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Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Chojijin Battery, Ganghwa County, Incheon Metropole: Turbulent Years of Joseon Dynasty (1866~1876), Part I

The Chojijin Battery (Hanja: 草芝鎭) which is located at 58 Haeandongno, Choji-ri 624-beonji, Gilsang-myeon, Ganghwa County, Incheon Metropole was built in the 7th year of King Hyojong of Joseon (1656) for the purpose of national defence against seashore attack of any foreign enemies.

This is a place of battles including the French Byeong-in Invasion (for the reason of Catholic suppression) in October 1866 in the 3rd year of Emperor Gojong-Gwangmu, the invasion by the American Asia fleet under commander Roger forcing the Joseon for the opening of port and commerce in 1871, and the collision with the Japanese ship Unyomaru in 1875 at the 12th year of Emperor Gojong. Joseon army troops were poorly equipped with far inferior weapons had to fight against the France, America and Japan forces who were advantageously equipped with surpassing fire powers when compared to our primitive level of arms.

On April 23rd, 1871, the American navy under the command of Rear Admiral John Rodgers landed on Ganghwado Island, and an American force of 450 soldiers attacked Chojijin Battery, Deokjin Camp, and Gwangseongjin Camp one after another. On August 21st, 1875, the artillery of Chojijin engaged a fierce firefight with the Japanese warship Unyomaru. 

In particular, the incident of collision by Japanese ship Unyomaru caused a major ground that Joseon had to agree on the Ganghwa-do treaty in the 13th year of Emperor Gojong (1876). This incident eventually drove the country to open three ports of Incheon, Busan and Wonsan, Gangwon Porvince of DPRK and happened to lose our sovereignty in due course. That time one commander, eleven officers, three hundred twenty soldiers and three battle ships were assigned to this fortress.

This historical relics emphatically remind us of Koreans' suffering and struggling hardship and turbulence in the defensive history of Goryeo and Joseon dynasties thereafter these fortresses and camps were mended in 1973 and cannons of those days are now displayed for an educational use to raise patriotism and spirit of defence.