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Korea is a peninsula in northeast Asia. It covers a peninsula called the Korean Peninsula. Korea became a country (or state) in 918. In 1948, it split into two countries: North Korea and South Korea. North and South Korea and their allies fought against each other in the Korean War.
People have lived in Korea for about 15,000 years. In the past, some of modern Manchuria and Siberia was governed by Korea. Korea is known for its fine silk. In the 7th century, the people of China sought after gold-workers from Korea. Europeans had little knowledge about Korea until the modern era.
Korea is famous for its traditional food kimchi. The Korean people usually eat sticky white rice. Traditionally, Koreans eat seaweed soup on their birthdays. People believe the soup is also good for pregnant women.
South Korea has over 50 million people, and North Korea has more than 23 million. South Korea's biggest city is Seoul, the capital of South Korea. The city has more than 10 million people and the region of Seoul has more than 15 million people. North Korea's biggest city is Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea. It has fewer than 4 million people.
South Korea is an advanced country with large cities, high-speed rail trains, high-speed internet, and many television and radio networks. Many Korean television dramas are popular around the world. But there are still poor areas, even in South Korea. The Korean farmers are not rich and struggle to compete with cheap food from other countries.
Gojoseon is the first state in Korean history. It was established in 2333 BCE. Its real name is Joseon, but it is called Gochosun to make it different from other Joseon in Korean history. Go is a Korean prefix meaning 'old'. The founder of Gojoseon is said to be Dangun. The Korean people believe that Dangun established the country on October 3rd, and still celebrate that day. In Korea, October 3rd is a national holiday, which is named Gaecheonjeol (The day heaven opened). It is said to be the day that Dangun's father whose name is Hwan-ung came from the sky on October 3rd 2457 BCE. Gochosun was destroyed by the Chinese Han Dynasty in 108 BCE.
After Gojoseon had been destroyed, there were many confederations in the Korean Peninsula and Manchuria: Mahan, Byeonhan, Jinhan, Buyeo, Dongye, Okjeo, Goguryeo, and so on. The ancient confederation countries later merged into three more powerful kingdoms and an advanced confederation country.
Between 57 BC and the year 668 there were three kingdoms in the Korean Peninsula and Manchuria. The names of the kingdoms were: Silla, Goguryeo and Baekje. In the year 372, the religion Buddhism came from China to Korea. Buddhism was very important in Korea.
In the year 660, the kingdom of Silla invaded the kingdom of Baekje. In the year 668 the kingdom of Silla invaded the kingdom of Goguryeo. The people of Goguryeo ran away and made a new kingdom with the name Barhae. After a little time, the kingdom of Balhae was invaded by Liao Dynasty.
When Silla was the only country, it had the name Unified Silla. In the Silla kingdom Buddhism was very important.
|57 BCE||Silla was established. The first leader is Hyeokgeose.|
|37 BCE||Goguryeo was established as a kingdom. The first leader is King Dongmyeong.|
|18 BCE||Baekje was established. The first leader is Onjo. The age of Three Kingdoms of Korea began.|
|1st century||Gaya was established by some states around Gimhae.|
|562 CE||Gaya was destroyed by and merged into Silla.|
|660 CE||Baekje was destroyed by Tang Dynasty and merged into Silla.|
|668 CE||Goguryeo was destroyed by Silla-Tang Alliance. The age of Three Kingdoms of Korea was finished.|
|935 CE||Silla was destroyed by and merged to Goryeo.|
The northern and southern kingdoms
In the year 698, Balhae was founded by allies of Goguryeo. We call the time when united Silla and Balhae were existing together (698∼926) The northern and southern kingdoms period.
In the year 918 the kingdom of Goryeo began. The name Korea comes from Goryeo. The kingdom of Goryeo had power until the year 1392.
The kingdom of Goryeo wrote the law in books, and had a big government. Buddhism was very important in the kingdom of Goryeo. Bronze-type printing technology was invented in Goryeo Dynasty. This is known as the world's oldest bronze-type printing technology.
In the year 1392 a man from the military of Korea went to China. His name was Yi Seonggye. Yi's job was to attack China. But Yi returned without doing it. When Yi came back to Korea, he changed the kingdom. Yi became king.
The name of the kingdom was Joseon. In the year 1394, the people of Joseon moved the capital to Seoul. The religion of Buddhism was not important. A new religion, Confucianism was important. Confucianism came from China.
In the year 1592 and the year 1598 the people from Japan fought Korea. A man from the military made very strong ships, including the famous turtle ship. The name of the man was Yi Sun-sin. With the strong ships, the people of Korea won.
The people of Joseon were friends with the people of China.
Today, North Koreans use the name Joseon (officially Chosŏn) to mean Korea.
In the 19th century the people of Korea did not want to trade with other people. People called Korea Hermit Kingdom.
The people of the United States and Japan wanted to trade with Korea. Before 1876, people failed when they tried to use force to trade with Korea. In the year 1876 the military of Japan fought Korea. Korea and Japan made a contract to trade.
In 1895 Japan won the First Sino-Japanese War in the Korean peninsula. This ended Chinese influence in Korea. Empress Myeongseong, also called Queen Min, wanted the Russian Empire as a friend, to help Korea against Japan. Agents of the Ambassador of Japan killed her in October 1895.
Colony of Japan to today
Korea was occupied by Japan from 1910 to 1945.
The people of Korea wanted to be independent. The United States and the Soviet Union agreed the people of Korea would be free and independent. But soon the United States and Soviet Union were not friends and the Cold War started. United States and Soviet Union refused to settle a deal. In 1948 the people in the south made an independent country called South Korea (also called the Republic of Korea). The United States helped them. In 1948 the people in the north also made a country North Korea (also called the DPRK or Democratic People's Republic of Korea). The Soviet Union helped North Korea.
In 1950 a war started in Korea. The name of the war was the Korean War. The war ended in 1953, but no peace treaty was signed. The border line between North and South was almost the same in the end as it was before the war.
- Media related to Korea at Wikimedia Commons
- "Korea.net : The official website of the Republic of Korea". korea.net. http://www.korea.net/. Retrieved 22 April 2010.