Early Korea-Arabic Maritime relations based on Muslim sources

By the 8th century, Muslim merchants sailing to the East established colonies and large numbers of them settled in China. They certainly came in contact with merchants from the Korean peninsula, since the kingdom of Silla entertained close political, economic and cultural relations with Tang China. Thus, elements of Islamic culture were introduced in Silla. Medieval Muslim sources contain numerous references to Silla, but their information was not very accurate. Literary sources, such as Ibn Khurdadbih’s “General Survey of Roads and Kingdoms” from the 9th century AD, mention Muslim settlements in Silla. According to some accounts, Muslim Shiites, followers of the Caliph Ali, might have reached the Korean peninsula as early as in the 7th century. Even though many elements contained in Islamic sources from the 9th to the 16th century AD remain historically debatable, these texts contain valuable information on early Muslim presence on the Korean peninsula.

Related Information

  • Authors:
    Hee-Soo Lee
    8th century AD to 16th century AD
    Language of article:

    International Seminar on the Korean Culture and the Silk Roads, 23-25 February 1991. Kyongju and Pusan, Republic of Korea.

    China, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Republic of Korea

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