The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







Korean Name
Revised Romanization Goguryeo
McCune-Reischauer Koguryŏ
Hangul 고구려
Hanja 高句麗
Chinese Name
Chinese characters 高句麗
Pinyin Gāogōulí

Goguryeo (also known as Koguryo; : Gāogōulí) (1st century BC-668) was an empire in Manchuria and northern Korea. It is referred to as one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea, along with Baekje and Silla.

The modern name "Korea" derives from the medieval Korean kingdom of Goryeo, which in turn took its name from a contracted form of "Goguryeo."



According to Samguk Sagi, Emperor Jumong (posthumously called Emperor Dongmyeongseong ) founded the empire in 37 BC around what is now the border between China and North Korea. It gained power while China was fragmented. The maximum extent of the kingdom was reached during the reigns of Emperor Gwanggaeto the Great and his son Emperor Jangsu . During this period they ruled three fourths of Korean peninsula and most of Manchuria. It was overthrown by an alliance of Silla and Chinese Tang Empire in 668. Tang initially attempted to set up a military government, but this did not last. The southern part of Goguryeo was seized by Silla, and the rest was succeeded by Balhae.

Balhae, established in 698 claimed it as successor of Goguryeo in her diplomatic negotiations with Japan. Taebong, initially called Hu-Goguryeo ("Later Goguryeo"), claimed her succession of Goguryeo and so did Goryeo, which was even named after Goguryeo.


Remains of castles, palaces and several artifacts have been found in North Korea, including ancient paintings in a Goguryeo tomb complex. Some ruins are also still visible in Manchuria, for example at Onyeosan ("Five Maiden Peaks") near Ji'an (集安) in northeastern China, thought to be the site of the first city of Goguryeo. Some cultural artifacts still remain in modern Korean culture, for example, Ondol, Goguryeo's unique floor heating system. A modernized version can be found in the floor of every modern house in Korea.


The Goguryeo language is unknown except for a small number of words, which mostly suggests that it was similar to the language of Silla and the Tungusic languages. Most Korean linguists see that Goguryeo language was closest to the Altai languages out of the three dominant states after Old Joseon. The Goguryeo names for government posts are mostly similar to those of Baekje and Silla. Chinese record suggest that the languages of Goguryeo and Fuyu (Buyeo), East Okjeo, and Old Joseon (Go-Joseon) were similar, while Goguryeo language differed significantly from that of Malgal (Mohe). Similarities in certain vocabulary with Old Japanese have been noted as well. [1] Some words of Goguryeo origin can be found in the old Korean language (early 10th-late 14th centuries) but most were replaced by Silla-originated ones before long. Some linguists propose the so-called "Fuyu languages" that included the languages of Fuyu, Goguryeo, and the upper class of Baekje, and Old Japanese. Supporters of the Altaic language family often classifies the Goguryeo language as a member of that language family. Striking similarities between Baekje and Goguryeo can also be found.

Modern politics

Most historians have traditionally viewed Goguryeo as a Korean state, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea. The Chinese have traditionally viewed Goguryeo as a foreign state that was part of the China-centred tribute system. Then, in accordance with a more inclusive view of the modern People's Republic of China as a multi-ethnic nation state, the concept of Chinese history was expanded to encompass all states that developed principally in the current territory of China. The accepted position among Chinese government historians therefore became that the history of Goguryeo before the capital was transferred to Pyongyang in the Korean Peninsula was to be considered part of Chinese history.

Some have interpreted Chinese position in the 1990s as implying that Goguryeo was to be treated as a regional power of China as well as interpreting efforts by Chinese scholars to describe the history of Goguryeo as part of Chinese history to de-emphasise or deny Korea's claim to the kingdom's legacy. The Chinese government launched a 20-billion-yuan (2.4 billion US dollars) project dealing with China's Northeast in 2002 whose aims have been interpreted by some as treating Goguryeo as a local government within China, rewriting history textbooks and restoring important Goguryeo sites in China. This was followed by protests from scholars from Korea, Japan, and Russia. As of 2004 this was threatening to lead to diplomatic disputes between China and South Korea and was contributing to growing anti-Chinese sentiment in the latter. As such, the subject of Goguryeo history now overlaps somewhat with political disputes, although all of the governments involved seem to exhibit no desire to see the issue damage relations. The existence of a sizeable ethnic Korean minority in the former Goguryeo territories in China, the issue of political influence over North Korea in the case of a collapse of the regime, and some nervousness over the rapidly increasing power of China add to the fuel of the dispute.

See Gando Convention for more information about modern politics in the area.

Goguryeo Emperors

The following tables give the names of the Goguryeo Emperors in Korean .

  1. Emperor Dongmyeongchumoseong (Damul) (37 BC-19 BC) (also known as Jumong)
  2. Emperor Yuri (19 BC-AD 18)
  3. Emperor Daemushin (18-44)
  4. Emperor Minjung (44-48)
  5. Emperor Mobon (48-53)
  6. Emperor Taejo (Ryeungmu) (53-121 / 146) (also known as Emperor Gukjo)
  7. Emperor Chadae (121 / 146-165)
  8. Emperor Shindae (165-179)
  9. Emperor Gogukcheon (179-197)
  10. Emperor Sinsang (197-227)
  11. Emperor Dongcheon (227-248) (also known as Emperor Dongyang)
  12. Emperor Jungcheon (248-270) (also known as Emperor Jungyang)
  13. Emperor Seocheon (270-292) (also known as Emperor Seoyang)
  14. Emperor Bongsang (292-300) (also known as Emperor Chagal)
  15. Emperor Micheon (300-331) (also known as Emperor Hoyang)
  16. Emperor Gogukwon (331-371) (also known as Emperor Gukgangsang)
  17. Emperor Sosurim (371-384)
  18. Emperor Gogukyang (384-391)
  19. Emperor Gwanggaeto the Great (Youngrak) (391-413)
  20. Emperor Jangsu (Gunheung) (413-491)
  21. Emperor Munjamyeong (Myungchi) (491-519)
  22. Emperor Anjang (519-531)
  23. Emperor Anwon (531-545)
  24. Emperor Yangwon (545-559) (also known as Emperor Yanggang)
  25. Emperor Pyeongwon (Daeduk) (559-590) (also known as Emperor Pyeonggang)
  26. Emperor Yeongyang (Hongmu) (590-618) (also known as Emperor Pyeongyang)
  27. Emperor Yeongryu (618-642)
  28. Emperor Bojang (Kaehwa) (642-668)

See also

External link

Last updated: 05-09-2005 20:58:05
Last updated: 05-13-2005 07:56:04