Directly before the Gyeongbokgung Palace in Gwanghamun Square are monuments honoring two of the most prominent figures in Korean history: King Sejong the Great (세종대왕) and Yi Sun-Shin (이 순신).
Yi Sun-shin was a Korean naval commander during the Joseon dynasty, honored for his incredible strategies and victories against the Japanese in the Imjin War. One of his greatest achievements was the Battle of Myeongnyang.
Outnumbered 133 warships to 13, with Yi forced into a last stand against the Japanese Army, the battle ended with 31 of the 133 Japanese warships destroyed or impaired, but no Korean ships lost. Yi is also honored for the creation of the renowned kobukson (거북선), or “turtle ship”. The kobukson is the first recorded ironclad battleship. Yi Sun-shin was undefeated throughout his commanding career. He passed away at the Battle of Noryang in 1598. The Japanese army was nearly expelled from the Korean Peninsula, and Yi he was mortally wounded by a single bullet. His famous last words were, “The battle is at its height…beat my war drums…do not announce my death.”
The Story of King Sejong Exhibition Hall has elaborate displays of both these men’s achievements, with information provided in several languages. These two figures are defining points in Korean history, and this museum is a great place to explore their contributions to the Korean culture.
XOXO, Seoulmate ♥