Timeline of Korean history

Timeline of Korean history

This is a timeline of the history of Korea. Some dates prior to the 6th century CE are speculative or approximate.


*700th millennium BCE: First presence of hominids on the Korean peninsula, beginning of the Paleolithic period.

*8th millennium BCE: Beginning of the Mesolithic Jeulmun pottery period.

*35th century BCE: Appearance of Pit-Comb Ware culture, beginning of the Middle Jeulmun pottery period.

Early history

*2333 BCE: Traditional date for the founding of Gojoseon by Dangun.

*1500 BCE: Beginning of the Mumun pottery period.

*1000 BCE: Beginning of the Bronze age.

*800 BCE: Beginning of the Liaoning bronze dagger culture.

*400 BCE: Establishment of Jin in southern Korean peninsula.

*300 BCE: Beginning of the Iron age.

Proto-Three Kingdoms

*200 BCE: Establishment of Goguryeo and Buyeo states and the Samhan confederacies.

*195 BCE: Establishment of Wiman Joseon.

*108 BCE: Han Dynasty destroys Wiman Joseon, establishing four commanderies in Liaoning.

Three Kingdoms

*57 BCE: Traditional date for the founding of Silla by Bak Hyeokgeose.

*37 BCE: Traditional date for the founding of Goguryeo by Jumong.

*18 BCE: Traditional date for the founding of Baekje by Onjo.

*8: Baekje annexes much of the Mahan confederacy.

*42: Traditional date for the founding of Gaya by Suro.

*53: Goguryeo becomes a centralized kingdom under Taejo's reign.

*66: King Daru of Baekje captures Wasanseong from Silla.

*105: Baekje and Silla sign peace treaty.

*115: Silla attacks Gaya.

*122: Goguryeo allies with the Mahan confederacy to attack Han China in Liaodong.

*167: Baekje attacks Silla for harboring a Baekje court traitor.

*188: Baekje expands into Silla territory, capturing several castles.

*214: Silla attacks Baekje, seizing Sahyeonseong.

*234: Baekje becomes a centralized kingdom under Goi's reign.

*250: Goguryeo attacks Silla, signs truce. Wae of Japan continues coastal attacks on Silla.

*308: King Girim formalizes the name of his country as "Silla"

*313: Goguryeo destroys China's Lelang commandery.

*346: Baekje's Geunchogo ascends to the throne, beginning the peak of Baekje's power.

*347: Wae Japan attacks Silla's Gyeongju, breaking the truce of 313.

*356: Silla becomes a centralized kingdom under Naemul's reign.

*364: Silla repels attack by Wae Japan.

*369: Baekje completes absorption of the Mahan confederacy.

*371: Baekje's King Geunchogo invades Goguryeo and kills King Gogugwon.

*372: Under Sosurim, Goguryeo imports Buddhism from Former Qin of China.

*384: Asin of Baekje officially adopts Buddhism.

*392: Gwanggaeto the Great of Goguryeo begins his reign, expanding Goguryeo into a major regional power.

*400: Goguryeo supports Silla with 50,000 troops to repel Wae of Japan.

*413: Jangsu of Goguryeo erects the Gwanggaeto Stele.

*427: Goguryeo moves its capital from Guknae Seong to Pyongyang.

*433: Baekje and Silla form an alliance against Goguryeo's aggression.

*475: Goguryeo attacks Baekje and captures Hanseong (modern day Seoul). Baekje moves its capital south to Ungjin(modern day Gongju), and again to Sabi(modern day Buyeo) in 523.

*494: Last remains of Buyeo absorbed by Goguryeo.

*498: Baekje attacks Tamra nation (modern day Jejudo)

*512: Silla conquers Usan nation (modern day Ulleungdo)

*520: Silla establishes civil service.

*522: Silla begins absorption of Gaya.

*527: Silla formally adopts Buddhism

*540: Silla establishes the Hwarang, a military and religious order of youth.

*551: Silla-Baekje forces attack Goguryeo, Silla captures Seoul.

*553: Silla attacks Baekje, breaking the alliance.

*562: Silla completes annexation of Gaya.

*598: First of a series of major Sui Dynasty attacks in the Goguryeo-Sui Wars, which ends in 614 in a costly defeat for Sui.

*612: Goguryeo repulses second Sui invasion at the Salsu.

*632: Queen Seondeok of Silla becomes the peninsula's first known ruling Queen. Cheomseongdae built.

*645: Goguryeo repels attacking Tang Dynasty forces at Ansi fortress.

*645: Silla completes Hwangryongsa.

*648: Silla establishes alliance with Tang.

*660: Baekje falls to the Silla-Tang forces.

*668: Goguryeo falls to the Silla-Tang forces.

Unified Silla and Balhae

*676: Silla repels Chinese alliance forces from Korean peninsula, completes unification of much of the Three Kingdoms.

*698: Former Goguryeo general Dae Joyeong repels Chinese forces from remainder of former Goguryeo territory, founding Balhae as a successor state.

*751: Silla, at its cultural peak, constructs Seokguram and Bulguksa.

*828: Jang Bogo establishes Cheonghaejin, a major center of trade with China and Japan.

*892: Silla begins to lose control of parts of the peninsula as the brief Later Three Kingdoms period begins.

*900: Hubaekje ("Later Baekje") established in the southwest of the peninsula.

*901: Taebong ("Later Goguryeo") established in the northwest of the peninsula.

*918: Founding of Goryeo by Wang Geon.

*926: Balhae falls to Khitan forces.

*935: Silla formally surrenders to Goryeo.

*936: Hubaekje formally surrenders to Goryeo.


*936: Goryeo completes the reunification of the Later Three Kingdoms, absorbing the remainder of Hubaekje and parts of Balhae territory.

*956: Emperor Gwangjong forces major land and slavery reforms, and in 958 implements civil service examinations.

*993: The first of three Goryeo-Khitan Wars.

*1010: The Second Goryeo-Khitan War ravages the northern border.

*1018: The Third Goryeo-Khitan War, Khitan successfully repelled.

*1033: Goryeo builds the "Cheonri Jangseong", a massive wall running along the northern border.

*1145: Kim Bu-sik compiles the Samguk Sagi, Korea's oldest extant history text.

*1170: A violent coup results in a military junta effectively controlling the Goryeo court for the next 88 years.

*1231: The Mongol invasions of Korea begin.

*1234: Choi Yun-ui's "Sangjeong Gogeum Yemun" is published, world's first metal-block printed text.

*1251: Goryeo completes the Tripitaka Koreana, the most comprehensive and oldest intact version of the Buddhist canon in Chinese script.

*1270: Goryeo signs a peace treaty with the Mongols, beginning an 80-year period of suzerainty. The Sambyeolcho Rebellion lasts for three more years.

*1285: Il-yeon compiles the Samguk Yusa, record of history and legends.

*1388: General Yi Seonggye, ordered to engage China in a border dispute, turns his troops against the Goryeo court.


*1392: Yi Seonggye is crowned king, officially beginning the Joseon Dynasty.

*1396: Capital moved to Hanyang (modern day Seoul)

*1402: Paper currency initiated

*1408: High military service examination system created

*1420: Hall of Worthies established

*1424: History of Goryeo compiled.

*1437: Sundial and water clock invented

*1446: The Hangul alphabet, created 3 years earlier, is promulgated by King Sejong the Great.

*1501: Confucian scholar Yi Hwang (Toegye) is born in Uiseong.

*1506: Prince Yeonsan is deposed.

*1592: The Japanese invasion of Korea begins under the command of Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Admiral Yi Sun-Sin employs the Turtle boat to repel Japanese forces.

*1627: The first Manchu invasion takes place.

*1636: The second Manchu invasion takes place.

*1653: Dutch ship, with Captain Hamel, wrecked on Jeju Island.

*1762: The tragedy of Crown Prince Sado (son of King Yeongjo)

*1777: Catholicism is introduced.

*1791: Persecution of Catholicism begins

*1796: King Jeongjo builds Hwaseong fortress.

*1811: Hong Gyeong-nae Rebellion

*1860: Choi Je-u creates movement called Donghak (Eastern Learning).

*1861: Kim Jeong-ho draws the great map of Korea

*1864: Gojong ascends the throne with his father, Daewongun, as Regent.

*1866: French campaign into Korean territory.

*1871: USS General Sherman demands treaty negotiations in the Sinmi Yangyo.

*1876: Korea's ports are formally opened under the Treaty of Ganghwa.

*1883: The initial design of the national flag Taegeukgi.

*1884: Kim Okgyun leads the Gapsin Jeongbyeon, or Gapsin Coup. In a few days, Chinese forces are able to overwhelm the Progressives and their Japanese supporters.

*1894: Donghak Rebellion prompts the first Sino-Japanese War and Gabo Reforms.

*1895: China recognizes Korean independence in the Treaty of Shimonoseki. Queen Min murdered. Russo-Japanese War.

Korean Empire

*1897: Gojong declares the Korean Empire

*1898: The first daily newspaper (Maeil Shinmun) founded

*1900: Seoul-Incheon railroad opens

*1905: Japan declares Korea a protectorate.

*1907: The Hague Secret Emissary Affair

*1907: Gojong is forced to abdicate in favor of his son, Sunjong.

*1909: Hirobumi Ito (the ex-Resident-General) assassinated by Korean independence leader An Jung-geun.

Japanese Colonial rule

*1910: Korea is annexed by Japan, beginning the period of Japanese colonial rule.

*1916: The final wave of Uibyeong rebels is defeated by Japanese forces.

*1919: March 1st Movement. Declaration of Korean Independence is signed by thirty-three nationalists and read aloud in Tapgol Park in Seoul. The movement develops into nation-wide peaceful demonstrations that are eventually crushed by Japanese military and police forces after two months.

*1919: The establishment of The Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea in Shanghai.

*1919: Admiral Viscount Makoto Saito (Governor General) escapes bombing by Korean Nationalist, Kang Wu Gyu, at Seoul Railway Station.

*1920: Battle of Cheongsanri, Korean independence Army victory.

*1926: June 10th Manse Independence Movement.

*1929: Gwangju Student Movement. A clash between Korean and Japanese students in Gwangju develops into a nation-wide anti-Japanese demonstration by Korean students.

*1932: Korean Nationalist Lee Bong Chang fails in his attempt to assassinate Emperor Hirohito in Tokyo.

*1932: Korean Nationalist Yun Bong Gil bombs Japanese Military gathering in Shanghai killing Shirikawa (commander-in-chief of the Japanese Army in China), blowing off both legs of Shigemitsu (Japanese ambassador to China), and knocking out an eye of Nomura (Japanese commanding admiral on the Chinese waters).

Korea Divided (The Two Koreas)

*1945: After the surrender of Japan, the Korean peninsula is divided between Soviet and American occupation forces at the 38th parallel.

*1946: US-USSR Joint-Commission on the formation of a Korean Government reaches an impasse. The Joint-commission is dissolved as the Cold War begins.

*1947: The United Nations establishes the UN Temporary Commission on Korea

*1948: May 10. UN sponsored elections are held in South Korea.

*1948: August 15. Establishment of the Republic of Korea with Syngman Rhee as President.

*1948: August 25. Establishment of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea with Kim Il-sung as Premier.

*1949: The murder of Kim Gu. Kim Gu was a Korean Nationalist who believed in, and fought for, a unified Korea. He strongly objected to the formation of a separate South Korean state. He was shot in his home by a South Korean Army lieutenant.

*1950: June 25. North Korean troops open fire and cross the 38th parallel. Seoul is captured within three days. The Korean War begins.

*1950: July. UN Forces are formed with General Douglass MacArthur as Commander.

*1950: August. UN Forces are driven back to South-east corner of the Korean Peninsula (The Pusan Perimeter).

*1950: September. UN Troops make an Amphibious Landing at Inchon.

*1950: October. UN Forces cross the 38th Parallel and soon reach the Manchurian border.

*1950: November. Chinese Forces enter the war

*1953: The Korean War is halted in a ceasefire that has remained in force until now.

*1960: A student uprising begins the April Revolution which overthrows the autocratic First Republic of South Korea. Syngman Rhee resigns and goes into exile.

*1961: Military forces, headed by General Park Chung Hee, overthrow the Second Republic of South Korea in what is known as the Glorious Revolution

*1970: Gyeongbu Expressway (Seoul - Busan) is completed and opened to traffic.

*1972: The first Red Cross talks between North and South Korea are held.

*1974: North Korea faces an oil shock. Industry halts.

*1979: President Park Chung Hee is assassinated by his intelligence chief.

*1980: The Gwangju Uprising. Martial Law is declared throughout the nation. The city of Gwangju becomes a battleground between dissenters and the Armed Forces (May 18-27). Some reports claim over 1200 casualties.

*1988: Democratic elections usher in the Sixth Republic of South Korea.

*1988: 24th Olympic Games held in Seoul

*1994: Kim Jong Il takes control of North Korea upon the death of his father Kim Il Sung.

*2000: The first summit between North and South Korean leaders is held, with Kim Dae Jung representing the south and Kim Jong Il the north. Kim Dae Jung is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

*2002: 17th World Cup Games jointly held by Korea & Japan. The Korean National Team makes it to the semi-finals for the first time in Korean history.

*2007: The second summit between North and South Korean leaders is held, with Roh Moo-hyun representing the south and Kim Jong Il the north.


Korean Cultural Series Vol.1; Ha, Tae Heung, KOREA - Forty Three Centuries, (Yonsei University Press:Seoul, 1962)

365일 연표로 보는 한국사, 청솔역사연구회;(도서출판 청솔:파주시,2006)

ee also

*List of Korea-related topics
*History of Korea
*Military history of Korea
*List of Korean monarchs

External links

* [http://www.gkn-la.net/master_timeline.htm Timeline of Korean history]
* [http://www.pbs.org/pov/pov2000/firstpersonplural/historical/choice.html Timeline of 20th-century Korean history]
* [http://www.korean-arts.com/timeline.htm Comparative China-Korea-Japan arts timeline]

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