Korean–Jurchen border conflicts

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Korean-Jurchen conflicts
Date 10th century - 17th century
Location Northern Korean Peninsula
Result Jurchen/Manchu victory
Jin dynasty (1115–1234)
Jianzhou Jurchens
Qing dynasty
Commanders and leaders
King Hyeonjong
Gang Gam-chan
Seo Hui
Gang Jo 
Yang Gyu 
Hong Taiji

The Korean-Jurchen conflicts were a series conflicts from the 10th century to the 17th century between the Korean states of Goryeo and Joseon and the Jurchen people. The ancestors of the Jurchen were the Mohe and their descendants were the Manchu people.


After the fall of Goguryeo and then the Mohe ruled state of Balhae, parts of the northern Korean peninsula fell into the hands of the Tungusic Mohe people and their descendants the Jurchen people. During the Liao dynasty, Jin dynasty (1115–1234) and Yuan dynasty the area was under the control of Jurchen chieftains.

The Korean Kingdoms of Goryeo and its successor Joseon fought their way up the Korean peninsula and annexed land from the Jurchen, culminating in Joseon taking total control of the Korean peninsula after seizing control of Hamgyong (鹹鏡道/함경도) from the Jurchens.

According to Goryeosa, "barbarians" occupied the land around Pyongyang in 918,[1] and that in 993 the area between Pyongyang and Liaoyang was populated by Jurchens.[2]

Timeline of the Korean–Jurchen wars[edit]

Under Goryeo period[edit]

The Koreans of Goryeo had been beaten into submission to the Jurchens by the Jurchen leader Wu-ya-shu,[3] who secured the Jurchen-Korean border.[4] The Jurchens extorted gifts and rewards from the Korean kingdom Goryeo by militarily threatening them.[5]

  • In 984 Goryeo began to build a fortress on the banks of the Yalu river but were hindered by the Jurchen, who caused the work to be suspended.
  • 1010 : Ha Gong-jin and Yu Chung attacked the eastern Jurchens tribes. The Jurchen ravaged the northeast boundary of Goryeo kingdom in 1012. Joined with the Khitan, the Jurchen crossed the Yalu border but were driven back by Kim Sang wi.
  • To defend against the Jurchens and Khitans, a Long Wall was built by Goryeo in 1033-1034 along with many border forts.[6][7][8][9][10]
  • Under Wanyan Wuyashu's order, Shi Shihuan (石適歡) led Jurchen army of the Tumen River basin, subdued Jurchen in Helandian and advanced southward to chase about 1,800 remnants who defected to Goryeo. Goryeo did not hand them over but sent Im Gan (林幹) to intercept the Wanyan army. However, Shi Shihuan defeated Im Gan north of the Chŏngp'yŏng wall and invaded northeastern frontier of Goryeo. Goryeo dispatched Yoon Gwan (尹瓘) but lost a battle again. As a result, Wuyashu subjugated the Jurchen in Helandian.

In 1107 Goryeo dispatched five large armies led by Yoon Gwan to Helandian. They destroyed a hundred Jurchen villages and built nine fortresses there. After a one-year battle, the Wanyan army won two fortresses and eliminated Goryeo reinforcements. Goryeo and the Jurchen achieved settlement and, as a result, Goryeo withdrew from the occupied areas.

  • Ca. 1364 삼선(三善, Three Mountains) & 삼개(三介, Three Rivers)
  • around 1383 : 호발도(胡拔都)

Under Joseon period[edit]

There were two kind of Jurchens: the Enemy/Treacherous Jurchens 적호(賊胡) and the defensive/boundary Jurchens 번호(藩胡) considered as Jianzhou Jurchens living in Korean borders.

The modern day northeastern part of the Korean peninsula in Hamgyong used to belong to the Jurchens and was inhabited by Jurchen tribes, during the Liao, Jin, and Yuan dynasties, it was put under Jurchen tribal jurisdiction.

After the collapse of Yuan dynasty power Goryeo and then Joseon made the Jurchens in the area around Hamhung on the northern Korean peninsula submit as vassals However the Ming dynasty sought to take control of the Jurchen tribes and claimed all of the land which belonged to the Jin and Liao dynaties "north of Xianzhou", but the Koreans utilized mistakes in the texts of the Jinshi and Liaoshi in their Dilizhi chapters to say that the area belonged to Korea, and the Ming conceded the area since there was no proof available to the Ming for Jin and Liao control of those places, even though in reality the land were indeed under Jin rule as evidenced by epigraphs carved in stone by the Jurchen.[11]

The Joseon Koreans tried to deal with the military threat posed by the Jurchen by using both forceful means and incentives, and by launching military attacks while at the same time they tried to appease them with titles and degrees, traded with them, and sought to acculturate them by having Korean women marry Jurchens and integrating them into Korean culture. Despite these measures, fighting continued between the Jurchen and the Koreans.[12][13] The Ming Yongle Emperor was determined to wrest the Jurchens out of Korean influence and have China dominate them instead.[14] Korea tried to persuade Jurchen leader Mentemu (Möngke Temür) to reject the Ming overtures, but were unsuccessful since Möngke Temür folded and submitted to the Ming.[15][16][17][18]

Joseon under Sejong the Great then engaged in military campaigns against the Jurchen and after defeating the Odoli, Maolian and Udige clans, Joseon managed to take control of Hamgyong.

The modern borders of Korea were finalized when the northeast region was conquered by the Yi (Joseon) and arond 1450 several border forts were established in the conquered northeast.[19]

In 1467 Ming China and Joseon defeated the Huligai clan and killed their leader Li Manzhu 李滿住.

  • 1409 : Invasion of Kyungwon (경원;慶源)
  • 1432–1433 : Li-Man-chu (李滿住) (b.1407 – †1467), the chief of the Huligai (胡里改) was beaten by a Joseon's expedition led by general Choe Yun-deok (Hangul : 최윤덕 Hanja :崔潤德).
  • 1436 : Two powerful Jurchens tribes (Olyangtap and Holjaon (홀라온;忽剌溫)) crossed the Tuman river and invaded the Hamgildo Province (Hangul : 함길도 Hanja :咸吉道), present-day Hamgyong Province, which have been recently repopulated by Korean settlers.
  • 1460 : The Invasion of the Hamgildo Province by the Orangai (Hangul : 오랑캐 Hanja :兀良哈) forces led by (Hangul : 모련위 Hanja :毛憐衛). Joseon army led a counter-offensive.
  • 1467 :Li-Man-chu (李滿住) was killed after a joint Korean-Ming attack (under Sejo of Joseon's reign).
  • Ca.1480 : Wars between Joseon army and the Jurchens on the on northeast china
  • 1482 : Two forts on the Yalu were built near the town of Kanggye.
  • 1491 : Gen. Heo Jong 허종(許琮) led several military campaigns against the Jurchens on the northern border. There were successful and repulsed the defeated Jurchens (Udige,兀狄哈) to the north of the Tuman river.
  • Ca. 1520 : The Jurchens of the north ravaged the Korean borders the Joseon king sent troops against them.
  • Ca. 1555 : The Jurchens tribe of Kol-gan-bul (or Kolgan Udige) (Hangul: 골간 올적합 Hanja:骨看兀狄哈) crossed the northern border and harried the border town.
  • Ca. 1570 : the Jurchens across the Yalu were crossing that river and taking possessions of fields in Korea proper, near the town of Kanggye. The King sent a force, under Kim Tong-yung to dislodge them. The intruders were chased across the river and into a narrow defile where they turned on their pursuers. Taken thus by surprise, the Korean forces were thrown into confusion and were put to flight after their general was killed. A second expedition chased the intruders to their villages, and burned them out.
  • 1583 : A fierce invasion, led by Pon-ho chieftains (번호;藩胡) 아산보(阿山堡)or 니탕개(尼蕩介), occurred on the northern part of Hamgyeong Province. The prefecture of Kyungwon was taken, but Shin Rip, the prefect of Onsung, went to its succour and after a desperate fight before the town, he broke back of the invasion and drove the invaders back across the Tuman and burned their villages.

Two chieftains, Yul Po-ri and Yi T’ang-ga advanced by separate roads upon Kyongsung with 10,000 mounted followers, but the little garrison of 100 men fought so stubbornly that the siege was raised and the two chieftains marched on to attack Pang-weun. The Joseon troops arrived just in time to drive the invaders back.

  • 1588 : Outbreaks of the far northern border and Gen. Yi Il along with (우후/虞侯 and 김우추/金遇秋) took a small force of 400 men, crossed the Tuman River on the ice and attacked the Chudo Jurchens tribe (Hangul :추도 반호 Hanja :楸島 叛胡), killing 33 peoples among them on 1588 1m 14d.

Being successful in this he took 2500 men along with the prefects of Hoeryong, Onsong and Puryong, crossed the same river at four different points simultaneously and attacked the Sijun Jurchens (Hangul : 시전번호/반호 Hanja :時錢藩胡/叛胡) tribe by night, burning 200 houses and killing 380 peoples. (제승방략(制勝方略)) on 1588 1m 15d.

  • 1605 : a fierce conflict between the Jurchen tribe of Hol-cha-on (Hangul : 홀자온 Hanja :忽刺溫), north of the Tuman River and the Joseon troops under Gen. Song U-gil (Hangul : 성우길 Hanja :成祐吉). The latter crossed the river by night and attacked the main settlement of the tribe and utterly destroyed it, and effectually broke up the tribe. Great quantities of goods which had been stolen from the border settlements were also recovered.

Timeline of the Korean-Manchu wars[edit]

The Jurchens of the Later Jin, who later became the Manchus, inflicted a crushing defeat upon Joseon Korea in their 1627 invasion.

The Manchus inflicted a decisive defeat upon the Koreans and forced the Korean King to perform a humiliating ritual of submission along with erecting the Samjeondo Monument.


  1. ^ "丙申谕群臣曰:“平壤古都荒废虽久,基址尙存,而荆棘滋茂,蕃人游猎於其间,因而侵掠边邑,为害 大矣。 宜徙民实之以固藩屏为百世之利"(高丽史)
  2. ^ “自契丹东京至我安北府数百里之地,皆为生女真所据。光宗取之,筑嘉州、松城等城,今契丹之来,其志不过取 北二城,其声言取高勾丽旧地者,实恐我也”(高丽史)
  3. ^ China Under Jurchen Rule. Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  4. ^ The Cambridge History of China: Volume 6, Alien Regimes and Border States ... Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  5. ^ Breuker 2010, p. 221.
  6. ^ Michael J. Seth (16 October 2010). A History of Korea: From Antiquity to the Present. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. pp. 86–. ISBN 978-0-7425-6717-7. 
  7. ^ Michael J. Seth (1 January 2006). A Concise History of Korea: From the Neolithic Period Through the Nineteenth Century. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 84–. ISBN 978-0-7425-4005-7. 
  8. ^ Matthew Bennett (January 1998). The Hutchinson Dictionary of Ancient & Medieval Warfare. Taylor & Francis. pp. 182–. ISBN 978-1-57958-116-9. 
  9. ^ Haywood, John; Jotischky, Andrew; McGlynn, Sean (1998). Historical Atlas of the Medieval World, AD 600-1492. Barnes & Noble. p. 3.24. ISBN 978-0-7607-1976-3. 
  10. ^ Carlos Kenneth Quiñones; Joseph Tragert (26 January 2004). The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding North Korea. Alpha Books. pp. 71–. ISBN 978-1-59257-169-7. 
  11. ^ Aisin Gioro & Jin, pp. 20-21.
  12. ^ Seth 2006, p. 138.
  13. ^ Seth 2010, p. 144.
  14. ^ Zhang 2008, p. 29.
  15. ^ Goodrich 1976, p. 1066.
  16. ^ Peterson 2002, p. 13.
  17. ^ Twitchett 1998, pp. 286-287.
  18. ^ Zhang 2008, p. 30.
  19. ^ Haywood, John; Jotischky, Andrew; McGlynn, Sean (1998). Historical Atlas of the Medieval World, AD 600-1492. Barnes & Noble. p. 3.24. ISBN 978-0-7607-1976-3. 
  • Robinson, Kenneth R.. 1992. “From Raiders to Traders: Border Security and Border Control in Early Chosŏn, 1392—1450”. Korean Studies 16. University of Hawai'i Press: 94–115. http://www.jstor.org/stable/23720024.