Let’s face it, trade makes the world go round. I know Free Trade is a pretty tender topic in Korea. They are very protective of their farmers and other assets as well. But how has trade affected Korea from antiquity? It has been deemed the Hermit Kingdom. They very much just wanted to be left alone more or less. Which pretty much happened until Japan occupied the peninsula at the turn of the century. My Korean friend tells me that some say the occupation wasn’t all bad. They say if they hadn’t been occupied the country would still be a hermit. The occupation caused Korea to be dependent on the outside world for help. Now look at them: k-pop, gang nam style, Kimchi tacos in California and Kimchi Chronicles being filmed with Hugh Jackman.
The first recorded contacts with European foreigners were with the Portuguese and Dutch. The Portuguese were the first Europeans to map the Korean peninsula and they called it Corea after the Korean name Ko Ku Ryo.
At some point the spicy pepper showed up in Korea and the most famous of Korean foods, kimchi, entered the scene. Prior to the introduction of the spicy pepper, kimchi was made of radish preserved in salt brine.