King Sukjong of Joseon: Wikis


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Sukjong of Joseon
Hangul 숙종
Hanja 肅宗
Revised Romanization Sukjong
McCune–Reischauer Sukchong
Birth name
Hangul 이순
Hanja 李焞
Revised Romanization I Sun
McCune–Reischauer I Sun

Sukjong (1661–1720) was the 19th king of the Joseon Dynasty of Korea from 1674–1720.



King Sukjong was born August 15, 1661 to King Hyeonjong and Queen Myeongseong in Gyeongbok Palace. His given name was Yi Sun. He became the Crown Prince in 1667 at age 7, and in 1674, at age 14, he became the 19th ruler of the Joseon Dynasty.

King Sukjong was a brilliant politician, but his reign was not all peaceful. He finalized an ongoing political argument between the "West Faction" headed by Song Si-yeol and the "South Faction" headed by Kim Suk-ju, (who was Queen Myeongseong's cousin) which began during the reign of Sukjong's father, King Hyeonjong. (see Royal Funeral Dispute).

In 1712, Sukjong's government worked with the Qing Dynasty in China to define the national borders between the two countries at the Yalu and Tumen Rivers.

King Sukjong had three Queens and three concubines, three sons and six daughters (see family tree below). He died after 46 years of reign in 1720 at age 60. He was buried in Myeongnyeung in Gyeonggi province, Goyang City inside Western Five Royal Graves.

King Sukjong's Family


Sukjong's Consorts

Queen Ingyeong (1661–1680)

Daughter of Kim Man-gi[1] and Lady Han[2]. She was married at the age of 10 to Sukjong, at that time the Crown Prince (wangseja), entitling her as the Princess Consort to the Crown Prince (wangsejabin). In 1674, alongside with the enthronement of her husband, she became the Queen of Joseon. She had 3 daughters, all of whom died at birth. In October 1680, at age 20, she showed signs of Pox and died 8 days later in Gyeongbok Palace. She was buried in Ik-reung in Gyeonggi province. She has sired 3 daughters, all of whom died in childbirth.

She was given the posthumous title "Queen Ingyeong, Gwangryeol Hyojang Myeonghyeon Seonmok Hyeseong Sunui" (광렬효장명현선목혜성순의인경왕후 光烈孝莊明顯宣穆惠聖純懿仁敬王后).

Queen Inhyeon (1667–1701)

Daughter of Min Yoo-jung[3] and Lady Song[4], she became Sukjong's second Queen by marriage in 1681. She is perhaps one of the best known Queens of the Joseon dynasty. Her life was portrayed in many Korean historical dramas. When Jang (given name: Ok-jeong) so-ui[5] produced a son in 1688, it created a bloody dispute called Gisa Sahwa. During this time, Sukjong wanted to give this eldest son the title of Crown Prince and wanted to promote Lady Jang from So-ui to Hui-bin[6]. This action was opposed by the Noron faction (headed by Song Si-yeol, with Min Yoo-jung (Inhyeon's father) as member), and this was supported by the Soron faction (of which Jang Hui-jae ((then) Jang so-ui's older brother) was a member). Sukjong became angry at the opposition, and many were killed including Song Si-yeol. Many, including Inhyeon and her family, were forced into exile. Jang so-ui became Jang hui-bin, and then became the Queen, with the title of Grand Concubine Oksan (Oksan Taebin).

Later in 1694, Sukjong, feeling remorse at his temperamental actions, gave in to a movement for Inhyeon's reinstatement, which was led by the Soron (this event was called the Gapsul Hwanguk) She was brought back to the palace and reinstated as Queen, with Lady Jang being demoted to hui-bin. In 1701, age 35, she became ill and died of an unknown disease. It has been said that Jang Hui-bin brought a Shamanist priestess into the palace and prayed for the Queen's death. When this was discovered by Sukjong, she was executed for her actions (by poison). One of the Queen's lady's maids wrote a book called Inhyeon Wanghu Jeon (Queen Inhyeon's Story) which still exists today. She is buried in Myeong-reung in Kyeonggi Province, and Sukjong was later buried near her in the same area. She has no issue to Sukjong.

She is given the posthumous title "Queen Inhyeon, Hyogyeong Sukseong Jangsun Wonhwa Uiyeol Jeongmok" (효경숙성장순원화의열정목인현왕후 孝敬淑聖莊純元化懿烈貞穆仁顯王后).

Queen Inwon (1687–1757)

Daughter of Kim Joo-shin[7] and Lady Jo[8], she married and became the third Queen of Sukjong at age of 15, in 1702, after Inhyeon's death in 1701. She survived Pox in 1711. She became the Dowager Queen (wangdaebi) after Sukjong died, and Daewangdaebi in 1724 after Gyeongjong (stepson by Jang hui-bin) died and Yeongjo (her other stepson by Choi suk-bin), whom she favored, became King. She had no issue, and died in 1757 at age of 70, and was buried near Sukjong and Inhyeon in Gyeonggi Province.

She was given the posthumous title "Queen Inwon, Hyesun Jagyeong Heonryeol Gwangseon Hyeonik Kangseong Jeongdeok Suchang Yeongbok Yunghwa Hwijeong Jeongwoon Jeongui Jangmok" (혜순자경헌렬광선현익강성정덕수창영복융화휘정정운정의장목인원왕후 惠順慈敬獻烈光宣顯翼康聖貞德壽昌永福隆化徽精正運定懿章穆仁元王后).

Hui-bin Jang Ok-jeong (1659–1701)

She is only known to be a first cousin once removed of a tradesman Jang Hyeon and no records of who her father was. However, there are rumors that her father was Jo Sa-seok (Queen Jangryeol's brother), because Ok-jeong's mother (Lady Yoon) was his well known mistress.

Ok-jeong became Queen Jangryeol (Injo's second queen)'s lady's maid at recommendation of Prince Dongpyeong (Sukjong's cousin). Then in 1686, Sukjong discovered her after a visit with his step-great-grandmother (Queen Jangryeol, now the Dowager Queen Jaeoui) and made her his concubine and gave her the title of suk-won[9]. In 1688, she was promoted to so-ui, and in 1689 she gave birth to a son, and became hui-bin. When Inhyeon was forced into exile in May 1688, she became the Queen, backed by the Soron faction, and her son was entitled the Crown Prince, giving place to the Gisa Hwanguk.

Later in 1694, with the reinstatement of Inhyeon, Grand Concubine Oksan (see above) was demoted back to hui-bin. In 1701, Inhyeon died of an unknown disease, and Jang hui-bin was discovered by Sukjong in her chambers with her brother Jang Hui-jae and a Shamanist priestess praying for Inhyeon's death and her reinstatement. Jang hee-bin, her brother, and anyone involved was arrested and sentenced to death by poisoning. She was 43, and had two children: the future Gyeongjong and Princess Seongsu.

After this, Sukjong made a law prohibiting concubines from being allowed to become Queens in the future. Jang hui-bin left many folk stories behind including her greed over power, and a story involving right before her death with her son then the Crown Prince (future Gyeongjong)[10].

Nevertheless, since she was the mother of the Crown Prince, she was given the posthumous title "Oksan, Great Concubine of the Palace; Prefectural Great Concubine of the Jang clan" (대빈궁옥산부대빈장씨 大嬪宮玉山府大嬪張氏).

Choi suk-bin

There are no records of her life before she became Sukjong's concubine. She was a water maid in the palace. One night, she was praying in her chamber for Inhyeon's wellness when Sukjong, who was crossing outside after a trip outside of the palace, heard her and, moved by her kindness (Sukjong was having his regrets at that time), made her his concubine. She became suk-bin after the birth of a son in 1694 and Princess Yeongsu.

She was given the posthumous title "Lady Hwagyeong, Royal Noble Consort Sook of the Choi clan" (화경숙빈최씨 和瓊淑嬪崔氏).

Park myeong-bin

No known records only a fact the she was a daughter of a yangban. She had one son, Prince Yeonryeong.

List of Sukjong's family

  • Father: King Hyeonjong (현종)
  • Mother: Queen Myeongseong of the Kim clan (명성왕후 김씨)
  • Consorts:
  1. Queen Ingyeong of the Kim clan (인경왕후 김씨, 1661–80)
  2. Queen Inhyeon of the Yeoheung Min clan (인현왕후 민씨, 1667–1701) - No issue
  3. Queen Inwon of the Kim clan (인원왕후 김씨, 1687–1757) - No issue
  4. Jang Ok-jeong, Royal Noble Consort Hui of the Indong Jang clan (희빈 장옥정, 1659?-October 10, 1701)
  5. Royal Noble Consort Sook of the Choi clan (숙빈 최씨)
  6. Royal Noble Consort Myeong of the Park clan (명빈 박씨)
  7. Royal Noble Consort Yeong of the Kim clan (영빈 김씨)
  8. Kim Gwi-in (귀인 김씨)
  9. Yu So-ui (소의 유씨)
  • Issue:
  1. Royal Prince Successor (왕세자), Only Son of Royal Noble Consort Hui of the Indong Jang clan.
  2. Prince Seongsu (성수왕자), (Disputed) Son of Royal Noble Consort Hui of the Indong Jang clan.
  3. Prince Yeoning (연잉군), Only Son of Royal Noble Consort Sook of the Choi clan.
  4. Prince Yeongsoo (영수왕자), (1st Disputed) Son of Royal Noble Consort Sook of the Choi clan.
  5. An unnamed (2nd Disputed) Son of Royal Noble Consort Sook of the Choi clan.
  6. Prince Yeonryeong (연령군, 1699–1719), Only Son of Royal Noble Consort Yeong of the Kim clan.
  7. 2 unnamed daughters of Queen Ingyeong of the Kim clan.

His full posthumous name

  • King Sukjong Hyeoneui Gwangyun Yeseong Yeongryeol Yumo Yeongun Hongin Jundeok Baecheon Habdo Gyehyu Dokgyung Jeongjung Hyeopgeuk Sineui Daehun Jangmun heonmu Gyungmyung Wonhyo the Great of Korea
  • 숙종현의광윤예성영렬유모영운홍인준덕배천합도계휴독경정중협극신의대훈장문헌무경명원효대왕
  • 肅宗顯義光倫睿聖英烈裕謨永運洪仁峻德配天合道啓休篤慶正中協極神毅大勳章文憲武敬明原孝大王


  1. ^ Entitled as "Internal Prince Gwangseong" (광성부원군).
  2. ^ Entitled as "Seowon, Princess Consort to the Internal Prince" (서원부부인).
  3. ^ Entitled as "Internal Prince Yeoyang" (여양부원군).
  4. ^ Entitled as "Eunseong, Princess Consort to the Internal Prince" (은성부부인).
  5. ^ So-ui is the 3rd highest title for a King's concubine.
  6. ^ Bin (translated as "Royal Noble Consort") is the highest title for a King's concubine, just under the Queen.
  7. ^ Entitled as "Internal Prince Gyeongeun" (경은부원군)
  8. ^ Entitled as "Garim, Princess Consort to the Internal Prince" (가림부부인)
  9. ^ Suk-won is the 8th title for a King's concubine.
  10. ^ Jang hui-bin severely beat and mutilated Gyeongjong, leaving him feeble minded and impotent

See also

Preceded by
Rulers of Korea
(Joseon Dynasty)
Succeeded by


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