According to linguistic and archaeological evidence it is believed that the Korean people were Altaic language-speaking emigrants from the Siberian region. They are believed to have arrived in the Korean peninsula in successive waves starting in the Neolithic Age.
The influence of Chinese civilisation has left decisive imprints on Korean culture. The Chinese writing system was adopted in Korea in the 2nd century BC, while Buddhism entered Korea via China in the 4th century AD. In Korea, the Chinese influence was localised and the Koreans passed this form of culture further on to Japan.
Despite the Mongol invasion in the 13th century and the Japanese invasion in the 16th century Korea, with its succesive dynasties, remained a relatively isolated, independent kingdom until the beginning of the 20th century.
By the end of the 19th century Korea had become a target of both Japanese and European colonialists. In 1910 Korea was annexed by Japan and remained occupied until the end of World War II, when the Soviet Union accepted the surrender of the Japanese in the northern parts of Korea while the United States did the same in the south.
In their respective regions both superpowers established governments following their ideologies. The situation soon led to the tragic division of North and South Korea.