Paekche

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Paekche

 

a Korean state that, along with Koguryo and Silla, emerged at the beginning of the Common Era. Paekche formed as a result of the disintegration of primitive clan relations among the Mahan tribes, which inhabited the central and southwestern Korean Peninsula.

According to Korean chronicles, judicial regulations, for example, for the protection of private property, first appeared in the third century, as did official ranks. The formation of a state superstructure was probably completed during the second half of the fourth century. Also at this time Buddhism was introduced as the official religion (384). The socioeconomic nature of the Paekche state is disputable. Evidently, state ownership of land existed, and the state machinery exploited the direct producers, who were obligated to pay taxes and perform labor and military obligations and were subjected to requisitions in kind. Apparently, some sort of role was also played by the exploitation of slaves, usually prisoners of war.

From the end of the fourth century, Paekche engaged in a conflict with Koguryo, which was striving to seize the southern lands. Paekche’s brief military successes gave way to crushing defeats, and Paekche lost its possessions in central Korea. Its capital was moved from Hansong (now Kwangju) to Ungjin (now Kongju) in 475 and to Sabi (now Puyo) in 538. Wars in the fifth to seventh centuries with powerful neighbors, especially Silla, exhausted Paekche. The armies of Silla and the Chinese T’ang dynasty captured Paekche’s capital in 660. Paekche then came under the power of the T’ang conquerors. At the end of the seventh century, it became part of the unified Silla state.

The culture of Paekche exerted a notable influence on the development of early feudal Japanese culture.

REFERENCES

Istorii Korei, vol. 1. Moscow, 1960. (Translated from Korean.)
Istoriia Korei: S drevneishikh vremen do nashikh dnei, vol. 1. Moscow, 1974.

M. N. PAK

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