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Gaya (aka Kaya or Karak) was a confederation which ruled central-southern Korea during the Three Kingdoms period from the 1st to 6th century CE. The peninsula was dominated by Gaya's more powerful neighbouring kingdoms of Goguryeo (Koguryo), Baekje (Paekche), and Silla, but Gaya, often the forgotten entity in this period, was nevertheless rich in iron ore and their craftsmen became highly skilled at fashioning iron objects such as armour and weapons. The high level of culture achieved by the Gaya states would influence Japan, their most important trading partner. The confederation came to a definitive end when it was fully conquered by the Silla kingdom in 562 CE.

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