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Who controlled Korea before Japan?


Korea is a country rich in history and culture. It has been inhabited for thousands of years and has seen many rulers come and go. One of the most significant periods in Korean history was when it was ruled by Japan. However, before Japan’s colonization, Korea was controlled by several different powers.

Ancient Korea

Korea’s history can be traced back to 2333 BC, during the reign of Dangun, the first Korean king. Several kingdoms emerged throughout Korea’s history, including Goguryeo, Baekje, and Silla. These kingdoms were often at war with each other, but they also had periods of peace and cooperation.

Unified Silla

In 668 AD, Silla unified the Korean Peninsula, becoming the first kingdom to do so. During this period, Silla enjoyed a period of prosperity and cultural development. They traded with China and Japan and established diplomatic relations with other countries.

Goryeo Dynasty

In 918 AD, the Goryeo Dynasty replaced Silla as the ruling power in Korea. The Goryeo period was marked by stability and cultural achievements, including the creation of the Korean alphabet.

Joseon Dynasty

The Joseon Dynasty was founded in 1392 by General Yi Seong-gye. Under the Joseon Dynasty, Korea experienced significant social and cultural changes. They developed a strong Confucian-based social hierarchy and established a bureaucratic government system.

Manchu Qing Dynasty

In 1636, the Manchu Qing Dynasty invaded Korea and established a tributary relationship with the Joseon Dynasty. This relationship lasted until 1895 when Japan defeated China in the First Sino-Japanese War.

Russo-Japanese War

In 1905, Japan defeated Russia in the Russo-Japanese War, establishing itself as a dominant power in Asia. As part of the Treaty of Portsmouth, Japan gained control of Korea.

Japanese Colonization

From 1910 to 1945, Japan ruled Korea as a colony. During this period, Japan forced Koreans to adopt Japanese culture and language and implemented harsh policies that led to the exploitation and suffering of many Koreans.

Korean Independence Movement

Despite Japan’s efforts to suppress Korean culture and identity, Koreans continued to resist Japanese rule. The Korean independence movement gained momentum throughout the colonial period, leading to protests, uprisings, and the formation of resistance groups.

World War II

In 1945, Japan surrendered to the Allied Powers, ending World War II. As part of the surrender agreement, Japan was forced to relinquish control of Korea.

Division of Korea

After Japan’s surrender, Korea was divided into two parts: North Korea and South Korea. The division was a result of negotiations between the Soviet Union and the United States, who occupied the northern and southern halves of Korea, respectively.


Korea’s history is complex and diverse. Before Japan’s colonization, Korea was controlled by several different powers, each leaving its mark on Korean culture and society. Despite the many challenges faced by Koreans throughout their history, they have managed to maintain a strong sense of identity and resilience in the face of adversity. Today, both North and South Korea are independent nations with unique cultures and histories that continue to evolve.

Who originally controlled Korea?

From 1910 until Japan’s surrender to the Allied Forces in 1945, Korea was under the control of Japan through a Governor-General of Chōsen. The transition of sovereignty was officially recognized to have taken place from the Joseon dynasty to the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea.

Was Korea independent before Japanese occupation?

On March 1, 1919, Korean nationalists made an official declaration of independence from Japanese government control.

Was Korea ever part of China in history?

The foreign minister of Korea responded quickly by stating that it is widely acknowledged by the international community that Korea was never part of China throughout their thousands of years of historical relations. This statement was made on February 9, 2021.

Did China colonized Korea?

While most Asian countries were colonized by Western powers during the late 1800s and early 1900s, Korea was colonized by Japan, an Asian imperialist power, in the first half of the 20th century. After fighting China for control of Korea in 1894-95, Japan eventually annexed Korea in 1910.

Which countries colonized Korea?

From 1910 to 1945, Korea was governed as a territory of the Empire of Japan. In 1876, with the Japan-Korea Treaty, Joseon became a part of Japan’s sphere of influence, leading to a complex effort by Japanese government, military, and business officials to incorporate Korea’s economy and politics with Japan.

Where did Koreans originate from?

Both studies provided genetic proof that Koreans have ancestral roots in central Asia, particularly among the Mongolian population. Additionally, the research found that Koreans share a closer genetic relationship with the Japanese and have a more distant connection to the Chinese.

Post-War Era

After the division of Korea, tensions between North and South Korea continued to escalate. In 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea, starting the Korean War. The war lasted for three years and resulted in the deaths of millions of Koreans. A ceasefire was signed in 1953, but no formal peace treaty was ever agreed upon.

Economic Growth

Despite the devastation caused by the Korean War, both North and South Korea made significant strides towards economic growth and development. South Korea, in particular, experienced rapid economic growth during the 1960s and 1970s, transforming from a poor agricultural nation to a highly industrialized country.

Cultural Influence

Korean culture has become increasingly popular around the world in recent years. Korean pop music, known as K-pop, has gained a massive following globally. Korean dramas and movies have also become popular, with many fans drawn to the unique storytelling and cinematic style.

Current Relations

Despite sharing a common history and culture, North and South Korea remain divided. Relations between the two countries have fluctuated over the years, with periods of tension and cooperation. In recent years, there have been efforts to improve relations between North and South Korea, including high-level talks and joint cultural events.

Facing Challenges

Both North and South Korea face significant challenges moving forward. North Korea continues to face international sanctions due to its nuclear program and human rights abuses. South Korea is grappling with an aging population and a rapidly changing economy. However, both countries have shown resilience in the face of adversity throughout their history and continue to work towards a better future for their people.

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