegyeong" (혜경궁)
  5. ^ Daughter of Kim Si-muk (김시묵) and Lady Hong of the Namyang Hong clan
  6. ^ Daughter of Hong Nak-chun (홍낙춘) and younger sister of Hong Guk-yeong (홍국영). She became Noble Royal Consort 1778, but she died suddenly a year after receiving the title.
  7. ^ Son of Jeongjo's half-brother, Prince Euneon. After the banishing and death of Hong Guk-yeong, he was also banished for treason and committed suicide by poison.
  8. ^ Daughter of Yun Chang-yun (윤창윤). She became Noble Royal Consort in 1781; conceived, but the child was stillborn.
  9. ^ Daughter of Seong Yun-u (성윤우) and Lady Im. She did not receive the title Noble Royal Consort until her son became Grand Prince in 1782. She died suddenly in 1786 (most likely from liver cancer), just months after the death of her son.
  10. ^ Died after birth (1784)
  11. ^ Daughter of Park Jun-won (박준원) and Lady Won. Also called Royal Noble Consort Hyeon(현빈). She became Noble Royal Consort in 1787.
  12. ^ a b c Chung, Ah-young (13 November 2007). "Renaissance of Joseon King Jeongjo". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2013-04-02. 
  13. ^ Sungkyunkwan Scandal

External links[edit]

*Official site of Hwaseong Fortress

Preceded by
Yeongjo
Rulers of Korea
(Joseon Dynasty)

1776–1800
Succeeded by
Sunjo

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