Gaya

From Academic Kids

This article is about the Gaya confederacy of ancient Korea. For other meanings of the term Gaya, see Gaya (disambiguation).

Template:Koreanname noimage Gaya was a confederacy of chiefdoms that existed in in the Nakdong River valley of Korea during the the Three Kingdoms era.

Contents

Names

Although most commonly referred to as Gaya or Kaya (가야; 加耶, 伽耶, 伽倻), historical sources refer to the confederacy by a variety of names. These include Garak or Karak (가락; 駕洛, 迦落), Gara or Kara (가라; 加羅, 伽羅, 迦羅, 柯羅), Garyang or Karyang (가량,加良), and Guya or Kuya (구야, 狗耶).

History

Template:History of Korea

Foundation

Gaya probably arose from a more ancient confederacy called Byeonhan. The nature of the transition is not clear from historical sources. On the basis of archeological sources as well as limited historical indications, scholars such as Cheol (2000) have identified the late third century AD as a period of transition from Byeonhan to Gaya. At this time records show increasing military activity and changed funerary customs. This would also coincide in part with the decline of the Chinese commanderies on the peninsula. Cheol (2000) further argues that this was associated with the replacement of the previous elite in some principalities (including Daegaya) by elements from the Manchurian kingdom of Buyeo, who brought a more militaristic style of rule.

The foundation myths of Gaya, of course, told a rather different story. According to a legend recorded in the Samguk Yusa, in the year 42, 6 eggs descended from the heaven with message that they would be kings. 6 eggs hatched and 6 boys were born, and within 12 days they grew mature. One of them, named Suro, became the king of Geumgwan Gaya, and the other five founded the other five Gayas, namely Daegaya, Seongsan Gaya, Ara Gaya, Goryeong Gaya, and Sogaya.

Economy

Situated around the mouth of the Nakdong River, an area with fertile plains, access to the sea, and rich iron deposits, Gaya had an economy based on agriculture and fishing as well as trade. It was particularly known for its ironworking, as Byeonhan had been before it. Gaya exported abundant quantities of iron armor and weaponry to Baekje and the kingdom of Wa in Yamato period Japan. In contrast to the largely commercial and non-political ties of Byeonhan, Gaya seems to have attempted to maintain strong political ties with these kingdoms as well.

Politics

Different records list different chiefdoms of Gaya. Goryeo Saryak (고려사략; 高麗史略) lists five; Geumgwan Gaya, Goryeong Gaya, Bihwa Gaya, Ara Gaya and Seongsan Gaya.

The various Gaya mini-states formed a confederacy in the 2nd and 3rd centuries centred around Geumgwan Gaya in modern Gimhae. After a period of decline, the confederacy was revived around the turn of the 5th and 6th centuries, this time centred around Daegaya of modern Goryeong, but it was unable to defend itself for long against Silla and Baekje. Daegaya was the last to fall, conquered by Silla in 562.

The nature of the relationship between the Japanese kingdom of Wa and the Gaya states has been a matter of extensive controversy. Japanese scholars traditionally have argued, on the basis of various sources including the Nihonshoki, that Gaya was a colony or tributary of Wa. Korean scholars have rejected this, on the basis of Korean sources which makeion no ment of Japanese suzerainty. Some have claimed that the Wa was actually a colony of Baekje. Today, most scholars regardless of nationality concede that the relationship between Gaya and Wa was close, but not colonial.

See also

References

Cheol, S.K. (2000). Relations between Kaya and Wa in the third to fourth centuries AD. Journal of East Asian Archeology 2(3-4), 112-122.ja:伽耶 ko:가야

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