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Prehistory and founding of a nation in North Korea


Prehistory and founding of a nation in North Korea

Archeological finds of prehistoric toolmaking on the Korean Peninsula date back to 70,000 BC, and the first pottery is found around 8000 BC. Comb-pattern pottery culture peaked around 3500-2000 BC. According to legend, Korea's history begins with the founding of Gojoseon (also called Ancient Chosun) by the Dangun in 2333 BC. however, historians believe the kingdom actually dates back to around 7th-4th century BC. China's Han Dynasty brought down the Gojoseon Kingdom and divided the land into four commandaries, but this did not last long. Natives of the peninsula and Manchuria soon reclaimed the territory, leading to the Three Kingdoms, Goguryeo, Silla, and Baekje. The Goguryeo Kingdom (or Koguryo) ruled the entire area of modern North Korea, as well as parts of Manchuria and the northern parts of modern South Korea. Buddhist and Confucian teachings were prominent in the Goguryeo Kingdom, which adopted Buddhism as the state religion in 372. The Goguryeo had poor relations with its neighbors, especially the Chinese Sui Dynasty. They were able to fend off an invasion by the Sui, which contributed to the rise of the Tang Dynasty in China. With the change of dynasty however, did not come a change in attitude towards Goguryeo and the opportunistic Silla took advantage. In contrast to the Goguryeo, the Silla had been building positive relations with the Sui by sending Confucian scholars and Buddhist missionaries to learn from them, so once the Tang rose to power, they were able to align themselves with the Tang Dynasty to overthrow the Goguryeo, as well as the Baekje. The Tang attempted to annex the newly conquered territories as part China, but the Silla fought and eventually gained control of the territories in 676, uniting the Korean Peninsula under one rule. Buddhist learning was spread to the masses during this time and the former Baekje and Goguryeo leaders were treated well. The kingdom saw relative peace until the 8th and 9th centuries when clan leaders led uprisings and toppled the Silla, establishing the Goryeo Dynasty from which the name "Korea" was derived by Westerners. During this period, the nation suffered Mongol invasions, which led to unrest and the eventual establishment of the Joseon Dynasty in 1389.

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North Korea Travel Guide from Wikitravel. Many thanks to all Wikitravel contributors. Text is available under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0, images are available under various licenses, see each image for details.

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