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HOME > Hamel Pavilion > Hamel's view of Joseon > Geography of Joseon



Although Hamel stayed in Joseon only for 13 years, he had a lot of information of Joseon.


Joseon appearing in the world map - Island


Among others, the geographical information of Joseon mentioned in¡ºThe Journal of Hendrick Hamel¡» greatly contributed to letting Dutch and European people know about Joseon and other previously unknown details of the country.

In particular, he introduced the name of Joseon, only called as Corea by Europeans, or as Tiocen Cock.

The following were cited from ¡ºThe Journal of Hendrick Hamel¡»

Joseon is situated between 34. 5¡Æ and 44¡Æ north latitude, the length from north to south is about 140~150 miles, and the width from east to west is about 70~75 miles.

The whole country is divided into eight roads, holding 360 towns and a number of fortresses. Some of them are built in mountains or along the coast.

Considering the shipwreck of his Sperwer, it is extremely dangerous to access Joseon by sea if one have no knowledge of coast line of Joseon because there are many sunken rocks to disturb safe voyage.

Regarding the geographical relations with Japan,
Joseon and Japan are very near and the distance from Busan to Osaka is only 25~26 miles.

There is Tusushima Island in the strait between two cities, commonly called Daemado by Joseon people.

In spite of distance error, his explanation is very appropriate.

On the other hand, European and Dutch people of those days thought Joseon was an island country, but Hamel apparently defined that Joseon was a peninsula.

Whale fishing by Dutch and other foreign-produced fish spears are often found in the northeast sea in Joseon. It means that many whales were distributed in the East Sea of the Korean Peninsula and that West European countries frequently hunted whale there in those days.


Joseon appearing in the world
- mapPeninsular

Travelers going from Joseon to China usually use a ship because the land is bitterly cold in winter and there are many wild animals in summer.

In winter, the river turns to ice where people can travel.

It means that Hamel knew about the Aprok River and Duman River.

It is very cold and snows hard and fast in winter. When he stayed at a temple in the mountain in winter in 1662, he had an experience of heavy snow.


Snow shoes during the Joseon Dynasty


The houses and trees were covered with snow, so he had to dig a tunnel to go to other houses.


Joseon people tie small planks around their feet to easily go up a mountain and not to sink into the snow. It is called "Seolpi (snow shoes)" worn in winter.







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