Characteristics of Economic & Social & Religious Life In Early Korea
Korean culture has has been heavily influenced by China due to proximity, war, trade, and other factors. The geography of Korea is mountainous and not highly conducive to cultivating crops. It is believed that farming began to be practiced around 2000 B.C.E., much later than other societies in the area. Communities began to become organized around this time as well and scholars still debate the history during this period. However, scholars do agree that, “…in 109 B.C.E., the northern part of the peninsula came under direct Chinese rule.” (Spielvogel & Duiker, 2013) For the next three decades, Korea was ruled by the Han dynasty but when the power of the Chinese dynasty waned, power shifted to local tribal leaders. Although there was some movement to adopt Chinese models and institutions when the Chinese left, it was not adopted and thus created a weaker Korean government.
Buddhism became the state religion when the Korean government unified after the Chinese left. The society was primarily classes of peoples ranging from slaves and merchants to aristocrats who mainly stayed powerful and had a larger influence on politics. Architecture in Korea was impressive and many beautiful and structurally sound monasteries were built during this era.
The Koryo dynasty was arose in the north in the early 10th century and remained powerful for four hundred years. A major downfall of the dynasty was the lack of tax funds for government use. However, agriculture was the main supply of success and wealth and with the Koryo dynasty commerce and industry were supported and developed. During this time frame, there were also significant cultural developments through art and religion.
Spielvogel, J. J., & Duiker, W. J. (2013). The Essential World History. Cengage Learning.
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