Genealogy of Joseon Monarchs


Monarchs in the Joseon Dynasty of Korea are descended from Emperor Taejo of the Jeonju Lee lineage. Joseon Monarchs ruled Korea for 500 years from 1392 until 1897. In 1897, the name of the country was changed from Joseon to the Korean Empire, and was ruled by Emperors continuing in the same lineage until the Empire was dissolved in 1910, at the time of the annexation of Korea by Japan.

Contents

This genealogy shows the line of succession from the founding monarch Taejo of Joseon down through Gojong, the Joseon Dynasty's last king. Only direct descendants in the paternal line are shown in the genealogy, and sons who died in infancy are omitted. Legitimate sons, the sons of Queens, are listed first, in boxes outlined in blue, followed by sons of concubines, listed in order of their date of birth.

Early Joseon monarchs: Taejo to Seongjong

A military leader in the waning days of the Goryeo period, King Taejo of Joseon was no longer a young man when he established the Dynasty, taking over the throne from the last Goryeo monarch, Gongyang, in 1392. In 1398, after just six years of rule, Taejo, disheartened by the fighting between his eight sons, turned the throne over to his second son, King Jeongjong (the eldest had already died). Taejo was posthumeously given the title Emperor by Emperor Gojong in recognition of his contribution as founder of the Dynasty. Many of the other early monarchs of Joseon had relatively short reigns, ascending the throne when they were already rather advanced in age. The first nine monarchs of Joseon collectively ruled for about 100 years, with King Sejong the Great ruling for the longest time, 32 years.

Statue of King Sejong the Great

King Jeongjong's reign was even shorter than his father's, lasting only two years before he resigned in fear of retaliation from his younger brother, who already killed several nobles and his younger half brothers, whom he perceived as obstacles to his taking the throne. In spite of his ruthless actions in attaining the throne, the younger brother, King Taejong, who ruled much longer than his father or brother, holding the throne for 18 years, accomplished a great deal toward establishing a strong foundation for the Joseon kingdom.

Taejong passed the kingdom in good condition to his most able son, King Sejong, who went on to be Joseon's most successful monarch, ruling for 32 years, and further strengthening the young dynasty. A lot of the momentum he built up was lost in the series of short, less successful reigns followed Sejong: his 1st son, King Munjong was Joseon's 5th king, but died after only two years, and was followed by his son, King Danjong, who took the throne at age 12, with a council of Ministers to help him reign. After only three years, the ministers were assassinated and Danjung was forced from the throne by Sejong's 2nd son, King Sejo.

After his bloody ascent to the throne, Sejo ruled successfully for 13 years, leaving behind a legacy of improvements. His eldest son died before him, so at his death, the throne passed to his 2nd son, King Yejong, who was not yet 20, and his mother Queen Jeonghee, become Joseon's first female regent. When Yejong died less than two years later, his oldest son was only three years-old, so the throne passed to his nephew, King Seongjong, the son of King Sejo's first son Deokjong, who had died before he had a chance to take the throne himself. Queen Jeonghee continued as regent for Seongjong, along with his mother Queen Insu. After seven years of regency, Seongjong ruled almost two more decades in his own right, a reign marked by progress and prosperity. His father was given the posthumous title King Deokjong in recognition of role as the father of Seongjong in light of his son's accomplishments.


First
Emperor Taejo
l:1335-1408
r:1392-1398
    Grand Prince
Jinan
    Prince
Euipyung
       
    Second
King
Jeongjong

l:1357-1419
r:1398-1400
    Prince
Sunpyeong
       
    Grand Prince
Ikan
    Prince
Keumpyeong
    Fifth
King Munjong
l:1414-1452
r:1450-1452
    Sixth
King Danjong
l:1441-1457
r:1452-1455
               
    Grand Prince
Hoean
    Prince
Seonseong
        Grand
Prince Weolsan
               
        Prince
Jongeui
    Seventh
King Sejo
l:1417-1468
r:1455-1468
    King Deokjong
(posthumous title)
    Ninth
King
Seongjong

l:1457-1494
r:1469-1494
                   
        Prince
Jinnam
    Grand Prince
Anpyeong
   
               
        Prince
Sudo
    Grand Prince
Imyeong
    Eighth
King Yejong
l:1450-1469
r:1468-1469
    Grand Prince
Inseong
                   
        Prince
Imeon
    Grand Prince
Gwangpyeong
    Prince
Deokwon
    Grand Prince
Je-an
                   
        Prince
Seokbo
    Grand Prince
Geumseong
    Prince
Changwon
               
        Prince
Deokcheon
    Grand Prince
Pyeongwon
           
        Prince
Imseong
    Grand Prince
Yeongeung
           
        Prince
Dopyeong
    Prince
Hwaeui
           
        Prince
Jangcheon
    Prince
Gyeyang
           
        Prince
Jeongseok
    Prince
Euichang
           
        Prince
Murin
    Prince
Hannam
           
        Bulno     Prince
Milseong
           
        Jiun     Prince
Suchun
           
        Prince
Ighyeon
       
    Third
King Taejong
l:1367-1422
r:1400-1418
    Grand Prince
Yangneong
    Prince
Yeongpung
           
    Grand Prince
Deokan
    Grand Prince
Hyoryeong
    Prince
Yeonghae
           
    Grand Prince
Muan
    Fourth
King Sejong
l:1397-1450
r:1418-1450
    Prince
Damyang
           
    Grand Prince
Euian
    Grand Prince
Seongnyeong
       
    Prince
Gyeongnyeong
   
    Prince
Hamnyeong
   
    Prince
Onnyeong
   
    Prince
Geunnyeong
   
    Prince
Hyeryeong
   
    Prince
Heeryeong
   
    Prince
Huryeong
   
    Prince
Ignyeong
   

Middle Joseon monarchs: Seongjong to Injo

Portrait of Emperor Gojong, Yi Haeung wearing Tongcheonggwan and Gangsapo. Portrait painted by Yi Hancheol and Yu Sook.

Following Seongjong's reign, the next six Joseon monarchs ruled for a period of 150 years, most of them staying on the throne much longer than the early Joseon monarchs, characterizing the middle years of the dynasty with a sense a security. When King Sejongjong reach the end of his life, he had to choose an heir. Of Seongjong's many sons, only two were the sons of queens. One of them, Jungjong, was only six years-old when Seongjong died, so the throne went to 18 year-old Prince Yeonsan (Yeonsangun), the son of a concubine who had become queen shortly before the Prince's birth. Yeonsan proved a violent monarch, seeking vengeance for the death of his mother who had been exiled and poisoned by rival factions at court, and after 12 years he was removed from the throne and replaced by his half-brother Jungjong, whom everyone in the court recognized as the son of a full Queen. Because he was deposed, Yeonsan was stripped of the title King, and given only the rank of prince. At the same time, Yeonsan's son, Crown Prince Hwang, became ineligible for the throne when his father was deposed, so the line of succession moved to a different branch of the family.

King Jungjong held the throne for a long time, reigning for nearly 40 years. Jungjong was succeeded by his first son King Injong, who reigned only a year and died without an heir, and then his second son, King Myeongjong, who ascended the throne at 12, with his mother Queen Munjeong as regent. Although King Myeongjong held the throne for 22 years, Munjeong did not give up control when her son reached the age of 20, and he was over 30 before he she died in 1565, giving him a chance to rule on his own. He died two years later, and his only son had already died, leaving him without an heir, so he was succeeded by his nephew, Seonjo, the son of his youngest brother, Prince Deokheung.

King Seonjo's 41 year reign started out well, but as time went by, he became greedy and corrupt. Toward the end of Seonjo's reign, he entrusted a lot of responsibility to his two eldest sons, Princes Imhae and Gwanghae, sons of one of Seonjo's concubines. Gwanghae ran the country while Seonjo fled to safety during the seven years of war with Japan under Hideyoshi. Feeling that Prince Gwanghae had more leadership ability than his elder brother Imhae, King Seonjo directed that Gwanghae should succeed him to the throne. This decision was opposed by the Chinese Emperor, who had some control of Korea throughout almost all of the Joseon Dynasty, and felt that the oldest son, Imhae, should succeed Seonjo. There was also opposition to Gwanghae from elements in the court who felt the crown should go to Seonjo's youngest son, Prince Youngchang, the only Prince whose mother was a Queen. Seonjo's wishes prevailed, and Prince Gwanghae ascended the throne and ruled for 15 years, and ruled with skill, but the controversy surrounding his succession eventually caused him to be deposed and replaced by his nephew King Injo, the son of Gwanghae's younger half-brother Wonjong (Prince Jeonwon). Like Prince Yeonsan, Gwanghae was not given the title 'King' because he was deposed, and is referred to as 'Prince' (Gun), the title of Crown Prince was taken from his son, and the line of succession passed to his brother Wonjong's line.


Ninth
King Seongjong
l:1457-1494
r:1469-1494
    Tenth
Prince Yeonsan
l:1476-1506
r:1494-1506
    (demoted)
Crown Prince
Hwang
    Grand Prince
Youngchang
           
        Grand Prince
Cheongnyeong
    Prince
Imhae
           
        Prince
Yangpyeong
    15th
Prince Gwanghae
l:1574-1641
r:1608-1623
    (demoted)
Crown Prince
Jil
           
        Donsu     Prince
Euian
           
        Prince
Shinseong
    16th
King Injo
l:1595-1649
r:1623-1649
           
    11th
King Jungjong
r:1488-1544
l:1506-1544
    12th
King Injong
l:1515-1545
r:1544-1545
    Wonjong     Prince
Neungwon
               
    Prince
Gyeseong
    13th
King Myeongjong
r:1534-1567
r:1545-1567
    Crown Prince
Sun Hoi
    Prince
Sunhwa
    Prince
Neungchang
                   
    Prince
Anyang
    Prince
Bokseong
    Prince
Inseong
    Prince
Neungpung
               
    Prince
Wanwon
    Prince
Haean
    Prince
Euichang
           
    Prince
Hoesan
    Prince
Geumwon
    Prince
Gyeongchang
           
    Prince
Bongan
    Prince Yeongyang     Prince Heungan
           
    Prince
Jinseong
    Prince
Deokyang
    Prince
Hawon
    Prince
Gyeongpyeong
               
    Prince
Igyang
    Prince
Bongseong
    Prince
Hareum
    Prince
Inheung
               
    Prince
Yiseong
    Deokheung
Daewongun
    14th
King Seonjo
l:1552-1608
r:1567-1608
    Prince
Yeongseong
               
    Prince
Gyeongmyeong
   
    Prince
Jeonseong
   
    Prince
Musan
   
    Prince
Yeongsan
   
    Prince
Woonchan
   
    Prince
Yangwon
   

Late Joseon Monarchs: Injo to Gojong & Sunjong

King Injo did have support from the political factions surrounding the throne, which gave him a measure of stability at home; however, his reign was marked by invasions by the Qing Chinese, who took his two sons to China as hostages. In China, Crown Prince Sohyeon became a Christian, and when he returned to Korea in 1645, his Christian faith became a matter of conflict with his father. Crown Prince Sohyeon was found dead under suspicious circumstance, and his younger brother became Crown Prince, and eventually king.

King Hyojong strengthened the military and maintain the Qing Chinese as allies, helping the Chinese to fight against Russia. Because he invested a lot of resources into the military, he was relatively unsuccessful at improving other areas of the kingdom and died at age 41, exhausted by the strain of running the country, after only 10 years on the throne. For three generations following Hyojong, his descendents held the throne for long reigns, his son, [Hyeongjong of Joseon|King Hyeongjong]] ruled for 15 years from 1659-1674, followed by King Sukjong, who ruled for 46 years from 1674 until 1720. Sukjong was succeeded by his first son King Gyeongjong, who died after only four years, and was followed by Sukjong's second son, King Yeongjo, who had a long reign of 52 years.

Emperor Gojong of Korea

During his reign, [Yeongjo of Joseon|King Yeongjo]] outlawed the Catholic church, leading to a series of persecutions and the martyring of many Catholic faithful in Korea during the upcoming decades. Otherwise his reign was unremarkable except for the very tragic situation with his son, Crown Prince Jangjo, who is often referred to by his birth name, Prince Sado. Sado was mentally unstable, and Yeongjo felt it was not possible to allow Sado to take the throne. After his behavior became more and more violent, Yeongjo had him imprisoned in a large rice box for about a week until he died.

Yeongjo was then succeeded on the throne by Sado's son, King Jeongjo. Despite the heartbreaking situation of his father's death, Jeongjo ruled very successfully, instituting reforms and gaining a reputation as a visionary forward-looking king. He also built Hwaseong Fortress, in the Suwon area, to honor his father's memory. In many ways, Jeongjo was the last effective king in the Joseon Dynasty. When his reign of 24 years ended, he was followed by his son, King Sunjo, who took the throne in 1800. Sunjo took the throne at 10 and ruled for 34 years.

Sunjo was succeeded by his grandson, King Heongjong, who also took throne at a young age, being only eight when he ascended, and his grandmother, Queen Sunwon served as regent. Heongjong, in fact scarcely ruled at all, as Sunwon refused to give up control even when Heongjong came of age, and when she died, control passed to others in her family. Sunwon and her clan continued the persecution of the Catholics, eventually drawing an angry response from the French. Heongjong died without an heir, the line of succession was broken, and the throne passed to a distant descendant of King Yeongjo, King Cheoljong. Like Heongjong, Cheoljong's reign produced no appreciable progress, nor an heir.

When Cheoljong died, the search for a successor went ever further afield, to a 9th generation descendent of King Injo, producing to King Gojong, the last Joseon King. Though he had a long reign of 44 years, Gojong left behind very few tangible accomplishments. This was due to a number of factors. Gojong took the throne in 1863, ruling during a time when counties all over the world were making the transition from monarchies to various forms of constitutional governments, because the world was becoming more complex and it was no longer practical for a monarch with a handful of advisers to manage a country's foreign relations; a larger government structure was needed.

Gojong's course was further compromised by having ascended to the throne at a young age, which meant he did not rule directly; his father, Daewongun, controlled the throne during the early part of Gojong's reign, and later his wife, Queen Min, and her clan gained much of the control. Queen Min was murdered in 1894, reportedly by the Japanese, and in 1897, Gojong declared that Korea was an empire, and he ruled as Emperor of Korea for 10 years before being pressured by the Japanese to step down in favor of his son, who became the empire's 2nd and last monarch, Emperor Sunjong. Three years later, in 1910, the Japanese went one step further and annexed Korea, declaring and end to the Korean Empire. Gojong's descendents set up court in exile, but never regained the throne. Some members of the former royal family still survive.


16th
King Injo
l:1595-1649
r:1623-1649
    Crown Prince
Sohyeon
    20th
King Gyeongjong
l:1688-1724
r:1720-1724
    Jinjong
           
    17th
King Hyojong
l:1619-1659
r:1649-1659
    18th
King Hyeonjong
l:1641-1674
r:1659-1674
    19th
King Sukjong
l:1661-1720
r:1674-1720
    21st
King Yeongjo
l:1694-1776
r:1724-1776
    Jangjo
                       
        Prince
Yeonryeong
   
           
       
       
                             
       
            Crown Prince
(grandson)
Euiso
    Grand Prince
Munhyo
               
              22nd
King Jeongjo
l:1752-1800
r:1776-1800
    23rd
King Sunjo
l:1790-1834
r:1800-1834
    King Ikjong
(posthumous title)
    24th
King Heonjong
l:1827-1849
r:1834-1849
                         
       
       
        Prince
Euneon
    Prince
Sanggye
    Prince
Hoepyeong
               
        Prince
Eunsin
    Prince
Punggye
    Prince
Yeongpyeong
               
        Prince
Eunjeon
    Jeongye
Daewongun
    25th
King Cheoljong
l:1831-1863
r:1849-1863
               
   
   
    Grand Prince
Inpyeong
    Prince
Boknyeong
    Prince
Yangwon
           
    Grand Prince
Yongseong
    Prince
Bogchang
    Prince
Euiwon
    Prince
Anheung
    Yi Jinik
                       
    Prince
Sungseon
    Prince
Bogseon
    Prince
Angye
    Yi Jintae    
                   
    Prince
Nakseon
    Prince
Bokpyeong
   
           
    4 illegitimate
sons
   
       
   
   
                               
   
    Yi Byeongsun     Prince
Heungnyeong
       
    Yi Byeongwon     Prince
Namyeon
    Prince Heungwan     Yi Jaemyeon
               
    Yi Byeongjun     Prince
Heungin
    26th
Emperor Gojong
l:1852-1919
r:1863-1897
r2:1897-1907
           
    Heungseon
Daewongun
    Yi Jaeseon
       

Gojong and the Korean Empire

26th
Emperor
Gojong

l:1852-1919
r2:1897-1907
    27th
Emperor
Sunjong
l:1874-1926
r:1907-1910
    Prince
Geon
       
    Wanchinwang     Prince
Wu
       
    Euichinwang     Yi Bang
       
        Yi Chang
       
        Yi Ju
       
        Yi Gon
       
        Yi Gwang
       
        Yi Hyun     30th
Yi Won
           
        Yi Gap     Yi Sangwoo
           
        Yi Seuk (Hwangson)
       
        Yi Hwan
       
        Yi Jung
       
   
   
    28th
Eumin taeja
    29th
Yi Gu (1931)
       

See Also

References

  • Lee, Gil-sang. 2006. Exploring Korean history through world heritage. Seongnam-si: Academy of Korean Studies. ISBN 9788971055519
  • Sin, Myŏng-ho. 2004. Joseon royal court culture ceremonial and daily life. Gyeonggi-do, Korea: Dolbegae ISBN 9788971991879
  • Yi, Ki-baek. 1984. A new history of Korea. Cambridge, Mass: Published for the Harvard-Yenching Institute by Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674615762

External Links

All links retrieved May 25, 2017.

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