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The Korean Peninsula was inhabited from the Lower Paleolithic about 700,000 years ago. The earliest known Korean pottery dates to around 8000 BC, and the Neolithic period began before 6000 BC,followed by the Bronze Age around 1500 BC, and the Iron Age begins around 400 BC.

According to the Samguk Yusa and other Korean medieval-era records, the Gojoseon (Old Joseon) kingdom was legendaryfounded in northern Korea and Machuria by 2333 BCE,[1] and the Jin state forms in southern Korea in the 3rd century BC. In 108 BCE, Gojoseon was conquered by China. The result of the fall of Gojoseon,Proto–Three Kingdoms period spans the later Iron Age. Since 1st century, Goguryeo, Baekje, and Silla grew to control the peninsula and Manchuria as the Three Kingdoms (57 BC-668 AD) until the unificationby Silla in 676. In 698, Dae Jo-yeong established Kingdom of Balhae, which led to the North South States Period (698-926).

In the late 9th century, Silla was divided into the Later Three Kingdoms(892-936), which ended with the unification of the Goryeo Dynasty. During the Goryeo period, laws were codified, a civil service system was introduced, and Buddhism flourished.

In 1392, general YiSeong-gye established the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) after a coup. King Sejong the Great (1418–1450) implemented numerous administrative, social, economical reforms, established royal authority in theearly years of the dynasty, and promulgated hangul, the Korean alphabet. However, the dynasty was severely weakened during the late 16th and early 17th centuries, when invasions by the neighboringJapan and Qing virtually overran the peninsula. After invasions from Manchuria, Joseon experienced a nearly 200-year period of peace.

In 18th century, Korea was faced with internal strife, powerstruggles, international pressure and rebellions at home, the Joseon Dynasty declined rapidly in the late 19th century. In 1897, Korean Empire (1897–1910) succeeded Joseon Dyansty. However, Japanese...
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