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Samjeondo Monument

The Samjeondo Monument (삼전도비; 三田渡碑) is a monument in commemoration of Korea's submission to the Qing Dynasty in 1636. It is located in Songpa-gu, Seoul, South Korea today. The formal name is:

They roughly mean "the stele of the virtue of the Holy Emperor of Qing."

Table of contents
1 History
2 Contents
3 External Link


The Joseon Dynasty surrendered to and became a subject state of the Manchu Empire in 1636. The following year, Hong Taiji, Emperor of the Qing Dynasty, ordered Korea to put up a monument in honor of the excellent virtues of the Manchu Emperor. In 1639 it was erected at Samjeondo, where the ceremony of surrender had been conducted. Inscriptions were written in Manchu and Mongolian on the front side and in Chinese on the back. They have almost the same contents. The Chinese version was composed by Yi Gyeongseok (李景奭) and the rest seem to have been translated from it.

The monument was fallen down after the Qing army was wiped out during the Sino-Japanese War but was re-erected later. In 1956 South Korea buried the monument. However due to a flood, it was unearthed in 1963 and was eventually registered as a cultural property.


Both the Manchus and Koreans saw the inscription as the litmus test for Korea's attitude toward the Manchu Emperor, so King Injo frayed his nerves to it. As a result, it flattered to the Manchus; namely, the inscription narrates how the king of Korea came to attach himself to the virtue of the Manchu Emperor, from a Korean point of view. Although one-sided, it provides a concise account of Manchu-Korean relationship.

The inscription starts with the description of the second Manchu campaign against Korea in 1636. The Manchu army besieged the Namhan fortress, where King Injo took refuge. He admitted his guilty, accepted the imperial edict and surrendered at Samjeondo. Since Hong Taiji felt compassion for the king, he mercifully sent the king back to the capital and rapidly withdrew the army without doing harm to the people.

In the next paragraph, the inscription traced history back to the Battle of Sarhū in 1619. The Korean army, led by Gang Hong-rip, supported Ming but surrendered to the Manchus. However, the soldiers except high-ranking ones were released by Nurhaci. The inscription emphasizes the merciful act. Since Korea still displayed disobedient behavior, Hong Taiji began the first Manchu invasion of Korea in 1627. He did not overthow the kingdom but established a Confucianistic "elder brother-younger brother" relationship. The inscription then goes on to describe the second Manchu campaign. When Hong Taiji declared the new dynasty of Qing in 1636, Korea did not accept it even though the Empire announced a war. The inscription stressed his benevolent act during the war again. Hong Taiji indeed revived the dying kingdom.

Next, the inscription explains the background of erection of the monument. It says that the king voluntarily erected the monument at Samjeondo to let the excellent virtue of the Emperor known around the world.

Finally, the inscription summerize the whole in verse.

External Link