Korea

 

Capital Pyongyang, Seoul
37°32′N 126°59′E / 37.533, 126.983
Largest conurbation (population) Seoul
Official languages Korean
Area
 -  Total 220,186 kmē (84th if ranked)
85,020 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) 2.8
Population
 -  2007 estimate 72,326,462 (18th if ranked)
 -  Density 328.48/kmē 
850.7/sq mi
Currency Won (₩) (N/S)
Time zone KST (UTC+9)

Korea is a geographic area, civilization, and a former state situated on the Korean Peninsula in East Asia. It borders China to the west and Russia to the north, with Japan situated to the east. The Korean Peninsula is divided into two separate states, North Korea and South Korea. However, the name "Korea" is often used to refer to South Korea due to its greater economic significance and influence in the world.

The history of Korea began with the legendary founding of Gojoseon in 2333 BC by Dangun. Limited linguistic evidence suggests probable Altaic origins of these people, whose northern Mongolian steppe culture absorbed migration and trade with the peoples of Manchuria and China. The adoption of the Chinese writing system ("hanja" in Korean) in the 2nd century BC, and Buddhism in the 4th century AD, had profound effects on the Three Kingdoms of Korea. Baekje later passed on a modified version of these cultural advances to Japan.[1][2][3][4]

Since the Goryeo Dynasty, Korea was ruled by a single government and maintained political and cultural independence until the nineteenth century, despite the Mongol invasions of the Goryeo Dynasty in the 13th century and Japanese invasions of the Joseon Dynasty in the 16th century. In 1377, Korea produced the Jikji, the world's oldest movable metal print document.[5] In the 15th century, the turtle ships, possibly the world's first ironclad warships, were deployed, and King Sejong the Great promulgated the Korean alphabet han-geul to increase literacy among his people who could not read nor write hanja (Chinese characters).