Dongcheon of Goguryeo

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Dongcheon of Goguryeo
Hangul 동천왕 or 동양왕
Hanja 東川王 or 東襄王
Revised Romanization Dongcheon-wang or Dongyang-wang
McCune–Reischauer Tongch'ǒn-wang or Tongyang-wang
Birth name
Hangul 우위거 or 위궁 or 교체
Hanja 憂位居 or 郊彘
Revised Romanization Uwigeo or Wigung or Gyoche
McCune–Reischauer Uwigǒ or Wigung or Kyoch'e
Monarchs of Korea
  1. King Chumo 37-19 BCE
  2. King Yuri 19 BCE-18 CE
  3. King Daemusin 18-44
  4. King Minjung 44-48
  5. King Mobon 48-53
  6. King Taejodae 53-146
  7. King Chadae 146-165
  8. King Sindae 165-179
  9. King Gogukcheon 179-197
  10. King Sansang 197-227
  11. King Dongcheon 227-248
  12. King Jungcheon 248-270
  13. King Seocheon 270-292
  14. King Bongsang 292-300
  15. King Micheon 300-331
  16. King Gogug-won 331-371
  17. King Sosurim 371-384
  18. King Gogug-yang 384-391
  19. King Gwanggaeto 391-413
  20. King Jangsu 413-490
  21. King Munja 491-519
  22. King Anjang 519-531
  23. King An-won 531-545
  24. King Yang-won 545-559
  25. King Pyeong-won 559-590
  26. King Yeong-yang 590-618
  27. King Yeong-nyu 618-642
  28. King Bojang 642-668

King Dongcheon of Goguryeo (209–248, r. 227–248) was the 11th monarch of Goguryeo, the northernmost of the Three Kingdoms of Korea.


He was the grandson of Goguryeo's eighth ruler, Sindae and the son of the tenth ruler, Sansang. His mother was Emperor Sansang's second queen, from the Jutong-chon of Gwanno-bu. He was made crown prince in 213, and rose to the throne upon Sansang's death.


In 238, Dongcheon was able to ally with the Wei in order to destroy the Gongsun family and erase its influence over Liaodong Peninsula and other areas bordering Goguryeo. The war on the Gongsun was a victory, but Goguryeo's ally, Wei, eventually became a new threat.

As Gogeryeo consolidated its power, it proceeded to act to conquer the territories on the Korean peninsula which were under Chinese rule.[1] Goguryeo initiated the Goguryeo–Wei Wars in 242, trying to cut off Chinese access to its territories in Korea by attempting to take a Chinese fort. However, the Chinese Wei state responded by invading and defeated Goguryeo. Hwando was detroyed in revenge by the Chinese Wei forces in 244.[1]

Dongcheon sent an army to attack Wei's Yodong fortress in 242 to expand Goguryeo territory, but Wei retaliated in a most violent fashion two years later. In 244, Wei sent an invasion force of 10,000 to Goguryeo and took the capital city of Hwando, forcing Dongcheon to flee the capital.

Then, according to the Korean book, the Samguk Sagi, a Goguryeo general named Yu Yu (유유, 紐由) approached the Wei encampment and fooled the Wei commander into thinking that Goguryeo had come to surrender. Yu Yu took this chance to murder the commander and then committed suicide, causing great confusion and discord in the Wei army.[2] King Dongcheon received news of Yu Yu's death and ordered that a memorial be made for Yu Yu the Patriot. Then, he led his armies in the attack to push the Wei forces out of Goguryeo territory. General Mil U (밀우, 密友) and Yu Okgu (유옥구, 劉屋句) also repulsed the Wei forces. The Goguryeo forces won this battle, and regained all of the territory that had been lost from defeats against the Wei. This passage was not paralleled in Chinese records, and Hiroshi Ikeuchi points out its errors: the author of this passage in Samguk Sagi regarded the region of South Okjeo and Lelang as identical, while in fact they are on opposite sides of the peninsula;[3] also, the references to the "Eastern Department" for Yu Yu and Mil U are anachronistic, since Goguryeo did not divide the country into departments until the middle of the Goguryeo dynasty — that is, after Dongcheon's reign.[4] As such, Ikeuchi considered the Samguk Sagi stories of the Wei invasion unreliable.[5]

In 243, he named his son Yeonbul the crown prince and successor to the throne. He attacked Silla, another of the Three Kingdoms to its south, in 245 but made peace in 248.

Death and succession[edit]

Dongcheon fell ill and died during the fall of 248 after 22 years of rule. His tomb is said to be in South Pyongan Province near Pyongyang, North Korea. He is said to have been so loved that many people followed him in death. Crown Prince Yeon-Bul succeeded his father as King Jungcheon immediately after his father's death.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Tennant, p. 22
  2. ^ Hubert & Weems, p. 59
  3. ^ Ikeuchi, p. 116
  4. ^ Ikeuchi, p. 117
  5. ^ Ikeuchi, p. 118


  • Hubert, Homer B. & Weems, Clarence Norwood (Ed.) History of Korea Volume 1. Curzon Press, 1999. ISBN 0-7007-0700-X.
  • Ikeuchi, Hiroshi. "The Chinese Expeditions to Manchuria under the Wei dynasty," Memoirs of the Research Department of the Toyo Bunko 4 (1929): 71-119.
  • Tennant, Charles Roger (1996). A history of Korea (illustrated ed.). Kegan Paul International. ISBN 0-7103-0532-X. Retrieved 2012-02-09. 
Dongcheon of Goguryeo
Born: 209 Died: 248
Regnal titles
Preceded by
King of Goguryeo
Succeeded by
Titles in pretence
Preceded by
King of Korea
Reason for succession failure:
Three Kingdoms of Korea
Succeeded by