Korean Empire (대한제국; Daehan Jeguk)

In existence from 1897 until the 1910 Japanese annexation of Korea, ​Daehan Jeguk (which is literally translated as the Great Han Empire) was the last time that the Korean peninsula was one unified and independent sovereign state. 

Its proclamation by King Go-Jong, the last king of the Joseon/Chosun Dynasty, brought an end to the dynasty and officially severed Korea's historic ties as a tributary/client kingdom of China's Qing Dynasty, at a time when his reign was plagued by various external/foreign pressures and/or threats from Russia, China, and particularly Japan.

​To address the foreign pressures and threats, which ultimately also came from the United States and other European powers, Emperor Go-Jong oversaw, among other things, the Gwang-Mu Reform (광무개혁) aimed at modernizing and westernizing Korea during the late stages of the industrial revolution, as well as abolition of the traditional Korean class/status system.