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The Birth, Growth, Decline and Rebirth of Gaecheon Stream in the Capital of the Joseon Dynasty (1392~1910)

Author(s): Hyeonjun Kim; Cheol-Hee Jang

Linked Author(s): Tetsuya Sumi

Keywords: Ncient river works; Dredging reference; Joseon dynasty; Gaecheon; Cheonggecheon

Abstract: Korea has abundant river works records in historical documents. Extensive related records during the Joseon Dynasty (A. D. 1392~A. D. 1910) were investigated. The evolution of man-made stream, Gaecheon in the center of old downtown Seoul, Korea was reviewed. In 1410, after a big flood, 52,800 soldiers were mobilized from country to improve waterway in the capital. King Sejong the Great decided to enhance the river maintenance. The dredging and expansion for main stream including tributaries was conducted to reduce flood risk. It was a landmark project as a river engineering work for the improvement of infrastructure of capital. King Yeongjo planed and ordered giant river work project. 200,000 people were recruited from five local provinces to widen the stream and to build up the stone embankments, and the waterways were straightened up to present conditions. As a result, floods in downtown of the Seoul had been somewhat controlled though, since then every King of the Joseon Dynasty had worried that the stream was buried by sediment.

DOI:

Year: 2016

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