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Thu, March 30, 2023 | 12:05
Unrest on the Island of World Peace in 1903
Over the last couple of decades, Jeju has often been called the Island of World Peace. But in the spring of 1903, it was anything but peaceful to the small Japanese community - at least according to the Japanese press.
Horace N. Allen: Joseon's foreign royal physician
“The position of court physician [in the mid-1880s] was no sinecure,” especially if you were a foreigner, declared Horace N. Allen in one of his many publications of life in Korea.
Horace N. Allen: Treating the masses
In the summer of 1884, Korea was not a place for casual tourists or globetrotters seeking to impress their peers. It was especially not for missionaries lacking conviction and courage. Commonly referred to as “The Hermit Kingdom,” the peninsula was in the vortex of change. Christianity was still barely tolerated; there was animosity and mistrust towards foreigners fueled by t...
Moving back to Gyeongbok Palace
In the final days of February 1885, Seoul was awash with activity. The main city streets (especially the street running between Gyeongbok and Changdeok palaces), notorious for being cluttered with squatters' shacks, unauthorized booths and extensions to the shops of merchants, were cleared out and all the debris was removed.
19th-century Seoul's all-too-familiar history with fires
On the night of Feb. 23, 1885, Seoul was visited by one of its most dangerous adversaries - a fire! George C. Foulk, the American representative in Seoul, reported that a large “conflagration broke out” in a Korean government-owned lumberyard and warehouses just to the north of the American Legation. The buildings and a “quantity of valuable timber” were destroyed.
Land of Morning Calm mourns: Part 2
In the 19th century, Korea was often referred to as the “Land of the Morning Calm” but it was far from accurate - especially at night when it became a realm of loud mourning.
Land of Morning Calm mourns: Part 1
In the 19th century, Korea was often referred to as the “Land of the Morning Calm” but it was far from accurate - especially at night, when it became a realm of loud mourning.
Life in 1880s Russian Legation
History often confines itself to narrating only the events surrounding key protagonists and antagonists, their exploits and faults and their eventual fates. But in my opinion, it is often the people surrounding these key figures who are the most interesting - the ways in which they interact with our heroes and villains, the subtle (and, sometimes, not so subtle) influence the...
Spies amongst us
The traveler, dressed in Korean clothing, tried desperately to hide his nervousness, but with each passing minute, it became more and more obvious that the Russian patrol and their Korean interpreters were suspicious of him. First, they questioned him rapidly in Korean as to his identity and his business in this part of the country.
William Franklin Sands' diplomatic and undiplomatic views of late Joseon
In 1896, at the tender age of 22, William Franklin Sands was appointed second secretary at the American Legation in Tokyo. The baby-faced Sands was a privileged youth; his father was an admiral who knew everyone - including the president - and was not above using his influence to open doors for his son. But even the privileged sometimes became victims of the vortex of politic...