Archaeological findings have indicated that the first settlements
on the Korean Peninsula occurred 700,000 years ago
(2333 - 108 B.C)
According to legend, the mythical figure Dan-gun founded Go-Joseon,
the first Korean Kingdom, in 2333 B.C. Subsequently, several tribes
moved from the southern part of Manchuria to the Korean Peninsula.
Kingdoms Period (57 B.C. - A.D. 676)
The three kingdoms, Goguryeo, Baekje and Silla, were established
in the 1st century A.D. During this period, the kingdom's political
systems, religions (Buddhism and Confucianism), and cultures
Silla Kingdom (676 - 935)
The Unified Silla Kingdom promoted the development of culture and
arts, and the popularity of Buddhism reached its peak during this
period. The Unified Silla Kingdom declined because of contention for
supremacy among the noble classes, and was annexed by Goryeo in 935.
Dynasty (918 - 1392)
The Goryeo Dynasty was established in 918. Buddhism became the
state religion during this time and greatly influenced politics and
culture. Famous items produced during this time include Goryeo celadon
and the Tripitaka Koreana. During the Goryeo Dynasty, Jikji, the
world's oldest movable metal type was published. It was invented 78
years before the German movable metal type created by Gutenburg.
The Goryeo Dynasty's strength decreased gradually in the latter half
of the 14th century.
The Joseon Dynasty (1392 - 1910)
The Joseon Dynasty was formed at the end of the 14th century.
Confucianism became the state ideology and exerted a massive influence
over the whole of society. The Joseon Dynasty produced Hangeul, the
Korean alphabet, which was invented in 1443, during the reign of King
Sejong. The dynasty's power declined sharply later because of foreign
invasions, beginning with the Japanese invasion of 1592.
The Japanese Colonial Period (1910 - 1945)
In 1876, the Joseon Dynasty was forced to adopt an open-door
policy regarding Japan. The Japanese annexation of Korea concluded in
1910, and Korean people had to accept Japanese colonial rule until the
surrender of Japan, which ended World War II.
The Republic of Korea (1945 - Present)
In 1945, Japan surrendered to the Allies and withdrew from the
Korean Peninsula. The Korean Peninsula was then divided into two
zones, South and North Korea. The Korean War broke out on June 25,
1950 and fighting ended when an armistice was signed on July 27, 1953.
In 2000, an historic summit took place between South and North Korea
in Pyeongyang, the capital of North Korea.