Jo Aug 2, 2023

“Tonggukjiriji” is a book of history and geography written in 1640 by Han Paek Gyom (1552―1615), one of the early realist scholars. Ascertained in the book are the ancient history and geography, and the territories and the locations of capitals, mountains and rivers, fortresses, etc. of medieval feudal states in our country.

The author employed a new positivist approach for his book. In other words, he clarified the merits and demerits of the existing historical materials and theories and gave his opinion of them in order to give a correct explanation of the history and geography of the ancient and medieval states existed in our country.

The book is largely divided into three parts ― the first part deals with the territory of ancient Korea; the second part ascertains the capital, territory, topography and fortresses in the period of the Three Kingdoms including Koguryo, Paekje and Silla; the third part covers those of Koryo.

The book has extracts of geographical records of ancient and medieval states of our country from documents at home and abroad and the author’s opinion between them, which give correct solutions to a number of main historical and geographical issues.

Based on the historical books by feudal historians who worshipped great powers, “Tonggukjiriji” reveals some incorrectness. However, it deserves to be one of the precious national geographical legacies as it is written in the way of seeking truth from the fact.