History of Korea

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The history of Korea stretches from Lower Paleolithic times to the present.[1] Korea is home to one of the oldest continuous civilizations in the world.[2][3][4] The earliest known Korean pottery dates to around 8000 BC, and the Neolithic period began before 6000 BC, followed by the Bronze Age around 2500 BC.

According to the Samguk Yusa and other Korean medieval-era records, the Gojoseon (Old Joseon) kingdom was founded in 2333 BC in basins of Liao river,[5] eventually stretching from the peninsula to much of Manchuria.[6] By the 1st Century BC, it disintegrated into many successor states.

In the early Common Era, the Three Kingdoms (Goguryeo, Silla, and Baekje) conquered other successor states of Gojoseon and came to dominate the peninsula and much of Manchuria. The three kingdoms competed with each other both economically and militarily. Goguryeo and Baekje were more powerful for much of the era, especially Goguryeo, which defeated large scale Chinese invasions. Silla's power gradually extended across Korea and eventually established the first unified state to cover most of the Korean peninsula by 676 when the Silla–Tang Wars ended, while the former Goguryeo general Dae Jo-yeong founded Balhae as the successor to Goguryeo.

Unified Silla itself fell apart in the late 9th century, giving way to the tumultuous Later Three Kingdoms period (892-936), which ended with the establishment of the Goryeo Dynasty. After the fall of Balhae in 926 to Khitan, many of Goguryeo group people were absorbed into Goryeo.

During the Goryeo period, laws were codified, a civil service system was introduced, and Buddhism flourished. In 993-1019, Khitan invaded Goryeo and were repelled. In 1238, the Mongols invaded and after nearly thirty years of war, the two states established tribute relationship until 1350s.

In 1392, general Yi Seong-gye established the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) after a coup. King Sejong the Great (1418–1450) promulgated hangul, the Korean alphabet. King Sejong implemented numerous administrative, social, and economical reforms and established royal authority in the early years of the dynasty.

Between 1592 and 1598, Japanese invaded Korea, but was eventually repelled due to the efforts of the Navy led by Admiral Yi Sun-sin, and other forces of resistance. In the years 1627 and 1636, Joseon suffered invasions by the Manchu Qing Dynasty.

Beginning in the 1870s, Japan began to force Korea out of China's sphere of influence into its own. In 1895, Empress Myeongseong was assassinated by Japanese agents.[7] In 1897, Joseon was renamed the Korean Empire (1897–1910), and King Gojong became Emperor Gojong.

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