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Gogukcheon of Goguryeo

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Hangul  고국천왕, 국양왕
Name  Gogukcheon Goguryeo
Hanja  高男武
Hangul  고남무
Hanja  故國川王, 國襄王

Revised Romanization  Gogukcheon-wang, Gugyang-wang
McCune–Reischauer  Kogukch'on-wang, Kugyang-wang

King Gogukcheon of Goguryeo (died 197, r. 179–197) was the ninth monarch of Goguryeo, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea.


Background and reign

Gogukcheon was the second son of Goguryeo's eighth king, Sindae. Though his older brother, Go Balgi (고발기), was originally the crown prince, the court officials supported Gogukcheon, who was made crown prince in 176.

In 180, Gogukcheon married Lady U, the daughter of U So of the Jena-bu, further consolidating central power. Lady U remained queen after her husband's death due to her marriage with Gogukcheon's brother and subsequent king Sansang. During his reign, the names of five 'bu', or powerful regional clans, become names of districts of the central kingdom, and rebellions by the aristocracy were suppressed, notably in 191.

In 184, Gogukcheon sent his younger brother, Prince Gye-su to fight Chinese Han Dynasty invasion force of the governor of Liaodong. Though Prince Gye-Su was able to block the army, the king later directly led his armies to repel Han forces in 184. In 191, King Gogukcheon adopted a meritocratic system for selecting government officials. As a result, he discovered many talented people from all over Goguryeo, the greatest of them being Eul Pa-So, who was given the position of Prime Minister.

The ancient text Samguk Sagi says that Gogukcheon went hunting one day in 194 and encountered a starving village. He gave some of his clothes and food to one of the villagers, and felt that the starvation of his people was his responsibility. Gogukcheon worked to improve the lives of farmers and peasants in his kingdom. Jindae law is a grain loan system enacted by Gogukcheon in 194. This system allowed people to borrow grain from March to July and pay back in October. This system was maintained by the age of Joseon dynasty as "Hwangok", which indicates the law was highly preserved more than a thousand years.

Death and Succession

Though Gogukcheon ascension signaled a change from fraternal succession to father-son succession by primogeniture, he was succeeded by his brother Sansang. Gogukcheon's posthumous name was derived from his burial area, Gogukcheon-won (고국천원).


Gogukcheon of Goguryeo Wikipedia

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