Joseon Dynasty Historical Timeline

So…I have lots of unpublished drafts containing a lot of timelines related to the era of different Joseon kings, hence this thought: why don’t I just put the timelines together as a mega timeline of Joseon’s major events? This list is non-exhaustive, but I’m trying to include major events like birth and death of Joseon kings and queens, birth and death of notable royal princes and princesses, wars, published documents and books, and various happenings that affected Joseon as a whole. Keep the suggestions coming if you have any, because two brains are better than one! I might have missed some details so don’t hesitate to leave any additional information and correction 😉

Year Event
1388 May: Wihwado Island Retreat 위화도 회군. General Yi Seong-gye turned the Goryeo army from the intended Liaodong conquest towards Gaegyeong, the capital of Goryeo, raising a coup to overthrow King U and placing the 9-year old King Chang on the Goryeo throne.
1389 November: King Chang dethroned and replaced with King Gongyang.
1391 The Rank Land Law/ Gwajeonbeop 과전법 科田法 was institutionalized, based on Jo Joon’s land reform proposal as a new way to manage land tax by awarding the right to collect land taxes to government officials according to their ranks.
1391 September: Yi Seong-gye’s first wife, Lady Han, passed away. She would be later honoured as Queen Jeol and then Queen Sinui. 
1392 April: Yi Seong-gye fell down from a horse during a hunting trip and seriously injured, giving Jeong Mong-ju the chance in his attempt to send the radical faction (Jeong Do-jeon etc) into exile. Yi Bang-won, Yi Seong-gye’s fifth son, assassinated Jeong Mong-ju after failing to persuade him in the event immortalized through the poem Hayeoga 하여가 and Danshimga 단심가.
1392 July: Yi Seong-gye was declared the King of Goryeo, marking the end of the rule by Royal Household of Wang and the fall of 474-year old Goryeo Dynasty.
1392 August: King Gongyang formally stepped down from the throne.
1392 September: Yi Seong-gye/ Yi Dan (later Taejo) crowned his eighth and youngest son Yi Bang-seok (later Grand Prince Uian) as the Crown Prince instead of following Jeong Do-jeon’s suggestion of Yi Bang-beon, who was thought to be wild. This action did not sit well with Taejo’s sons from his first wife Queen Sinui, especially his fifth son, Yi Bang-won.
1393 February: The new dynasty was formally named Joseon 조선(朝鮮) after receiving Ming Dynasty’s approval and Taejo formally became the 1st King of Joseon.
1394 July: The place to move the capital was officially started and a site was decided on the foot of Mount Bugak, which would be the new Joseon capital in Hanyang or later known as Hanseong.
1395 August: Construction begun for Gyeongbokgung Palace 경복궁 景福宮 and the first part of the palace complex was completed within a month. Taejo officially entered Gyeongbokgung in October. 
1396 September: Taejo’s second wife, Lady Kang, passed away. She would be known as Queen Hyeon and much later, Queen Sindeok. 
1397 May: Yi Bang-won’s third son Yi Do (later Grand Prince Chunnyeong and Sejong) was born.
1398 August: The First Strife of Princes 제1차 왕자의 난 took place. Yi Bang-gan (Prince Hwean) and Yi Bang-won (Prince Jeongan) led the private armies to kill Jeong Do-jeon and Nam Eun, with the justification that the ministers were plotting to take over the government while Taejo was gravely ill. Dissatisfied with Taejo’s intention to honour Queen Sindeok as a formal consort, the princes raised their private armies the Crown Prince deposed and banished before being assassinated shortly afterwards. The Crown Prince’s seat went to the second son of Taejo, Yi Bang-gwa (Prince Yeongan), since the eldest son Yi Bang-woo (Prince Jinan) already passed away in 1393. Yi Bang-won handed over the position to his second brother as a way of showing his remorse for organizing the coup d’état. 
1398 September: Shocked with his sons’ actions, Taejo abdicated the throne and Yi Bang-gan (later Jeongjong), became the 2nd King of Joseon. However, Jeongjong only ruled in name as the one acting as the real king was no other than Yi Bang-won.
1399 February: The capital was temporarily moved to Gaegyeong.
1400 January: The Second Strife of Princes 제2차 왕자의 난. Yi Bang-gan and Park Po worked together to organize a coup but was defeated by Yi Bang-won’s forces. Yi Bang-gan was banished to many places and lived the rest of his life in exile while Park Po was executed for high treason.
1400 February: Yi Bang-won was designated the Crown Prince despite being Jeongjong’s brother with Taejo’s approval, although Taejo suggested the capital to be moved back to Gaegyeong. The father and son’s discord only grew deeper and Taejo moved back to Hamheung.
1400 April: Reconstruction of private armies were formally carried out, prohibiting any means of private ownership of army. They were absorbed in Consolidated Army Command 의형부, which was later renamed Security Council 승추부. Goryeo’s highest administrative organ, Supreme State Council/ Dopyeonguisasa 도평의사사(都評議使司) or Privy Council/ Dodang 도당 was formally abolished and replaced with State Council of Joseon/ Uijeongbu 의정부 (議政府). 
1400 November: Jeongjong abdicated for Yi Bang-won, who would be known as Taejong, the 3rd King of Joseon. Taejong’s wife Lady Min would have the title Queen Wongyeong. 
1401 June: Taejong was formally recognized by Ming Dynasty as the king of Joseon.
1401 August: Taejong set up a petitioner’s drum called Sinmungo 신문고(申聞鼓), where any person could strike the drum and report his case. 
1402 Taejo continued to treat Taejong coldly, killing the messengers sent by Taejong to Hamheung, giving birth to the phrase ‘hamheungchasa’ 함흥차사: one who leaves but never returns.
1403 February: National Foundry/ Jujaso (鑄字所) reintroduced into Joseon as an office producing metal movable types known as Gyemija 계미자 (癸未字) for mass printing of Confucian books. 
1404 August: Taejong’s firstborn son Yi Je (later Grand Prince Yangnyeong) was crowned as the official successor to the throne or Crown Prince/ Wangseja 왕세자 (王世子).
1408 May: Taejo passed away 7 years after returning to Hanyang at the age of 74.
1408 September: Min Je, Queen Wongyeong’s father and Taejong’s father-in-law passed away after his sons Min Mu-gu and Min Mu-jil were sent to exile. 
1410 March: Queen Wongyeong’s brothers Min Mu-gu and min Mu-jil were both sentenced to death by forced suicide during their banishment.
1413 September: Identification Tag Law/ Hopaebeop 호패법(號牌法) was officially passed, requiring all men of 16 years old and above to carry identification tags. 
1414 April: Office of the Management of Slaves/Nobi byeonjeongdogam 노비 변정 도감(奴婢辨正都監) was set up. 
1414 October: Sejong’s eldest son Yi Hyang (later Munjong) was born.
1415 June: The law banning illegitimate sons from acquiring government offices/ Seoeolgeumgobeop 서얼금고법 (庶孼禁錮法) was formally introduced.
1415 December: Queen Wongyeong’s brothers Min Mu-hyul and Min Mu-hwe were impeached, tortured, and exiled before sentenced to death by forced suicide. 
1417 September: Sejong’s second son Yi Yoo (later known as Grand Prince Suyang and Sejo) was born.
1418 June: Due to his carefree attitude that was not deemed fit for a Crown Prince, petitions were made to remove Yi Je from that position. Taejong agreed and placed his bookworm third son Yi Do or Grand Prince Chunnyeong on the Crown Prince’s seat. 
1418 August: Taejong stepped down from the throne and handed over the royal seal to Yi Do, who would rule as Sejong the Great, the 4th king of Joseon
1418 December: Although Taejong became the King Former/ Sangwang 상왕 (上王), he exerted his influenced in Sejong’s infant court. While Shim On, Queen Soheon’s father and Sejong’s father-in-law went to Ming to inform the Emperor of Sejong’s enthronement, Taejong charged his in-laws’ family with high treason charges and executed them, and Shim On also met the same fate once he returned to Joseon. This was done to curb the influence of royal-in-laws in the court. 
1419 June: Tsushima Expedition/ Daemado Jeongbeol 대마도 정벌 or Gihae Eastern Expedition/ Gihaedongjeong 기해동정 (己亥東征), led by Yi Jong-mu, was carried out to curb the influence of Japanese pirates operating off Daemado/ Tsushima Island.
1419 September: Jeongjong passed away at the age of 63.
1420 March: Hall of Worthies/ Jiphyeonjeon 집현전 (集賢殿), a policy research institute was established.  
1420 July: Queen Wongyeong passed away at the age of 56.
1421 October: Yi Hyang, then the Prince Royal/ Wonja 원자 (元子), was officially made the Crown Prince at the age of 8. 
1422 May: Taejong passed away at the age of 56.
1441 July: Yi Hong-wi, who would later become Danjong, was born; however, Yi Hong-wi’s mother and Munjong’s consort passed away one day after the childbirth and posthumously honoured as Crown Princess Hyeondeok. With Munjong’s ascension to the throne, she received the title Queen Hyeondeok. 
1442 Sejong’s deteriorating health and sight forced him to take a back seat in managing the court, leaving Yi Hyang as the regent on his stead. 
1444 Tribute Tax Law / Gongbeop 공법 was promulgated to lower the land tax from 1/10 of the harvest to 1/20.
1444 December: Sejong’s fifth son Grand Prince Gwangpyeong died a sudden death at the age of 19.
1445 January: Sejong’s seventh son Grand Prince Pyeongwon died of measles at the age of 17.
1446 March: Sejong’s consort Queen Soheon passed away at the age of 52, leaving the already frail king devastated with the loss of his family members. He continued to be more devoted to Buddhism as a way to pray for his sons and his wife’s departed souls. 
1446 September: Joseon’s very own writing system and alphabet Hangul was officially promulgated. 
1448 April: Royal Grandson/ Wonson 원손(元孫) Yi Hong-wi was formally invested as the third-in-line to the throne, Young Crown Prince/ Wangseson 왕세손(王世孫), becoming the first royal to become one at the age of 8.
1450 February: Sejong passed away at the age of 54 due to various health complications, leaving the throne to Yi Hyang as Munjong, the 5th King of Joseon. Yi Hong-wi became the Crown Prince at the age of 10. 
1450 May: Munjong received the imperial edict from Ming accepting him as the new Joseon ruler. 
1452 May: Munjong passed away at the young age of 39, as Yi Hong-wi rose to the dragon throne as Danjong, the 6th King of Joseon. The young king was only 12 at that time. 
1453 October: Grand Prince Suyang, Sejong’s second son and Munjong’s younger brother, killed Hwangbo In and Kim Jong-seo under the pretense that the two senior ministers were challenging the royal authority with their influence in the court. He also sent his younger brother Grand Prince Anpyeong into exile before sentencing him to death by poisoning, taking over various important positions across the ministries and wielding his influence together with his trusted advisors Han Myeong-hoe and Kwon Ram. This event would be known as Sejo’s Coup or Rebellion in the Gyeyu Year/ Gyeyu Jeongnan 계유정난(癸酉靖難).
1453 October: As an early response against the execution of Kim Jong-seo’s faction and the public display of the executed men’s heads, Yi Jing-ok, a Commander in Hamgil-do, attempted a counter coup known as Yi Jing-ok’s Rebellion 이징옥의 난. However, it failed due to Suyang’s prediction that Kim Jong-seo’s death would bring out resistance from those who were loyal to him, and having his own family members already on Suyang’s side.
1455 June: The aftermath of the coup continued to the following year, with Suyang sitting on the highest administration post as Prime Minister. After much pressure from the court full of Suyang’s supporters, Danjong gave in and abdicated the throne in favour of Grand Prince Suyang, who officially began his rule as Sejo, the 7th King of Joseon
1455 December: Sejo’s younger brother Grand Prince Geumseong still tried to protest against Danjong’s abdication in order to protect the young King Former, but everyone who went against Sejo received the short end of the stick. Most of Danjong’s faithful supporters among the royal family either got exiled or executed.
1456 June: The plan led Seong Sam-moon, Ha Wi-chi, Park Paeng-nyeon, Kim Mun-gi, Yi Gae, and Yu Seong-won, in order to put Danjong back on the throne, came into Sejo’s knowledge, leading to their execution. They would be known as the Six Martyred Ministers/ Sayuksin 사육신.
1457 July: Prince Dowon’s second son Yi Hyeol (later Prince Jaeulsan/Jasan & Seongjong) was born.
1457 September: Another plan to put Danjong on the throne again was carried out, this time led by Grand Prince Geumseong. However, it also turned out to be a failure.
1457 September: When Sejo became king, his eldest son Yi Sung, then Prince Dowon, was made the Crown Prince. He was said to have seen the ghost of Danjong’s dead mother Queen Hyeondeok and fell sick. He passed away at the age of 20 and given the posthumous title Crown Prince Uigyeong. The Crown Prince’s seat went to his younger brother Yi Hwang, then Grand Prince Haeyang, who would later become Yejong. 
1457 October: As a result of the foiled plans by both Six Martyred Ministers and Grand Prince Geumseong, Danjong was demoted to the status of a prince with the title Prince Nosan and exiled to Yeongwol County. He eventually met his demise in exile at the young age of 17. It was not until 281 years later that he would have his status restored and given the temple name Danjong. 
1462 December: The Crown Prince’s Consort died after giving birth to a prince, who would later be known as Grand Prince Inseong, Yejong’s eldest son. She was given the posthumous title Jangsun and later, became known as Queen Jangsun when Yejong ascended the throne.
1467 May: As a response to Sejo’s policy of limiting and reducing provincial posts, Yi Si-ae, a Magistrate of Gyeongheung County in Hamgyeong-do, raised an army against the central government with the argument of destroying the regional discrimination and avenging Danjong’s death. Also known by the name Yi Si-ae’s Rebellion 이시애의 난, It lasted for three months until the movement was quelled by the force led by Prince Gwiseong Yi Jun, Nam Yi, Gang Sun, and Eo Yu-so. 
1468 September: Sejo could have felt that he would soon die, hence he entrusted his closest aides like Han Myeong-hoe and Shin Suk-ju to protect the Crown Prince. He abdicated the throne for the Crown Prince and passed away on the next day at 52 years old. Yi Hwang officially became Yejong, the 8th King of Joseon
1468 October: One and a half month after Yejong’s ascension to the throne, Yu Ja-gwang sent a report of General Nam Yi, who had contributed greatly in quelling the rebel forces the year before, planning of committing treason against the throne. Yejong was said to harbour ill feelings towards Nam Yi, who received favour from his father Sejo and using this report, seized this chance to eliminate Nam Yi and Gang Sun, among a few others. This would be known as Nam Yi’s Treason Case 남이의 옥. 
1469 November: Yejong passed away when he was 20 years old, only 14 months after sitting on the throne due to his illness. Although he had a son, Yi Hyeon (later Grand Prince Jean), Sejo’s consort, Queen Jeonghui, felt that the prince was too young and chose Crown Prince Uigyeong’s second son Prince Jasan to become Seongjong, the 9th King of Joseon. He was chosen instead of his older brother Prince Wolsan since his brother was sick at that time, thus giving the opportunity for Jasan to sit on the throne, despite his young age of 13. Perhaps, having Han Myeong-hoe as his father-in-law did contribute to this too, considering the power Han had at that time. Since Seongjong was too young and inexperienced to rule in his own stead, Queen Jeonghui became the first dowager in Joseon history to carry out the Dowager Regency or suryeomcheongjeong (수렴청정). 
1473 March: The future queens of Seongjong entered the palace as royal concubines through official selection. They would become the Deposed Queen Yoon, mother of Prince Yeonsan, and Queen Jeonghyeon, mother of Grand Prince Jinseong (later Jungjong). 
1474 April: Seongjong’s first consort Queen Gonghye passed away at the young age of 19 after a long battle with illness. 
1476 January: Seongjong began ruling on his own, and he made his stand as the king by first addressing his legitimacy. Although he as meant to be made the adopted child of his uncle, the late Yejong, Seongjong fought for his father, the late Crown Prince Uigyeong, to be honoured posthumously as a king. He succeeded and Uigyeong was given the posthumous title Deokjong. 
1476 July: Right after the 3-year mourning period for the late Queen Gonghye ended, Seongjong announced that Lady Yoon sukui, who was pregnant at that time, would become his next queen consort.
1476 November: Queen Yoon gave birth to a prince, Yi Yung, three months after being crowned as the queen in September. 
1479 June: Queen Yoon was deposed after the petitions sent by the Three Offices due to the wound she caused on Seongjong’s face.
1480 November: Queen Jeonghyeon was formally invested as the third consort of Seongjong.
1482 August: Deposed Queen Yoon was sentenced to death by poisoning. The people associated with her death would be the driving force behind the Second Literati Purge, Gapcha Sahwa 갑차사화 in 1504.
1483 February: Yi Yung, then the Prince Royal, was formally made the Crown Prince at the age of 8.
1483 March: Queen Jeonghui passed away in Onyang Temporary Palace at the age of 66.
1488 March: Queen Jeonghyeon gave birth to her only son Yi Yeok, who would later become Jungjong.
1494 April: Yi Yeok received his official title and was known as Grand Prince Jinseong.
1494 December: Seongjong passed away when he was just 39 years old due to aftereffects of lung-related diseases. The Crown Prince, who was 18 at that time, began his tenure as Yeonsangun, the 10th King of Joseon.

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