Little Goguryeo

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Little Goguryeo

소고구려 (小高句麗)
Dark green - Little Goguryeo, Light green - Balhae
Dark green - Little Goguryeo, Light green - Balhae
StatusVassal state of Tang Dynasty
independent kingdom de facto
Common languagesKorean, Chinese
Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Chinese folk religion, Korean shamanism
• Establishment
• Fall
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Protectorate General to Pacify the East
Today part ofChina
North Korea

Lesser Goguryeo or Little Goguryeo (699-820) (소고구려, 小高句麗) is a hypothetical term for a state proposed by a Japanese scholar Kaizaburo Hino (ja:日野開三郎). The existence of the state have been debated among scholars.[1] This name was not mentioned in historical records, and these leaders were recorded as, subject to, Governor-generals of the Tang dynasty.[2][3]

It was allegedly established by the refugees of Goguryeo, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea, after its defeat by the Tang Dynasty.[1] The kingdom was supposedly originally called Goryeo, but later historians added "Lesser" for disambiguation from Goguryeo, which was also often called Goryeo. "Goryeo" is also the name of a later period of Korean history (see Goryeo), and the source of the English name Korea.

After the Korean Silla kingdom and the Chinese Tang Dynasty allied to destroy Goguryeo, the Liaodong Peninsula was administered by the Tang. The Tang supposedly lost effective control due to rebellion by Goguryeo refugees, and the region became a buffer zone between Tang and the Korean kingdom of Balhae. Although Lesser Goguryeo declared itself an independent kingdom, it was soon absorbed into Balhae, which became the successor state to Goguryeo.


In 699, the Tang government sent former Goguryeo Prince Go Deokmu, the third son of Goguryeo's last ruler, King Bojang, to Liaodong Peninsula, naming him "King of Joseon" and Governor of the Yodong Commandery of the Protectorate General to Pacify the East. Like his father, Go Deokmu had plans to rebel against the Tang and revive Goguryeo and provide a kingdom for the Goguryeo people.

The Tang Empire at the time was undergoing several crises, especially the An Lushan Rebellion. Along with these major events was also the pressure given by the Empire of Balhae. These and many other pressures allowed Go Deokmu to take full control of the Protectorate General to Pacify the East and allegedly establish a kingdom.[citation needed]

The Little Goguryeo kingdom was established during that year with Go Deokmu as its first king. Very little is known about how the establishment of Little Goguryeo was reacted upon by neighboring kingdoms. It is known that the Balhae was in good terms with Lesser Goguryeo in respect for the similar purposes that the two kingdoms possessed.[citation needed]


At around 820, after two generations of ruling the Liaodong Peninsula and other former regions of Goguryeo, Lesser Goguryeo was absorbed into Balhae during the reign King Seon of Balhae.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Furuhata, Toru (古畑徹) (1992). "いわゆる「小高句麗國」の存否問題" [The Existence of the so-called "Koguryǒ-Minor Kingdom 小高句麗國"]. 東洋史研究(The journal of Oriental researches). 51 (2): 204–229. doi:10.14989/154403. pdf
  2. ^ 《册府元龟·外臣部·封册二》:“玄宗先天二年二月拜高丽大首领高定傅为特进”
  3. ^ 《册府元龟·外臣部·封册二》:“开元三年八月高丽吐浑等诸蕃降附制曰:天亡骄子胡运其终国有忠臣汉封斯在高丽王莫离支高文简都督”