History Early History to Japanese Rule The Koreans, descended from Tungusic tribal peoples, are a distinct racial and cultural group. According to Korean legend, Tangun established Old Choson in NW Korea in 2333 B.C., and the Korean calendar enumerates the years from this date. Chinese sources assert that Ki-tze (Kija), a Shang dynasty refugee, founded a colony at Pyongyang in 1122 B.C., but the first Korean ruler recorded in contemporaneous records is Wiman, possibly a Chinese invader who overthrew Old Choson and established his rule in N Korea in 194 B.C. Chinese forces subsequently conquered (c.100 B.C.) the eastern half of the peninsula. Lolang, near modern Pyongyang, was the chief center of Chinese rule. Koguryo, a native Korean kingdom, arose in the north on both sides of the Yalu River by the 1st cent. A.D.; tradition says it was founded in 37 B.C. By the 4th cent. A.D. it had conquered Lolang, and at its height under King Kwanggaet'o (r.391–413) occupied much of what is now Korea and NE China. In the 6th and 7th cent. the kingdom resisted several Chinese invasions.
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