Commanders and leaders
Bae Jung-son †
Kim Tong-jeong †
Sambyeolcho Rebellion (1270–1273) was a Korean rebellion against
Goryeo dynasty that happened at the last stage of the Mongol
invasions of Korea. It was suppressed by the
Goryeo and the Mongol
Yuan dynasty. After the rebellion
Goryeo became a vassal of the Yuan
dynasty, division of the Mongol Empire.
2 Anti-Mongol Struggle
3 See also
Goryeo was intermittently invaded by the Mongol Empire.
During this time,
Goryeo was controlled by a military regime led by
the Choe family. In 1232 the government under the nominal king fled to
Ganghwa Island, which Mongol horse riders were unable to land on, and
resisted the Mongol invasion. Unfortunately because of its fragile
Goryeo faced frequent rebellions. The 1258 rebellion
resulted in the establishment of
Dongnyeong Prefectures (동녕부, 東寧府) by
Unlike these rebels, the
Sambyeolcho (Three Elite Patrols) were an
organ of the military government. They were organized by the Choe
family to maintain security. However, unlike the Choe private guards
unit (which was to personally protect the family), the Sambyeolcho
assumed public functions performed by police and combat forces,
effectively replacing the Six Divisions of the military.
In 1258, Choe Ui, the fourth of the Choe family, was overthrown by Kim
Jun (also known as Kim Injun) using the Sambyeolcho. Kim Jun took a
pro-Mongol policy and sent Crown Prince Wang Jeon to the Mongol
Empire. At the same time, King Gojong and the crown prince approached
the Mongols to restore power from Kim Jun.
In 1268, however, Kim Jun was annihilated by the
Sambyeolcho under the
order of Im Yeon. The next year, Im Yeon's attempt to replace King
Wonjong was reversed by the crown prince (Chungnyeol) with the help
from the Mongol force. In 1270, Im Yeon's successor Im Yumu was killed
by the pro-Mongol faction using the Sambyeolcho. It marked the end of
the military regime.
By the order of the Mongol Court, Wonjong moved the capital from
Ganghwa Island to Kaesŏng. Regaining power from military officials
with the support of the Mongols, the king decided to abolish the
Sambyeolcho (삼별초, 三別抄). Resentful of the peace terms
worked out with the Mongols, the Sambyeolcho, led by Bae Jungson
(배중손, 裴仲孫), revolted against the government.
Systematically blocking passage between Gangwha and the mainland, they
brought nearby islands and coastal regions under their domain. Wang
On, a royal kinsman was proclaimed king of the maritime kingdom. They
Ganghwa Island and fled to Jindo Island in the southwest.
Sambyeolcho raided the coastlines of
Jeolla Province, the
southwestern province, Jin Island started to face food shortages in
January 1271. In February the court of Kublai Khan's Yuan dynasty
called for the Sambyeolcho's surrender. In response, its leader, Bae
Kublai Khan to secure
Jeolla Province and put it under
the direct rule of the empire, just as preceding rebels had. But his
request was never fulfilled.
In April, the Yuan court decided to crush the rebels. It only took a
month until Jin Island fell to a combined
Goryeo and Mongol army. The
puppet king was killed and the survivors, led by Kim Tongjeong
(김통정, 金通精), fled to Jeju Island. The rebels captured the
island and banished the king of
Tamna in November 1270.
Sambyeolcho laid low until the end of 1271. During that time, they
sought help from Japanese Kamakura Shogunate. They regained their
strength to some degree the following year. They repeatedly looted the
Korean coast. A combined Goryeo-Mongol assault began in February 1272,
and crushed the rebels in April. Thereafter, the Mongols directly
Tamna until 1294.
List of Korea-related topics
History of Korea
Mongol invasions of Korea
Korea under Yuan rule
Ikeuchi Hiroshi 池内宏: Kōrai no Sanbetsushō ni tsuite
高麗の三別抄について, Mansenshi kenkyū Chūsei No. 3
満鮮史研究 中世 第3冊, pp. 67–101, 1963.
Murai Shōsuke 村井章介: Kōrai, Sanbetsushō no hanran to Mōko
shūrai zen'ya no Nihon
高麗・三別抄の叛乱と蒙古襲来前夜の日本, Ajia no
naka no chūsei Nihon アジアのなかの中世日本,
pp. 144–188, 1988.
Schultz, Edward J., Generals and Scholars - Military Rule in Medieval
Korea, University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, 2000, pp.&