From pre-Islamic times, there were trade relations between the kingdom of Silla on the Korean peninsula and the Middle East, via the Maritime Silk Road. After the birth of Islam, Muslim merchants travelled extensively to the East and some of them settled there, for instance in China, and they probably came in contact with merchants from Silla. Muslims also settled on the Korean peninsula, where they found rich natural resources, especially gold, and pleasant living conditions. They cultivated Islamic culture and religious tradition. During the Chosun dynasty, Muslims became more assimilated, but Islamic science and culture had an important impact on Korean society. Korea’s contact with Islam was intensified in the 20th century when a large number of Muslim Turks – refugees from Russia and soldiers who had fought in the Korean War – settled on the peninsula.