Koryŏ dynasty, in Korean history, dynasty that ruled the Korean peninsula as the Koryŏ kingdom from 935 to 1392 ce. During this period the country began to form its own cultural tradition distinct from the rest of East Asia. It is from the name Koryŏ that the Western name Korea is derived.
The dynasty that ruled Koryŏ was formed by Gen. Wang Kŏn, who in 918 overthrew the state of Later Koguryŏ, established in north-central Korea by the monk Kungye. Changing the name of the state to Koryŏ, Wang Kŏn established his capital at Songdo (present-day Kaesŏng, N.Kor.). With the surrender of the kingdoms of Silla (in 935) and Later Paekche (in 936) he established a unified kingdom on the peninsula.