Thursday, May 25, 2006

What is the history of Ulleungdo? (Ch. 9)

Evicted Muleungdo Residents Go Hungry on the Mainland

On April 1, 1419, records mention that seventeen people from Muleungdo were starving in Gyeonggi Province. It is impossible to know for sure, but these people may have been part of those evicted from the Usan-Muleung area in 1417. Here is the passage.

Source: 『世宗實錄』 卷三, 世宗 元年 四月 乙亥朔條

April 1, 1419

上以武陵出來男婦共十七名, 到京畿^平丘驛里絶糧, 遣人救之, 乃下王旨曰: “側聞, 武陵島出來人等, 今到平丘驛絶糧, 而無人救恤。 以京畿路邊而如此, 況遐方乎? 因念各官人民, 必有飢饉, 其令戶曹移文各道, 嚴加檢察, 俾民免於飢困, 以副予至懷


임금이 무릉도(武陵島)에서 나온 남녀 도합 17명이 경기도 평구역리(平丘驛里)에 당도하여 양식이 떨어졌다 하므로 사람을 보내어 구원케 하고 이내 왕지(王旨)하기를, 듣건대 “무릉도에서 나오는 사람들이 지금 평구역에 당도하여 양식이 떨어졌는데 구원해 주는 사람이 없다고 한다, 경기도 한길가가 이와 같은데 하물며 먼 지방이야 어떻겠느냐, 이로 미루어 각군 백성들을 생각하면, 반드시 굶주리는 자가 있을 것이니 호조로 하여금 각도에 공문을 내어 세밀히 검찰하여, 백성으로 하여금 굶주리고 곤궁한 일이 없게 하여 나의 지극한 향념에 부응케 하라"고 하였다.


The king ordered that someone go to Pyeongguyeok-ri in Gyeonggi Province to help a total of seventeen former Muleungdo residents who he heard were now there without provisions.

The king said, "I've heard that the people from Muleungdo who are now in Pyeongguyeok are without provisions and anyone to help them. Not only do they seem to be on a roadside in Gyeonggi Province, they are far from home, so what are they supposed to do? Judging from this, there are sure to be other people in other counties who are also starving, so to improve the situation, send official instructions to each province to investigate and ensure there is no one is starving or in need. See that my utmost concerns are satisfied.

Notice that the above passage mentions people from Muleungdo, which suggests that they were relocated to Gyeonggi Province after being evicted from the island. Though the passage specifically mentions Muleungdo, it is difficult to know if it was referring to a specific island or to the Usan-Muleungdo area in general. The passage does, however, seem to confirm that people were being evicted from the islands.


  1. Hello again Mr Gerry.

    My name is Akiko and I wrote to you from Hamada City in Japan. Do you remember me?

    We used the informations from the other website. It was so helpful!!

    Can you give us map pages links to show Takeshima is Japan's terratory?

    Your good friend Akiko Y.(autumn child)
    "takeshima come home!!"

  2. Hi Akiko,

    Old Korean maps show an island named Usando (于山島) drawn right next to Ulleungdo. Koreans claim Usando is Dokdo/Takeshima, but they cannot explain why it was drawn right next to Ulleungdo on almost all old Korean maps. Sometimes it was drawn to the west of Ulleungdo and sometimes to the east, yet they were always drawn right next to each other, suggesting that Usando and Ulleungdo were neighboring islands which were close enough to to each other to cause confusion with their names.

    I think Usando was Jukdo (竹島), which is the Jukdo less than four kilometers off the coast of Ulleungdo, not Takeshima, which which uses the same Chinese characters (i.e. 竹島). Here are some maps that seem to support my opinion:

    1710 Map

    The above Korean map shows a line drawn from the Korean city of Uljin (蔚珍) to Usando and Ulleungdo (于山島 and 蔚陵島). Notice that the line connects to both Usando and Ulleungdo, showing that it applies to both islands. The writing on the line is 水路二日程 (수로이일정), which means "two days travel by sea." That means that it takes two days to travel to Ulleungdo from Uljin, which was where Ulleungdo's administrative office was. That implies that the two islands were right next to each other. If either of the two islands had been Dokdo/Takeshima, it would have meant another day's travel.

    18 century map of Ulleungdo

    Close-up of the 18th century map

    The above maps are maps of Ulleungdo and it neighboring islands. Notice that Usando (所謂 于山島) is drawn among all the other rocks and islets right next to Ulleungdo, at about where present-day Jukdo is.

    Here is another map of Ulleungdo showing Usando right next to it:

    19th Century Map of Ulleungdo

    Finally, here is a 1899 map that shows Usan (于山) right next to Ulleungdo at about where Jukdo would be. There are even lines of longitude that eliminate any possibility that Usan could be Dokdo/Takeshima.

    1899 map

    The above maps show very clearly that Usando was right next to Ulleungdo, not 92 kilometers away, and there are many other Korean maps that also show Usando right next to Ulleungdo. Usando was a neighboring island of Ulleungdo, not Dokdo/Takeshima.

  3. Gerry is wrong again.

    I don't understand why you keep quoting this distance of 4kms Gerry. Jukdo Island is only 2.2kms from Ullengdo.

    Silly boy....

  4. Annonymous,

    I do not know the exact distance, which is why I said, "less than four kilometers."


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