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International Journal of Korean History > Volume 1(1); 2000 > Article
International Journal of Korean History 2000;1(1): 17-48.
Koryo Politics under the Mongol Control : Dynastic Continuity during the Period of Royal Absense
Hyon-ku Min
Professor, Korean History Dept. of Korea University
Koryŏ under Mongol control had unique political features. Despite the long struggle against the Mongols, Koryŏ eventually surrendered to them to become their "son-in-law" country and thus came to be dominated by the Mongols at the loss of their own political autonomy. However, Koryŏ ostensibly managed to maintain its status as an independent kingdom by preserving its own dynasty. This paper attempts to identify the nature and characteristics of Koryŏ under the strong Mongols hegemony. In other words, it will examine how Koryŏ was able to administer its own country despite the varied nature of Mongol intervention and contro!' Notably during the reign of King Ch'ungson(r.1308-1313), who reigned for only years and four months and spent most of that time at the Mongol court at yanjing. In this case, King Ch'ungson on the basis of his unique position as the foreign grandson of the Yuan emperor Shizu was able to have great influence in the politics of the Yuan empire while residing in Yanjing (Beijing), and autocratically ruled the Kory? dynasty through a system of messenger ordinances which was supported by the central hall (todang), organ of council led by prime ministers. His son, King Ch'ungsuk(r.1313-1330, 1332-1339), was also forced to remain at Yanjing for four years and a month. Because of the disintegration of the Koryŏ throne encroaching upon King Ch'ungson position as king, on the orders of the Yuan empire he went to Yuan China and while residing in Beijing lost his royal seal, inaugurating from that point on a vacuum of royal power in Koryŏ. Nevertheless, state administration was not stalled and a minimal system of rule was maintained through the steadfast existence of autocratic government organ of the Koryŏ central hall. Considering these facts, This paper has revealed aspects of late Koryŏ politics under Mongol control during the prolonged absence of its kings from the capital. Although the Koryŏ reigns King Ch'ungson and Ch'ungsuk were different in that the country was governed by an absentee king - unique circumstances marking a phase when Kory? became a Yuan son-in-law state - at the same time the continuation of self-sufficient Koryŏ government administration illustrates the independent nature of Koryŏ rule.
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