Three Kingdoms of Korea

From Academic Kids

Template:Koreanname The Three Kingdoms of Korea were Goguryeo, Baekje and Silla, which dominated the Korean peninsula and parts of Manchuria for much of the 1st millennium CE. The Three Kingdoms period in Korea is usually considered to run from the 4th century CE until Silla's triumph over Goguryeo in 668. The name "Samguk", or "Three Kingdoms", was used in the Korean titles of the classic texts Samguk Sagi and Samguk Yusa, both written in the 12th century.


Historical Records

According to Korean records, the earliest roots of the Three Kingdoms can be traced to 57 BC, when the kingdom of Saro (later Silla) in the southeast of the peninsula obtained autonomy from China under the Han dynasty. Goguryeo, meanwhile, emerged on the north and south banks of Yalu River (Amnok River in Korean). The first reference to the name "Goguryeo" in Chinese records was in 75 BC, as a local district. It became independent from the Chinese in 37 BC according to the Korean sources.

Korean sources recorded 18 BC as the establishment of Baekje; two Goguryeo princes fled out of conflict to be the successor, and established Baekje in the southwest of the peninsula. The capital was first located near today's Seoul, later further south at Ungjin (nowadays Gongju) and later still further south at Sabi (nowadays Buyeo). Chinese records suggest that Baekje was established in the 4th century by a Goguryeo general.

Because of the origins of the three kingdoms are conventionally traced to the 1st century BC, the Three Kingdoms period is sometimes considered to cover the entire period from the 1st century BC to the 7th century AD. However, both historical and archaeological evidence shows a profound shift in the nature of life in the peninsula around the 4th century. For that reason, most scholars such as Best (2000) and Lee (1984) treat the Three Kingdoms period as properly beginning around 300 AD. Prior to that time, there is little evidence of systematic political organization above the level of the walled-town state in the south of the peninsula. The historiographic evidence indicates that entities such as Mahan and Jinhan were more dominant than the still-embryonic Silla and Baekje kingdoms, which only appear as minor states in the 3rd-century San guo zhi. In the fourth century, the three kingdoms begin to appear with regularity in contemporaneous Chinese records.

During the Han dynasty, commanderies were established to govern much of the northern part of the Korean peninsula. After the end of the Han dynasty, at the beginning of the 3rd century, these commanderies continued as quasi-independent states for a time. The last to fall, Lelang commandery, was absorbed by Goguryeo in 313. Thus the early Three Kingdoms period was marked by the removal of direct Chinese influence and a realignment of power relations in the peninsula.

All three kingdoms shared similar cultures. Their original religions appear to have been shamanistic, and to have absorbed increasing Chinese influence (particularly Confucianism and Taoism) over time. In the 4th century, Buddhism was introduced to the peninsula and spread rapidly, becoming the official religion of all three kingdoms in a fairly short time. Na (2003) argues that Buddhism played an important role in providing answers to people in a time when traditional communal patterns of life were breaking down.

Three Kingdoms

Template:History of Korea


Goguryeo, the largest of three, had two capitals in alternation. Nangnang (nowadays Pyongyang) and Kungae, located upon the Yalu river. At the beginning the state was located on the border with China; it conquered little by little vast territories of Manchuria and finally destroyed the Chinese colony Nangnang in 313. The cultural influence of the Chinese remained until Buddhism was adopted as the official religion in 372.


In the 4th century Baekje was very prosperous and dominated the southern part of the peninsula.


Renamed from Saro to Silla in 503, the kingdom of Silla absorbed the whole kingdom of Gaya on their border in the first half of the 6th Century. The capital of Silla was Seorabeol (nowadays Gyeongju). Buddhism became the official religion in 528.

Other Small Kingdoms

Other smaller kingdoms and tribal states existed in Korea before and during this period, including Gaya, Dongye, Okjeo, Buyeo, Usan, and Tamna.


Allied with China under the Tang dynasty, Silla conquered Goguryeo in 668, after having already conquered Baekje in 660, thus ushering in the Unified Silla period and effectively putting an end to the Three Kingdoms Period.

See also


  • Best, J.W. (2003). Buddhism and polity in early sixth-century Paekche. Korean Studies 26(2), 165-215.
  • Lee, K. (1984). A new history of Korea. Tr. by E.W. Wagner & E.J. Schulz, based on 1979 rev. ed. Seoul: Ilchogak.
  • Na H.L. (2003). Ideology and religion in ancient Korea. Korea Journal 43(4), 10-29.[1] ( Koninkryke van Korea

Dr Choreanischi Chnigrych ang:ro Coreaniscu Cynercu bg:Три царства (Корея) ca:tres regnes de Corea cs:Tři_království_Koreje de:Drei Reiche von Korea fr:Trois Royaumes de Core fy:Trije keninkryken fan Korea he:שלוש הממלכות של קוריאה id:Tiga Kerajaan Korea it:Tre regni di Corea ja:三国時代 (朝鮮半島) ko:삼국시대 la:Tria Regna Coreae lb:Dri Kinnekricher vu Korea lv:Korejas trīs karaļvalstis ms:Tiga Kerajaan Korea nl:Drie Koninkrijken van Korea nv:Korea Táá' Bikéyahą́ą pl:Trzy Krlestwa Korei pt:Trs Reinos da Coreia ro:Cele Trei Regate ale Coreei ru:Три корейских государства scn:Tri Regni di Corea simple:Three Kingdoms of Korea fi:Korean kolme kuningaskuntaa sk:Tri krlovstv (Krea) su:Tilu Karajaan Kora sv:Koreas tre kungariken tl:Tatlong Kaharian ng Korea tt:Koreanıñ_öç_patşalığı vi:Tam Quốc (Triều Tin) zh:朝鲜三国时代


Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (
    • Architecture (
    • Cultures (
    • Music (
    • Musical Instruments (
  • Biographies (
  • Clipart (
  • Geography (
    • Countries of the World (
    • Maps (
    • Flags (
    • Continents (
  • History (
    • Ancient Civilizations (
    • Industrial Revolution (
    • Middle Ages (
    • Prehistory (
    • Renaissance (
    • Timelines (
    • United States (
    • Wars (
    • World History (
  • Human Body (
  • Mathematics (
  • Reference (
  • Science (
    • Animals (
    • Aviation (
    • Dinosaurs (
    • Earth (
    • Inventions (
    • Physical Science (
    • Plants (
    • Scientists (
  • Social Studies (
    • Anthropology (
    • Economics (
    • Government (
    • Religion (
    • Holidays (
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (
    • Planets (
  • Sports (
  • Timelines (
  • Weather (
  • US States (


  • Home Page (
  • Contact Us (

  • Clip Art (
Personal tools