Buyeo, Puyo, or Fuyu (Chinese: 夫余), constitutes an ancient kingdom located in today's North Korea and southern Manchuria, from about the second century B.C.E. to 494 C.E. Goguryeo absorbed Buyeo's remnants in 494 C.E.; both Goguryeo and Baekje, two of the Three Kingdoms of Korea, considered themselves successors of Buyeo.
Although few extant records exist, and those that do present contradictory accounts, historians believe Dongbuyeo (East Buyeo) branched out in 86 B.C.E., historians often referring to the original Buyeo as Bukbuyeo (North Buyeo). Jolbon buyeo represents a continuation of Bukbuyeo under a changed state name. In 538, Baekje renamed itself Nambuyeo (South Buyeo). "Buyeo" may refer to a Baekje surname or Buyeo County in South Korea, treated elsewhere.
Buyeo's significance in Korean history lay in the link between the historical Goguryeo, on of the Three Kingdoms of Korea, Unified Silla and Balhae, Goryeo and Joseon dynasties on the one hand and the mythical/legendary kingdoms of Gojoseon and Gija Joseon on the other hand. In Buyeo, we see a transition from the mythical and legendary roots of Korea into the historically verified ancient history of Korea. That transition from Founders Dangun and Gija to the kings of Buyeo deserves careful attention.
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In 426 B.C.E., during the 36th year of the reign of Gojoseon's 43rd Dangun (ruler) Mulli, Gojoseon faced General Wu Hwa-Chung's, a bandit leader, uprising. The crisis caught Mulli Dangun unprepared since had he devoted most his time during his reign to hunting and enjoying his immense wealth and power. Gojoseon during the reign of Mulli Dangun had lost much of its former glory, entering the decline stage of the dynastic cycle of decay. Mulli Dangun died in battle.
The five ruling ministers constituted the ruling committee of Gojoseon or Ohga. With the throne empty, the Ohga odered the governor of Baek-Min Seong, Gumul, to fight Wu Hwa-Chung, who had already seized control of Jang-Dang Seong, the capital of Gojoseon. With reinforcements from eighteen fortresses, Gumul led an army of ten thousand, defeating Wu Hwa-Chung. After Gumul's victory, the Ohga named Gumul Dangun of Gojoseon in 425 B.C.E. Gumul continued the lineage of the first Dangun, but changed the state name to "Great Buyeo."
Decades later, long after the death of Gumul Dangun, Gojoseon's final Dangun, Goyeolga abdicated the throne, leaving the empire in the hands of the Ohga. Many of Gojoseon's generals, seeing that as an opportunity to build their own empires, left Gojoseon to start rebellions. Some generals remained loyal to the empire, young General Hae-Mosu numbering among those generals. Hae-Mosu, fighting for Gojoseon, pacified numerous rebellions but saw that Gojoseon existed as an empire with no head. Hae-Mosu secretly built a palace at Baek-Ak Mountain Fortress, a former capital of Gojoseon. Hae-Mosu then brought the Ohga to his new palace and they proclaimed him "Dangun." Hae-Mosu called his new kingdom "Bukbuyeo" to show that he stood as the true successor to the Danguns of Great Buyeo, and the Danguns of Gojoseon before them.
According to the Samguk Sagi and other accounts, the kingdom of Dongbuyeo (86 B.C.E.- 22 C.E.) developed to the east of Bukbuyeo, near the land of Okjeo. When Bukbuyeo's fourth Dangun, Go Uru of Bukbuyeo, died his brother Hae Buru succeeded him, becoming the fifth Dangun of Bukbuyeo. Hae Buru engaged in political and military conflicts with Go Dumak, a member of the royal family. A power struggle occurred, resulting in the victory of Go Dumak. Hae Buru fled to Gaseopwon where he established Dongbuyeo. Haeburu submitted to Bukbuyeo to avoid conflicts with the kingdom and its fifth Dangun, Go Dumak of Bukbuyeo.
According to the Samguk Sagi, Hae Buru found a golden frog-like child under a large rock. Hae Buru named the child Geumwa, meaning golden frog, and later made him crown prince. Geumwa became king after Hae Buru's death. He met Yuhwa, the daughter of Habaek, and brought her back to his palace. Sunlight impregnated her; Yuhwa laid an egg from which hatched Jumong. Geumwa's seven sons resented Jumong, and although Geumwa tried to protect him, Jumong ran away to Jolbon Buyeo where he later established Goguryeo.
Geumwa's eldest son Daeso became the next king. Daeso attacked Goguryeo during the reign of its second king, Yuri Taewang. Goguryeo's third king Daemusin Taewang attacked Dongbuyeo and killed Daeso. After internal strife, Dongbuyeo fell, Goguryeo absorbing its territory. A small state established around 285 by refugees of Buyeobriefly revived Dongbuyeo. Gwanggaeto Taewang of Goguryeo conquered that small state. According to the Gwanggaeto stele, Dongbuyeo had been a tributary of Goguryeo. Although the chronology disagrees with the Samguk Sagi, one legend presents Wutae, the father of the Baekje king Onjo and his older brother Biryu, as a son of Hae Buru.
Some Korean records name a “Jolbon Buyeo” (卒本夫餘, 졸본부여), apparently referring to the incipient Goguryeo or its capital city. Jolbon Buyeo constitutes a continuation of Bukbuyeo during the reign of its fifth Dangun King Dongmyeong. After the death of King Dongmyeong in 60 B.C.E., Go Museo Dangun rose to the throne as the sixth Dangun of Bukbuyeo. After ruling for two years, Go Museo gave Jolbon Buyeo to King Chumo, a direct descendant of Bukbuyeo's founder Haemosu.
Go Museo Dangun gave his second daughter So Seo-No to Jumong in marriage, abdicating in favor of the latter. In 37 B.C.E., Jumong became the seventh Dangun of Buyeo, but some tribes rebelled against him. He united all of the rebellious tribes, changing the state name to Goguryeo in 58 B.C.E. Jumong united Buyeo, Okjeo, Dongye into Goguryeo, regaining most of Gojoseon's former territories.
Gongsun Du, a Chinese warlord in Liaodong, supported Buyeo to counter Xianbei in the north and Goguryeo in the east near the end of Eastern Han dynasty. After destroying the Gongsun family, the Kingdom of Wei sent Wuqiu Jian to attack Goguryeo. Buyeo welcomed the Governor of the Xuantu commandery leading a squad of the third expeditionary force who brought detailed information of the kingdom to China.
The waves of migrating northern nomadic peoples into China ravaged Buyeo. In 285 the Murong tribe of the Xianbei, led by Murong Hui, invaded Buyeo, forcing King Yilü (依慮) to suicide, and relocating the court to Okjeo. Enjoying a friendly relationship with Jin Dynasty, Emperor Wu helped King Yiluo (依羅) revive Buyeo. An attack by Goguryeo sometime before 347 caused Buyeo to decline further. Having lost its stronghold near Harbin, Buyeo moved southwestward to Nong'an. Around 347, Murong Huang of the Former Yan attacked Buyeo, capturing King Xuan (玄).
A remnant of Buyeo seems to have lingered around Harbin under the influence of Goguryeo. Buyeo paid tribute once to Northern Wei in 457, but otherwise Goguryeo appears to have controlled Buyeo. They were under the rising Wuji (Mohe, 勿吉, 물길), attacked Goguryeo and Buyeo in 494, prompting the Buyeo court to move into Goguryeo.
The Buyeo lived as agricultural people occupying the vast plain area in Manchuria. Sanguo Zhi (Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms) records their manners and customs. They maintained a complex social structure and named officials' titles after animals.
The Buyeo (Puyŏ, Fuyu) languages comprise a hypothetical language family that relate the languages of Buyeo, Goguryeo, and Baekje with the Japonic languages, and possibly place them together as a family under the hypothetical Altaic family. Although only a few words from the Buyeo language survived, linguists see similarities to the languages of Gojoseon, Goguryeo, and East Okjeo.
In the 1930s, Chinese historian Jin Yufu developed a linear model of descent for the people of Manchuria and northern Korea, from the kingdoms of Buyeo, Goguryeo, and Baekje, to the present Korean nationality. Later historians of Northeast China built upon this influential model.
Goguryeo and Baekje, two of the Three Kingdoms of Korea, considered themselves successors of Buyeo. Some historians conjecture that King Onjo, the founder of Baekje, had been a son of King Dongmyeongseong, founder of Goguryeo. Baekje officially changed its name to Nambuyeo (남부여, 南夫餘 "South Buyeo") in 538.
- Hae Buru
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- Doo-Bok, P. 2004. History of Goguryeo Calls for Fact-based Approach. Korea Focus on Current Topics. 12:34-35. OCLC: 109485057
- Han'guk Kukche Kyoryu Chaedan. 2005. Kunst aus dem alten Korea, Goguryeo = Art of ancient Korea, Goguryeo = Koguryŏ misulchŏn. Seoul: The Korea Foundation.
- Keun, Lee Soon. 2005. Perspectives on China's Northeast Project - On the Historical Succession of Goguryeo in Northeast Asia. Korea Journal. 45 (1):172. OCLC: 98854824
- Song, Ki-ho. 2006. Han'guk kodae ŭi ondol: Puk Okchŏ, Koguryŏ, Parhae. Sŏul: Sŏul Taehakkyo Chʻulpʻanbu.