In The Year 632, She Became The First Reigning Queen In Korea’s History, Giving Her Peasants A Year Of Tax Exemption And Encouraging A Cultural Renaissance

panyaphotograph - - illustrative purposes only

When talking about kings and queens from centuries ago, many people start to think of famous kings. However, there were so many female monarchs who made history and are often overlooked.

For instance, do you know anything about Queen Seondeok, the first female monarch in Korean history?

Queen Seondeok was first a princess, born to King Jinpyeong and Queen Maya of Silla, which was one of Korea’s three kingdoms at the time.

Some legends say that her father wanted to give his crown to a son-in-law, but the princess wanted an opportunity to prove herself as her kingdom’s rightful ruler.

Although some were opposed to the idea of a female monarch, she was crowned Queen Seondeok in 632 and became the first reigning queen in Korea’s history.

Queen Seondeok was known for being very concerned about the people of her kingdom. She would ensure there were royal inspectors sent out routinely to check on everyone, especially the less fortunate, like widows, orphans, and the poor.

She also was able to give her peasants in her kingdom a year of tax exemption and reduced taxes for those in the middle class. The powerful queen also encouraged a sort of cultural renaissance and emphasized the importance of literature and the arts.

During her reign, Queen Seondeok oversaw the construction of Cheomseongdae, an astronomy observatory. Today, it still stands as the oldest observatory in Asia.

During the 640s, Queen Seondeok’s reign took a turn after kingdom rivals came after her. At one point, she sought military assistance from the Chinese Tang dynasty but was told by Emperor Taizong that her kingdom would only receive help if she gave her throne to a prince.

panyaphotograph – – illustrative purposes only

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