A History of Korea: From Antiquity to the Present by Michael J. Seth

By Michael J. Seth

During this complete but compact booklet, Michael J. Seth surveys Korean background from Neolithic occasions to the current. He explores the origins and improvement of Korean society, politics, and its nonetheless little-known cultural historical past from their inception to the 2 Korean states of at the present time. Telling the amazing tale of the origins and evolution of a society that borrowed and followed from out of the country, Seth describes how quite a few tribal peoples within the peninsula got here jointly to shape one of many worlds so much targeted groups. He exhibits how this historical, culturally and ethnically homogeneous society used to be wrenched into the realm of late-nineteenth-century imperialism, fell sufferer to eastern expansionism, after which grew to become arbitrarily divided into adverse halves, North and South, after global battle II.
Tracing the previous seven a long time, the booklet explains how the 2 Koreas, with their deeply various political and social structures and geopolitical orientations, advanced into sharply contrasting societies. South Korea, after an unpromising commence, grew to become one of many few postcolonial constructing states to go into the ranks of the 1st global, with a globally aggressive financial system, a democratic political process, and a worldly and dynamic tradition. North Korea, in contrast, grew to become one of many worlds so much totalitarian and remoted societies, a nuclear energy with an impoverished and famine-stricken inhabitants. Seth describes and analyzes the noticeably various and traditionally remarkable trajectories of the 2 Koreas, previously one tight-knit society. all through, he provides a richdimension through putting Korean background into broader worldwide point of view and through together with basic readings from every one period. All readers searching for a balanced, an expert historical past should be richly rewarded with this transparent and concise booklet.

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In 311, the Xianbei, a steppe nomad people, sacked the imperial Chinese capital, Luoyang. Six years later, the Jin relocated their capital to the lower Yangzi region and all effective administration in northern China collapsed. This inaugurated a period of Chinese history whose troubled nature is exemplified in the convention of referring to it as the Period of the Five Dynasties and the Sixteen Kingdoms (317–589). The Lelang and Taifang commanderies, the latter created south of Lelang, cut off from the rest of China by a series of nomadic intruders who had overrun northern China, continued a shadowy existence.

Genetic evidence lends some support for both theories. Analysis of Y-chromosome DNA suggests that at least some of the ancestors of Koreans entered from Manchuria and Northeast Asia, and that after a long period in the peninsula some of their descendents moved into Japan. The migration into Japan may have taken place 4,000 years ago. Koreans and Japanese share a cluster of genetic markers that is uncommon among other Asians. Whatever the origins of Koreans and their relations with their neighbors, in the 2,000 years of Korean history that can be supported with written records, no documented large-scale migrations of people into the peninsula took place.

The Chinhan lived in settlements, the Chinese reported, enclosed by wooden stockades; they practiced sericulture and used oxen and horse carts. Of particular note is that they traded in iron, which appears to have been an important export from the southeastern region. indd 22 9/21/10 5:23 AM The Origins 23 were reported to have been fond of dancing and drinking, an observation that has been made by many subsequent foreign observers to the Korean countryside. 17 The general assumption has been that the languages spoken by the Samhan were directly ancestral to the modern Korean language.

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