The United Nations Educational and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations based in Paris. Its declared purpose is to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through educational and cultural reforms in order to increase universal respect for justice, the rule of law, human rights along with fundamental freedom proclaimed in the United Nations Charter, it is the successor of the League of Nations' International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation. UNESCO has 11 associate members. Most of its field offices are "cluster" offices covering three or more countries. UNESCO pursues its objectives through five major programs: education, natural sciences, social/human sciences and communication/information. Projects sponsored by UNESCO include literacy and teacher-training programs, international science programs, the promotion of independent media and freedom of the press and cultural history projects, the promotion of cultural diversity, translations of world literature, international cooperation agreements to secure the world's cultural and natural heritage and to preserve human rights, attempts to bridge the worldwide digital divide.
It is a member of the United Nations Development Group. UNESCO's aim is "to contribute to the building of peace, the eradication of poverty, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue through education, the sciences, culture and information". Other priorities of the organization include attaining quality Education For All and lifelong learning, addressing emerging social and ethical challenges, fostering cultural diversity, a culture of peace and building inclusive knowledge societies through information and communication; the broad goals and objectives of the international community—as set out in the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals —underpin all UNESCO strategies and activities. UNESCO and its mandate for international cooperation can be traced back to a League of Nations resolution on 21 September 1921, to elect a Commission to study feasibility; this new body, the International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation was indeed created in 1922.
On 18 December 1925, the International Bureau of Education began work as a non-governmental organization in the service of international educational development. However, the onset of World War II interrupted the work of these predecessor organizations. After the signing of the Atlantic Charter and the Declaration of the United Nations, the Conference of Allied Ministers of Education began meetings in London which continued from 16 November 1942 to 5 December 1945. On 30 October 1943, the necessity for an international organization was expressed in the Moscow Declaration, agreed upon by China, the United Kingdom, the United States and the USSR; this was followed by the Dumbarton Oaks Conference proposals of 9 October 1944. Upon the proposal of CAME and in accordance with the recommendations of the United Nations Conference on International Organization, held in San Francisco in April–June 1945, a United Nations Conference for the establishment of an educational and cultural organization was convened in London 1–16 November 1945 with 44 governments represented.
The idea of UNESCO was developed by Rab Butler, the Minister of Education for the United Kingdom, who had a great deal of influence in its development. At the ECO/CONF, the Constitution of UNESCO was introduced and signed by 37 countries, a Preparatory Commission was established; the Preparatory Commission operated between 16 November 1945, 4 November 1946—the date when UNESCO's Constitution came into force with the deposit of the twentieth ratification by a member state. The first General Conference took place from 19 November to 10 December 1946, elected Dr. Julian Huxley to Director-General; the Constitution was amended in November 1954 when the General Conference resolved that members of the Executive Board would be representatives of the governments of the States of which they are nationals and would not, as before, act in their personal capacity. This change in governance distinguished UNESCO from its predecessor, the ICIC, in how member states would work together in the organization's fields of competence.
As member states worked together over time to realize UNESCO's mandate and historical factors have shaped the organization's operations in particular during the Cold War, the decolonization process, the dissolution of the USSR. Among the major achievements of the organization is its work against racism, for example through influential statements on race starting with a declaration of anthropologists and other scientists in 1950 and concluding with the 1978 Declaration on Race and Racial Prejudice. In 1956, the Republic of South Africa withdrew from UNESCO saying that some of the organization's publications amounted to "interference" in the country's "racial problems." South Africa rejoined the organization in 1994 under the leadership of Nelson Mandela. UNESCO's early work in the field of education included the pilot project on fundamental education in the Marbial Valley, started in 1947; this project was followed by expert missions to other countries, for example, a mission to Afghanistan in 1949.
In 1948, UNESCO recommended that Member States should make free primary education compulsory and universal. In 1990, the World Conference on Education for All, in Jomtien, launched a global movement to provide basic education for a
Taejong of Joseon
Taejong of Joseon was the third king of the Joseon dynasty in Korea and the father of King Sejong the Great. He was born as Yi Bang-won in 1367 as the fifth son of King Taejo, was qualified as an official of Goryeo Dynasty in 1382. During his early days, he helped his father to extend his support with the citizens and many influential figures of the government. Taejong helped his father and founded a new dynasty by assassinating powerful officials such as Jeong Mong-ju, who remained loyal to the Goryeo dynasty, he was called Prince Jeong Ahn during the reign of King Taejo. In 1392 he helped his father overthrow Goryeo in order to establish Joseon, he expected to be appointed as the successor to the throne for he contributed most to the founding of Joseon, but his father and prime minister Jeong Do-jeon favored Taejo's eighth son and Yi Bangwon's half-brother, Yi Bangseok, as the crown prince. This conflict arose chiefly because Jeong Dojeon, who shaped and laid down ideological and legal foundations of the new dynasty more than anyone else, saw Joseon as a kingdom led by ministers appointed by the king while Yi Bangwon wanted to establish the absolute monarchy ruled directly by the king.
Both sides were getting ready to strike first. After the sudden death of Queen Sindeok, while King Taejo was still in mourning for his second wife, Yi Bang-won struck first by raiding the palace and killed Jeong Do-jeon and his supporters, as well as Queen Sindeok's two sons including the crown prince in 1398; this incident became known as the First Strife of Princes. Aghast at the fact that his sons were willing to kill each other for the crown, psychologically exhausted from the death of his second wife, King Taejo abdicated and crowned his second son Yi Bang-gwa, or King Jeongjong, as the new ruler. One of King Jeongjong's first acts as monarch was to revert the capital to Gaeseong, where he is believed to have been more comfortable, yet Yi Bangwon retained real power and was soon in conflict with his disgruntled older brother Yi Bang-gan, who yearned for power. In 1400, General Bak Po, disappointed by Yi Bangwon for not rewarding him enough for his action in the First Strife of Princes, allied with Bangwon's older brother Yi Bang-gan and rebelled against him in what came to be known as the Second Strife of Princes.
Yi Bangwon defeated his brother's forces executed Bak Po and sent Yi Bang-gan into exile. King Jeongjong, afraid of his powerful brother, named Yi Bangwon as crown prince and abdicated in the same year. Yi Bangwon assumed the throne of Joseon at long last as the third king of Joseon. In the beginning of Taejong's reign, the Grand King Former, refused to relinquish the royal seal that signified the legitimacy of any king's rule. Taejong began to initiate policies. One of his first acts as king was to abolish the privilege enjoyed by the upper echelons of government and the aristocracy to maintain private armies, his revoking of such rights to field independent forces severed their ability to muster large-scale revolts, drastically increased the number of men employed in the national military. Taejong's next act as king was to revise the existing legislation concerning the taxation of land ownership and the recording of state of subjects. With the discovery of hidden land, national income increased twofold.
He initiated the system of hopae, an early form of identification recording the bearer's name and residence, used to control the movement of people. He set a big drum in front of his court, so that the common people, when they had some problems, could come to the palace and consult the king. In addition, he created an absolute monarchy. In 1399, Taejong had played an influential role in scrapping the Dopyeong Assembly, a council of the old government administration that held a monopoly in court power during the waning years of the Goryeo dynasty, in favor of the State Council of Joseon, a new branch of central administration that revolved around the king and his edicts. After passing the subject documentation and taxation legislation, King Taejong issued a new decree in which all decisions passed by the State Council could only come into effect with the approval of the king; this ended the custom of court ministers and advisors making decisions through debate and negotiations amongst themselves, thus brought the royal power to new heights.
Shortly thereafter, Taejong installed an office, known as the Sinmun Office, to hear cases in which aggrieved subjects felt that they had been exploited or treated unjustly by government officials or aristocrats. However, Taejong kept Jeong Do-jeon's reforms intact for the most part, he promoted Confucianism, more like political philosophy rather than a religion, thus demoting Buddhism, far from daily living and decayed from the power given by Goryeo kings back then. He closed many temples that were established by Goryeo kings, seized their large possessions and added them to the national treasury. Meanwhile, he honored Jeong Mong-ju with the posthumous title of Chief State Councillor though it was he who assassinated Jeong — leading to an irony of history, in which Jeong Do-jeon was vilified throughout the Joseon dynasty while Jeong Mong-ju was honored despite his opposition to its birth. In foreign policy, he was a straight hardliner — he attacked the Jurchens on the northern border and Japanese pirates on the southern
Joseon dynasty was a Korean dynastic kingdom that lasted for five centuries. It was founded by Yi Seong-gye in July 1392 and was replaced by the Korean Empire in October 1897, it was founded following the aftermath of the overthrow of Goryeo in what is today the city of Kaesong. Early on, Korea was retitled and the capital was relocated to modern-day Seoul; the kingdom's northernmost borders were expanded to the natural boundaries at the rivers of Amnok and Tuman through the subjugation of the Jurchens. Joseon was the last dynasty of its longest-ruling Confucian dynasty. During its reign, Joseon encouraged the entrenchment of Chinese Confucian ideals and doctrines in Korean society. Neo-Confucianism was installed as the new dynasty's state ideology. Buddhism was accordingly discouraged and faced persecutions by the dynasty. Joseon consolidated its effective rule over the territory of current Korea and saw the height of classical Korean culture, trade and science and technology. However, the dynasty was weakened during the late 16th and early 17th centuries, when the Japanese invasions of Korea in the 1590s and the first and second Manchu invasions nearly overran the Korean Peninsula, leading to an harsh isolationist policy, for which the country became known as the "hermit kingdom" in Western literature.
After the end of invasions from Manchuria, Joseon experienced a nearly 200-year period of peace. However, whatever power the kingdom recovered during its isolation further waned as the 18th century came to a close, faced with internal strife, power struggles, international pressure and rebellions at home, the Joseon dynasty declined in the late 19th century; the Joseon period has left a substantial legacy to modern Korea. By the late 14th century, the nearly 500-year-old Goryeo established in 918 was tottering, its foundations collapsing from years of war and de facto occupation from the disintegrating Mongol Empire. Following the emergence of the Ming dynasty, the royal court in Goryeo split into two conflicting factions: the group led by General Yi and the camp led by General Choe. Goryeo claimed to be the successor of the ancient kingdom of Goguryeo; when a Ming messenger came to Goryeo in 1388, the 14th year of U of Goryeo, to demand that Goguryeo's former northern territory be handed over to Ming China, General Choe seized the chance to argue for an attack on the Liaodong Peninsula.
Yi was chosen to lead the attack. He killed King U and his son after a failed restoration and forcibly placed a royal named Yi on the throne. In 1392, Yi eliminated Jeong Mong-ju respected leader of a group loyal to Goryeo dynasty, dethroned King Gongyang, exiling him to Wonju, before he ascended the throne; the Goryeo Dynasty had come to an end after 500 years of rule. In the beginning of his reign, Yi Seonggye, now ruler of Korea, intended to continue use of the name Goryeo for the country he ruled and change the royal line of descent to his own, thus maintaining the façade of continuing the 500-year-old Goryeo tradition. However, after numerous threats of mutiny from the drastically weakened but still influential Gwonmun nobles, who continued to swear allegiance to the remnants of the Goryeo and now the demoted Wang clan, the consensus in the reformed court was that a new dynastic title was needed to signify the change. In naming the new dynasty, Taejo contemplated two possibilities - "Hwaryeong" and "Joseon".
After much internal deliberation, as well as endorsement by the neighboring Ming dynasty's emperor, Taejo declared the name of the kingdom to be Joseon, a tribute to the ancient Korean state of Gojoseon. He moved the capital to Hanyang from Kaesong; when the new dynasty was promulgated and brought into existence, Taejo brought up the issue of which son would be his successor. Although Yi Bangwon, Taejo's fifth son by Queen Sineui, had contributed most to assisting his father's rise to power, the prime minister Jeong Do-jeon and Nam Eun used their influence on King Taejo to name his eighth son Grand Prince Uian as crown prince in 1392; this conflict arose because Jeong Dojeon, who shaped and laid down ideological and legal foundations of the new dynasty more than anyone else, saw Joseon as a kingdom led by ministers appointed by the king while Yi Bangwon wanted to establish the absolute monarchy ruled directly by the king. With Taejo's support, Jeong Dojeon kept limiting the royal family's power by prohibiting political involvement of princes and attempting to abolish their private armies.
Both sides were getting ready to strike first. After the sudden death of Queen Sindeok, while King Taejo was still in mourning for his second wife, Yi Bangwon struck first by raiding the palace and killed Jeong Dojeon and his supporters as well as Queen Sindeok's two sons including the crown prince in 1398; this incident became known as the First Strife of Princes. Aghast at the fact that his sons were willing to kill each other for the crown, psychologically exhausted from the death of
Three Kingdoms of Korea
The Three Kingdoms of Korea refers to the three kingdoms of Baekje and Goguryeo. Goguryeo was known as Goryeo, from which the modern name Korea is derived; the Three Kingdoms period is defined as being from 57 BC to 668 AD. The three kingdoms occupied the entire Korean Peninsula and half of Manchuria, located in present-day China and Russia; the kingdoms of Baekje and Silla dominated the southern half of the Korean Peninsula and Tamna, whereas Goguryeo controlled the Liaodong Peninsula and the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Baekje and Goguryeo originated from Buyeo. In the 7th century, allied with China under the Tang dynasty, Silla unified the Korean Peninsula for the first time in Korean history, forming a united Korean national identity for the first time. After the fall of Baekje and Goguryeo, the Tang dynasty established a short-lived military government to administer parts of the Korean peninsula. However, as a result of the Silla–Tang War, Silla forces expelled the Protectorate armies from the peninsula in 676.
The following period is known as the Unified Later Silla. Subsequently, Go of Balhae, a former Goguryeo general, founded Balhae in the former territory of Goguryeo after defeating the Tang dynasty at the Battle of Tianmenling; the predecessor period, before the development of the full-fledged kingdoms, is sometimes called Proto–Three Kingdoms period. Main primary sources for this period include Samguk sagi and Samguk yusa in Korea, the "Eastern Barbarians" section from the Book of Wei of the Records of the Three Kingdoms in China. Beginning in the 7th century, the name "Samhan" became synonymous with the Three Kingdoms of Korea; the "Han" in the names of the Korean Empire, Daehan Jeguk, the Republic of Korea, Daehan Minguk or Hanguk, are named in reference to the Three Kingdoms of Korea. According to the Samguk Sagi and Samguk Yusa, Silla implemented a national policy, "Samhan Unification", to integrate refugees and migrants from Baekje and Goguryeo. In 1982, a memorial stone dating back to 686 was discovered in Cheongju with an inscription: "The Three Han were unified and the domain was expanded."
During the Later Silla period, the concepts of Samhan as the ancient confederacies and the Three Kingdoms of Korea were merged. In a letter to an imperial tutor of the Tang dynasty, Choe Chiwon equated Byeonhan to Baekje, Jinhan to Silla, Mahan to Goguryeo. By the Goryeo period, Samhan became a common name to refer to all of Korea. In his Ten Mandates to his descendants, Wang Geon declared that he had unified the Three Han, referring to the Three Kingdoms of Korea. Samhan continued to be a common name for Korea during the Joseon period and was referenced in the Annals of the Joseon Dynasty. In China, the Three Kingdoms of Korea were collectively called Samhan since the beginning of the 7th century; the use of the name Samhan to indicate the Three Kingdoms of Korea was widespread in the Tang dynasty. Goguryeo was alternately called Mahan by the Tang dynasty, as evidenced by a Tang document that called Goguryeo generals "Mahan leaders" in 645. In 651, Emperor Gaozong of Tang sent a message to the king of Baekje referring to the Three Kingdoms of Korea as Samhan.
Epitaphs of the Tang dynasty, including those belonging to Baekje and Silla refugees and migrants, called the Three Kingdoms of Korea "Samhan" Goguryeo. For example, the epitaph of Go Hyeon, a Tang dynasty general of Goguryeo origin who died in 690, calls him a "Liaodong Samhan man"; the History of Liao equates Byeonhan to Silla, Jinhan to Buyeo, Mahan to Goguryeo. The name "Three Kingdoms" was used in the titles of the Korean histories Samguk Sagi and Samguk Yusa, should not be confused with the Three Kingdoms of China; the Three Kingdoms was founded after the fall of Wiman Joseon, conquered and absorbed various other small states and confederacies. After the fall of Gojoseon, the Han dynasty established four commanderies in present Liaoning. Three fell to the Samhan, the last was destroyed by Goguryeo in 313; the nascent precursors of Baekje and Silla expanded within the web of statelets during the Proto Three Kingdoms Period, Goguryeo conquered neighboring state like Buyeo in Manchuria and chiefdoms in Okjeo, Dongye which occupied the northeastern Korean peninsula.
The three polities made the transition from walled-town state to full-fledged state-level societies between 1st – 3rd century AD. All three kingdoms shared a similar language, their original religions appear to have been shamanistic, but they were influenced by Chinese culture Confucianism and Taoism. In the 4th century, Buddhism was introduced to the peninsula and spread briefly becoming the official religion of all three kingdoms. Goguryeo emerged in the wake of Gojoseon's fall; the first mention of Goguryeo in Chinese records dates from 75 BC in reference to a commandery established by the Chinese Han dynasty, although earlier mentions of "Guri" may be of the same state. Evidence indicates Goguryeo was the most advanced, the first established, of the three kingdoms. Goguryeo the largest of the three kingdoms, had several capitals in alternation: two capitals in the upper Yalu area, Nangrang, now part of Pyongyang. At the beginning, the state was located on t
South Korea the Republic of Korea, is a country in East Asia, constituting the southern part of the Korean Peninsula and lying to the east of the Asian mainland. The name Korea is derived from Goguryeo, one of the great powers in East Asia during its time, ruling most of the Korean Peninsula, parts of the Russian Far East and Inner Mongolia, under Gwanggaeto the Great. South Korea has a predominantly mountainous terrain, it comprises an estimated 51.4 million residents distributed over 100,363 km2. Its capital and largest city is Seoul, with a population of around 10 million. Archaeology indicates that the Korean Peninsula was inhabited by early humans starting from the Lower Paleolithic period; the history of Korea begins with the foundation of Gojoseon in 2333 BCE by the mythic king Dangun, but no archaeological evidence and writing was found from this period. The Gija Joseon was purportedly founded in 11th century BCE, its existence and role has been controversial in the modern era; the written historical record on Gojoseon was first mentioned in Chinese records in the early 7th century BCE.
Following the unification of the Three Kingdoms of Korea under Unified Silla in CE 668, Korea was subsequently ruled by the Goryeo dynasty and the Joseon dynasty. It was annexed by the Empire of Japan in 1910. At the end of World War II, Korea was divided into Soviet and U. S. zones of occupations. A separate election was held in the U. S. zone in 1948 which led to the creation of the Republic of Korea, while the Democratic People's Republic of Korea was established in the Soviet zone. The United Nations at the time passed a resolution declaring the ROK to be the only lawful government in Korea; the Korean War began in June 1950. The war lasted three years and involved the U. S. China, the Soviet Union and several other nations; the border between the two nations remains the most fortified in the world. Under long-time military leader Park Chung-hee, the South Korean economy grew and the country was transformed into a G-20 major economy. Military rule ended in 1987, the country is now a presidential republic consisting of 17 administrative divisions.
South Korea is a developed country and a high-income economy, with a "very high" Human Development Index, ranking 22nd in the world. The country is considered a regional power and is the world's 11th largest economy by nominal GDP and the 12th largest by PPP as of 2010. South Korea is a global leader in the industrial and technological sectors, being the world's 5th largest exporter and 8th largest importer, its export-driven economy focuses production on electronics, ships, machinery and robotics. South Korea is a member of the ASEAN Plus mechanism, the United Nations, Uniting for Consensus, G20, the WTO and OECD and is a founding member of APEC and the East Asia Summit; the name Korea derives from the name Goryeo. The name Goryeo itself was first used by the ancient kingdom of Goguryeo in the 5th century as a shortened form of its name; the 10th-century kingdom of Goryeo succeeded Goguryeo, thus inherited its name, pronounced by the visiting Persian merchants as "Korea". The modern spelling of Korea first appeared in the late 17th century in the travel writings of the Dutch East India Company's Hendrick Hamel.
Despite the coexistence of the spellings Corea and Korea in 19th century publications, some Koreans believe that Imperial Japan, around the time of the Japanese occupation, intentionally standardised the spelling on Korea, making Japan appear first alphabetically. After Goryeo was replaced by Joseon in 1392, Joseon became the official name for the entire territory, though it was not universally accepted; the new official name has its origin in the ancient country of Gojoseon. In 1897, the Joseon dynasty changed the official name of the country from Joseon to Daehan Jeguk; the name Daehan, which means "Great Han" derives from Samhan, referring to the Three Kingdoms of Korea, not the ancient confederacies in the southern Korean Peninsula. However, the name Joseon was still used by Koreans to refer to their country, though it was no longer the official name. Under Japanese rule, the two names Han and Joseon coexisted. There were several groups who fought for independence, the most notable being the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea.
Following the surrender of Japan, in 1945, the Republic of Korea was adopted as the legal English name for the new country. Since the government only controlled the southern part of the Korean Peninsula, the informal term South Korea was coined, becoming common in the Western world. While South Koreans use Han to refer to the entire country, North Koreans and ethnic Koreans living in China and Japan use the term Joseon as the name of the country; the Korean name "Daehan Minguk" is sometimes used by South Koreans as a metonym to refer to the Korean ethnicity as a whole, rather than just the South Korean state. The history of Korea begins with the founding of Joseon in 2333 BCE by Dangun, according to Korea's foundation mythology. Gojoseon expanded until it controlled parts of Manchuria. Gija Joseon was purportedly founded in the 12th century BC, but its existence and role have been controversial in the modern era. In 108 BCE, the Han dynasty defeated Wiman Joseon and installed four commanderies in the n
The Korean alphabet, known as Hangul, has been used to write the Korean language since its creation in the 15th century by King Sejong the Great. It may be written as Hangeul following the standard Romanization, it is the official writing system of Korea, both North. It is a co-official writing system in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture and Changbai Korean Autonomous County in Jilin Province, China, it is sometimes used to write the Cia-Cia language spoken near the town of Indonesia. The Hangul alphabet consisted of 28 letters with 17 consonant letters and 11 vowel letters when it was created; as four became obsolete, the modern Hangul consists of total 24 letters with 14 consonant letters and 10 vowel letters. In North Korea the total is counted 40, it consists of 19 consonant letters and 21 vowel letters as it additionally includes 5 tense consonants and 20. The Korean letters are written in syllabic blocks with each alphabetic letter placed vertically and horizontally into a square dimension.
For example, the Korean word for "honeybee" is written 꿀벌, not ㄲㅜㄹㅂㅓㄹ. As it combines the features of alphabetic and syllabic writing systems, it has been described as an "alphabetic syllabary" by some linguists; as in traditional Chinese writing, Korean texts were traditionally written top to bottom, right to left, are still written this way for stylistic purposes. Today, it is written from left to right with spaces between words and western-style punctuation; some linguists consider it among the most phonologically faithful writing systems in use today. One interesting feature of Hangul is that the shapes of its consonants mimic the shapes of the speaker's mouth when pronouncing each consonant; the Korean alphabet was called Hunminjeong'eum, after the document that introduced the script to the Korean people in 1446. The Korean alphabet is called hangeul, a name coined by Korean linguist Ju Si-gyeong in 1912; the name combines the ancient Korean word han, meaning "great", geul, meaning "script".
The word han is used to refer to Korea in general, so the name means "Korean script". It has been romanized in multiple ways: Hangeul or han-geul in the Revised Romanization of Korean, which the South Korean government uses in English publications and encourages for all purposes. Han'gŭl in the McCune–Reischauer system, is capitalized and rendered without the diacritics when used as an English word, Hangul, as it appears in many English dictionaries. Hānkul in the Yale romanization, a system recommended for technical linguistic studies. In North Korea it is called Chosŏn'gŭl after Chosŏn, the North Korean name for Korea after the old name of Korea; the McCune–Reischauer system is used there. Until the mid-20th century, the Korean elite preferred to write using Chinese characters called Hanja, they referred to Hanja as jinseo or "true letters". Some accounts say the elite referred to the Korean alphabet derisively as'amkeul meaning "women's script", and'ahaetgeul meaning "children's script", though there is no written evidence of this.
Supporters of the Korean alphabet referred to it as jeong'eum meaning "correct pronunciation", gukmun meaning "national script", eonmun meaning "vernacular script". Before the creation of the new Korean alphabet, Koreans wrote using Classical Chinese alongside native phonetic writing systems that predate the modern Korean alphabet by hundreds of years, including Idu script, Hyangchal and Gakpil. However, due to fundamental differences between the Korean and Chinese languages, the large number of characters, many lower class Koreans were illiterate. To promote literacy among the common people, the fourth king of the Joseon dynasty, Sejong the Great created and promulgated a new alphabet; the Korean alphabet was designed so that people with little education could learn to write. A popular saying about the alphabet is, "A wise man can acquaint himself with them before the morning is over; the project was completed in late December 1443 or January 1444, described in 1446 in a document titled Hunminjeong'eum, after which the alphabet itself was named.
The publication date of the Hunminjeongeum, October 9, became Hangul Day in South Korea. Its North Korean equivalent, Chosŏn'gŭl Day, is on January 15. Another document published in 1446 and titled Hunminjeong'eum Haerye was discovered in 1940; this document explains that the design of the consonant letters is based on articulatory phonetics and the design of the vowel letters are based on the principles of yin and yang and vowel harmony. The Korean alphabet faced opposition in the 1440s by the literary elite, including politician Choe Manri and other Korean Confucian scholars, they believed. They saw the circulation of the Korean alphabet as a threat to their status. However, the Korean alphabet entered popular culture as King Sejong had intended, used by women and writers of popular fiction. King Yeonsangun banned the study and publication of the Korean alphabet in 1504, after a document criticizing the king entered the public. King Jungjong abolished the Ministry of Eonmun, a governmental institution related to Hangul research, in 1506.
The late 16th century, saw a revival of the Korean alphabet as gasa and sijo poetry flourished. In the 17th century, the Korean alphabet novels became a major genre. However, the use of the Korea
Gwanghaegun of Joseon
Gwanghae-gun or Prince Gwanghae was the fifteenth king of the Joseon dynasty. His personal name was Yi Hon; as he was deposed in a coup d'état official historians did not give him a temple name like Taejo or Sejong. Gwanghaegun was the second son of King Seonjo, born to Lady Kim, a concubine; when Japan invaded Korea to attack the Ming Empire, he was installed as Crown Prince. When the king fled north to the border of Ming, he set up a branch court and fought defensive battles. During and after the Seven Year War, he acted as the de facto ruler of the Joseon Dynasty, commanding battles and taking care of the reconstruction of the nation after the devastating wars, in the place of old and weak King Seonjo. Although it brought prestige to him, his position was still unstable, he had an elder but incompetent brother Prince Imhae and a younger but legitimate brother Grand Prince Yeong-chang, supported by the Lesser Northerners faction. For Gwang-hae, King Seonjo's abrupt death made it impossible for his most favorite son Yeong-chang Daegun to succeed to the throne.
Before King Seonjo died, he named Prince Gwang-hae as his official successor to the throne, ordered his advisers to make a royal document. However, Lyu Young-gyong of Lesser Northerners faction hid the document and plotted to install Prince Yeong-chang as king, only to be found out by the head of the Great Northerners faction, Chung In-hong. Lyu was executed and Prince Yeong-chang was arrested and died the next year. After the incident, Gwang-hae tried to bring officials from various political and regional background to his court, but his plan was interrupted by Greater Northerners including Lee Icheom and Chung In-hong. Greater Northerners began to take members of other political factions out of the government Lesser Northerners. At last in 1613 Greater Northerners put their hand on Prince Yeong-chang. At the same time Greater Northerners suppressed the Lesser Northerners. However, Gwang-hae had no power to stop this though he was the official head of the government. Despite his infamous reputation in times, he was a talented and realistic politician.
He sponsored restoration of documents. As a part of reconstruction, he redistributed land to the people, he was responsible for the reintroduction of the hopae identification system after a long period of disuse. In foreign affairs he sought a balance between the Ming Empire and the Manchus. Since he realized Joseon was unable to compete with Manchu military power, he tried to keep friendly relationship with the Manchus while the kingdom was still under the suzerainty of Ming, which angered the Ming and dogmatic Confucian Koreans; the critically worsened Manchu-Ming relationship forced him to send ten thousand soldiers to aid Ming in 1619. However, the Battle of Sarhū ended in Manchu's overwhelming victory; the Korean General Gang Hong-rip surrendered to Nurhaci. Gwanghaegun managed to avoid another war, he restored diplomatic relationship with Japan in 1609 when he reopened trade with Japan through Treaty of Giyu, sent his ambassadors to Japan in 1617. During his reign, Gwanghaegun encouraged publishing in order to accelerate reconstruction and to restore the kingdom's former prosperity.
Many books came out during his reign, including the famous medical book Donguibogam, several historical records were rewritten in this period. For his job in public affair, he implemented the Daedong law, which let the subjects to pay the taxes more easily. However, this law was activated only in Gyeonggi Province, the largest granary zone at that time, it took a century for the law to be extended across the whole kingdom. In 1616, tobacco soon popularized by many aristocratic noblemen. In April 6, 1623 Gwanghaegun was deposed in a coup by the Westerners faction; the coup directed by Kim Yu took place at night, Gwanghaegun was captured later. He was confined first on Ganghwa Island and on Jeju Island, where he died in 1641, he does not have a royal mausoleum like the other Joseon rulers. His and Lady Ryu's remains were buried at a comparatively humble site in Namyangju in Gyeonggi Province; the Westerners faction installed Neungyanggun as the sixteenth king Injo who promulgated pro-Ming and anti-Manchu policies, which resulted in two subsequent Manchu invasions.
Although Gwanghaegun is one of only two deposed kings who were not restored and given the temple name, many people consider him a victim of feuds between political factions. However he did a better job of caring for his country than his predecessor King Seonjo, or his successor King Injo, they both contributed to invasions -- the Japanese invasions of the Seven Year War. In modern South Korea, Gwanghaegun is considered one of the wiser kings rather than a despot. Father: King Seonjo of Joseon Grandfather: Yi Cho, Grand Prince Deokheung Grandmother: Grand Princess Consort Hadong of the Hadong Jeong clan Mother: Royal Noble Consort Gong of the Gimhae Kim clan Grandfat