THE EVOLUTION OF KOREAN SOCIETY
After the Three Kingdoms period, Korea witnessed the rise and
fall of three dynasties--unified Silla (668-935), Koryo
(918-1392), and Choson (1392-1910). Each of these dynasties was
marked by initial periods of consolidation, the flourishing of
civilization, and eventual decline.
Fifth- or sixth-century gold crown excavated from a Silla
Courtesy Embassy of the Republic of Korea, Washington
The first 215 years of the Silla Dynasty were marked by the
establishment of new political, legal, and education institutions
of considerable vigor. Domestic and foreign trade (with Tang
China and Japan) prospered. Scholarship in Confucian learning,
mathematics, astronomy, and medicine also flourished. Buddhism,
introduced to the peninsula in A.D. 372, reached its zenith
, ch. 2).
Silla began to decline, however, in the latter part of the
eighth century when rebellions began to shake its foundations. By
the latter half of the ninth century, two rivals had emerged. The
chaotic situation eventually led to the emergence of a new Koryo
Dynasty in 918 under a former officer, Wang Kon.
Data as of June 1990