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geographical name\kə-ˈrē-ə, especially South (ˌ)kō-\
Definition of KOREA
peninsula 600 miles (966 kilometers) long & 135 miles (217 kilometers) wide E Asia between Yellow Sea & East Sea (Sea of Japan)
or Japanese Cho·sen\ˈchō-ˈsen\ country coextensive with the peninsula; once a kingdom & (1910–45) a Japanese dependency ∗ Seoul; divided 1948 at 38th parallel into republics of North Korea (∗ Pyongyang area 46,609 sq miles or 120,717 sq kilometers, pop 24,051,200) & South Korea (∗ Seoul area 38,022 sq miles or 98,477 sq kilometers, pop 50,200,000)
Former kingdom, a peninsula (Korean peninsula) on the eastern coast of Asia. In 1948 it was partitioned into two republics, North Korea and South Korea. The Korean peninsula was probably settled in prehistoric times by Tungusic-speaking peoples who migrated in waves from Manchuria and Siberia. According to tradition, the ancient kingdom of Choson (Old Choson) was established in the northern part of the peninsula during the Bronze Age. Conquered by China in 108 BCE, it later developed into the Three Kingdoms of Silla, Koguryo, and Paekche. Silla conquered the other two in the 7th century CE and ruled until 936, when the Koryo kingdom became prominent. In the 13th century Koryo suffered a series of invasions by the Mongols but retained its political and cultural identity. Land reforms and the rise of a new bureaucracy led to the establishment of the kingdom of Choson in 1392. With its capital at Seoul, it was ruled by the Choson (Yi) dynasty (seeYi Songgye) until 1910. Invaded repeatedly by neighbouring countries, Choson attempted to shut out foreign contacts but was forced after 1873 to open ports to Japan. Rivalry over Korea and Manchuria brought on the Russo-Japanese War (1904–05), after which Korea became a Japanese protectorate. Formally annexed to Japan in 1910, it was freed from Japanese control in 1945 at the end of World War II. After the war it was divided into two zones of occupation, Soviet in the north and U.S. in the south. For Korea's later history, seeNorth Korea and South Korea; see alsoKorean War.