The long, hard road to unification
The Shilla dynasty was overthrown in 935 by what became known as the Koryo dynasty. This, in turn, was replaced by Asia's longest-lasting dynasty, Choson, in 1392, which moved its capital to what is now Seoul.
Koreas's independence was shattered in 1910, when Japan turned it into a colony, which it remained until the Second World War. After liberation by Allied forces in 1945, the country was divided and became a focus of the Cold War between the West, the Soviet Union and China. The Korean war ended in 1953 but peace has still to be declared.
GEOGRAPHY:Land mass: 219,530 square kilometres, roughly the size of Britain.