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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.
In the Korean language Korea is known as 조선 in North Korea and 한국 in South Korea
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 kingdomsEdit
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.
The Mongol empire conquered Goryeo and forced Korea to pay a tribute in Korean girls and eunuchs to the Mongol court with about 500,000 Korean girls and eunuchs taken to Yuan China. Mongol and Central Asian Semu Hui Tammachi army officials in Korea itself also took Korean women as concubines and Korea officials complained about it, begging the Mongol court to withdraw them from Korea. Koreans wrote erotic songs about how Korean women were seduced by Central Asian Muslims in their bakeries. An amusing incident is reported as having occurred about this time. A courtier named Pa-gyu observed to the king, “The male population of the country has been decimated but there are still plenty of women. For this reason it is that the Mongols take so many of them. There is danger that the pure Koryŭ stock will become vitiated by the intermixture of wild blood. The king should let each man take several wives and should remove the restrictions under which the sons of concubines labor." When the news of this came to the ears of the women they were up in arms, as least the married portion ; and each one read to her spouse such a lecture that the subject was soon dropped as being too warm to handle. When the king passed through the streets with Pa-gyu in his retinue the women would point to the latter and say “There goes the man who would make concubines of us all."  A courtier named Pa Gyu observed to the king: “The male population of the peninsula has been decimated but there are still plenty of women. This is why the Mongols take so many of them. There is danger that the pure Koryo stock will become vitiated by the admixture of the wilt stock. The king should let each man take several wives and should remove the disabilities under which the sons of concubines at present labor.” When this came to the ears of the women they were up in arms and each one read her lord such a lecture that the matter was dropped as being too hot to handle. When the king passel through the streets with Pa Gyu in his retinue, the women would point to him and say, “There goes the man who would wake concubines of us all."  A Korean woman was married off to the Arab (Omani or Yemeni HAdrami) Sayyid bin Abu Ali by Kublai Khan in 1292 when he came to the Yuan Mongol court in Beijing. His grave was in Quanzhou after he died in Beijing in 1299. The Tibetan Sangha was the Korean woman's previous husband and her father was Ch'ai In'gyu Korean wives were taken in Korea itself by Yuan officials and diplomats there and Korean women were sent to Yuan officials and ministers and the emperor in China and Korean noble women were sent as wives to Mongol aristocrats and elite as well as Mongol soldiers and Southern Song Han Chinese soldiers who defected to the Mongol Yuan. The Hui historian Ma Juan wrote about Korean women marrying Indian, Uyghur and Turkic Semuren men during the Yuan dynasty.
In the year 1392 a man from the military of Korea went to China. His name was Sejo(Yi Seonggye). Sejo's job was to attack China. But Sejo returned without doing it. When Sejo came back to Korea, he changed the kingdom. Sejo 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.
In 1905 Japan won the Russo-Japanese War. In the year 1910, the emperor of Japan made Korea a colony of Japan.
Colony of Japan to todayEdit
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.
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