Korea was long known as the "Hermit Kingdom," more or less content to pay tribute to its western neighbor, Qing China, and leave the rest of the world alone.
During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, though, as Qing power crumbled, Korea fell under increasing control by its neighbor across the East Sea, Japan.
The Joseon Dynasty lost its grip on power, and its last kings became puppet emperors in the employ of the Japanese.
Photographs from this era reveal a Korea that was still traditional in many ways, but that was beginning to experience greater contact with the world. This is also the time when Christianity began to make inroads into Korean culture - as seen in the photo of the French missionary nun.
Learn more about the vanished world of the Hermit Kingdom through these early photographs.