Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Zara from Cypress, TX. Zara Wonders, “What was the Joseon Dynasty in Korea?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Zara!

Have you ever learned about a past civilization in history class? Maybe you studied the ancient Greeks or the Aztec Empire. People remember these powerful kingdoms for their culture, religion, and government. 

Another important kingdom was the Joseon dynasty. It was on the modern Korean peninsula. General Yi Seong-gye established it in 1392. He picked the city of Hanyang, now called Seoul, as the capital. The Joseon dynasty lasted for over 500 years!

Kings led Joseon. They followed the teachings of Confucius. They used his principles as they created their society and set laws. Rulers expected citizens to have moral conduct. They were to build good relationships with one another. 

Sejong the Great was the fourth king of Joseon. He became king when his father, King Taejong , died. He ruled the kingdom from 1419 to 1450. 

King Sejong is known for starting Hangeul—the 24-letter Korean alphabet. Before King Sejong, people wrote with Chinese characters. There was no way to write the Korean language. Koreans still use Hangeul today.

During the Joseon dynasty, there were many other improvements in art and science. Ceramic artists made beautiful white porcelain works. Some jars were plain white. Artists glazed other pieces in blue, red, or green.

Scientists made tools for monitoring the weather. In 1442, they invented the cheugugi, a new type of rain gauge. It was used to measure how much rain fell. The Angbuilgu was a sundial. It helped track changes in time and season.

The Joseon dynasty is remembered as a time of peace and learning. It was the last Korean dynasty. Would you have liked to live during the Joseon dynasty? What do you think life was like for ordinary people?

Standards: CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.3, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.4, CCRA.L.5, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.W.1, D2.His.1, NCAS.RE.7

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