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General Survey

The Gaya Confederation was restored with Goryeong at its center.

Jisan-dong tombs group

A General Survey of the Late Gaya Era

In the Goryeong region, present-day Kyongsang-bukdo, there was originally no large influential state. Rather, the area's inhabitants were generally immersed in small-scale agriculture. But Goryeong grew at a rapid pace following the development of the Yaro iron mine in the fifth century. While ancient relics have been found in tombs before the fourth century in the Goryeong region, it was after the fifth century that large tomb groupings (such as the Jisan-dong tombs group) emerged, reflecting the economic growth of the Goryeong region.

Goryeong's Banpa-guk, revealing its political ambitions by calling itself "Dae-gaya" in the late fith century, became the confederation's leader, controlling thirteen small states, thus forming the late Gaya Confederation. In 479 A.D., Dae-gaya sent an envoy to Namje in China in the name of Haji, the King of Gara, to receive the title of Boguk-janggun Bonuk-wang, meaning both a general who assists a nation and a king of the Gara State. Indicated its newfound power, Dae-gaya defended Silla by uniting with Baekje against Goguryeo's army, following an attack by Goguryeo on Silla.

Goryeong Dae-gaya Crown

In the early sixth century, however, Dae-gaya found itself at odds with Baekje over the Gimun (present-day Namwon and Imsil) and Daesa (present-day Hadong) regions. Dae-gaya subsequently lost the Gimun region, although it managed to keep the Daesa region. Dae-gaya's King Inoe arranged a marriage alliance with Silla by receiving Silla's royal princess in 522 A.D., but Silla's King Beopheung created discord in the Gaya Confederation by taking what was perceived as undue advantage of the marriage. Consequently, regions of Gaya's southern domains were absorbed into Silla and Baekje, or were at least pushed toward their incorporation in the 530s.

In the 540s, the late Gaya confederation split into two: one confederation, led by Goryeong's Daegaya-guk, was located in the south, and the other confederation, led by Haman's Anla-guk, was located in the north. Although the states struggled to reunify within the Gaya confederation, they fell under Baekje's influence by the middle of the sixth century. The Gaya Confederation fought Silla in a fierce battle at Gwansan Castle, but the Gaya were soundly defeated through a surprise attack by Silla and Baekje in 562 A.D.