Lelang Commandery

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Han dynasty commanderies and kingdoms, AD 2
Lelang Commandery
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese 樂浪郡
Simplified Chinese 乐浪郡
Korean name
Hangul 낙랑군
(DPRK: 락랑군)
Hanja 樂浪郡

Lelang was one of the Chinese commanderies which was established after the fall of Wiman Joseon in 108 BC until Goguryeo conquered it in 313. Lelang Commandery was located in the northern Korean peninsula with the administrative center near modern Pyongyang.[1]

History[edit]

In 108 BC, Emperor Wu of the Han dynasty conquered the area under King Ugeo, a grandson of King Wiman. The Emperor set up Lelang, Lintun, Xuantu and Zhenfan, known as the Four Commanderies of Han in the northern Korean peninsula and Liaodong peninsula. The Book of Han records Lelang belonged to Youzhou, located in northwestern Gojoseon consisted of 25 prefectures, 62,812 houses, and the population was 406,748.[2] Its capital was located Nakrang-guyok, P'yŏngyang. (Rakrang 樂浪/락랑 is a district in central P'yŏngyang today.)[3] Though disputed by North Korean scholars, Western sources generally describe the Lelang Commandery as existing within the Korean peninsula, and extend the rule of the four commanderies as far south as the Han River in the Korean peninsula.[4][5] In the traditional view, the importance of Lelang in Korean history was seen in its role as the common enemy, at the time when Korea experienced its first colonial rule. According to Yi Pyong-do, the foremost Korean ancient historian, "such a humiliating experience fired patriotic zeal, bringing on tribal unity and a conscious alliance which were inevitable reactions against foreign intrusions." Thus, the Han dynasty is usually portrayed as an imperialistic power exploiting native labor and resources. It was in this manner that the archaeological remains and Lelang history were used to propagate nationalists goals and positions.[6]

After Emperor Wu's death, Zhenfan and Lintun were abolished and Xuantu was moved to Liaodong. Some prefectures of the abolished commanderies were incorporated into Lelang. Lelang after the consolidation is sometimes called "Greater Lelang commandery". Since Lelang became too large for a commandery, the Defender of the Southern Section (南部都尉) was set up to rule the seven prefectures which formerly belonged to Zhenfan. Before that, the Defender of the Eastern Section (東部都尉) was put to rule former Lintun's seven prefectures.

An influx of immigrants, mainly from the Yan (Hebei) and Qi (Shandong) provinces, continued without cessation, implanting Chinese culture into the former Gojoseon area. The Yan people came from the Yan area, around what is now Beijing, via Liaodong; and the Qi people came across the Yellow Sea. Among them, the Wang clan, whose ancestor is said to have fled there from Qi in the 2nd century BC, became powerful. It is presumed that most of the Lelang Chinese spoke the Yan dialect.

While the Han dynasty was taken over by Wang Mang, China fell into chaos. Wang Tiao (王調) started a rebellion and tried to secede from China. In 30 AD, the rebellion was stopped by Wang Zun (王遵), whom Emperor Guangwu appointed as governor. Lelang came under the direct control of China once again. However, the shortages of human resources caused by the turmoil resulted in the abolishment of the seven eastern prefectures. The administration was left to the Hui (濊) natives, whose chiefs were conferred as marquisate.

At the end of the Eastern Han dynasty, Gongsun Du, appointed as the Governor of Liaodong in 184, extended his semi-independent domain to the Lelang and Xuantu commanderies. His son Gongsun Kang separated the southern half from the Lelang commandery and established the Daifang commandery in 204. As a result, the Lelang commandery reverted to its original size.

In 236, under the order of Emperor Ming of Cao Wei, Sima Yi crushed the Gongsun family and annexed Liaodong, Lelang and Daifang to Wei. Lelang was inherited by the Jin dynasty. Due to bitter civil wars, Jin became unable to control the Korean peninsula at the beginning of the 4th century. Zhang Tong (張統) broke away from Jin in Lelang and Daifang. After Luoyang, the capital of Jin, was occupied by the Xiongnu in 311, he went for help to Murong Hui, a Xianbei warlord, with his subjects. Murong Hui put another small Lelang commandery in Liaodong. The former Lelang was then annexed by Goguryeo.

Goguryeo ended China's rule on the Korean peninsula by conquering Lelang in 313. However, Goguryeo faced devastation by the Murong Xianbei people who attacked Goguryeo. Hwando, the capital of Goguryeo was destroyed again by them in 341, and the Xianbei used several thousand of the Goguryeo people for slave labor. Buyeo, a country to the north, was also destroyed by the Xianbei. Since then, Goguryeo would grow again to overcome the Xianbei power, whereas Buyeo would never recover, eventually absorbed into Goguryeo in 494.[7][8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Carter J. Eckert, el., "Korea, Old and New: History", 1990, pp. 14
  2. ^ 前漢書卷二十八地理志第八 "樂浪郡,武帝元封三年開。莽曰樂鮮。屬幽州。戶六萬二千八百一十二,口四十萬六千七百四十八。有雲鄣。縣二十五:朝鮮,讑邯,浿水,水西至增地入海。" Wikisource: the Book of Han, volume 28-2
  3. ^ ROBERT WILLOUGHBY (2008). BRADT TRAVEL GUIDE NORTH KOREA, THE. Bradt Travel Guides. p. 7. ISBN 1-84162-219-2. Retrieved 2011-01-09. 
  4. ^ Carter J. Eckert, el., "Korea, Old and New: History", 1990, pp. 13
  5. ^ http://www.shsu.edu/~his_ncp/Korea.html
  6. ^ Culture Contact and Culture Change: The Korean Peninsula and Its Relations with the Han Dynasty Commandery of LelangHyung II PaiWorld Archaeology, Vol. 23, No. 3, Archaeology of Empires (Feb., 1992), pp. 306-319Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org.prox.lib.ncsu.edu/stable/124765/
  7. ^ Charles Roger Tennant (1996). A history of Korea (illustrated ed.). Kegan Paul International. p. 22. ISBN 0-7103-0532-X. Retrieved 2012 February ninth. Soon after, the Wei fell to the Jin and Koguryŏ grew stronger, until in 313 they finally succeeded in occupying Lelang and bringing to an end the 400 years of China's presence in the peninsula, a period sufficient to ensure that for the next 1,500 it would remain firmly within the sphere of its culture. After the fall of the Jin in 316, the proto-Mongol Xianbei occupied the North of China, of which the Murong clan took the Shandong area, moved up to the Liao, and in 341 sacked and burned the Koguryŏ capital at Hwando. They took away some thousands of prisoners to provive cheap labour to build more walls of their own, and in 346 went on to wreak even greater destruction on Puyŏ, hastening what seems to have been a continuing migration of its people into the north-eastern area of the peninsula, but Koguryŏ, though temporarily weakened, would soon  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  8. ^ Charles Roger Tennant (1996). A history of Korea (illustrated ed.). Kegan Paul International. p. 22. ISBN 0-7103-0532-X. Retrieved 2012 February ninth. Soon after, the Wei fell to the Jin and Koguryŏ grew stronger, until in 313 they finally succeeded in occupying Lelang and bringing to an end the 400 years of China's presence in the peninsula, a period sufficient to ensure that for the next 1,500 it would remain firmly within the sphere of its culture. After the fall of the Jin in 316, the proto-Mongol Xianbei occupied the North of China, of which the Murong clan took the Shandong area, moved up to the Liao, and in 341 sacked and burned the Koguryŏ capital at Hwando. They took away some thousands of prisoners to provive cheap labour to build more walls of their own, and in 346 went on to wreak even greater destruction on Puyŏ, hastening what seems to have been a continuing migration of its people into the north-eastern area of the peninsula, but Koguryŏ, though temporarily weakened, would soon  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)

External links[edit]