(temple name, T’aejo). Born 1335; died 1408. King of the Korean state of Choson and founder of the Yi dynasty.
Yi Song-gye came from the provincial gentry. In the late 1380’s he led a grouping of middle and petty feudal lords who opposed the powerful landowning aristocracy. In 1388, during a conflict between Koryo and the Ming dynasty, Yi Song-gye overthrew the government. In 1391 his supporters promulgated a law on landholding (the Kwajong pop), then raised him to the throne (in 1392). Under Yi Song-gye, the state was renamed Choson and the capital became Seoul. The new ruler implemented reforms to strengthen central authority but was forced to acknowledge Korea’s vassalage to China.