There is evidence of occupation through hunter-gatherer and burial sites from this period, such as at Tongsamdong (in southeastern Korea near present day Pusan), along with pottery, stone agricultural tools, and cereal cultivation of millet. D., Korea has been developing as a distinct people for 5,000-6,000 years. Distinct Korean style tools first began appearing in “Wae” (Japan), when Korean weapons (Dagger culture) emerged. Chariot fittings have been found near Pyongyang and the Taedong River basin (that flows from northeast to southeast through Pyongyang). After the schism in the Buddhist religion in northeast India in the first century A. the Chinese colony of Lolang was established near Pyongyang. Iron was exported from the lower Naktong River in southeastern Korea to Wae (Japan) and Lolang. Cultural elements from China, northern nomadic tribes, Lolang, and the Buddhist religion were incorporated during this period of Koguryo dominance.

The spread of rice farming reached northern areas of the Peninsula by 1500 B. Iron Age culture became widespread in southern Korea by the second century B. Confucianism, a learning and social philosophy rooted in a series of particular relationships among and between family, friends, and rulers, became prominent from the third century B. D., the Mahayana Buddhism that offered universal salvation (versus the more conservative Theravada Buddhism) arrived in China and Korea where it began to be shared with Confucianism and Daoism. C., Korea (except in the southeast area around present day Pusan) came under the domination of the Chinese Han empire. The Kingdom of Koguryo established the first native Korean state near the Yalu River (separating present day China from northern Korea) in the north in 37 B. by the Maek Tribe, even while still in the Han empire. Iron technology in this period became stronger and sharper as it was incorporated into weapons and agricultural tools.

Homo Erectus grade hominids were present in the Peninsula of Korea, eastern portions of China, southern Asia, and central India more than one million years ago. there is evidence of the first permanent farming settlements, such as at Hunamni (in central Korea not far from present day Seoul). Among the grave offerings were elaborate gold crowns and other jewelry of gold and wire.

During the Neolithic (New Stone) Age period beginning about 10,000 B. C., paleo (ancient)-Asiatics scattered throughout Siberia began migrating to the Korean Peninsula through northeast provinces of China and Russian areas around Vladivostock. Some scholars identify this period as the beginning of a continuous evolution of a distinct culture, meaning that by 2,000 A. C., during the Bronze Age (ores of copper, tin, and zinc), new immigrants had assimilated Indigenous neolithic peoples in small hamlets on foothills near rivers. through much of China, the Korean Peninsula, and southern Japan. A fourth kingdom of Kaya in the far southeast (west of the Naktong River and present day Pusan) exported fine stoneware pottery to Japan.

The arts flourished and Buddhism became the dominant religion.

In 935 the Silla dynasty was overthrown relatively peacefully by the Koryo dynasty at which time literature was cultivated and Confucianism (from China) controlled the pattern of government even though Buddhism remained the state religion. The first Korean histories were published, using movable type, which led to the world’s first casting of metal type in 1403.

The total area of the Peninsula is about 85,000 square miles, about equal in size to Great Britain or New York State.

This geography helps explain why Japan historically considered the Korean Peninsula as its “natural bridge” to the heart of the Asian continent.

Later, Korea attempted to protect itself from outside threats by closing its borders and thereby became known as the Hermit Kingdom. The Yi dynasty lasted 519 years from 1392 until its formal annexation by Japan on August 22, 1910. Then in August 2000, as a representative of the newly formed Korea Truth Commission (KTC), our delegation visited the Kumjung Cave massacre site in Ilsan, Kyonggi Province north of Seoul, and the massacre at twin bridges viaduct near infamous Nogun Ri, 100 miles south of Seoul near Yongdong in North Chungchong Province.

Japan was becoming ever more powerful, and with secret U. In May 2000, while visiting several villages in South Korea about 80 miles southeast of the Yongdong/Nogun Ri area, I listened to dozens of horror stories of emotionally and physically wounded survivors of civilian massacres committed in 1950 by U. ground and air forces, as well as by South Korean forces under U. I heard even more of similar horror stories about what happened during the summer of 1950.

In 1231 Mongol forces invaded from China and eventually the Koryo kings accepted Mongol rule.