United Shilla and
The resurgence of the Chinese Empire under the T'ang brought the Chinese and the Koreans back into conflict. T'ang armies destroyed the kingdoms of Paekche and Koguryo between 660 and 668 AD. Shilla, which had been fighting against both Paekche and Koguryo, joined the T'ang army to help in the conquest. Afterwards, the T'ang wanted to rule the conquered kingdoms as separate military dependencies; Shilla wanted to establish an independent unified state including all of Korea. Consequently, Shilla and her erstwhile ally ended up fighting each other. It took six years, but the surprisingly tough Korean armies drove the Chinese out and incorporated most of the Korean peoples into a single, united nation for the first time. Prior to this unification, the ethnically related Korean tribes had grown apart because of different economic and political conditions. Subsequently, the tribes were united into a single, homogenous people with the same language and customs that, despite some periods of political upheaval, has persisted to modern times. Thus the formation of the Kingdom of Shilla, which formally lasted from 668 to 935 AD, was a significant turning point in Korean history.
The first hundred years of Shilla's history were largely peaceful, and there was a great flowering of art and science. Buddhism was introduced and eventually became the state religion, influencing both government and interpersonal attitudes and relations.
The northern portions of the old Koguryo domains later became part of the Chinese/Korean kingdom of Parhae. The capital of this nation was near the city of Kirin in Manchuria. Much of the nobility of Parhae derived from the old Koguryo leadership. When Parhae was destroyed in the fall of the T'ang dynasty in the mid 900s AD, most of the people of Korean ancestry and the lands south of the Amnok (Yalu) River joined the new Korean Kingdom of Koryo.
During this time, Europe slipped into the Dark Ages; the Moslem Empire formed, grew, and invaded Spain and Italy.
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