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Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Kings of Joseon Dynasty, Part XVII: King Hyojong (Yi Ho) - A King who commenced Northern Campaign against Russian Empire

King Hyojong, previously known as Grand Prince Bongnim (Hanja: 孝宗王 (鳳林大君) ; Born: 3 July 1619 – Died: 23 June 1659), Born Yi Ho (이호/李淏) was the seventeenth king of the Joseon Dynasty of Korea from 1649 to 1659. He is best known for his plan for expedition to Manchu Qing dynasty and his campaigns against the Russian Empire by the request of Qing Dynasty. His plan for the northern expedition was never put into action since he died before the campaign started.

King Hyojong was born in 1619 as the second son of King Injo and Queen illyeol of Cheongju Han Clan. In 1623, when the Westerners faction (西人) launched a coup that removed then-ruling Gwanghaegun and crowned Injo, Hyojong was called to the palace along with his father and given the title of Grand Prince Bongrim in 1626.

In 1627, King Injo's hard-line diplomatic policy brought war between Korea and Manchus. Later, in 1636, the Manchus (Qing Dynasty) defeated Joseon, and King Injo pledged his loyalty to the Qing emperor at Samjeondo (present-day Seokchon-dong, Seoul Songpa-gu), bowing down at Hong Taiji's feet nine times. There, Injo and Hong Taiji signed a treaty, which included that Manchus would take Crown Prince Sohyeon, Injo's oldest son, and Hyojong to China as captive.

During his exile in China, Hyojong mostly tried to defend his older brother from the threats of the Qing Dynasty. Hong Taiji and his Manchu forces were still at war against the Chinese Ming Dynasty and also engaged in battle with the Mongols and Chinese Muslims; and many times, the Qing emperor requested Prince Sohyeon to go to the battlefield and help command troops against the Manchus' enemies. However, Hyojong was worried about his brother because he was the official heir to the throne of Joseon and had no military experience. He went on to fight the Chinese in his brother's place, and he also followed Sohyeon to battles against the Uyghurs and Muslims on the western front.

Along with his brother, he made contact with Europeans while he was in China; and also he learned that Joseon needed to develop new technology and a stronger political and military system in order to protect itself from foreign powers. He also developed a grudge against Qing Dynasty, which separated him from his home country and his family. It was during this period that he decided to make a massive plan for northern campaigns against the Manchus, an act of vengeance on the Qing Dynasty for the war of 1636.

In 1645, Crown Prince Sohyeon returned to Joseon alone, in order to succeed Injo to the throne and to help Injo to govern the nation. However, he often came into conflict with Injo, who disliked Sohyeon's open view of European culture and diplomatic views of the Qing Dynasty. Soon he was found dead at the King's room, and buried quickly after a short funeral. Later, Injo also executed Sohyeon's wife who tried to find out the real reason for her husband's death. Legends say that Injo killed his own son with an ink slab that the Crown Prince brought from China.

Rather than selecting Crown Prince Sohyeon's oldest son, Prince Gyeongseon Yi Seok-cheol, as the next royal successor, Injo selected Grand Prince Bongnim and gave him the title of Crown Prince. When King Injo died in 1649, Hyojong inherited the throne, becoming the 17th monarch of Joseon.

After rising to the throne, he began to reform and expand the military of Korea; first he removed Kim Ja-jeom, who had corrupted politics and had greater power than the king himself. Then, he called Woo-am Song Si-yeol (우암 송시열/尤庵 宋時烈) and Kim Sang-heon to his court, who supported war against the Qing Dynasty. His military expansion was massive, and he also built several border fortresses along Yalu River where Joseon and Qing shared a border. When a band of Dutch sailors including Hendrick Hamel drifted on Jeju Island, Hyojong ordered them to build muskets for the army, providing muskets to the Koreans for the first time after Seven Year War.

However, the Qing Dynasty continued to thrive, expanding quickly into the west after successfully conquering the Ming in 1644. The campaign was unable to be put in action, since the Manchus assimilated the massive Chinese army into their own. The Joseon military, although reformed and expanded, was no match against the combined Manchu and Chinese forces. Also, the Qing Dynasty began to treat Joseon as its friend and closest ally.

The expanded military was first put into action in 1654, when the Qing Dynasty called for help to fight against invading Russians. 150 Joseon musketeers, along with 3,000 Manchus, met Russian army at the Battle of Hutong (호통/好通), present-day Yilan), which was won by the Qing-Joseon allied forces. Four years later, in 1658, Hyojong sent troops once again to help Qing Dynasty against Russia; 260 Joseon musketeers and cannoners led by Shin Ryu joined the forces of Ninguta Military Governor Sarhuda, The joint force sailed down the Hurka and Sungari Rivers, and met the Russian forces under command of an Amur Cossack, Onufrij Stepanov near the fall of the Sungari River into the Amur, killing 270 Russians and driving them out of Manchu territory. The battles against Russia proved that Hyojong's reform had stabilized the Joseon army, although they were never put into action again. Despite the campaigns, Russia and Joseon remained on good terms. The Northern campaign is known as Naseon Jeongbeol (나선정벌/羅禪征伐), or "Suppression of the Russians".

During his reign, many books about farming were published to promote agriculture, which had been devastated during the Seven Year War. Hyojong also continued Gwanghaegun's reconstructions; he had a hard time restoring the economy at the same time as expanding the military. He also had to make more coins with metals which could have been used to make ammunitions, but had to give them up in order to rebuild his kingdom. He had too much stress dealing with numerous problems inside and outside of the country, and died at the early age of 41 in 1659. Although his plan for northern conquest was never put in action, many people regard him as a brilliant and brave ruler who dedicated his life to serving his nation.

King Hyojong was buried at the Royal Tomb of Nyeongneung, a part of the Royal Tomb of Yeongnyeongneung in 327 Yeongneung Avenue, Wangdae-ri 901-2 beonji Neungseo-myeon, Yeoju City, Gyeonggi Province. He was posthumously known as King Hyojong Heumcheon Daldo Gwang-ui Hongnyeol Seonmun Jangmu Shinseong Hyeon-in Myeong-ui Jeongdeok the Great (효종흠천달도광의홍렬선문장무신성현인명의정덕대왕(孝宗欽天達道光毅弘烈宣文章武神聖顯仁明義正德大王).

This tomb is also known as the Royal Tomb of Yeongneung. Despite the ambiguity of the word of Yeongneung on King Sejong's tomb, the dual tomb cluster become as the Royal Tomb of Yeongnyeongneung with the combination of Yeongneung (英陵) and Yeongneung (寧陵). Thus the word Yeongneung (寧陵) becomes Nyeongneung due to Beginning-Sound Rule a.k.a Du-eum Beopchik (두음법칙).