Goryeo, spelled as Koryŏ, was a Korean dynasty established in 918 by King Taejo. This kingdom gave name to the modern exonym Korea and it united the Later Three Kingdoms in 936 and ruled most of the Korean Peninsula until it was removed by the founder of the Joseon in 1392. Goryeo expanded Koreas borders to present-day Wonsan in the northeast, the Yalu River, two of this periods most notable products are celadon pottery and the Tripitaka Koreana—the Buddhist canon carved onto more than 80,000 woodblocks and stored at Haeinsa. The people of Goryeo created the first metal type that was capable of printing actual books, in 1234, the oldest surviving metal movable type book. A son of a lord, Wang Geon, joined Taebong as a general. Taebong fell when Wang Geon revolted and killed Gung Ye in 918, Silla was overpowered by Goryeo and Later Baekje and surrendered to Goryeo in 935. By the late 13th century, after nearly 30 years of warfare with the Mongols of the Yuan dynasty, Goryeo lost much of its power, the name Goryeo is derived from Goguryeo of the Three Kingdoms of Korea, which the Goryeo state regarded as its predecessor.
Goguryeo changed its name to Goryeo during the reign of Jangsu in the 5th century, the English name Korea derives from Goryeo. Silla, which had accomplished an incomplete unification of the Three Kingdoms of Korea in 668, the country entered a period of civil war and rebellion, led by Gung Ye, Gi Hwon, Yang Gil, and Gyeon Hwon. Gung Ye established the state of Later Goguryeo, renamed Taebong, together with the declining Later Silla, they are known as the Later Three Kingdoms. Wang Geon, who became the Taejo of Goryeo, joined Later Goguryeo as a general but overthrew Gung Ye. Goryeo regarded itself as the successor of Goguryeo, Wang Geon, the founder of Goryeo, was a descendant of Goguryeo, and traced his ancestry to a noble Goguryeo clan. For three years after, Later Baekje dominated the Later Three Kingdoms, but after a defeat at Andong in 930, the Later Three Kingdoms era ended when Goryeo annexed Silla in 935 and defeated Later Baekje in 936. King Taejo moved the capital to his hometown of Kaesǒng, Taejo married a daughter of the Silla royal family and allowed most of their nobility to keep their lands.
Even though he ruled the nation for only seven years before his son took the throne upon his death. The terminology used in the court of Goryeo was that of an empire, the capital, Gaegyeong was called Hwangdo Imperial Capital and the palace was referred to as Imperial Palace. The nation utilized a system of multiple capitals, Gaegyeong as the main capital, the mere use of this system and the nomenclature or use of the character 京 implied that Goryeo functioned internally as an empire. Other terms, such as Your Imperial Majesty, Empress Imperial Crown Prince, Empress Dowager, Goryeo, when enshrining its rulers, did not use the title Emperor
Later Silla was a prosperous and wealthy country, and its metropolitan capital of Gyeongju was the fourth largest city in the world. During its heyday, the country contested with Balhae, a Goguryeo–Mohe kingdom, despite its political instability, Later Sillas culture and arts flourished. Through close ties maintained with Tang Dynasty and Confucianism became principal philosophical ideologies of the elite as well as the mainstays of the periods architecture and fine arts. Its last king, ruled over the state in name only and submitted to the emerging Goryeo in 935, although traditionally considered the first unified Korean state, modern Korean historians argue that Goryeo was in fact the first truly unified state of the Korean nation. Modern Korean historians began to criticize the traditional view of Unified Silla as the unification of Korea, in 660, King Munmu of Silla ordered his armies to attack Baekje. General Kim Yu-shin, aided by Tang forces, defeated General Gyebaek, in 661, he moved on Goguryeo but was repelled.
King Munmu was the first ruler ever to look upon the south of the Korean Peninsula as a political entity after the fall of Gojoseon. As such, the post-668 Silla kingdom is often referred to as Unified Silla, Unified Silla lasted for 267 years until, under King Gyeongsun, it fell to Goryeo in 935. Later Silla was an age of art and culture, as evidenced by the Hwangnyongsa, Seokguram. Unified Silla and the Tang maintained close ties and this was evidenced by the continual importation of Chinese culture. Many Korean monks went to China to learn about Buddhism, the monk Hyecho went to India to study Buddhism and wrote an account of his travels. Different new sects of Buddhism were introduced by these traveling monks who had studied such as Son. Unified Silla conducted a census of all size and population, as well as horses and special products. The reporting was done by the leader of each town, a national Confucian college was established in 682 and around 750 it was renamed the National Confucian University.
The university was restricted to the elite aristocracy, woodblock printing was used to disseminate Buddhist sutras and Confucian works. During a refurbishment of the Pagoda That Casts No Shadows, an ancient print of a Buddhist sutra was discovered, the print is dated to 751 CE and is the oldest discovered printed material in the world
Goguryeo was an active participant in the power struggle for control of the Korean peninsula and was associated with the foreign affairs of neighboring polities in China and Japan. The Samguk Sagi, a 12th-century text from Goryeo, indicates that Goguryeo was founded in 37 BCE by Jumong, a prince from Buyeo, after its fall, its territory was divided among the states of Later Silla and Tang China. The name Goryeo, a form of Goguryeo, was adopted as the official name in the 5th century. In the geographic monographs of the Book of Han, the word Goguryeo was first mentioned in 113 BCE as a region under the jurisdiction of the Xuantu Commandery, page 33. In the Old Book of Tang, it is recorded that Emperor Taizong refers to Goguryeos history as being some 900 years old, in 75 BCE, a group of Yemaek who may have originated from Goguryeo made an incursion into Chinas Xuantu Commandery west of the Yalu. At its founding, the Goguryeo people are believed to be a blend of people from Buyeo and Yemaek, as leadership from Buyeo may have fled their kingdom and integrated with existing Yemaek chiefdoms.
The Records of the Three Kingdoms, in the section titled Accounts of the Eastern Barbarians, implied that Buyeo, the earliest mention of Jumong is in the 4th century Gwanggaeto Stele. Jumong is the modern Korean transcription of the hanja 朱蒙 Jumong, 鄒牟 Chumo, the Stele states that Jumong was the first king and ancestor of Goguryeo and that he was the son of the prince of Buyeo and daughter of the Yellow River deity Habaek. The Samguk Sagi and Samgungnyusa paint additional detail and names Jumongs mother as Yuhwa, Jumongs biological father was said to be a man named Haemosu who is described as a strong man and a heavenly prince. The river god chased Yuhwa away to the Ubal River due to her pregnancy, Jumong was well known for his exceptional archery skills. Eventually, Geumwas sons became jealous of him, and Jumong was forced to leave Eastern Buyeo, the Stele and Korean sources disagree as to which Buyeo Jumong came from. The Stele says he came from Buyeo and the Samgungnyusa and Samguk Sagi say he came from Eastern Buyeo, Jumong eventually made it to Jolbon, where he married Soseono, daughter of its ruler.
He subsequently became king himself, founding Goguryeo with a group of his followers from his native country. A traditional account from the Annals of Baekje section in the Samguk Sagi says that Soseono was the daughter of Yeon Tabal, a wealthy influential figure in Jolbon and married to Jumong. However, the same source states that the king of Jolbon gave his daughter to Jumong. She gave her husband, financial support in founding the new statelet, Jumongs given surname was Hae, the name of the Buyeo rulers. According to the Samgungnyusa, Jumong changed his surname to Go in conscious reflection of his divine parentage, Jumong is recorded to have conquered the tribal states of Biryu in 36 BCE, Haeng-in in 33 BCE, and Northern Okjeo in 28 BCE. Goguryeo developed from a league of various Yemaek tribes to an early state, in the time of Taejodae in 53 CE, five local tribes were reorganized into five centrally ruled districts
Baekje was a kingdom located in southwest Korea. It was one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea, together with Goguryeo, Baekje was founded by Onjo, the third son of Goguryeos founder Jumong and So Seo-no, at Wiryeseong. Baekje, like Goguryeo, claimed to succeed Buyeo, an established in present-day Manchuria around the time of Gojoseons fall. Baekje alternately battled and allied with Goguryeo and Silla as the three kingdoms expanded control over the peninsula and it became a significant regional sea power, with political and trade relations with China and Japan. In 660 it was defeated, by an alliance of Silla and the Chinese Tang Dynasty, Baekje was founded in 18 BC by King Onjo, who led a group of people from Goguryeo south to the Han River basin. According to the Chinese Records of the Three Kingdoms, during the Samhan period, the Samguk Sagi provides a detailed account of Baekjes founding. Jumong had left his son Yuri in Buyeo when he left that kingdom to establish the new kingdom of Goguryeo, Jumong became Divine King Dongmyeong, and had two more sons with So Seo-no, Onjo and Biryu.
When Yuri arrived in Goguryeo, Jumong promptly made him the crown prince, realizing Yuri would become the next king, So Seo-no left Goguryeo, taking her two sons Biryu and Onjo south to found their own kingdoms with their people, along with ten vassals. She is remembered as a key figure in the founding of both Goguryeo and Baekje, Onjo settled in Wiryeseong, and called his country Sipje, while Biryu settled in Michuhol, against the vassals advice. The salty water and marshes in Michuhol made settlement difficult, while the people of Wiryeseong lived prosperously, Biryu went to his brother Onjo, asking for the throne of Sipje. When Onjo refused, Biryu declared war, but lost, in shame, Biryu committed suicide, and his people moved to Wiryeseong, where King Onjo welcomed them and renamed his country Baekje. King Onjo moved the capital from the south to the north of the Han river, King Gaeru is believed to have moved the capital north of the river to Bukhansanseong in 132, probably in present-day Goyang to the northwest of Seoul.
Through the early centuries of the Common Era, sometimes called the Proto–Three Kingdoms Period, during the reign of King Goi, Baekje became a full-fledged kingdom, as it continued consolidating the Mahan confederacy. In 249, according to the ancient Japanese text Nihonshoki, Baekjes expansion reached the Gaya confederacy to its east, Baekje is first described in Chinese records as a kingdom in 345. The first diplomatic missions from Baekje reached Japan around 367, King Geunchogo expanded Baekjes territory to the north through war against Goguryeo, while annexing the remaining Mahan societies in the south. During Geunchogos reign, the territories of Baekje included most of the western Korean Peninsula, Baekje continued substantial trade with Goguryeo, and actively adopted Chinese culture and technology. Buddhism became the state religion in 384. Baekje became a sea power and continued mutual goodwill relationships with the Japanese rulers of the Kofun period, transmitting continental cultural influences to Japan
Silla was one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea, and one of the worlds longest sustained dynasties. Although it was founded by King Park Hyeokgeose, the dynasty was ruled by the Gyeongju Kim clan for most of its 992-year history. It began as a chiefdom in the Samhan confederacies, once allied with China, Unified Silla or Later Silla, as it is often referred to, occupied most of the Korean Peninsula, while the northern part re-emerged as Balhae, a successor-state of Goguryeo. After nearly 1000 years of rule, Silla fragmented into the brief Later Three Kingdoms, Silla and Taebong, handing over power to its successor dynasty Goryeo in 935. From its founding until its growth into a kingdom, Silla was recorded with various hanja phonetically approximating its native Korean name, 斯盧, 斯羅, 徐那, 徐耶, 徐羅. In 503, King Jijeung standardized on the characters 新羅, which in Modern Korean is pronounced Shilla, in the modern Mongolian language and Koreans are still known as Солонгос Solongos, which seems to be an alteration of Silla influenced by the Mongolian word for rainbow.
Scholars have traditionally divided Silla history into three periods, Early and Late. The Park clan held power for three generations before a coup by the Seok clan. During the reign of the first Seok ruler, Talhae of Silla, the Park and Seok clans constantly fought each other for power and both were eventually overthrown by the Kim clan. The Kim clan ruled over Silla for many generations with the Park, the final ruler of Later Silla, King Gyeongsun, was a member of the Kim clan. During the Proto–Three Kingdoms period, the city-states of central and southern Korea were grouped into three confederacies called Samhan, Silla began as Saro-guk, a statelet within the 12-member confederacy called Jinhan. Saro-guk consisted of six villages and six clans, according to Korean records, Silla was founded by King Park Hyeokgeose in 57 BC, around present-day Gyeongju. Hyeokgeose is said to have hatched from an egg laid from a white horse. He is the progenitor of the Park clan, now one of the most common names in Korea.
The Samguk Sagi and Bei Shi say that the originally Lelang Commandery area which became the Jinhan confederacy was the origin of Silla. By the 2nd century, Silla existed as a state in the southeastern area of the Korean peninsula. It expanded its influence over neighboring Jinhan chiefdoms, but through the 3rd century was no more than the strongest city-state in a loose federation. To the west, Baekje had centralized into a kingdom by about 250, to the southwest, Byeonhan was being replaced by the Gaya confederacy