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The name Korea is derived from the Kingdom of Goguryeo, also spelled as Koryŏ, which was one of East Asia's greatest empires.
During the 7th century, Korea under Later Silla and Balhae dynasties enjoyed over a millennium of relative tranquility under long lasting dynasties with the invention of the Hangul script, created by Sejong the Great in 1446.
Korea was annexed by the Empire of Japan in 1910 until the Japanese surrender at the end of World War II in 1945, when Korea was divided into two zones along the 38th parallel by the United States and the Soviet Union, with the north occupied by the Soviets and the south by the Americans.
Negotiations on reunification failed, and in 1948 two separate governments were formed: the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in the north, and the Republic of Korea in the south.
An invasion initiated by North Korea led to the Korean War (1950–53).