• History of Korea
  • Ⅳ. The Establishment and Development of the Aristocratic Society of Goryeo
  • 1. Goryeo Once again Unites the People
  • A. Wang Geon Unifies the Later Three Kingdoms

Wang Geon was from a gentry family in Song-ak (Gaeseong). His family had accumulated wealth through maritime trade. Under Gungye, Wang Geon advanced to a high rank. Later, when Gungye was driven from his throne for his tyranny, it was Wang Geon who was put forward to succeed Gungye. Wang Geon named the state Goryeo and moved the capital from Cheolwon to Songak.

Wang Geon employed a policy of friendship with Silla, but confronted Later Baekje. When Later Baekje attacked Silla, Wang Geon offered support. Silla, which was in crisis, ultimately surrendered itself to Goryeo. Meanwhile, in Baekje, there were internal disputes regarding the succession of the throne. When Gyeon Hweon’s eldest son confined him and took the throne for himself, Gyeon Hweon escaped and entrusted himself to Wang Geon. At this juncture, Goryeo attacked Later Baekje, brought the nation down, and finally reunited the nation into the Later Three Kingdoms (936). Wang Geon was able to become the central figure in the unification of the Later Three Kingdoms because he had the support of the local gentry families, as well as the general populace. He was a virtuous leader who disregarded his own importance, regarded others highly. and warmly took care of the people. The local gentry leaders soon began to follow Wang Geon.

Through his marriage policies, he forged ties with the powerful clans. He reinforced the alliance by bestowing them his surname“ Wang”, thus treating them as family members. Wang Geon also reduced the burden of heavy taxes for the commoners, helped the poor, released those who had wrongfully become slaves, and thus won great admiration of the populace. The unification of the Three Kingdoms by Silla was incomplete in that it lost the ancient territories of Goguryeo and led to the existence of Balhae in the north that succeeded Goguryeo. The reunification by Goryeo, however, was a complete version of national unification encompassing the diverse powers of the former Three Kingdoms, as well as the people of Balhae. Accordingly, Goryeo provided the momentum under which the people of Korea could achieve unification in the political, social and cultural spheres and start a renewed development.

The royal tomb of King Taejo (Wang Geon) (in Gaeseong) The royal tomb of Wang Geon is sanctified ground in North Korea
The royal tomb of King Taejo (Wang Geon) (in Gaeseong) The royal tomb of Wang Geon is sanctified ground in North Korea
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단원 들어가기
한국사 918 고려 건국 935 신라 멸망 936 후삼국 통일 1019 귀주 대첩 1126 이자겸의 난 1135 묘청의 서경 천도 운동 1170 무신 정변 1231 몽골의 침입 1236 고려 대장경 제작(~1251) 1388 위화도 회군 세계사 960 송의 건국 1192 일본, 가마쿠라 막부 성립 1206 징기즈칸의 몽골 통일 1338 영국과 프랑스의 백년 전쟁(~1453) 1368 원의 멸망과 명의 건국
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단원 요약
고려는 후삼국을 통일하고 발해 유민을 받아들여 한민족 전체를 아우른 통일 국가로 발전하였다. 고려는 불교를 국가의 종교로 숭상하고 유교를 통치의 원리로 삼아 중앙 집권적인 통치 체제를 확립하였다. 고려는 거란, 여진, 몽골 등의 침입을 받아 어려움을 겪었지만 이를 슬기롭게 극복하면서, 고려 대장경, 고려청자와 같은 세계적인 문화 유산을 남겼다. 나아가 개방적인 대외 정책을 통해 고려(코리아)의 이름이 세계에 널리 알려지게 되었다.
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Goryeo unified the Later Three Kingdoms, accepted the displaced people of Balhae and united all the people of Korea. Goryeo officially recognized Buddhism as the state religion, while establishing Confucianis as the principle for ruling. Goryeo struggled under invasions from the Khitan, the Jurchen and the Mongols, and wisely overcame these hardships. It left behind such great cultural heritages as the Tripitaka Koreana and Goryeo celadon. Furthermore, through its open foreign policies, it succeeded in making the name Goryeo (Corea) widely known throughout the world.
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