08.09.

1852: The First Emperor of Korea – the “Warrior of Light”

1852: The First Emperor of Korea – the “Warrior of Light”
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 8 September 1852
  • Korea was a kingdom at the time, and its king was subjected to Emperor of China, like a vassal. But the new Korean emperor was an independent ruler. 

The first emperor of Korea, the Emperor Gwangmu (which means “Warrior of Light” in Korean), was born on this day in 1852.

Korea was a kingdom at the time, and its king was subjected to Emperor of China, like a vassal. But the new Korean emperor was an independent ruler. 

The mentioned ruler of Korea proclaimed himself emperor in 1897. He wanted to emphasize his independence from the Chinese Empire.

The capital of the new Korean Empire was Seoul (formerly Hanseong).

Interestingly, the German musician Franz Eckert composed the empire’s anthem (he is also famous for the anthem “Kimigayo” – the national anthem in Japan). 

Only two emperors ruled the Korean Empire: the mentioned Emperor Gwangmu, and his son Yunghui.

This is because the Japanese conquered the empire in 1910, as well as a large part of China.

The successors of the last emperor of Korea still live, and they are pretenders to the Korean throne. 

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