Topic: Discuss the history of Korea and its impact on Korea’s culture, politics and business.
Korea is a civilization and formerly unified nation currently divided into two states. Korean civilization is one of the oldest ancient civilizations in world history, and Korea has the oldest history in East Asia.
* Gojoseon (National foundation in BC 2333 )
The first Korean kingdom Gojoseon was established on a flourishing bronze culture in BC 2333 by Dangun who was the legendary founder of Gojeseon and people believed he was the grandson of heaven (Edward 2005). It was centered in the basins of Liao (China) and Northern part of the Korean Peninsula.
Politics and economy
In Korean history, Gojoseon was the first state to unify its political and religious functions within one governing system and legal system as represented by its Eight Prohibitions (Edward 2005).
It is believed that Gojoseon had achieved the status of a kingdom with a class-based society.
* Three Kingdoms Period ( BC 18 ~ AD 676)
Town-states gradually united into tribal leagues with complex political structures which eventually grew into kingdoms.
Koguryo (BC 37 ~ AD 668)
Koguryo was the first to mature into a kingdom. Koguryo’s aggressive troops conquered neighboring tribes one after another, and in 313, they even occupied China’s Lolang outposts (Qiancheng 2009).
Paekje (BC 18 ~ AD 660)
Paekje, which grew out of a town-state located south of the Han River in the surroundings of present-day Seoul(Capital city of South Korea), was another confederate kingdom similar to Koguryo (Jeane 2006).
Shilla (BC 57 ~ AD 935)
Shilla was the weakest and most underdeveloped among three kingdoms at the beginning. However, because it was geographically removed from Chinese influence, it was more open to non-Chinese practices and ideas. The society was built on an advanced Buddhist in Shilla (Edward 2005).
* Unified Shilla (676 ~ 918)
By the mid-sixth century, the Shilla kingdom had brought under its control all of surrounding town-states within the Gaya confederation. Through an alliance with China, Shilla finally unified the Korean peninsula in 668 and saw the peak of its power and prosperity in the mid-eighth century. It attempted to build an ideal Buddhist country during Unified Shilla but Buddhist social order started to deteriorate as the nobility indulged in increasing luxury (Kim 2005).
Hwarang-do (Flower-knight art) in Unified Shilla
It is culturally important to Korea and Taekwondo which is well known Korean martial arts in the world. It was a military academy for young, aristocratic youth in Unified Shilla. They intimated with nature and studied poetry, art, literature and song, as well as martial arts. Confucianism and Taoism also were very influential to Hwarang-do. The Hwarang-do’s ethics and legends of this knighthood helped form the ethical background of taekwondo (Theodore 2005).
* Koryo Period ( 918 ~ 1392)
Internal dissensions and external problems of Shilla between the king and regional leaders led to the disruption of Shilla. The name Koryo derives from “Koguryo” and it is the root of the modern name of Korea. The Koryo period from 935 to 1392 was marked by periodic internal disharmony and external wars (mostly defensive) with China and Japan. And also Koryo was invaded by the Mongols in 1231 and Mongols nearly destroyed Koryo. However, there were also great achievements which are flowering of culture that led to great advances in art and scholarship, particularly in the ceramics industry, which developed the unique grey-green celadon stoneware for which Korea is well-known today (Thomas 2003).
* Chosun Dynasty (1392 ~ 1910)
In 1392, a general Yi Seong-gye founded a new dynasty Chosun. In the early Chosun period, Confucianism was highly supported as the guideline of philosophy. And then, this Confucianism transformed into Neo-Confucianism incorporating Taoist and...
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