History of KoreaⅤ. Joseon Society Focused on the Yangban Class5. The Struggle against the Japanese and Manchus

D. Restoration Policies and Neutral Diplomacy of King Gwanghaegun

Gwanghaegun, who succeeded King Seonjo following the war with Japan, exerted efforts to heal the wounds of war. He increased agricultural productivity and expanded state coffers by conducting new surveys of agricultural land, and enhanced the military preparedness of the country.

The Ming, which were being threatened by the Later Chin that was growing powerful, requested help in return for sending the relief army to Joseon during the Japanese invasion of Korea. Gwanghaegun had no choice but to send an army, however he adopted a neutral policy in order to avoid direct collision with the Later Chin and thus was not dragged into a war.

Such policies of Gwanghaegun, however, came into conflict with some members of the Sarim faction. On top of this, Gwanghaegun had a relationship of enmity with Queen Mother Inmok, who was the queen of King Seonjo. Gwanghaegun had Prince Yeongchang, the son of Queen Mother Inmok, killed, and confined the Queen Mother to the palace.

The Sarim faction criticized such immoral actions of Gwanghaegun, as well as his failure to practice his moral duty towards the Ming. Subsequently, the Westerners organized a revolt, deposed Gwanghaegun, and put Injo on the throne in 1623.

Changdeok Palace (the main palace of the later Joseon period)
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