Horatio Nelson VS Yi Sun-sin

In London, the capital of the United Kingdom, there is Trafalgar Square. At the center of the square, there is the statue of Horatio Nelson(1771–1805), a legendary Vice-Admiral of the United Kingdom. He defeated the Allied Navy at Trafalgar off coast of Spain when Napoleon’s French navy joined forces with the Spanish Armada to attack the England in the 19C. This was the battle of Trafalgar, one of the four greatest naval battles in the world’s history.

Unfortunately, he died during this battle, but he did not want his death to be known leading to England’s victory. Even at the moment of his death, he was a great hero who thought only of his home country. After the battle, the England expanded the British Empire by dominating the sea and controlling trading blocs in Europe.



Admiral Yi Sun-sin

There was also a Korean navy admiral who was known to be as great as or better than Lord Nelson. He was Admiral Yi Sunsin(1545-1598). During the Imjin War in 1592, he led all the naval battles to victory. He also led the Battle of Hansando Island, one of the four greatest naval battles in the world’s history. Before the Imjin War started, he prepared for war perfectly because he anticipated it. He created and built Geobukseon (Turtle ship), war ship with an armored cover on top, the first storm fleet in the world, together with his men and led the naval battles to victory.

During the Battle of Hansando Island, Admiral Yi Sun-sin commanded and developed his famous tactic, Hakikjin, a crane wing formation with ships forming a semi circle in which enemies were trapped. He defeated the enemies quickly and decisively. The secret of the firepower was only discovered in the 20th century, surprising scholars in related fields. With his victory in the naval battle of ‘Hansando Island,’ Joseon was able to block the supply route changing the direction of the battle. Even after that, he led the navy of Joseon. He also took part in the Battle of Noryang which closed the Imjin War. But like Nelson, he was deeply wounded during the Battle of Noryang, and he did not want his death known until the battled ended in victory.

He saved his country at the moment of crisis. His life story has been handed down with his diary,
Nanjungilgi and other historical documents even moving the Koreans of today with his great deeds. Like
Lord Nelson, his statue stands at Gwanghwamun Square, in the center of Seoul, which is the capital of
Republic of Korea.

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