Uija of Baekje
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|Uija of Baekje|
|Monarchs of Korea
Uija of Baekje (599? - 660, r. 641 - 660) was the 31st and final ruler of Baekje, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea. His reign ended when Baekje was conquered by the alliance of the rival Korean kingdom Silla and China's Tang Dynasty.
During this time, the northern Korean kingdom of Goguryeo, under the control of Yeon Gaesomun, took aggressive stances against Silla and the Tang. Silla responded by eventually allying closely with Tang China, threatening Baekje in the middle.
According to the Samguk Sagi, Uija was the eldest son of King Mu. According to a legend in the Samguk Yusa, Mu was a Baekje peasant who married Princess Seonhwa of Silla (making her Uija's mother), but this is not considered orthodox history. Uija was made crown prince in January 632 and became king upon his father's death in 641.
Although friendly with Tang China at first, Uija soon allied with Goguryeo to attack Silla. In 642, he led a campaign against Silla and conquered some 40 castles. He also sent a force of 10,000 to take Silla's Daeya Fortress and kill Kim Chunchu's son-in-law. The next year, with Goguryeo, Baekje attacked Silla again and tried to block its diplomatic route to Tang China. When Silla-Tang forces attacked Goguryeo in 645, he attacked Silla and took seven castles. Baekje and Goguryeo hit Silla's northern border in 655.
Soon upon becoming king, Uija undertook political reform to control the powers of the aristocracy. However, his reign was plagued by the internal power struggle among the nobles and corruption and decadence within the court.
As the court fell into disarray, the Silla-Tang alliance, repeatedly frustrated by Goguryeo's Yeon Gaesomun, changed strategy and decided to attack Goguryeo's ally Baekje first.
Fall of Baekje
In 660, Baekje's navy was defeated by Tang's navy, and Silla's army led by Kim Yu-sin defeated Baekje's army led by Gye Baek. Baekje capital Sabi (in present-day Buyeo, Chungcheongnam-do) was surrounded by the Silla-Tang allied forces. Uija and the crown prince escaped to Ungjin (in present-day Gongju), but surrendered when Sabi fell.
Uija was his personal name; he did not receive a posthumous name.
- The Academy of Korean Studies article (in Korean)
- Korea Britannica article (in Korean)
- KBS World article
- Tomb of King Uija (in Korean)