Paekche or Paiktchei , in revised romanisation: Baekje (백제), is a kingdom which developed in the south-west of the Korea during the period of the Three Kingdoms. It was destroyed by an alliance between the Chinese empire of the Tang and the kingdom of Silla (신라) in 660, and was annexed by this last.
According to the Samguk sagi (History of Korea written in XIIe century), Paekche was founded in 18 av. J. - C. by Onjo, which was the chief of a group of emigrants fleeing the kingdom of Buyeo in Mandchourie, and which settled close to the river Han, in the center of the Korean peninsula.
According to the Samguk Yusa, Onjo was the son of Jumong 주몽 (Dongmyeongseong), the founder of the warlike kingdom of the Koguryo. It is Jumong which flees of Buyeo, where it was persecuted, towards Jolbon, where it married the girl of a local leader and where it created the kingdom of Koguryo.
When Yuri, the son of Jumong resulting from its first marriage (with Buyeo) arrived at the palate of Koguryo, he discovered his true origins and became the crown prince. The wire of Jumong resulting from its second marriage, Onjo & Biryu, feeling undesirable with the advent of Yuri, decided to leave Koguryo towards the south with their continuation. Onjo founded a city with Wiryeseong (current Seoul, capital of South Korea), according to the opinion of its advisers, and called his kingdom Sipje (i.e. 10 vassal); as for Biryu, he was unaware of this opinion and decided to live at the seaside. He thus built the town of Michuhol (current Inchon).
However the salt water and the Marais made the life difficult, whereas the inhabitants of Wirye lived prosperous. Ashamed of having ignored the council of its continuation, Biryu is killed. The inhabitants of Michuhol moved then in Wirye and king Onjo accommodated and re-elected them the country Paekche (100 vassal).
The apogee of the kingdom
During the reign of Goi (234 - 286), the administration of the kingdom is reinforced. It is also this king who gives up the Chinese alliance which had made it possible the kingdom to be protected from the Koguryŏ, and pushes back an attempt at invasion of 246. According to the Samguk sagi, one of small the city-States of the valley Han, in the occupied territories by the Mahan, was called Paekche. The kingdom of Paekche appears only into 345 in the Chinese sources.
- in 369, it seizes the Chinese commandery of Daifang;
- in 371, it increases towards north after the war against Koguryo - during which it kills king de Koguryo;
- and Mahan appendix in the south.
At that time, the Chinese culture and techniques are massively adopted. The kingdom of Paekche reaches its Apogée at this time. Under the reign of Geunchogo, Paekche covered the western half of the Korea (except the two provinces of Pyeongan) and part of the peninsula of Shandong, on the other side of the Yellow Mer, in China. Paekche, kingdom trading, were also a naval power, which maintained good relationships with the kings of Kyushu to the Japan.
It is also at that time that many students, of which some of the royal family, came from Japan to profit from the lesson from Paekche. With the many contacts and emigrants of Paekche left to settle in Japan (from which the founders of the Clan Kudara No Konikishi), they took part in the development of the Japanese culture. One can thus evoke Nara, city whose name would come from the Paekche term for kingdom ; this city was designed and built by immigrants come from Paekche. Japan still owes Large the Bouddha and the wood temple of Hōryū-ji with the influence of Paekche. Moreover, many noble Korean married Japanese princes and princesses imperial. The current emperor, Akihito, go down from the emperor Kammu, whose mother was downward direct of the king Muryeong.
Retreat of Paekche and the Sabi period
After this period, Paekche moves back vis-a-vis the continuous pressure of the armies of Koguryo. In 475, the Hanseong capital (current Seoul) is taken by the troops of Koguryo. After this invasion, the capital is moved in Ungjin (current Chungju, or Gongju), and a military treaty was signed with Silla against Koguryo.
In 538, the king Seong establishes his capital with Sabi (current Buyeo), reinforces the capacity royal, and remade of his kingdom a powerful State. The official name of the kingdom becomes Nambuyeo (남부여, 南夫餘 i.e. Buyeo of the South, in reference to the Buyeo from where Paekche would draw its origins). The period of Sabi sees the rebirth of the culture of Paekche, with the development of the Bouddhisme, come from the Japan with the commercial exchanges.
There existed at the 9th century a kingdom of posterior Paekche.
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