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Korea’s original name, Choson, Meant “land of the morning calm.” The country’s history has been shaped by frequent invasions from its neighbors. Korean history is divided into three main periods: the silla (668-935), Koryo (935-1392), and Yi (1392-1910) dynasties. The name “Korea” is derived from the middle dynasty of Koryo. Foreign influence-direct and indirect-occurred throughout these dynasties. All of Korea’s foreign overlords-Mongolian, Chinese, and Japanese instituted a closed-door policy in order to solidify their rule. This isolation earned Korea the name of the Hermit kingdom. In 1910, Japan annexed Korea and enforced ruthless control, outlawing Korean culture and language. Despite resistance, several generations grew up more familiar with Japanese than with Korean customs. At the Yalta Conference at the end of World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union jointly established temporary administrative trusteeship over Korea until democratic elections could be held. Japanese forces south of the thirty-eighth parallel surrendered to the United States and forces in the north surrendered to the U.S.S.R. The Soviets blocked attempts to hold nationwide elections, and the two sides became deadlocked. When authorities in the north ignored a United nations resolution for supervised elections in 1948, a pro-Western government was established in the south (the republic of Korea). Later the Soviet Union established the Democratic Peoples’s republic of Korea in the north. In June 1949, U.S. troops withdrew. One year later, North Korean forces invaded South Korea. A United Nations-backed coalition of sixteen member nations sent assistance to South Korea. The resulting war lasted three years and ended in a stalemate. On July 27, 1953, an armistice agreement was signed and a military Armistice Commission with five members for each side was set up to supervise...

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