[KS] Question about execution sites in the late Joseon capital

안선재 ansonjae at sogang.ac.kr
Thu Jan 14 10:25:32 EST 2016

The execution ground known as Saenamteo was a strip of sandy and wet land on the northern side of the Han River, more or less where the railway bridge now passes. Wikipedia says that Saenamteo was used from the early Joseon Dynasty for military training and as a place of capital punishment for those (usually yangban) convicted of political crimes. In 1456, a number of royal officials were executed there for plotting to overthrow Sejo of Joseon and restore his deposed nephew, Danjong, to the thrown. The most famous of these were executed at Saenamteo and became known as the Six Martyred Ministers. The Saenamteo site is most famous as the place of execution of Roman Catholic martyrs during four anti-Catholic persecutions in the 19th century, occurring in 1801, 1839, 1846, and 1866. The victims included Korean, French, and Chinese priests, missionaries, and laypeople. Eleven priests were executed at Saenamteo, while the laypeople were more often executed at the crossroads outside Seosomun, which was the regular place of execution for common criminals of the lower classes, rebels etc. The park beside the railway lines a little to the north of Seoul station which more or less corresponds to the site now houses a memorial to the Catholic martyrs who died there, it was indeed a major market place. In addition, after the French landed there in 1866 there were executions of many Catholics at the rock known as Jeoltusan close to Yanghwajin, where the Yanghwa Bridge crosses. Can't find general articles though they must exist.

Brother Anthony
President, RAS Korea etc

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