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History of Chungnam

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Origins
History
Traces of the Baekje Kingdom

Traces of the Baekje Kingdom

History

Baekje was founded around the lower Han River in BC 18. Until it was destroyed by the Silla-Dang Alliance Empire in 660 AD, the Baekje Kingdom lasted for 678 years, ruling over Chungcheong-do, Jeolla-do, Gangwon-do, and Gyeongsang-do. Baekje was founded by the Buyeo-tribe of the Goguryeo people. King Goi is generally credited with centralizing the Baekje state and gaining permanent ascendancy over the remaining states of Mahan. During the reign of King Geunchogo in the early Baekje period, with strong royal authority and the Damro (Baekje’s administrative district) system, the Kingdom took over three provinces (Gyeonggi, Chungcheong, and Jeolla), Mid Nakdonggang area, Gangwon-do & Hwanghae-do, northeast China, and Japan. Later, the Han River area was taken over by the Silla Kingdom. Enraged by the defeat, King Seong made a retaliatory attack against Silla. However, he died at the battle of Gwansanseong (mountain fortress). During the reign of King Euija, the kingdom weakened due to frequent battles and was finally destroyed by the Silla-Dang Alliance Empire in 660.

Industry

Agriculture : The industrial basis of Baekje was agriculture. It is not clear what the main crop was but there were records that indicate that grains like rice, barley, millet, beans, and sorghum were the main produce. According to historical books such as Samguksagi and Baekjebongi, field crops such as barley and beans are often mentioned. Therefore, it seems that upland farming was prosperous in the early Baekje Kingdom.

Handicrafts : In ancient times, iron was a critical material from which various kitchen utensils and agricultural tools were manufactured. Due to its high exchange value, it was also used as currency. Therefore, iron was mostly produced and controlled by the government. For luxury products, gold, silver, and bronze were used. Personal adornment (gold / gilt bronze crowns, earrings, bracelets, rings, girdles, and shoes), animal figures, and other fancy goods (pillows, cups, and incense burners) show graceful and refined workmanship. It seems that they were manufactured under the supervision of the central government. Other technologies used in large-scale projects such as construction were also controlled by the central government. Considering that professional engineers have been mentioned in Japanese historical books, it seems that technical training teams were organized and the division of labor was implemented by the Baekje Kingdom. In addition, engineering experts enjoyed high status.

Religion

Buddhism: Buddhism was introduced officially into Baekje in the first year of King Chimryu (384 AD). Even though it’s been said that a temple was constructed in Hanseong the following year and 10 monks stayed there, it is hard to imagine the features of this type of Buddhism due to a lack of relics. In terms of Buddhist statues, however, it seems that Seonjeongin Yeoraesang (statue of Buddha with Seonjeongin pose) was patterned after early Chinese gilt bronze seated Buddhas.

Confucianism: The Baekje Kingdom was governed with benevolence. King Biryu sent an envoy to investigate the people’s hardships and gave food to the poor people such as widows or orphans. This kind of charity was based on good government practices towards the needy in accordance with Mencius doctrines. In addition, taxes were imposed differently depending upon whether it was a good year or a bad year. Confucianism was adopted as the political philosophy of the Baekje Kingdom.