An Introduction to Korean History

In ancient history, the Korean Peninsula was divided into three kingdoms, the Goguryeo, Baekje, and Silla.  These were unified by the Silla kingdom in the late seventh century.  The Silla became the first of three royal dynasties in Korean history, later followed by the Goryeo and Joseon dynasties.  The following lessons explore the historical unification of Korea, as well key figures, events, and beliefs that have helped to shape Korean history.

Lessons:

  • Korean History – The Basics: A basic overview of ancient Korean history through the end of the Joseon period, including distinct cultural contributions from each of the the three Korean dynasties.
  • Pungsu, the Art of Korean Geomancy: A detailed look at an ancient spiritual technique for understanding the flow and balance of energy through and over the earth.
  • King Sejong the Great: Rooted firmly in Korea’s Confucian tradition, King Sejong the Great, reigning from 1418 to 1450, inventing and promoter of Hangul, stands as the most preeminent and renowned of the Korean scholar heroes.
  • Admiral Yi Sun-sin: Despite a complete lack of naval training, during the seven years Korea was consumed by the two Japanese invasions, Admiral Yi never once suffered defeat at sea, emerging victorious in all battles and playing a decisive role in defending Korea.
  • A Guided Tour of South Korea is a curated photo essay for use in middle and high school social studies classrooms.  The essay offers a brief, completely non-comprehensive overview of South Korean historical and cultural sites circa 2015 and is meant to present these and related topics in an unconventional way – that is, as if the student were travelling through, wandering, and exploring South Korea on their own.  From the glistening towers of Seoul to the DMZ, from the bustle of downtown to the sanctuary of its Buddhist monasteries – supplementary photos to enhance a sense of place.

 

THIS UNIT WAS MADE POSSIBLE THROUGH A GENEROUS GRANT FROM THE KOREA SOCIETY AND THE FOREIGN POLICY RESEARCH INSTITUTE.

 

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