Silla/Shilla (57 BC – 935 AD) (Korean pronunciation: [ɕilːa]) was one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea, and one of the longest sustained dynasties in Asian history. Although it was founded by King Park Hyeokgeose, who is also known to be the originator of the Korean family name Park (박, 朴), the dynasty was to see the Kyungju Kim (김, 金) clan hold rule for most of its 992-year history. What began as a chiefdom in the Samhan confederacies, once allied with China, Silla eventually conquered the other two kingdoms, Baekje in 660 and Goguryeo in 668. Thereafter, Unified Silla or Later Silla, as it is often referred to, occupied most of the Korean Peninsula, while the northern part re-emerged as Balhae, a successor-state of Goguryeo. After nearly 1000 years of rule, Silla fragmented into the brief Later Three Kingdoms, handing over power to its successor dynasty Goryeo in 935.
From its founding until its growth into a full-fledged kingdom, Silla was recorded with various hanja phonetically approximating its native Korean name: 斯盧 (사로, Saro), 斯羅 (사라, Sara), 徐那(伐) (서나[벌], Seona[beol]), 徐耶(伐) (서야[벌], Seoya[beol]), 徐羅(伐) (서라[벌], Seora[beol]), and 徐伐 (서벌, Seobeol). In 503, King Jijeung standardized on the characters 新羅(신라), which in Modern Korean is pronounced "Shilla." An etymological hypothesis (there are various other speculations) suggests that, the native name Seorabeol might have been the origin of the native word Seoul meaning "capital city" and also the name of the present capital of South Korea, a city which was previously known as Hanseong or Hanyang. The name of the Silla capital, might have been changed into, in the Late Middle Korean form Syeobeul (셔블) meaning "royal capital city," which soon might have altered into Syeoul (셔울), and finally resulted in Seoul (서울) in the Modern Korean language. The name of either Silla or its capital Seora-beol was also widely used throughout Northeast Asia as the ethnonym for the people of Silla, appearing as Shiragi in the language of the Yamato Japanese and as Sogol or Solho in the language of the medieval Jurchens and their later descendants, the Manchus respectively. Silla was also referred to as Gyerim (鷄林, 계림), literally "chicken forest," a name that has its origins in the forest near the Silla capital where by legend the state's founder was hatched from the egg of a cockatrice (Kor. gyeryong 계룡, literally "chicken-dragon").
- Unified Silla (668 CE - 935 CE) or Later Silla is the name often applied to the kingdom of Silla, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea, when it conquered Baekje in 660 and Goguryeo in 668, unifying the southern portion of the Korean peninsula. Its last king, ruling over a state in name only, submitted to the emerging Goryeo in 935, bringing the dynasty to an end.
- Unification- In 660, King Munmu of Silla ordered his armies to attack Baekje. General Kim Yushin, aided by Tang forces, defeated General Gyebaek and conquered Baekje. In 661, he moved on Goguryeo but was repelled. King Munmu was the first ruler ever to look upon the south of Korean Peninsula as a single political entity after the fall of Gojoseon. As such, the post-668 Silla kingdom is often referred to as Unified Silla. Unified Silla lasted for 267 years until, under King Gyeongsun, it fell to Goryeo in 935.