Hermit kingdom

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Hermit kingdom is a term applied to any country, organization or society which willfully walls itself off, either metaphorically or physically, from the rest of the world. The Joseon dynasty of Korea was frequently[not in citation given] described as a hermit kingdom during the latter part of the dynasty.[1][non-primary source needed] The term is still commonplace throughout Korea and is often used by Koreans themselves to describe pre-modern Korea.

Today, the term is often applied to North Korea in news media, and in 2009 was used by United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.[2] Other countries, like Bhutan and the Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen, have also been described as hermit kingdoms due to their government's reluctance to engage in dialogue with the outside world. The early African civilization of Axum, now known as Ethiopia, was identified by the Europeans as the "hermit kingdom".

The first documented use of "hermit kingdom" to refer to Korea is in the title of William Elliot Griffis' 1882 book Corea: The Hermit Nation, well before the division of Korea.[3][4]

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