Goryeo Kingdom (고려) 918-1392 A.D.

The Goryeo Dynasty or Kingdom is where the name Korea is derived. You might find that I spell the name different ways. That’s because I can’t decide which romanization to use. Korea used to be spelled with a ‘C’ Corea. Some Koreans say the reason it was changed to the ‘K’ is because when Japan occupied the peninsula they wanted Korea’s name to start with a letter after theirs ‘J’. I don’t know about that, but there has been some discussion as to whether to change the spelling back to the ‘C’.

Goryeo 1374

Goryeo 1374

From Wikipedia:

Goryeo, also known as Koryŏ (Hangul: 고려; hanja: 高麗; Korean pronunciation: [koɾjʌ]; 918–1392), was a Korean dynasty established in 918 by King Taejo. This kingdom later gave name to the modern exonym for Korea.[2] It united the Later Three Kingdoms in 936 and ruled most of the Korean peninsula until it was removed by the leader of the Joseon dynasty in 1392. The Goryeo dynasty expanded its borders to present-day Wonsan in the north-east (936–943) and the Amnok River (993) and finally almost the whole of the Korean peninsula (1374).

“Korea” is the modern spelling of Corea, a name attested in English as early as 1614.[4] It is an exonym derived from Cauli, Marco Polo‘s transcription[5] of the Chinese 高麗 (simp.高丽, MCKawlej,[6] mod.Gāolì). This was the Hanja for the Korean kingdom of Goryeo or Koryŏ (고려; 918–1392), which ruled most of the peninsula during the time of his travels.

I did a post earlier about the Shilla Dynasty. Shilla preceded Goryeo.

Here’s how things looked during the Shilla Dynasty:


Two of Goryeo period’s most notable products are Goryeo celadon pottery and the Tripitaka Koreana — the Buddhist scriptures (Tripitaka) carved onto roughly 80,000 woodblocks and stored, and still in, Haeinsa. Subjects and officials of the Goryeo dynasty also created the world’s first metal-based movable type in 1234; the oldest surviving movable metal type book, the Jikji, was made in 1377.

Examples of the celadon pottery here:


Tripitaka woodblock Buddhist writings housed at Hae In Sa (temple)

Tripitaka Koreana woodblock Buddhist writings housed at Hae In Sa (temple)

The capital cities of this kingdom were mainly located in North Korea. Goryeo dynasty diminished and the next dynasty to take over, the last one before the Japanese occupation, was Joseon Dynasty.

From Wikipedia:


In the Goryeo dynasty, trade was frequent. In the start of the dynasty, Byeokrando was the main port. Byeokrando was a port close to the Goryeo capital. Trade included:

# Trading country Import Export
1 Song dynasty Silk, pearls, tea, spices, medicine, books, instruments Gold and silver, ginseng, marble, paper, ink
2 Liao dynasty Horses, sheep, low-quality silk Minerals, cotton, marble, ink and paper, ginseng
3 Jurchen Gold, horses, weapons Silver, cotton, silk
4 Japan Mercury, minerals Ginseng, books
5 Abbasid dynasty Mercury, spices, tusk Gold, silver


Goryeo Kingdom

Goryeo Kingdom


10 thoughts on “Goryeo Kingdom (고려) 918-1392 A.D.

  1. wow – this is old history Before the Koryo or Goryeo Kingdom unified it, the Korean Peninsula went through a long “Three Kingdoms” period between about 50 BCE and 935 CE.

    • Sue you are very kind. I so appreciate your comments. I’m a map person for sure. I absolutely hate reading an article on a place when I can’t have a visual to put my mind around it. Hope you’re having a good weekend!

  2. I love reading about history and with Korean history I am sorely lacking. Thanks for this post, I think I’ll have to go through your archive soon!
    I know this is off-topic, but what do you think about the pope visiting? It seems to be a pretty big deal from over here in Australia.

    • Yes, I know. The pope visiting Korea does seem to be a very big deal. My friend just showed me the Korean newspaper showing the streets in Seoul absolutely packed with people. I don’t know, it does seem rather significant for sure. My friend says the people of Korea are feeling a new for strong leadership and that’s why such a flocking to the pope. There are a lot of Catholic people in South Korea and they haven’t had a visit from the pope for a long time. I think it’s interesting he chose to come at Korean Independence Day. He made an offer to hold reconciliation talk with the North. Of course they denied this, but I agree it seems to be getting a lot of coverage.
      I appreciate your kind comments Marigold! Have a great day!

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