Diplomatic Documents of the Late Joseon

Diplomatic Documents of the Late Joseon Dynasty

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These materials are diplomatic documents and maritime customs documents that Korea exchanged with Japan, China, the U.S., the U.K., Germany, France, Russia, Italy, Belgium, and Switzerland. The documents date from 1876, after which time Korea signed treaties of amity and commerce with Japan, the U.S., and European nations, appeared on the international stage, and exchanged diplomatic ministers and consuls until 1905, when Japan deprived Korea of its right to diplomacy. They were originally titled Il-an (Japan), Cheong-an (Qing), Mi-an (USA), Yeong-an (UK), Deok-an (Germany), Beop-an (France), A-an (Russia), Eui-an (Italy), Bi-an (Belgium), Seosa-an (Switzerland), and Hae-an (Cuba).

They used to be housed in the Joseon Dynasty’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs but were transferred to an annex to the Archives and Documents Section of the Japanese Government General of Korea after Japan deprived Korea of its sovereignty in 1910. In 1930, they were moved again to the Keijo Imperial University Library (the current Seoul National University Library).

The number of volumes is as follows:
  • Il-an (Japan): seven volumes (vols 1 to 7)
  • Cheong-an (Qing): three volumes (vols 8 to 10)
  • Mi-an (USA): two volumes (vols 11 & 12)
  • Yeong-an (UK): two volumes (vols 13 & 14)
  • Deok-an (Germany): two volumes (vols 15 & 16)
  • A-an (Russia): two volumes (vols 17 & 18)
  • Beop-an (France) : two volumes (vols 19 & 20)
  • Eui-an (Italy), Bi-an (Belgium), Seo-an (Sweden): one volume (vol. 21)
  • Haegwan-an (Maritime Customs): two volumes (vols 22 & 23)
  • Table of Contents and Index: one volume (vol. 24)