• History of Korea
  • Ⅳ. The Establishment and Development of the Aristocratic Society of Goryeo
  • 2. The Flourishing Aristocratic Society
  • A. Goryeo Drives Back the Khitan

In early 10th century, Goryeo newly emerged on the Korean peninsula, while the Sung arose in China, and the Liao Dynasty of the Khitan emerged in Manchuria. As the Khitan began to expand forces, it collided with Goryeo, which was pursuing a northern expansion policy. From the beginning, however, Goryeo, rejected the Khitan, regarding it as a barbaric tribe that had destroyed Balhae.

Goryeo had diplomatic relations with the Sung Dynasty which had reunited China and was in conflict with the Khitan.

In order to attack the Sung, the Khitan first mounted attacks on Goryeo, which was supportive of the Sung. During the first invasion, Seo Hee made successful diplomatic maneuvers.

As a result, the Khitan acknowledged that Goryeo was the successor to Goguryeo and arrived at a compromise, Goryeo would be returned the six garrisons in the area east of the Yalu in return for Goryeo severing ties with Sung China. However, when Goryeo continued to maintain friendly ties with the Sung, and continued to alienate the Khitan, it invaded Goryeo once again. At this point, Gaegyeong fell to the Khitan army, but once again forged a peace agreement with the Khitan on the condition that it would maintain friendly relations with the Khitan. It then defeated the Khitan who were withdrawing. Incensed, the Khitan mounted their third great invasion of Goryeo, but this time the Khitan army was all but annihilated by a massive Goryeo attack at Gwiju, executed by Gang Gam-cham.

Following the war, Goryeo built fortresses surrounding Gaegyeong, established a wall all along the border that stretched a thousand li to bolster the defense against the northern people.

Notable Personage in History

Seo Hee and Gang Gam-chan, the Two Heros Who Drove Back the Khitan

Although Seo Hee was a civil official, he excelled both in literary and military arts. He was a man of reason and was in good graces with the king. When the Khitan mounted their invasion, some had strongly contended to seek reconciliation by giving away the land north of Seogyeong to the Khitan. Seo Hee, however, insisted on fighting, met the enemy commander Hsiao Sun-ning and made a bold ploy at negotiation. Seo Hee asserted that “Goryeo was the successor of Goguryeo, and that since the area up to the Yalu was Goryeo territory, he would open diplomatic relations with the Khitan if it would drive away the Jurchen from the area and help Goryeo regain the ancient territories of Goryeo.” Seo Hee succeeded in impressing the enemy with his dazzling tongue rather than with arrows and bows. Hsiao, who acknowledged that Seo Hee’s assertions were correct, accepted Seo Hee’s demand and withdrew his forces. Goryeo drove back the enemy without engaging in battle, and accomplished the feat of expanding its territory up to the Yalu. It was the most valuable triumph in the history of Korea.
Gang Gam-chang was a member of a gentry family that had contributed in the founding of Goryeo. He passed the state examination with the ranking of first and was appointed to a high ranking position. When the 100,000-strong army of the Khitan, led by Hsiao Pai-ya, invaded Goryeo, Gang Gam-chan, serving as the commander-inchief, drove the invaders back. Gang Gam-chan dammed the river water to prepare against enemy invasion, and released the water on the invading enemy. On another occasion, when the Khitan army invaded Gaegyeong, he relocated all the residents and the food elsewhere and drove back the enemy. He further achieved the virtual destruction of all of the Khitan army that were retreating in Gwiju. This is known as the‘ Great Victory at Gwiju’.

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The statue of Seo Hee (Icheon, Gyeonggi province)
The statue of Seo Hee (Icheon, Gyeonggi province)
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Statue of Gang Gam-chan(Nakseongdae, Seoul)
Statue of Gang Gam-chan(Nakseongdae, Seoul)
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The six garrisons and the great wall stretching a thousand li
The six garrisons and the great wall stretching a thousand li
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단원 들어가기
고려
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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Abstract
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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