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Huijong of Goryeo
Hangul 희종
Hanja 熙宗
Revised Romanization Huijong
McCune–Reischauer Hŭijong

Huijong of Goryeo (1181 – 1237, r. 1204 – 1211) was the 21st Emperor of the Goryeo dynasty of Korea and the only son of Emperor Sinjong.

It is said of Huijong that if he were to have grown old he would have made a great Emperor. When his father ascended to the throne and Huijong became Crown Prince, he rebelled against Choe Chungheon, the military leader of that time, and his younger brother Choe Chungsu. Huijong grew truly hostile towards them after Chungsu forced the Crown Princess to abdicate so that he could replace her with his daughter. During the rebellion, Huijong masterminded a plan to make Chungheon kill Chungsu, but Chungheon found out about it. Huijong was forced to beg for forgiveness and humble himself before one of his own subjects, which only made him hungrier for revenge.

When Emperor Sinjong fell ill in 1204, he stepped down from the throne to let his son Huijong be Emperor. Huijong, knowing that he had to lull Choe Chungheon into a false sense of security in order to be able to kill him, promoted him to Prime Minister of the State. This title was the one most often given out during the time of military rule to people such as Jeong Jung-bu, Yi Ui-min, and even Chungheon's father posthumously. Huijong also named Chungheon the Royal Protector, the greatest honor of the time, which was usually only given to relatives of the Emepror. With these two titles, Choe Chungheon had political power nearly equal to that of the Emperor himself. He used it to obliterate three rebellions, one led by his slave, another by Silla partisans, and one by his nephew Park Jinjae.

As Chungheon became secure in his new position, however, Huijong began to make preparations. Claiming illness, he tricked Choe Chungheon into coming alone into the palace without his usual host of guards. Once he arrived, Huijong attempted a coup d'etat against him. Unfortunately, this failed and Choe Chungheon barely escaped with his life. Enraged, he exiled Emperor Huijong. Chungheon had realized by this time that he held the 'power of the heavens' in his hand, and could crown and exile whomever he wished whenever he wished. Emperor Gangjong was crowned in Huijong's place.

See also

Preceded by
Rulers of Korea
(Goryeo Dynasty)
Succeeded by


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