History of Korea

Merged Korean Flag
Credits to Kevin Huynh
     Ancient Korea was originally divided into tribes. Eventually these tribes began to come together and three kingdoms emerged. The Silla and Baekje in the south, and Goguryeo in the north. These three kingdoms were heavily influenced by Chinese culture. By the 4th century Korea was highly civilized. The three kingdoms fought for power. China tried to defeat the north kingdom twice but they failed both times. The chinese allied tih the Silla kingdom against the other two and in 660 AD, the Baekje kingdom was defeated and merged with Silla. Eight years later Goguryeo also joined. Korea was then united under the Silla.
     The silla was strictly based on hierarchy. Social classes divided the people and a others had more privilages than the next. Many Buddhist temples were made because Buddhism was introduced in the 4th century. Unfortunately, in 8th century AD the Silla began to decay. Fights over power plagued the nation and warlords broke away and made their own states. In 918, a warlord named Wang Geon made a state called Goryeo. In 935 he became the ruler of Silla.
     This kingdom called Goryeo faced many challenges. They had aggressive neigbors and a people called the Jurchens conquered north China and commonly fought the Koreans. When the mongols took over china they turned to Korea and invaded in 1231. The Korean royal family fled and this allowed the mongols to reak havoc in Korea. Fortunately the Koreans fought back and the Mongols couldnt take over.
     Further into Korean history the Joseon era emerged. This era lasted five centuries. From July 1392 to October 1897. It was founded after the aftermath of the Goryeo Dynasty. The Joseon period has left a substantial legacy to modern Korea; much of modern Korean etiquette, cultural norms, societal attitudes towards current issues, and the modern Korean language and its dialects derive from the culture and traditions of Joseon.
     Later the Japanese turned Korea into a colony to supply Japan with food. However they also built bridges, railways and roads. The Japanese also built many factories in Korea. The urban population grew rapidly although Korea remained farm based. Nevertheless Japanese rule was repressive. In 1919 many Koreans took part in peaceful protests. The Japanse However all these reforms were superficial and in the 1930s the Japanese tried to assimilate the Koreans by persuading them to adopt Japanese names. From 1938 education was only in Japanese. Schoolchildren were forbidden to speak Korean. The Japanese also tried to persuade the Koreans to adopt Shinto (the Japanese national religion) without much success. During World War II many Koreans either volunteered or were forced to work in Japan. However Japanese attempts to turn Korea into part of Japan were ended in 1945 when they surrendered to the allies.
     The Korean War took place. And from this through many hardships and sometime ounce of luck. Korea became divided into North and South Korea. 1945. Today life in South Korea is peaceful. But in North Korea people still face terrible hardship and even starvation as well as brutal political oppression. Today the population of North Korea is 22 million while the population of South Korea is 48 million.