Also found in: Acronyms.
a feudal state in Korea from 918 to 1392, from which the modern European name for the country is derived.
Koryo was founded by Wang Kon, and its capital was the city of Kaegyong (modern Kaesong). Under Wang Kon’s successors it became a centralized state, in which the state peasants (yangmin) were the main tax-paying stratum and also performed military service. Agriculture, crafts, and domestic and foreign trade were highly developed in Koryo. In the 12th century centralization began to weaken as a result of the growth of private feudal landholdings. In the 13th century Koryo was subject to Mongol invasions. After the Mongols were driven from Koryo (in 1356), the supporters of Yi Song-gye came to power (1388) as the result of a prolonged struggle. Yi Song-gye became king in 1392, thereby founding the new Yi dynasty. Under the Yi dynasty the state was renamed Choson and the capital was moved to Seoul.