The regional connections of the 1728 Musin Rebellion

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Abstract

Many scholars have stressed that regional dynamics led to the outbreak of the Musin Rebellion, the largest rebellion in eighteenth-century Korea. Scholars have examined the economic and political situation leading up to the violence and concluded that political marginalization caused Kyǒngsang Province elites (from the Southerner faction) to launch the rebellion. This paper analyses evidence from official sources about rebel motivations, rebel geographical associations and the court view of the causes. Although post-rebellion government statements acknowledge tensions between the court and many Kyǒngsang Province elites, rebel testimony showed no evidence of any anger about discrimination against elites from a single region. There is also inconsistent evidence of regional concerns in the membership of the rebel organization, which was drawn from three southern provinces and mainly concentrated around the capital. My findings challenge the conclusions of regionalist scholars and place the Musin Rebellion in a trajectory of late Chosǒn rebellion that was attempting to redress factional political discrimination and was not caused by regional concerns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)537-555
Number of pages19
JournalBulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies-University of London
Volume78
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Chosǒn
  • Korea
  • Kyǒngsang Province
  • Musin Rebellion
  • Regional history

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