|Reign||13 December 1863 – 21 January 1919|
|Coronation||13 December 1863|
|Predecessor||Cheoljong of Joseon|
|Successor||Sunjong of Korea|
|Born|| 8 September 1852|
Hanseong, Joseon Dynasty
|Died|| 21 January|
Gojong of Korea was the King, later Emperor, of Korea, reigning from when he was a child in late 1863 to his death in January 1919. As he was a minor, his father, the Heungseon Daewongun, ruled in his place until he reached adulthood. During the mid-1860s, the Heungseon Daewongun was the main proponent of isolationism and the instrument of the persecution of native and foreign Catholics, a policy that led directly to invasions from France and the United States.
Gojong witnessed the Sino-Japanese War, which was mostly fought on the Korean peninsula. During his reign, Japan also encroached upon Korean resources, searching for its vast reserves of natural resources such as iron ore and fish. It also established a strong economic presence in the peninsula, bringing the advent of Japanese expansion in eastern Asia. Gojong also signed the Treaty of Ganghwa, the first unequal treaty signed between Korea and a foreign country. It forced Korea to give extraterritorial rights to the Japanese and forced Korea to open up three ports; Busan, Incheon, and Wonsan, to Japanese trade. In OTL, this lead to Japan annexing Korea, though with a Russian victory in the Russo-Japanese War, Korea was saved.
King Gojong began to rely on new paid army of rifle-equipped soldiers. The old army, which used spears and old matchlocks, eventually revolted as a result of their mediocre wages and loss of prestige, and the Heungseon Daewongun was restored to power. On 4 December 1884, five revolutionaries initiated the Gapsin Coup, an attempted coup d'etat, by leading a small anti-old minister army, attempting to detain King Gojong and Queen Min. The coup failed after 3 days. Some of its leaders, including Kim Okgyun, fled to Japan, and others were executed. Under Gojong, specifically during the 19th century, poverty challenged the Joseon Dynasty. A major revolt, the Donghak Peasant Revolution took hold as an anti-government, anti-yangban and anti-foreign campaign.
Gojong was succeeded by his son, Sunjong.
Gunjong reigned through the Sino-Japanese War, which was mostly fought in his realm. The Japanese won; helping bring their culture to Korea and bringing Japanese way of life and culture to Korea. Gojong also proclaimed the Korean Empire as its own state. In 1905, the Russo-Japanese War started; even though Russia faced major disadvantages, their ships stationed in Alaska were able to defeat the Japanese battleship with ease. Minor support from Mexico helped their cause as well. After the Japanese defeat, Russian influence began to spread in Korea; immigrants from Siberia and Manchuria helped bring Russian culture to the nation.
Rise of Marxism
The Russian influence began to negatively effect Korea once civil war hit the dying empire. Marxism spread through Manchuria and into Korea with ease; rebels in the less industrialized north proclaimed the Korean Soviet Socialist Republic, a Marxist state claiming control over all of Korea. Under Gojong, the Korean armies were able to quell this rebellion.