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Monday, 18 May 2015

Koihime Musou Girls and Famous Koreans, Part XXXV: Huang Gai and Hwang Hui (1363-1452) - The Longest Serving Government Servant in Goryeo-Joseon Timeline

Hwang Hui (Hangul/Hanja: 황희/黃喜; Born: 8 March 1363 [12th reigning year of King Gongmin of Goryeo] in Kaesong, DPRK – Died: 28 February 1452 [final reigning year of King Munjong of Joseon] in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, ROK) was a politician of the Goryeo dynasty and Joseon Dynasty, who once served as prime minister of the Joseon Dynasty - mainly in the reign of King Sejong the Great. He was a member of Jangsu Hwang Clan (장수 황씨/長水黃氏), a clan which is originated from Jangsu County, Northern Jeolla Province.

Hwang Hui was an official of Goryeo Dynasty since 1389. He witnessed some events in the turbulent and final years of Goryeo Dynasty such as Wihwa-do Retreat, Downfall of Goryeo during the reign of King Gongyang and the Foundation of Joseon Dynasty by King Taejo Yi Seong-gye.

He became an official in the Joseon Dynasty in 1394. Hwang Hui once banished from Seoul because he advocated Grand Prince Yangnyeong, the eldest prince of King Taejong Yi Bang-won, despite his erratic behavior in 1418. After King Sejong the Great's enthronement, Hwang Hui got reappointed and held many ministerial posts. Hwang Hui was appointed as a prime minister in 1431. He retired from the government after 18 years (1448) and spent his retirement days at Geumseung-ri. He died two years after the death of King Sejong the Great when he was 88 years old and buried at 23-73 Jeongseung Avenue 88th Street/Jeongseungno 88beon-gil, Geumseung-ri san 1-beonji, Tanhyeon-myeon, Paju City, Gyeonggi Province.

He served as the Yeonguijeong, the highest ranking of 3 appointed royal prime ministers (the others being Uuijeong and Jwaguijeong) for a total of 18 years with a total of 24 years service to the monarchy. He was noted for his political philosophy that stated, “That which is just takes priority and must be enacted.” Priorities during his administration included agricultural improvement, mitigating laws that increased social class gaps, and providing opportunities for candidates born out of wedlock or from concubines to take the civil service examination.