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Jeongjong of Joseon

King Jeongjong of Joseon (1357-1419), born Yi Bang-gwa, whose changed name is Yi Gyeong, was the second king of Joseon (or Chosun) Dynasty (1399-1400). He was the second son of the founder and also the first king of the dynasty, King Taejo of Joseon.

Born in 1357 as Yi Bang-Gwa, he was a prudent, generous, brave, and able military officer. During the latter days of the declining Goryeo Dynasty, Jeongjong followed his father, Yi Seonggye, to various battlefronts and fought at his side. As his father became king in 1392, he became prince.

King Taejo had two wives--the first one, who gave birth to six of the king's sons including Jeongjong, died before King Taejo was crowned. Taejo had second wife, who had 2 sons from him. The king favored his youngest son, whose mother was Taejo's second wife. Prime Minister Jeong Dojeon also backed him as the successor to the throne, causing much disappointment from other princes. In 1398, King Taejo's fifth son, Yi Bangwon, who later would be King Taejong of Joseon, led a coup along with many military officers and killed the queen, her two sons, Prime Minister Jeong, and many of his faction. Yi Bangwon first tried to show that he was not intended to take the throne, so he gave a push to his older brother Jeongjong (who was also the oldest then), to be a crown prince. King Taejo was upset and abdicated in disgust, and Jeongjong became king in the following year, 1399. The same year he moved the capital back to Kaegyeong, the old Goryeo capital.

In 1400, a conflict broke out between Yi Bangwon and his older brother, Yi Bang-gan. Yi Bangwon's force attacked and defeated Bang-gan's army, and Bang-gan was sent into exile along with his family. General Bak Bo, who persuaded Bang-gan to fight against Bangwon, was executed. King Jeongjong, knowing the acting king of the kingdom was his younger brother Bangwon, appointed him as a crown prince, and abdicated a few days later.

He was an able, wise administrator even though his short reign was marked by bloodshed within the royal family. He banned all kinds of private troops on the advice of Crown Prince Bangwon. He died in 1419, and was buried near Kaeseong.


  • Father: King Taejo (태조)
  • Mother: Queen Sin-ui of the Anbyeon Han clan (신의왕후 한씨)
  • Consorts:
  • Queen Jeongan of the Gyeongju Kim clan (정안왕후 김씨)
  • Royal Noble Consort Seong of the Ji clan (성빈 지씨)
  • Ji Suk-ui (숙의 지씨)
  • Ki Suk-ui (숙의 기씨)
  • Mun Suk-ui (숙의 문씨)
  • Lee Suk-ui (숙의 이씨)
  • Yun Suk-ui (숙의 윤씨)
  • Lady-in-Waiting Gimae (시비 기매)
  • Issue:
  • Prince Deokcheon (덕천군), 1st Son of Royal Noble Consort Seong of the Ji clan.
  • Prince Dopyeong (도평군), 2nd Son of Royal Noble Consort Seong of the Ji clan.
  • Prince Uipyeong (의평군), 1st Son of Ji Suk-ui.
  • Prince Seonseong (선성군), 2nd Son of Ji Suk-ui.
  • Prince Imseong (임성군), 3rd Son of Ji Suk-ui.
  • Prince Sunpyeong (순평군), 1st Son of Ki Suk-ui.
  • Prince Geumpyeong (금평군), 2nd Son of Ki Suk-ui.
  • Prince Jeongseok (정석군), 3rd Son of Ki Suk-ui.
  • Prince Murim (무림군), 4th Son of Ki Suk-ui.
  • Prince Jungui (종의군), Only Son of Mun Suk-ui.
  • Prince Jinnam (진남군), Only Son of Lee Suk-ui.
  • Prince Sudo (수도군), 1st Son of Yun Suk-ui.
  • Prince Imeon (임언군), 2nd Son of Yun Suk-ui.
  • Prince Seokbo (석보군), 3rd Son of Yun Suk-ui.
  • Prince Jangcheon (장천군), 4th Son of Yun Suk-ui.
  • Princess Hamyang (함양옹주), Only Daughter of Ji Suk-ui.
  • Princess Sukshin (숙신옹주), Only Daughter of Ki Suk-ui.
  • Princess Incheon (인천옹주), Only Daughter of Yun Suk-ui.
  • Princess Deokcheon (덕천옹주), 1st Daughter of Lady-in-Waiting Gimae.
  • Princess Goseong (고성옹주), 2nd Daughter of Lady-in-Waiting Gimae.
  • Princess Sangwon (상원옹주), 3rd Daughter of Lady-in-Waiting Gimae.
  • Princess Jeonsan (전산옹주), 4th Daughter of Lady-in-Waiting Gimae.
  • Princess Haman (함안옹주), 5th Daughter of Lady-in-Waiting Gimae.

His full posthumous name

  • King Jeongjong Gongjeong Euimun Jangmu Onin Sunhyo the Great of Korea
  • 정종공정의문장무온인순효대왕
  • 定宗恭靖懿文莊武溫仁順孝大王

See also

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