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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the first state in the history of Korea. Because few details are given in written sources, many questions concerning the history of ancient Choson still remain unanswered.

The state of Choson emerged circa the first millennium B.C. Before the 1960’s, Choson was generally regarded as a tribal alliance on the threshold of civilization; since the 1960’s, however, scholars in the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea have regarded Choson as the first slaveholding state in Korean history. In the late second century B.C, Choson was conquered by the Han Dynasty of China. In the early part of the first millennium A.D., during the people’s struggle against the Chinese conquerors, the early feudal Korean states of Koguryo, Paekche, and Silla were formed.


Istoriia Korei, vol. 1. Moscow, 1974. Pages 25–28.
Li Chi-rin. Kochoson yon-gu. (Study of Ancient Choson). Pyongyang, 1963.
Kochoson munje yon-gu. (Study of Questions Concerning Ancient Choson). Pyongyang, 1973.



(literally, “morning beauty”; often rendered in translation as Land of the Morning Calm), one of the names of Korea. The etymology of the name remains obscure, but many authors think that the word was used to designate the east, or the direction in which the sun rises. Choson was originally the name of a tribe or of a group of tribes whose alliance gave rise to the first Korean state, also known as Choson. The name later fell into disuse, but it was revived in 1392 when the Yi dynasty was founded and gave the name “Choson” to the state; the Korean state retained the name until 1897, when it was renamed the Taehan Empire. With the formation of the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea, the name was incorporated into the official designation of the state, which is known in Korean as the Choson Minjujuui Inmin Konghwaguk.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.