Battle of Ugeumchi
|Battle of Ugeumchi|
|Part of Donghak Peasant Revolution|
|Donghak Peasant Army|
|Commanders and leaders|
Shin Jeong-hui |
3,200 Joseon Army|
200 Japanese Army
|Casualties and losses|
The Battle of Ugeumchi was a decisive battle during the Donghak Peasant Revolution. Fought between the Donghak Korean peasants and the combined Japanese-Joseon Army, resulted in the decline of the Donghak Rebellion and the growth of Japanese Imperialism in Korea.
Ugeumchi refers to a pass in the Jumi Mountains (Jumisan), located within the present-day boundaries of Gongju city. The site was designated Historic Site No. 387 by the Cultural Heritage Administration in 1994.
As the Korean government had difficulty in suppressing the Donghak movement, an emissary was sent to the Qing empire to request an immediate troop dispatch. The Qing court replied by sending the necessary soldiers. Japan also sent troops on the pretext of protecting Japanese citizens in Korea. As the Chinese and Japanese armies poured into the peninsula, Jeon Bong-jun, the leader of Donghak peasants, rallied the Korean peasants and led them to once rebel against the Joseon court and drive out the foreign "devils".
In the early stage of the battle, the peasant force gained early successes against the Joseon army. However, they began to retire when the Japanese troops arrived to reinforce the government forces. When the Donghak army advanced the second time, the Japanese, armed with modern Murata rifles and artillery, easily defeated peasants, armed only with bamboo spears and outdated matchlocks. As the peasant casualties mounted, Jeon ordered a retreat and the Donghak army scattered.
After the battle, Donghak peasants fled south and battled in the consequent Battle of Taein. After defeat in Gumiran, Jeon Bongjun ordered the Donghak peasants to scatter. Jeon himself was hanged in March, 1895.
- (in Korean) 한국민족문화대사전 (Ethnic Korean Culture Dictionary)
- (in Korean) 동학농민혁명
- (in English) Site of Donghak Peasant Revolution