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Disturbing the Morning Calm: Korean contacts with Europe prior to 1600 CE

Disturbing the Morning Calm: Korean contacts with Europe prior to 1600 CE

By Ásfríðr Ulfvíðardóttir and Rebecca Lucas

Published Online (2009)

Introduction: By the close of the 16th century, the edges of the world were being slowly sketched and filled in. Reports were making their way back to Europe about the distant lands of China, Japan, and Malaysia. But, in 1594, news of a new land reached Europe; Korea. This short essay aims to merely survey the English-language literature about the discovery of Korea, and her inhabitants, by Europeans, and in turn, what the Koreans thought of these new visitors to Asia.

Modern-day Korea is located on a peninsula, unsurprisingly called the Korean peninsula, with China to the north-west, and Japan to the east. Although its’ boundaries changed through its’ dynasties, the peninsula appears to have been always been identified as part of the various Korean kingdoms.

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