The 40th Anniversary Monument of Gojong’s Enthronement was built to honor the 40th anniversary of the crowning of Gojong as the 26th Joseon Dynasty king. Gojong became king on December 13, 1863 at the age of eleven. His father, Heungseon Daewongun, ruled for him until he was an adult in 1873.
In 1895, the wife of Gojong, known as Queen Min and Empress Myeongseong, was assassinated by the Japanese. After the assassination, Gojong, along with the Crown Prince fled from Gyeongbokgung Palace to the Russian legation for protection and for his fear of a coup d’état.
Gojong ruled the Korean government from the Russian legation for one year which outraged citizens of Korea. In 1897, Gojong left the Russian legation under rising pressure and relocated to Gyeongungung, known today as Deoksugung Palace. It was here where he proclaimed the founding of the Korean Empire, also known as the Great Han Empire. Gojong became the first Emperor of the Korean Empire.
Letters on the front of the monument were carved by Sunjong, who was Crown Prince at the time. The inscription tells how the monument honors Gojong as king and later as the first emperor of the Korean Empire.
The monument is protected by a square house that is three kan by three kan. A kan is an interval between pillars. Stone columns and a rainbow shaped gate, known as Mansemun Gate, can be found on the southern wall. The building is a reminder of the traditional architectural style of the early 20th century.
During the occupation of Korea, the monument, the building, and the gate were sold to the Japanese. In 1954, the monument was returned and put back into place. It was resorted again in 1979 to its former appearance.