Red Turban invasions of Goryeo



Red Turban invasions of Goryeo

Red Turban invasions of Korea
DateDecember 1359 and November 1360
LocationNorthern Korean Peninsula
Result Goryeo victory
Goryeo dynasty Red Turban army
Commanders and leaders
An U
Yi Bang-sil
Kim Deuk-sil
Kim Deuk-bae
Choe Yeong
Jeong Seun
Yi Seonggye
Mao Ju-jing
Pan Cheng
Sha Liu 
Guan Xiansheng 
Zhou Yuan-shuai
~20,000 (1359)
~200,000 (1360)
~40,000 (1359)
~200,000 (1360)

The Red Turban invasions of Goryeo occurred in the 14th century, when the Red Turban Rebellion spread to Goryeo on the Korean Peninsula. The Red Turban rebels, originating in the Zhejiang area, were opposed to the Yuan dynasty of China and the Mongolian plateau. After gaining control of Liaodong, the Red Turbans invaded Goryeo in 1359 and 1360.


The Mongol invasions of Korea lasted from 1231–1259, and Goryeo became a vassal state of Yuan in 1270 until 1356. In the mid-14th century, when the Yuan dynasty was beginning to crumble due to the Red Turban Rebellion, Gongmin reformed the Korean government, abolished Mongolian military outposts, purged pro-Yuan sentiments, and regained lost northern territories.

First Red Turban invasion

In December 1359, part of the Red Turban army moved their base to the Liaodong Peninsula. However, they were experiencing a shortage of war materiels and lost their withdrawal route to Chinese mainland. The Red Turban army led by Mao Ju-jing invaded Goryeo and took the city of Pyongyang. In January 1360, the Goryeo army led by An U and Yi Bang-sil retook Pyongyang and the northern region which had been captured by the enemy. Of the Red Turban army that had crossed the Yalu River, only 300 troops returned to Liaoning after the war.

Second Red Turban invasion

In November 1360, the Red Turban troops invaded again Goryeo's northwest border with 200,000 troops and they occupied Gaegyeong, the capital of Goryeo, for a short period, King Gongmin escaped to Andong. However, Generals Choe Yeong, Yi Seonggye (later Taejo of Joseon), Jeong Seun and Yi Bang-sil repulsed the Red Turban army. Sha Liu and Guan Xiansheng, who were Red Turban generals, were killed in the battles. The Goryeo army continually chased their enemy and cleared them from the Korean Peninsula.


Main article: Joseon

Although Goryeo had repulsed the Red Turbans, both the population and the economy had been severely damaged. Wokou pirates had been troubling the southern peninsula for some time. Generals Choe Yeong and Yi Seong-gye were called upon by King Gongmin to combat them, thereby giving the successful generals much influence and a power base in the country. General Yi Seonggye especially identified himself with the reformist Sinjin faction.

In 1388, unwilling to lead the invasion of Liaodong and fight the Ming dynasty, General Yi Seonggye decided to revolt against U of Goryeo and his fellow general, Choe Yeong, and swept back to the capital, Gaegyeong, to secure control of the government. In 1392, General Yi founded Joseon dynasty.

See also

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