Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




George Kallander

Subject Categories

Arts and Humanities


This dissertation interweaves the maritime dynamics of Ming China and Chosŏn Korea’s northern sea space, the Bohai Sea and the northern Yellow Sea, with the Northeast Asian transition of the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. This region formed an arena in this time period that allowed various players to communicate, negotiate, and contest. It also established a linkage between Northeast Asian terra-centered states and maritime East Asia. A systematic investigation of this particular region is thus essential to improving our understanding of interactive territorial and maritime relations. This dissertation investigates the increase of maritime commerce, wartime logistics, and military intervention in the Bohai Sea and the northern Yellow Sea. In this context, it also focuses on the relations between China-Korea maritime interactions and the two states’ border control practices. It further analyzes the interplay between the maritime expansion of Chinese regional military powers, and the Ming and Chosŏn authorities.

This study argues that the China-Korea northern space experienced a remarkable maritime orientation and witnessed the development of regional maritime powers. This transition and its interconnection with state control of maritime peripheries played important roles in influencing the Northeast Asian history of this period. The prosperous maritime economy and the successive military operations in China and Korea beginning in the sixteenth century encouraged transmarine mobility and regional integration of their northern littoral across state boundaries. This tendency increased government attention to this area and strengthened state involvement in cross-border affairs. Maritime policies between the Ming and the Chosŏn showed much plasticity and permeability, which benefited their transregional and large-scale deployment of resources, secured their northern coasts, and expanded state influence to the sea. However, these practices also generated tensions with the two authorities’ attempts to distinguish their maritime frontiers and control their coastal people. This problem not only existed within China and Korea but it also greatly influenced their relations. Porous and adjustable coastal control in the circumstances of the quickening maritime integration of China and Korea enabled Ming regional military men to grow their individual power across the sea. The establishment of Mao Wenlong’s military regime in the early seventeenth century represents this tendency. While Mao’s utilization and mobilization of coastal resources furthered his flexibility and semi-autonomy in a changing international environment, this trend also intensified his conflicts with neighboring continental powers and caused his followers to shift their stances between the Ming and the Qing.


Open Access