The term hermit kingdom is used to refer to any country, organization or society which willfully walls itself off, either metaphorically or physically, from the rest of the world. The East Asian country of North Korea is commonly regarded as a prime example of a hermit kingdom, and the term is contemporarily used to describe that country.
Korea in the age of Joseon dynasty was the subject of the first use of the term, in William Elliot Griffis's 1882 book Corea: The Hermit Nation, and Korea was frequently described as a hermit kingdom until 1905 when it became a protectorate of Japan.
Several other countries reluctant to engage in dialogue with the outside world have also been described as hermit kingdoms, including: Bhutan, the Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen, and the early African civilization of Axum.
- Fischer, David H. Historians' Fallacies: Toward a Logic of Historical Thought.
- Wilson, Myoung Chung. Korean Government Publications: An Introductory Guide. Lantham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2000.
- The Obliteration of the Kingdom of Korea by Stephen Bonsal, The New York Times, July 28, 1907
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