The Koreas are two of the few countries in the East Asian world to successfully maintain political and cultural independence from China. Originated by the Han-Ye-Maek people who had migrated from North China to Manchuria and the Korean peninsula since 2000 BCE, three Korean dynasties—Great Silla, Koryo, and Choson—kept peace and prosperity in the country since the 7th century, nurturing a civilization based on Buddhism, Confucianism and the East Asian world-system. Korea, despite experiencing Japanese dominion and the nation's division, now looks forward to enjoying its prosperity as a member of the global community and to seeing a unified Korea. This volume provides a comprehensive review of Korea's history, from its roots in Neolithic civilization, and the tradition and evolution of nation-building in the traditional East Asian world system, through Korea's global setting in modern times. Also included are a biographical section highlighting famous figures in Korean history, a timeline of important historical events, a glossary of Korean terms, and a bibliographical essay with suggestions for further reading.
The historical origin of Korean identity in the East Asian world, Korea's failure to adapt to a changing East Asian world-system, as well as the political division Korea suffered in the second half of the 20th century are discussed. Readers will benefit from the inclusion of direct translations from original classical Chinese and Korean sources by the author. Excellent as a reference tool for students and general readers interested in the history of this unique nation.