Historical Documents Proving Korea's Sovereignty over Dokdo

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Historical Documents Proving Korea's Sovereignty over Dokdo

 


Among the numerous historical documents showing that Dokdo has been an integral part of Korea since ancient times, the following are the most important official documents:

Samguksagi (History of the Three Kingdoms) is an official history book written in 1145 A.D. on the Three Kingdoms of Korea, namely the Silla (57 B.C. to 935 A.D.), Goguryeo (37 B.C. to 668 A.D.), and Baekje (18 B.C. to 660 A.D.) kingdoms. This book, edited by Kim Bu?sik, a historian and the then prime minister of the Goryeo Kingdom, contains the story of the conquest of Usan?guk in 512 A.D. by Isabu, a general of the Silla Dynasty under the reign of King Jijeung.

* Sillok, which is mentioned in the following references, means annals, or historical records, compiled and published by the government throughout the time of the Joseon Dynasty. Each king's name was added before the word sillok, in order to indicate that it covered the history of the Dynasty during the reign of that king.

Sejong Sillok Jiriji was compiled as part of the Annals of King Sejong (1418?1450) of the Joseon Dynasty. The Jiriji (geography book) contains a variety of information needed to govern the country, such as the administrative history of each local government, the topographical features of administrative units, their populations, and roads. The book refers to Dokdo and Ulleungdo as follows: "Usan [Dokdo] and Mureung [a former name of Ulleungdo] are located in the middle of the sea, due east of this Prefecture. These two islands can be seen from each other in good weather, as they are not far apart."

According to Seongjong Sillok, the Annals of King Seongjong (1469?1494), an official investigative team sailed for Sambongdo (Dokdo) and reported to the royal court as follows: "We dropped anchor at seven or eight li [about three kilometers; one li equals 400 meters] west of the island? We drew a picture of the island and came back."

Sinjeung Donggukyeojiseungnam (The Revised and Augmented Version of the Survey of the National Geography of Korea) was published in 1531 as an enlarged edition of the 1481 Donggukyeojiseungnam (Survey of the National Geography of Korea), which dealt with Korea?s cultural geography, such as historical figures associated with different areas and poetical works inspired by the local scenery. As in the above?mentioned excerpt from Sejong Sillok Jiriji, this book describes Dokdo and Ulleungdo as part of the Korean territory in the East Sea, and states: "The two islands are located in the middle of the sea, due east."

According to Sukjong Sillok, the Annals of King Sukjong (1674?1720), Ahn Yong?bok rebuked some Japanese fishermen for staying at Ulleungdo and Dokdo and warned them against returning to these islands in the future. Sukjong Sillok further records that Ahn Yong?bok went twice to Japan in order to protest against Japanese nationals trespassing into Korean territory. He asked the Japanese authorities to recognize Korea's sovereignty over these islands and to forbid Japanese nationals to sail to these islands. Consequently, the Japanese Government prohibited its nationals from sailing to the Ulleungdo region.

Jeongjo Sillok, the Annals of Jeongjo (1776?1800), reports that, following Ahn Yong?bok?s actions, inspectors were dispatched every three years by the Government to Ulleungdo and Gajido (Dokdo).

Imperial Decree No. 41 was issued in 1900 by Emperor Gojong (1864?1907) of the Daehan Empire as a measure to reform the traditional administrative system. This Decree placed Dokdo under the jurisdiction of the Ulleungdo County office. The Decree stipulates: "?the Headman of Uldo [a newly designated County of Ulleungdo] shall have jurisdiction over Ulleungdo, Jukdo and Seokdo [Dokdo]?"

 

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