Yeong-yang of Goguryeo


Yeong-yang of Goguryeo

Infobox Korean name
hangul=영양왕 "or" 평양왕
hanja=嬰陽王 "or" 平陽王
rr=Yeong-yang-wang "or" Pyeong-yang-wang
mr=Yŏng'yang-wang "or" P'yǒng'yang-wang
hangulborn=원 "or" 대원
hanjaborn=元 "or" 大元
rrborn=Won "or" Daewon
mrborn=Wǒn "or" Taewǒn
King Yeong-yang of Goguryeo (?-618, r. 590-618) was the 26th king of Goguryeo, the northernmost of the Three Kingdoms of Korea. He was the eldest son of King Pyeongwon (r. 559-590).

He is noted for repelling a series of invasions by the Chinese Sui Dynasty between 598 to 614, known as the Goguryeo-Sui Wars. He fended off four Sui campaigns by Emperors Wendi and Yangdi, including the great assault of 612, during which more than a million troops invaded Goguryeo territory.

The Samguk Sagi relates that Yeong-yang was of unsurpassed charisma and had a magnanimous character, and "made it his undertaking to relieve the sufferings of the world and bring peace to the people" ("Samguk Sagi", "Annals of Goguryeo", vol. 19). He was named Crown Prince by his father in 566, and he assumed the throne when the king died in 590.

King Yeong-yang's reign took place in the context of heightened rivalry among the Korean Three Kingdoms of Goguryeo, Baekje, and Silla, as well as the unification of China by the Sui and the growing ambitions of that power. Initially Yeong-yang enjoyed cordial relations with Sui, receiving from the Sui emperor Wendi his enfeoffment as king of Goguryeo and attendant "offices and ranks" by tradition granted by Chinese dynasties to tribute monarchs. At the same time, Yeong-yang strengthened relations with the Khitan and Mohe tribes to the north, in the preparations for war against China begun by his father.

In 598 however the Sui emperor Wendi grew incensed by a Goguryeo armed incursion into the Liaodong peninsula, a region claimed by Sui. It was largely this affront, combined with Sui's own geopolitical ambitions to reestablish the hegemony enjoyed by the Han Dynasty, that induced Wendi to launch a 300,000-men invasion of Goguryeo in 598. The 598 Sui invasion was foiled by disease and the weather (a severe storm wreaked havoc on the would-be invasion fleet).

In 607 Emperor Yangdi discovered that Goguryeo was in contact with Qiren Khan (?-609), khan of the Eastern Turks, another ostensible vassal state to the Sui. This convinced Yangdi to launch a campaign of 113,3800 troops by land and sea against the recalitrant Goguryeo in 612. This too Goguryeo was able to defeat, most notably in the battle of Salsu led by the General Eulji Mundeok.

In 613, and again in 614, Yangdi issued orders for additional unsuccessful campaigns against Goguryeo. When Yeong-yang failed to appear at the Sui court in formal submission another invasion was planned, offset only by domestic turmoil and the subsequent fall of the Sui in 618.

That same year saw the death of Yeong-yang, and he was succeeded by his half-brother Go Geon-mu.

In the meanwhile, Goguryeo attacked the southern Korean kingdoms Baekje and Silla in a failed bid to reclaim the Seoul region. Silla, under attack by both Goguryeo and former ally Baekje, reached out to the Sui Dynasty. Silla would later ally with Sui's successor, the Tang Dynasty, to unite much of the Korean peninsula in 668.

Yeong-yang ordered the compilation of a new history text "Sinjip" (신집, 新集), although no copies survive today.

ee also

*List of Korea-related topics
*History of Korea
*Three Kingdoms of Korea
*List of Korean monarchs
*Goguryeo-Sui Wars


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