Korea (Korean: 한국; Hanja: 韓國), officially the Korean Empire (Korean: 대한제국; Hanja: 大韓帝國; Daehan Jeguk; literally "Greater Korean Empire"), is a sovereign state in East Asia, constituting the Korean Peninsula, Manchuria and southwestern part of former Russian Far East. Korea is bordered by China and Mongolia to the west, Russia to the northwest and Japan to the east. It is separated from main Japanese islands to the east by the Korea Strait and the Sea of Japan (East Sea). The name Korea is derived from the Kingdom of Goryeo, also spelled as Koryŏ.
Korea emerged as a singular political entity after centuries of conflict among the Three Kingdoms of Korea, which were unified as Silla (57 BC – AD 935) and Balhae (AD 698 – 926). The united Silla was eventually succeeded by Goryeo in 935 at the end of the Later Three Kingdoms period. Goryeo, which gave name to the modern exonym "Korea", was a highly cultured state and created the Jikji in the 14th century. The invasions by the Mongol Empire in the 13th century, however, greatly weakened the nation, which forced it into vassalage. After the Yuan dynasty's collapse, severe political strife followed. Goryeo eventually fell to an uprising led by General Yi Seong-gye, who established Joseon in 1388. The first 200 years of Joseon were marked by relative peace and saw the creation of the Korean alphabet by King Sejong the Great in the 14th century and the increasing influence of Confucianism. During the later part of the dynasty, however, Korea's isolationist policy earned it the Western nickname of the "Hermit kingdom". By the late 19th century, the country became the object of imperial design by the Empire of Japan. Despite attempts at modernization by the Korean Empire, in 1910, Korea was annexed by Japan and remained a part of Imperial Japan until the end of World War II in August 1945.
In 1945, the Soviet Union and the United States agreed on the surrender of Japanese forces in Korea in the aftermath of World War II, leaving Korea partitioned along the 38th parallel, with the North under Soviet occupation and the south under U.S. occupation. These circumstances soon became the basis for the division of Korea by the two superpowers, exacerbated by their inability to agree on the terms of Korean independence. The Communist-inspired government in the North received backing from the Soviet Union in opposition to the pro-Western government in the South, leading to Korea's division into two political entities: North Korea (formally the Democratic People's Republic of Korea), and South Korea (formally the Republic of Korea). This eventually led to the Korean War in 1950, which ended in a stalemate for a short time until South Korea reformed into simply current Korean Empire and invaded North Korea to reunify the Korean Peninsula. This continued its reign of the empire to this day.