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History

Prehistoric age

an advanced cultural group lived here

Bronze Age

A number of chipped stone implements and kitchen middens and artifact have been excavated, but people seem to have inhabited this area in groups since at least the bronze age.
Remains from the prehistoric bronze age settlement of Jancheon-ri that include more than 900 dolmens, slender daggers, and bronze molds excavated in Gurim (formerly) (National Treasure #231) tell us that an advanced cultural group inhabited here.

Samhan Period

this area belonged to Mahan.
It was the last center of Mokjiguk, the central county of Mahan. Among the 54 counties, this is presumed to be Woljiguk.
Between the 1st to 5th centuries A.D., it created the unique Yeongsangang River valley culture called the big jar-coffin tomb culture, and the jar-coffin manufacturing technology laid the foundation for the earthenware manufacturing technology. There are more than one hundred big jar-coffin tombs, and the Sijong Naedong-ri twin tomb, dating back to the 3rd century A.D., might have directly or indirectly influenced the formation of Keyhole and Stone Chambered Tomb in Japan.

Three-Kingdom Period

this area was an integral part of the Baekje Kingdom. It was known as Wolna-gun.
It was called Wolna-gun of Baekje.
Dr. Wangin went to Japan in 405 A.D. at the invitation of Japan's Emperor Ojin, and became the founder of Asuka Culture of Japan. Sangdaepo served as a port of international trade with China and Japan, and is famous as the port where Wangin left for Japan, Choi Chiwon, Choi Seungwoo and Kim Gagi used this port to go to Tang in the last years of Silla. Records show that there had been a sea route from Yeongam through the Heuksando Island offing to Shandong Peninsula since a long time ago.

Nambukguk Period (Unified Silla Period)

It was renamed Yeongam-gun in the 17th year of King Gyeongdeok (758 A.D.)
It was renamed Yeongam County in the 16th year of King Gyeongdeok (757 A.D.) of Unified Silla.
The Gurim earthenware kiln (historical site #338) is the birthplace of the glazed ceramicware culture, and was the motive force for the Haenam green porcelain and Gangjin celadon manufacturing technology. At Mt. Wolchul Cheonhwang Peak Sosateo, Cheonsinje (heaven worship) (Jesajo of Samguksagi [History of Three Kingdoms]), wishing for the peace and well-being of the country, is said to have been held. Pungsujiriseol (theory of Water, Wind and Earth) of Zen priest Doseonguksa (826~898 A.D.) became the spirit of the national foundation of Goryeo.

Post-three-state Period

It was the scene of the hardest battle fought between King Gyeonhwon of Latter Baekje and King Taejo (1st King of Goryeo) to rule the sea. You can get a glimpse of it by looking at Mt. Yeoseok Cheonji that was created when whetstones for grinding swords were dug out.

Goryeo Period

Annam Dohobu was installed in the 15th year of King Seongjong (995 A.D.). Nangju Annam Dohobu was abolished in the 9th year of King Hyeonjong (1018 A.D.), and it was renamed Yeongam-gun.
It became Nangju, part of Annamdohobu, in the 14th year of King Seongjong (995 A.D.), and renamed Yeongnam in the 9th year of King Hyeonjong (1018 A.D.), which is the current name of the place.
Astronomer Choi Jimong (907~987) contributed to the founding of Goryeo and the stabilization of the dynasty in its early years with Confucianism and astronomy.
Mt. Wolchul Maaeyeoraejwasang (National Treasure #144; meaning the image of seated Buddha carved on a cliff in Mt. Wolchul), which is the biggest Buddha image carved on a cliff in Korea, Seongpungsaji 5-storied pagoda erected in 1009 (Treasure #1118), and Dogapsa Temple Seokjoyeoraejwasang (Treasure #89; meaning a stone image of seated Buddha) tell us that Buddhist culture prospered in Yeongam.
Haesinje (rituals for spirits of the sea) was held in Namhaesinsa, one of the top three Haesindang (houses enshrining spirits of the sea) in Korea, from the era of King Hyeonjong of the Goryeo Dynasty.

Joseon Period

It was divided into 11 myeon in the 8th year of Yunghee (1914 A.D.).
Its jurisdiction covered a wide area, including Jangjwado (Cheonghaejin) of Wando Island, and Bogildo Island and Chujado Island to the south. In 1409 Jindo Island was separated as Jindo County, and Samsan-myeon, Okcheon-myeon and Hwawon-myeon were incorporated into Haenam. In 1896 Bogildo Island and Chujado Island were transferred to Wando County, and Bukpyeong-myeon and Songji-myeon were transferred to Haenam County. Part of Sijong and Sinbuk-myeon belonging to Naju, and Geumjeong-myeon were incorporated into Yeongam County.
The population size was 1,229 in 1423 (Sejongsilrokjiriji), and 29,288 in 1789 (Yeojidoseo). Gurimdaedonggye based on Hyangyak was founded in 1565 (20th year of King Myeongjong), and established the Hyangyak-based regional order.
As for literature, Yeongam produced many famous writers: Ohan Park Seonggeon who wrote Geumseongbyeolgok, Samdang poet Gojuk Choi Gyeongchang, Yeonchon Choideokji and Hakseonggun General Kim Wan.
Yeongma produced the celebrated musician of Yeongam, Kim Changjo (1856~1919), who created the immortal Gayageumsanjo, which is said to have sublimed the national sentiment, and other masters like Han Seonggi, Kim Jukpa and Kim Byeongho.

Republic of Korea

In 1979 Yeongam-myeon was promoted to an 'eup', and on May 1, 2003 Samho-myeon was promoted to an 'eup'. Now there are 2 eups and 9 myeons. (Yeongam-eup, Samho-eup, Deokjin-eup, Geumjeong-myeon, Sijong-myeon, Dopo-myeon, Gunseo-myeon, Soho-myeon, Haksan-myeon, Miam-myeon )
Yeongam-myeon was promoted to eup in 1979, and Samho-myeon was promoted to eup in 2003. The 2-eup 9-myeon system still remains today. Yeongam was inhabited by 141,489 people in 1965, but many people quit farming and left Yeongam to send their children to better schools. So in 1995 the population shrunk to 62,400, but the population is now 65,699 and increasing. In 1988 Mt. Wolchul was designated as a National Park (#20). It is also the birthplace of Nangsan Kim Junyeon, who helped establish the original Constitution of the Republic of Korea. Yeongam produced many distinguished people. History and culture are still alive in Yeongam.