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Far East Kingdoms

East Asia


Later Barhae / Balhae (Hubarhae?) / Jeongan (Korea)
AD 927 - 986

The Korean kingdom of Barhae (or Balhae) had been founded in 698 to replace its lost predecessor, Koguryo. While many refugees had headed southwards into the rival state of Silla, several movements had also formed throughout now-Tang-dynasty-occupied Koguryo territory with the aim of reviving the kingdom. One such revival soon diverted into the kingdom of Bodeok, but a core western rump state does seem to have survived.

Other refugees had headed northwards where they founded Barhae around the Dongmo Mountain area (in today's Jilin Province of China). In time it encompassed much of central and northern Koguryo but it also stretched far to the north and east of that to incorporate just about all of the territories of Korean cultural development and the semi-legendary state of Old Choson, and far beyond too. Unfortunately it was unable, in 926, to withstand the ferocity of a Khitan invasion which destroyed it.

The Khitan steppe warriors had already formed their own Liao dynasty to control areas of northern China and Manchuria, and they attempted also to control conquered Barhae by creating a puppet state by the name of Dongdan. However, their control never seemed to be entirely complete.

It was effectively sabotaged from within when a suspicious Liao emperor ordered Dongdan's governor to move his capital from Sanggyeong in the east to a western location which could more easily be monitored for signs of betrayal.

The east immediately rose up (in 927) to create an enclave of free territory which was known as 'Later Barhae'. Given the normal Korean naming rules, this could also be shown as Hubarhae or Hubalhae. A regime change in 935 also brought about a name change, to Jeongan, otherwise known as Ding'an. Another regime change followed in 976, but the state's days were numbered.

South Korea's flag

(Information by Peter Kessler, with additional information from A New History of Korea, Lee Ki-baik (1984), from Pacific northeast Asia in prehistory: hunter-fisher-gatherers, farmers, and sociopolitical elites, C Melvin Aikens (WSU Press, 1992), from The Origins of Northern China's Ethnicities, Zhu Xueyuan (Beijing 2004), from A History of Korea, Charles Roger Tennant (Routledge, 1996), and from External Links: Three Kingdoms (Encyclopaedia Britannica), and Capital Cities and Tombs of the Ancient Koguryo Kingdom (UNESCO), and Encyclopaedia Britannica, and Changbaishan volcano in China, Geophysical Research Letters (AGU).)

927 - 935?


Unnamed relative of the last king of Barhae. Died.


Having established themselves at Holohan, the Dae clan relatives of the last king of Barhae have managed to remain independent of the Khitan forces for eight years. The name of the leader of this enclave appears to be unknown, as is the fact of whether the same leader remains in command for the entire eight year period.

It seems likely though, as his death in this year allows General Yeol Manhwa to stage a coup and take over, with the assistance of Oh Je-hyeon. He immediately renames Later Barhae as Jeongan.

Map of East Asia AD 927
In 927 a number of the remaining members of Barhae's royalty, military, and general populace founded the independent successor enclave of Later Barhae out of the core of its eastern territories (click or tap on map to view full sized)

935 - 976

Yeol Manhwa

General and usurper. Possibly Mohe. Founded Jeongan.


Dongdan is annexed directly under Liao control, but the people of Jeongan are staunch in their opposition to their new Khitan would-be rulers in the west. Numerous other revival movements also take place during the next century, notably that of Heungyo.


The volcanic eruption of Paektu Mountain around this time (give or take a few years) may deal a fatal blow to Jeongan's ambitions to remain independent. This violent 'Volcanic Explosivity Index' Level 7 event briefly alters Manchuria's climate (the event is comparable to the explosion of Thera around 1470 BC which had ended indigenous Minoan civilisation).

Surviving records indicate mass population movements by Koreans into the Khitan-controlled Liaodong peninsula and into Goryeo.

Paektu Mountain, which exploded around AD 946
Paektu Mountain exploded with tremendous force around AD 946, triggering a regional climate catastrophe which resulted in the Korean population evacuating west and south in large numbers, no doubt weakening Jeongan in the process


The Yeol clan has been ruling Jeongan for the past forty-one years, seemingly under the command of General Yeol Manhwa for the entire time. It could be his death - presumably due to old age - which allows another coup to be launched by the Oh clan.

The leader, Oh Hyeon-myeong, is a descendant of the Oh Je-hyeon who assisted in the coup of 935. He becomes the state's last ruler.

976 - 986

Oh Hyeon-myeong

Usurper? Last ruler. State extinguished.


The poorly-documented destruction of Jeongan at the hands of the Liao dynasty triggers another mass migration of the region's Korean population into Goryeo where they are welcomed with open arms.

At least two further restoration attempts take place after this date (in the eleventh and twelfth centuries), known as Heungyo (in 1029) and Daebalhae (in 1116, but information about it is unavailable). Nothing lasting is achieved and further Korean migrations take place.

A Khitan mural of musicians
Farmers in Inner Mongolia's autonomous region in 2020 unearthed a series of Khitan murals of the Liao dynasty period, with this one depicting musicians

The majority of the Mohe population remains behind to be dominated by the Khitans for two centuries before founding their own Jin dynasty to control China.

The loss and subsequent abandonment of Korea's far north territories - as several further waves follow of Korean emigration into Goryeo - heralds its southwards compression below the River Amrok and the formation of a Korean peninsula which survives to this day (albeit divided in two).

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