As anyone who reads this blog regularly knows, I love history. So it’s been fun learning about our exchange student’s famous Korean ancestors–one from each branch of her family.
On her father’s side is Jeong Yak-yong, who was an 18th scholar with a mind for engineering. He helped design and oversaw construction on the Hwaseong Fortress in what is now Suwon, and invented Korean’s first mechnical crane which involved a system of pulleys to help build the structure. The crane is called “geojunggi” in Korean.
On her mother’s side is An Jung-geun, who is famous for his role in the resistance movement against Japanese occupation. In 1909, Jung-geun assassinated Ito Hirobumi, who was the Resident-General of Korea at the time.
The assassination happened on a railway platform on October 26, in Harbin, Manchuria. An got passed Japanese guards by hiding the gun in his lunchbox, then shot Ito three times with a pistol. It is said that after the shooting, An waved the Korean flag and shouted for Korean independence using the Russian language.
These are definitely men we’ll study as our Korean history homeschool course progresses. It makes me wonder if our son’s bloodline holds any famous ancestors. Maybe someday he’ll be able to discover that. In the meantime, we claim all of Korean history as his and he has much to be proud of.