Timeline

1882

Korea-United States Treaty of Peace, Amity, Commerce and Navigation

  • On May 22, 1882, Korea made its first diplomatic agreement with
    a western nation. Then in May 1883, the U.S. Legation was established
    in Jeongdong, Seoul, and Lucius H. Foote was dispatched as the first
    U.S. Minister to Korea. This was the start of Korea-U.S. diplomatic
    relations, which have continued steadfast to this day.

1883

U.S. Legation established in Seoul and Lucius H. Foote appointed first U.S. Minister to Korea;
Korea sends its first diplomatic mission to the U.S.

  • Members of the first Korean diplomatic mission to the United States

1887

Park Chung Yang appointed first Korean Minister to the U.S.

  • Park Chung Yang,
    first Korean Minister to the U.S.
  • The entry from the Diaries of the Royal Secretariat
    (Seungjeongwon ilgi )
    recording Park Chung Yang's appointment
    (August 18, 1887)

1888

Korean Legation opened (Fisher House)

  • In January 17, 1888, Minister Bak Jeongyang and other legation staff paid
    a visit to U.S. President Cleveland at the White House and presented their credentials from King Gojong. This encounter was illustrated in the American journal Harper’s Weekly (vol. 32, no.1632). The man at the far right is carrying a box containing the royal credentials. The figure next to him appears to be Minister Bak. The two westerners are believed to be Everett Frazer, an American citizen who was appointed as the Korean Consul General in New York by the Joseon dynasty, and Horace N. Allen (1858–1932),
    an American missionary and third-senior-grade official of the Joseon dynasty.

1889

Korean Legation relocated (Iowa Circle)

  • The Korean Minister Park and his staff arrived in the United States of America on January 1, 1888. They presented their credentials from King Gojong to U.S. President Grover Cleveland on January 17 and opened the first legation office at Fisher House near the White House on January 19, 1888. The Legation moved to the present building on February 13, 1889.
    Its condition at the time is reflected in the photograph entitled “Image of the Legation of Joseon in Washington, United States of America” taken about three months after the relocation of the legation office (May 8, 1889).
    The title is written at the bottom of the image with “Washington” transcribed
    in Chinese characters as “華盛頓,” pronounced in Korean as hwaseongdon.
    The inscription “The ninth day of the fourth month of the 498th year from the foundation of the nation” (May 8, 1889 on the solar calendar) refers to the date the photograph was taken. The legation staff in traditional Korean hats, known as gat, and Horace N. Allen can be seen at the entrance to the building. The word “gukgi,” meaning “national flag” is written above the rooftop of the building, and a flag stand and the national flag taegeukgi can be faintly seen. This clearly illustrates Joseon’s efforts at the time to publicize its status as an independent nation.
    (Image from the Yonsei University Museum)

1893

  • The Corean Exhibition
    at the Chicago World's Columbian Exposition in 1893
  • Chang Bong Hwan's passport issued
    in Foreign Office of Korea for proceeding
    as Secretary of Korean Legation in January 24, 1893

1897

Korean Empire proclaimed

  • Seating arrangement for a banquet
    at the White House
    (from Misa illok, a journal written by
    Minister Yi Beom Jin; January 21, 1897)
  • Article in the New York Tribune reporting
    the funeral of Soh Kwang Pom,
    the 8th Korean Minister to the U.S.
    (October 3, 1897)

1898

Fire breaks out at the Korean Legation

  • Article in the Washington Post
    reporting a fire at the Korean Legation
    (April 9, 1898)

1900

  • Specification for repair work at the Korean
    Legation, received from the local contractor
    A.J. Fisher & Co. (from collection of documents
    the Korean Legation exchanged with Foreign
    office of Korea; April 13, 1900)

1901

  • Korean Legation Inventory , a document containing an inventory of office appliances in every room at the Korean Legation (from collection of documents the Korean Legation exchanged with Foreign Office of Korea; August 1901)
  • Korean Legation Inventory , a document containing an inventory of office appliances in every room at the Korean Legation (from collection of documents the Korean Legation exchanged with Foreign Office of Korea; August 1901)

1910

Korean Legation building forcibly sold

  • Article in the Washington Times reporting the sale of the Korean Empire Legation building by the Japanese (September 3, 1910)
  • Papers transferring ownership of the Korean Legation building to Japan
    (June 29, 1910)
  • Papers transferring ownership of the Korean Legation building to Japan
    (June 29, 1910)

1913

  • In the Japan-Korea Treaty of 1910, Imperial Japan deprived the Korean Empire of both its sovereignty and its legation building. However, the Old Korean Legation building soon emerged among Koreans in the United States as a symbol of the desire for independence. Seeing it reconfirmed their determination to win back their sovereignty. The Old Korean Legation represented the national autonomy that must be restored. During the Japanese colonial period, Koreans in the United States produced postcards featuring images of the Old Korean Legation building with the taegeuk flag, which was exaggerated as if to convey their passion for independence. They exchanged these postcards to reconfirm their strong will to pursue this goal.
    (Image from the Independence Hall of Korea)

2012

The Old Korean Legation returns to the Republic of Korea

  • Since the centennial anniversary of Korea-United States diplomatic relations in 1982, the Korean government and Korean American community had made diverse attempts to purchase the building on 15 Logan Circle. It is the only extant legation building left as it was from the time of the Korean Empire. In the midst of such interest across Korean society and the Korean American community, the Cultural Heritage Administration repurchased the building through the National Trust for Cultural Heritage in October 2012.

2018

Old Korean Legation Building Open

  • The Old Korean Legation building was opened on May 22, 2018. Old Korean Legation has a history of Korea and the U.S. at the same time, and experts and master craftsmen from two countries took part in restoring the building together. The Old Korean Legation building is the sole example preserving its original appearance among the extant nineteenth-century diplomatic mission buildings in Washington D.C. and is highly valued for its historical significance. Old Korean Legation will be used as a place for history education focused on the Korea-U.S. friendship and understanding of Korean history.

1882

1883

1887

1888

1889

1893

1897

1898

1900

1901

1910

1913

2012

2018