During the early Joseon period, the Korean navy’s maritime defense consisted in loading up a battleship with weapons and provisions and in standing by on board, led by the officer. Such a naval system was based on the principle of on-board defense. Such a maritime defense principle had been initiated during the Goryeo period. This principle of on-board defense kept the country from constructing fortifications. During the 15th year of King Seongjong, there was a suggestion of building small stone fortifications in Gyeongsang and Jeolla Provinces in order to store up weapons and provisions there. Some government officials were against this idea, saying that the newly constructed fortifications at military posts would end up being officers’ residences. Nevertheless, King Seongjong said, “The project was already launched so we can’t stop it. If there is any problem later on, we will need to take separate measures.” In this way, the king went on with the construction project. Under these circumstances, a fortresss was built first at the Jepo port in October of the 17th year of King Seongjong. By 1522 (17th year of King Jungjong), Joseon built fortifications for the navy stationed at its east and west coasts.
The first construction of Anheungjinseong Fortress is not documented. However, historical documents do explain that the fortress was moved to Hwajeongdo in 1653 (4th year of King Hyojong) and that it began to be built during the 6th year of King Hyojong. Such records are found in The Annals of the Joseon Dynasty, Bibyeonsa Deungrok (records of the Border Defense Council of Joseon), Daedongjiji (geography book) and Jeungbo Munheon Bigo (encyclopedia). Referring to Daedongjiji, which describes how the fortress was transferred to Hwajeongdo to be built again there, the “Anheungjinseong Studies Report” says that the fortress was constructed in 1655 (6th year of King Hyojong). The cultural heritage search engine on the website of the Cultural Heritage Administration also says that the fortress was built during the reign of King Hyojong.
However, Daedongjiji makes clear that Anheungjinseong Fortress was moved again from its new location in Hwajeongdo to its original location during the 10th year of King Hyeonjong. In addition, The Annals of the Joseon Dynasty and Bibyeonsa Deungrok elaborate on how the fortress was moved between its old and new locations. This means that Anheungjinseong Fortress was first constructed in its original location and that it was also constructed in its new location in Hwajeongdo. The date of the fortress’ first construction, which doesn’t appear in historical documents, has been unveiled thanks to a stone monument with a text inscribed on it. This monument was discovered in 1993 when Kongju National University Museum conducted research on the fortress. The text on the monument mentions the “11th year of the Wanli Emperor,” which is 1583 (16th year of King Seonjo). Therefore, the year 1583 came to be regarded as the date of the first construction of the original fortress of Anheungjinseong. Furthermore, two excavation projects of the fortress body of Anheungjinseong led to clarifying construction techniques dating from two historical periods, which came to be known as the period of its first construction and that of its additional construction respectively.
Although a great volume of research has recently been conducted on the occasion of symposiums on Anheungjinseong Fortress, researchers have failed to shed light on the construction and additional work of the old and new fortresses. They have failed to explain the matter because they have overlooked the fact that Anheungjinseong Fortress was in its new location in Hwajeongdo for 16 years from the time when the fortress was moved to Hwajeongdo (4th year of King Hyojong) to the time when it was transferred again to its original location (10th year of King Hyeonjong). Supposing that the fortress wasn’t built in its new location in Hwajeongdo, they have tried to explain the construction of the old (original) fortress by mixing the facts about the new and old fortresses. Consequently, they have wrongly concluded that the fortress began to be built before March of the 7th year of King Hyojong and that it was completed in October of the 7th year of King Hyojong. Such a conclusion distorts the three-month construction work in the old location which was launched in August and completed in October. This is explained in the chapter “Anheung Bangeo Sasamok” in Bibyeonsa Deungrok, historical records of the 1st year of King Sukjong.
Today’s Anheungjinseong Fortress, whose original and old location is described in historical records, was first constructed in 1583 (16th year of King Seonjo). The fortress was completed from August to October of the 6th year of King Hyojong, during the construction work in its new location. Bibyeonsa Deungrok (“Anheung Bangeo Sasamok”) doesn’t specify when the old fortress was built, generating confusion. Nevertheless, considering the tenure of Gwon Wu, governor of Chungcheong Province who supervised the construction project, it is certain that the fortress was built during the 6th year of King Hyojong. The project mobilized about 2,200 reservists from the left camp, one of the five military camps in Chungcheong Province, as well as monk soldiers.
During the 4th year of King Hyojong, Anheungjinseong was moved to Hwajeongdo and its new fortress was built. This construction work was launched during the 6th year of King Hyojong and completed during the 7th year of King Hyojong. Historical documents say that the construction project caused a commotion throughout the province at that time. This implies that the project would have mobilized workers from all the villages in Chungcheong Province. During the 8th year of King Hyojong, the very existence of Anheungjinseong Fortress was jeopardized due to the water shortage at the new fortress. However, subjects at the Border Defense Council of Joseon and government officials persuaded the country to keep running the fortress in its new location.
On February 4 of the 10th year of King Hyeonjong, Kim Jwa-myeong, then minister of culture and education, said, “The topography of the old fortress of Anheungjinseong was very good but ever since it was moved to its new location, we have had so many problems. Local soldiers have also complained about it while having a hard time.” At this, Heo Jeok, then first vice-premier. suggested moving the fortress to its old location and withdrawing local officials and naval forces from the new fortress. King Hyeonjong approved the suggestion. As a result, Anheungjinseong Fortress, which had been moved to Hwajeongdo in 1653 (4th year of King Hyojong), came back to its old location in 1669 (10th year of King Hyeonjong). The fortress is still found there today.