Yeongyang of Goguryeo

Yeongyang of Goguryeo (died 618) (r. 590–618) was the 26th monarch of Goguryeo, the northernmost of the Three Kingdoms of Korea. He was the eldest son of Pyeongwon of Goguryeo (r. 559–590).[1]

Yeongyang of Goguryeo
영양왕 or 평양왕
嬰陽王 or 平陽王
Revised RomanizationYeong-yang-wang or Pyeong-yang-wang
McCune–ReischauerYŏng-yang-wang or P'yǒng-yang-wang
Birth name
원 or 대원
元 or 大元
Revised RomanizationWon or Daewon
McCune–ReischauerWǒn or Taewǒn


He is noted for repelling a series of invasions by the Chinese Sui Dynasty between 598 to 614, known as the Goguryeo-Sui Wars. He fended off four Sui campaigns by Emperors Wendi and Yangdi, including the great assault of 612, during which more than a million troops invaded Goguryeo territory.[2]

The Samguk Sagi relates that Yeongyang was of unsurpassed charisma and had a magnanimous character, and "made it his undertaking to relieve the sufferings of the world and bring peace to the people".[3] He was named Crown Prince by his father in 566, and he assumed the throne when the monarch died in 590.

Yeongyang's reign took place in the context of heightened rivalry among the Korean Three Kingdoms of Goguryeo, Baekje, and Silla, as well as the unification of China by the Sui and China's growing ambitions. Initially Yeongyang enjoyed cordial relations with Sui, receiving from the Sui emperor Wendi his enfeoffment as king of Goguryeo and attendant "offices and ranks" by tradition granted by Chinese dynasties to tribute monarchs. At the same time, Yeongyang strengthened relations with the Khitan and Mohe tribes to the north, in the preparations for war against China begun by his father.[citation needed]

In 598 however the Wendi grew incensed by a Goguryeo armed incursion into the Liaodong peninsula, a region claimed by Sui. It was largely this affront, combined with Sui's own geopolitical ambitions to reestablish the hegemony enjoyed by the Han Dynasty, that induced Wendi to launch a 300,000-men invasion of Goguryeo in 598. The 598 Sui invasion was foiled by disease and the weather (a severe storm wreaked havoc on the would-be invasion fleet).[4]

In 607 Emperor Yangdi discovered that Goguryeo was in contact with Yami Qaghan (603-609), khan of the Eastern Turks, another ostensible vassal state to the Sui. This convinced Yangdi to launch a campaign of 1,133,000 troops by land and sea against the recalcitrant Goguryeo in 612. This too Goguryeo was able to defeat, most notably in the battle of Salsu led by the General Eulji Mundeok.[5]

In 613, and again in 614, Yangdi issued orders for additional unsuccessful campaigns against Goguryeo. When Yeongyang failed to appear at the Sui court in formal submission another invasion was planned, offset only by domestic turmoil and the subsequent fall of the Sui in 618.

That same year saw the death of Yeongyang, and he was succeeded by his half-brother Go Geon-mu.

In the meanwhile, Goguryeo attacked the southern Korean kingdoms Baekje and Silla in a failed bid to reclaim the Seoul region. Silla, under attack by both Goguryeo and former ally Baekje, reached out to the Sui Dynasty. Silla would later ally with Sui's successor, the Tang Dynasty, to unite much of the Korean peninsula in 668.)[4][1]

Yeongyang ordered the compilation of a new history text Sinjip (신집, 新集), although no copies survive today.

Popular cultureEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "영양왕" (in Korean). Doopedia. Retrieved 2016-10-05.
  2. ^ "King Yeongyang (2)". KBS World. Retrieved 2016-10-05.
  3. ^ Samguk Sagi, "Annals of Goguryeo", vol. 19
  4. ^ a b "King Yeongyang (1)". KBS World. Retrieved 2016-10-05.
  5. ^ Jinwung Kim (2012). A History of Korea: From "Land of the Morning Calm" to States in Conflict (e-book via Scribd). Indiana University Press. pp. 103–104. ISBN 9780253000781.
Yeongyang of Goguryeo
 Died: 618
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Monarch of Goguryeo
Succeeded by