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King Daru

2015-08-26

King Daru
King Daru was the first son of King Onjo, the founding father of Baekje. He was proclaimed the crown prince in the year 10 and succeeded to the throne in year 28 when his father died.

Historical records say the king ordered the cultivation of land and rice farming in southern regions in 33. It is believed that rice farming, which had started in the Bronze Age, was promoted significantly during the king’s reign.

According to The Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms, which is an ancient book on historical accounts and folktales, King Daru was generous and virtuous and he was a man of dignified character. It seems the king truly cared for his people deeply. When people suffered from hunger as a result of severe crop failure in the year 38, the king banned the fermenting of grains and the making of rice alcohol. The king inspected the eastern and western regions of the country himself and consoled starving people. He distributed grains, which would have been consumed as liquor, to the people. History shows that a liquor ban was often imposed during famine years, but it is assumed that the one during the reign of King Daru was the first-ever prohibition in Korea. It is hard to believe that people brewed alcoholic beverages such a long time ago, and it is also amazing that a liquor ban was introduced due to a poor harvest and famine.

While tackling the domestic problems, the king also had to deal with constant invasion. The History of the Three Kingdoms states that Baekje clashed with the Malgal or Mohe tribe many times. It is uncertain who this tribe refers to, as the Mohe tribe lived in Manchuria, which was far from the capital of Baekje in the present-day Seoul area. It is thought that the Malgal tribe was one of the Chinese commanderies that crossed the Han River. To fend off the Malgal invasion, the king built a castle in 56. The frequent battles with outside forces show that the fledgling Baekje kingdom in the southwestern part of the Korean Peninsula was in the process of stabilizing and expanding its power.

In 63, King Daru sent an envoy to the neighboring state of Silla, whose name was Saro at that time. But the Silla king refused to accept the mission, this apparently angered Daru. The following year, the King Daru attacked Silla, but lost the battle. In 66, he invaded Silla again, and this time around, Baekje captured Silla’s Wasan Castle. The two states exchanged victory and defeat in subsequent battles. The king died in 77, after 49 years on the throne.

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