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one of the three early states—Silla, Koguryo, and Paekche—that arose as the primitive communal order on the Korean Peninsula disintegrated; Silla was located in the southeastern part of the peninsula.
Although chronicles traditionally date the rise of Silla to 57 B.C., the tribes in the southeastern part of the Korean Peninsula, led by the Saro (or Silla) tribe, were brought together only in the course of the first few centuries of the common era. A state was not really formed until the sixth century, when, over a considerable area, the geographical division of the population was consolidated, organs of state administration were created, and Buddhism became the state religion. Thenceforth, the three states fought an increasingly bitter struggle for domination of the peninsula, while the Chinese dynasties actively intervened in the struggle. Silla, in alliance with the Chinese T’ang dynasty, defeated Paekche in 660 and Koguryo in 668; however, the T’ang dynasty’s subsequent attempts to entrench itself in the Korean Peninsula provoked a national liberation struggle, during which Silla united all Korea south of the Taedong-gang (river).
The rise of a united state of Silla in the late seventh century was an important stage in the formation of the Korean nationality and in the development of feudal relations. Irrigated crop cultivation and crafts made significant strides in Silla. In the ninth century, as large-scale landowning grew and separatism among feudal lords increased, the state of Silla broke up into numerous appanages.
M. N. PAK