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Ernst Jacob Oppert

Male 1832 - 1908  (75 years)


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  • Name Ernst Jacob Oppert 
    Born 5 Dec 1832  Hamburg, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Biography Ernst Jakob Oppert (December 5, 1832 – September 19, 1903) was a German businessman best known for his unsuccessful attempt in 1867 to remove the remains of the father of regent Yi Haeung from their grave in order to use them to blackmail the regent into removing the Korean trade barriers.
    Oppert was born into a wealthy banker family in Hamburg. Two of his brothers, Julius and Gustav, became leading German orientalists,[1] while Ernst opened a trading business in 1851 in Hong Kong. When that company went bankrupt in 1867, he got interested in trading with Korea, which at that time followed a strict isolationist policy and was a closed market for westerners. Oppert visited the country clandestinely several times.[2]
    On one visit, he met a French priest named Féron, and together they devised the plan to excavate and remove from the country the bones of the father of regent Yi Haeung, who ruled the country for his son, king Gojong, to use them to blackmail him into opening the country for trade. Supplied by an American, E. F. B. Jenkins, with money and arms, they set out on April 30, 1867. When they reached the tomb, they tried to excavate it, but were stopped by the massive stone slab that covered the former king's remains and had to leave without having achieved their objective.[3] On their way back, they were engaged by Korean soldiers in a battle and their party had to flee the country.[4] The incident enraged the Koreans, who were now even less inclined to trade with the foreigners.
    Oppert returned to Germany, where he henceforth lived an unremarkable businessman's life. Some sources claim that he spent a few months in jail for this grave robbing episode.[4][5] He published in 1880 a book about Korea entitled Ein verschlossenes Land. Reisen nach Corea. that was originally published by Brockhaus in Leipzig, Germany[1] and that was also translated into English.[3]

    References
    1. ^ a b Bräsel, S.: Ernst Jakob Oppert: "Ein verschlossenes Land" - Die erste Reisebeschreibung eines Deutschen über Korea, project description, University of Erfurt, 2002. URL last accessed April 26, 2006.
    2. ^ Lankov, A. A Grave enterprise, The Korea Times, January 20, 2005. URL last accessed April 26, 2006.
    3. ^ a b Williams, S. W.: Oppert's Kingdom of Corea, book review of Oppert's book A Forbidden Land: Voyages to the Korea (G.P. Putnam's Sons, New York 1880), in New Englander and Yale review 39(157), September 1880, pp. 509 – 521. URL last accessed April 26, 2006.
    4. ^ a b Neff, R.: The Ghouls of Choson, The Korea Times, October 29, 2004. URL last accessed April 26, 2006.
    5. ^ Kleiner, J.: Korea – A Century of Change, World Scientific Publishing Company 2001, ISBN 9-810-24657-9; in particular Chapter 1: The Hermit Kingdom, "Oppert's Act of Piracy" (p. 10). URL last accessed April 26, 2006.
    [edit]

    External links
    • Kneider, H.-A.: Ernst Jacob Oppert: Ein deutscher Kaufmann auf Raubzug im alten Korea, 2003. URL last accessed April 26, 2006.
    • Jewish Encyclopedia: Oppert, Ernst Jacob. URL last accessed April 26, 2006. 
    Hebrew Birth 13 Kis 5593 
    Hebrew Death 23 Elu 5668 
    Occupation Merchant & Traveler 
    Residence Hamburg, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Residence Hong Kong Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Residence Shanghai, China Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Residence Hamburg, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Died 19 Sep 1908  Hamburg, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I5794  Blank Family
    Last Modified 25 Apr 2010 

    Father Edouard Oppert 
    Mother Henriette Gans 
    Family ID F4054  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 5 Dec 1832 - Hamburg, Germany Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - - Hamburg, Germany Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - - Hong Kong Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - - Shanghai, China Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - - Hamburg, Germany Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 19 Sep 1908 - Hamburg, Germany Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 
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