Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


The Yongnam-ro, the main communication artery between Seoul and Pusan, was the shortest and the most important route running through the central part of southern Korea. This road evolved as a military campaign route in ancient times and finally as an administrative communication artery in the Yi Dynasty. Although spanning some rugged areas in its course, the Yongnam-ro had some advantages: first, it avoided the troublesome communication system connected by river crossings because its path followed longitudinal valleys of the Han and Naktong rivers; second, it connected the waterways of the Han and Naktong; third, it formed the pivot belt between the capital and the Yongnam region, the most productive and populous province in the country; and finally, it played an important strategic role. The Yongnam-ro passed through about twenty counties and connected seventy others by means of branch roads. Numerous settlements both administrative and roadside developed along the Yongnam-ro. Administrative towns, power bases of local nobles, functioned as the centers of tax collection, culture, and trade. Roadside settlements were classified into two groups: royal settlements including post stations, public ferries, and hostels; and commercial settlements including periodic markets, river ports, and inn complexes. Royal settlements, mainly post stations, formed consanguine villages because of the entail service. Commercial settlements developed by commoner merchants in the seventeenth century and many of them became leading regional or local service centers in modern Korea. Although the Yongnam-ro was established solely for administrative purposes, it functioned as the route of trade and cultural diffusion. The impacts of the Yongnam-ro still survive in the roadside landscape and cultural traits of the people. Modern Korean urban network is based on the frame of the Yongnam-ro, even though its location was partially shifted. The Yongnam-ro zone is the most important industrial and commercial axis of Korea. The tradition of agricultural technology and landuse of the Yongnam region are reflected in the modern landscape. Cultural and political ties between the national core and the Yongnam region remain strong.