South Korean Map
This map of Pyongan Province in South Korea dates back to the early 1800s. It is part of the Seaboard Centre collection because of long-standing connections between the area of Easter Ross and Christians in present-day South Korea.
In 1872, thirty-year-old John Ross was sent by the Scottish United Presbyterian Mission to northeast China, where he founded the Dongguan Church in Shenyang and became acquainted with traders from Korea. It was this meeting that led Ross to create the first Korean translation of the New Testament.
Nowadays a group in South Korea works to preserve the history of John Ross. It was the chairman of this group, Dr Phillip Lee, who presented the map as a gift to the Seaboard visitor centre, in the region where Ross grew up. Pyongan was an important symbol of Christianity, known as the ‘Jerusalem of Korea’.
Nowadays, museums try to present balanced interpretations of the work of missionaries. Whilst missionaries provided western religious education and often sought to improve standards of living in the places they visited, in some they also had a detrimental effect on local religious beliefs and cultural traditions.
However, it is known that John Ross formed a close bond with the Koreans he met and Ross continues to be celebrated today. The John Ross Centre is a key part of the history of the Seaboard villages.