Gwangjong of Goryeo

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Emperor of Goryeo
Reign 13 April 949 – 4 July 975
Coronation 13 April 949
Predecessor Jeongjong
Successor Gyeongjong
Born 925
Died 4 July 975
Spouse Queen Daemok
Issue Gyeongjong,
Crown Prince Hyohwa
House House of Wang
Father Taejo
Mother Queen Shinmyeongsunseong
Korean name
Hangul 광종
Revised Romanization Gwangjong
McCune–Reischauer Kwangjong
Birth name
Hangul 왕소
Revised Romanization Wang So
McCune–Reischauer Wang So
Posthumous name
Hangul 홍도선열평세대성대왕
Revised Romanization Hongdoseonyeolpyeongsedaeseongdaewang
McCune–Reischauer hongdosŏnyŏlp‘yŏngse taesŏng taewang

Gwangjong (925 – 4 July 975), personal name Wang So, was the fourth king of Goryeo.[citation needed] He was known for squashing his political rivals and creating an atmosphere of fear within the political realm at the time.

Goryeo met the time of change by ascending of Gwangjong. At his early stage as ruler, he maintained a passive attitude to nobles. However, he became more and more drastic. Choi Seung-Ro said that his regime can be divided into three parts. First is the period of grouping. Second is the period of strengthening power, and the last is the period of purge.

First Period - The Period of Grouping (949–955)[edit]

At the early stage of Goryeo, it was a syndicate of powerful clans. Furthermore, many clans of them were the supporting powers of him. It was not easy to reinforce his power and he started to find the way to reinforce his power. He studied how to consolidate his power by reading zhenguanzhengyao. He got the support of the public by supporting Buddhism.

Second Period - The Period of Strengthening power (955–959)[edit]

Monarchs of Korea
  1. Taejo 918–943
  2. Hyejong 943–945
  3. Jeongjong 945–949
  4. Gwangjong 949–975
  5. Gyeongjong 975–981
  6. Seongjong 981–997
  7. Mokjong 997–1009
  8. Hyeonjong 1009–1031
  9. Deokjong 1031–1034
  10. Jeongjong II 1034–1046
  11. Munjong 1046–1083
  12. Sunjong 1083
  13. Seonjong 1083–1094
  14. Heonjong 1094–1095
  15. Sukjong 1095–1105
  16. Yejong 1105–1122
  17. Injong 1122–1146
  18. Uijong 1146–1170
  19. Myeongjong 1170–1197
  20. Sinjong 1197–1204
  21. Huijong 1204–1211
  22. Gangjong 1211–1213
  23. Gojong 1213–1259
  24. Wonjong 1259–1269
  25. Yeongjong1269
  26. Wonjong 1269–1274
  27. Chungnyeol 1274–1308
  28. Chungseon 1308–1313
  29. Chungsuk 1313–1330
  30. Chunghye 1330–1332
  31. Chungmok 1344–1348
  32. Chungjeong 1348–1351
  33. Gongmin 1351–1374
  34. U 1374–1388
  35. Chang 1388–1389
  36. Gongyang 1389–1392

The focus of his reform was strengthening the power of King. He started to drive out powerful clans from the Goryeo court. He brought Ssang Gi and naturalized people from China into his court and started aggressive reforms. He made the law of emancipating slaves (노비안검법, 奴婢按檢法) in 958, and the national civil service examination in 958. The national civil service examination helped the Goryeo court furnish new faces and expel people of powerful clans.

Third Period - The Period of Purge (959–975)[edit]

Powerful clans were unhappy because of his aggressive attitude and reforms. They perceived that they would be purged by him intuitively. Finally, some of them had the intention to revolt. However, they were killed by him before the revolt. Typical examples of the executed were Prince Heunghwa and Prince Gyeongchunwon.


He got a serious disease in July, 975 and died just after few days.


  • Father: King Taejo (태조)
  • Mother: Queen Sinmyeongsunseong (신명순성왕후)
  • Consorts:
  1. Queen Daemok (대목왕후), half-sister of Gwangjong
  2. Lady Gyeonghwagung (경화궁부인), niece of Gwangjong, daughter of King Hyejong (혜종)
  • Children:
  1. King Gyeongjong (경종), 1st Son of Queen Daemok
  2. Crown Prince Hyohwa (효화태자), 2nd Son of Queen Daemok
  3. Lady Chenchujeon (천추전부인), 1st daughter of Queen Daemok
  4. Lady Bohwagung (보화궁부인), 2nd daughter of Queen Daemok
  5. Queen Mundeok (문덕왕후), 3rd daughter of Queen Daemok

See also[edit]


Gwangjong of Goryeo
Born: 925 Died: 4 July 975
Regnal titles
Preceded by
King of Goryeo
Succeeded by