Kingdom of Joseon
조선제궄 (kr)
大朝鮮國 (zh)
Joseon Jeguk
Flag of the king of Joseon.svg Coat of Arms of Joseon Korea.png
Coat of arms
Daemyeong Cheonji
(English: "Let there be light on the Land and in the Heavens!")
대한제국 애국가
大韓帝國 愛國歌
(English: "Korean Empire Aegukga")
Korea (orthographic projection).svg
Largest city Ulsan
Other cities Sabi, P'yongyang
Official languages Korean
Ethnic groups  Korean (78%), Manchurian (10%), Ainu (0.1%), Nivkh (0.1%), Tunguisic (0.1%), Other (11.7%)
Demonym Korean
Religion Korean Buddhism, Korean shamanism
Government Monarchy
 -  Coup of 1388 May 20, 1388 
 -  Coronation of Taejo July 17, 1392 
 -  Creation of Hangul October 9, 1446 
 -  Total 220,847 km2 
85,270 sq mi 
 -  1517 estimate ~9.65 million (Korea proper)
~13.65 million (Korea as a whole) 
 -  Density 49/km2 
128/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 1537 estimate
 -  Total $10.5 billion 
 -  Per capita $1,100 
GDP (nominal) 1537 estimate
 -  Total $10.5 billion 
 -  Per capita $1,100 
Currency Korean Mun (문, or 门)
Time zone KST (UTC+9)
Date formats yyyy년 mm월 dd일
yyyy/mm/dd (CE)

The Kingdom of Joseon (Hangul: 대조선국, Hanja: 大朝鮮國, Revised Romanisation: Joseon Jeguk; literally the "Great Joseon State"; also referred to as Chosŏn, Choson, or Chosun) is a Korean kingdom situated in East Asia, bordering Ming China to the West and feudal Japan to the East. It is the largest East Asian country (asides from China) population-wise, with more than 9.65 million inhabitants living within "Korea proper", a 220,847 km2 (85,270 sq mi) expanse of land stretching from the Yalu River to the East Sea.

Korea emerged as a single political entity after centuries of conflict among the Three Kingdoms of Korea as Unified Silla, Silla was eventually succeeded by Goryeo in 935 near the end of the Later Three Kingdoms period. Goryeo or Koryǒ (both terms gave rise to the exonym "Korea"), was a highly cultured state and created the Jikji document in the 14th century. In the 13th century, however, invasions by the Mongol Empire forced it to become a Mongolian vassal. After the Yuan dynasty's collapse, severe political strife occurred, culminating in an uprising led by General Yi Seonggyeo, who established the Kingdom of Joseon (or the Yi dynasty) in 1388.

Joseon encouraged the establishment of Chinese Confucian ideals and doctrines in Korean society. Neo-Confucianism was installed as the new dynasty's state ideology, with Buddhism being heavily discouraged. Buddhists occasionally faced persecution by the dynasty. Joseon strengthened its rule over its territory, overseeing peace and tranquility and the height of Korean culture, trade, science, literature and technology. This cultural "renaissance" continues today. Korea has the highest living standards in East Asia, comparable to those in Western Europe.


The word "Korea" is the modern spelling of Corea. It is an exonym derived from Cauli, a transcription of the Chinese 高丽 (Pinyin: Gāolì), which was the Hanja for the Korean Kingdom of Goryeo (Koryǒ).

Meanwhile, Koreans refer to Korea as 조선 (Transliteration: Joseon or Chǒson), which literally means the "Morning Calm". This was derived from the earlier term Gojoseon, which was an earlier Korean kingdom. Go is simply a prefix meaning "ancient" or "old" so that the two could be distinguished.


Government and Politics

Administrative divisions

Main article: Eight Provinces of Korea

Korea is divided into eight provinces (Hangul: 도, Hanja: 道, translit. do). Since 1413, provincial boundaries have remained unchanged and formed a geographic pattern still reflected after centuries in the Korean's regional cultural distinctions.


Joseon's population is estimated to be 10.8 million in 1517, a sharp increase from 6 million at the time of the regime's establishment in 1392. It is it the sixth largest country population-wise. Its life expectancy is low and its population growth is low at roughly 0.4% per annum due to high death rates.


Joseon's economy is one of the world's highest in both in total GDP and per capita GDP. It is one of the most complex economies in the region. Despite this, it is still a largely agrarian economy with 80% of its GDP coming from the primary (agricultural) sector.



Most of the Korean peninsula is mountainous, with most arable tracts of land being located in the Southern part of the peninsula. As a result, Korean agriculture is very labour and resource-intensive.

Unlike in previous Korean dynasties, Korea now uses bituminous coke in place of charcoal, which is far more efficient than the latter. Korea also follows the practice of melting wrought and cast iron together to form steel, a practice first used in Song China. This steel is usually made in huge waterwheel-powered blast-furnaces mostly concentrated in the cities of Ulsan, Incheon, Seoul and P'yongyang.


Korea's secondary sector comprises only 4% of its economy, making it the smallest economic sector. The only industrial activities found in Korea are low-scale, capital and labour-extensive light industries such as textiles and apparel. Korea lacks any form of heavy industry or high-scale manufacturing due to the lack of reliable energy sources and labour surpluses.


The tertiary sector of the economy only comprises 16% of the economy, making it the second largest economic sector after the primary sector.


Due to Confucianism being the official ideology, obedience to the state, as well as academic achievement, artistry, and scholarship; components of a good work ethic, are heavily valued.