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History of South Korea
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1945 - 2023

History of South Korea

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After the end of World War II in 1945, the Korean region, which was previously part of Japan's territory, was occupied by American and Soviet forces. In 1948, South Korea declared its independence from Japan as the Republic of Korea, and in 1952, when Japan approved the independence of the Korean region under the San Francisco Peace Treaty, it became a fully independent and sovereign nation under international law


On June 25, 1950, the Korean War broke out. After much destruction, the war ended on July 27, 1953, with the 1948 status quo being restored as neither the DPRK nor the First Republic had succeeded in conquering the other's portion of the divided Korea. The peninsula was divided by the Korean Demilitarized Zone and the two separate governments stabilized into the existing political entities of North and South Korea.


South Korea's subsequent history is marked by alternating periods of democratic and autocratic rule. Civilian governments are conventionally numbered from the First Republic of Syngman Rhee to the current Sixth Republic. The First Republic, which was democratic at its inception, became increasingly autocratic until its collapse in 1960. The Second Republic was democratic, but was overthrown in under a year and replaced by an autocratic military regime. The Third, Fourth, and Fifth Republics were nominally democratic, but are widely regarded as the continuation of military rule. With the current Sixth Republic, the country has gradually stabilized into a liberal democracy.


Since its inception, South Korea has seen significant development in education, economy, and culture. Since the 1960s, the nation has developed from one of Asia's poorest to one of the world's wealthiest nations. Education, particularly at the tertiary level, has expanded dramatically. It is considered to be one of the "Four Tigers" of rising Asian states along with Singapore, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.


History of South Korea Timeline




1945 Jan 1

Prologue

Korean Peninsula

Prologue


In 1945, following Japan's defeat in the Pacific War, the Korean region which had been its territory was occupied by American and Soviet forces. Two years later, South Korea declared its independence from Japan as the Republic of Korea. This was officially recognised by Japan when it approved the independence of the Korean region under the San Francisco Peace Treaty in 1952, making it a fully independent and sovereign nation under international law. This led to the division of Korea into two occupation zones - one administered by the United States and the other by the Soviet Union - that was meant to be temporary. However, when the United States, United Kingdom, Soviet Union and China were unable to agree on a single government for the peninsula, two separate governments with opposing ideologies were established in 1948: The Communist-aligned Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the West-aligned First Republic of Korea. Both claimed to be the legitimate government of all of Korea.


1945 Sep 8 - 1944 Aug 15

United States Army Military Government in Korea

South Korea

United States Army Military Government in Korea
Japanese forces surrender to the U.S. Army at Seoul, Korea, on 9 September 1945


The United States Army Military Government in Korea (USAMGIK) was in charge of the Southern half of the Korean Peninsula from September 8, 1945, to August 15, 1948. The country during this time was facing political and economic difficulties due to a variety of reasons. The negative effects of Japanese occupation were still present in the occupied zone, as well as in the North. People were not satisfied with the USAMGIK's support of the previous Japanese colonial government, their keeping of former Japanese governors as advisors, their disregard of the well-liked People's Republic of Korea, and their support of United Nations elections that led to the division of the country. Furthermore, the US military was not well-equipped to manage the country, as they had no knowledge of the language or political situation, leading to unintended consequences of their policies. The influx of refugees from North Korea (estimated at 400,000) and returnees from abroad added to the instability.


1946 Aug 1

Autumn Uprising of 1946

Daegu, South Korea

Autumn Uprising of 1946


The Autumn Uprising of 1946 was a series of protests and demonstrations that took place in South Korea against the United States Army Military Government in Korea (USAMGIK). These protests were sparked by the USAMGIK's support of the former Japanese colonial government and their decision to keep former Japanese governors as advisors, as well as their disregard of the well-liked People's Republic of Korea. The protests were also a result of the economic and political turmoil that the country was facing in the aftermath of World War II and the division of the Korean Peninsula. The Autumn Uprising led to a crackdown by the USAMGIK, which resulted in the arrests and imprisonment of many Korean leaders and activists. The Autumn Uprising is considered a significant event in the history of South Korea, as it marked the first large-scale popular resistance against USAMGIK's rule, and was a precursor to the larger political and social movements that emerged in the following years.


1948 Apr 3 - 1949 May 13

Jeju Uprising

Jeju, Jeju-do, South Korea

Jeju Uprising | ©Tribunate


The Jeju Uprising was a popular rebellion that took place on the island of Jeju, South Korea, from April 3, 1948, to May 1949. The uprising was sparked by the decision of the newly-established Republic of Korea government to hold a controversial election for a National Assembly, which many on Jeju saw as a sham that would exclude left-leaning and progressive groups from the political process. The rebellion was led by the leftist and progressive groups who were against the government. The government responded by sending in the military to crush the rebellion, which resulted in a brutal crackdown that left thousands of people dead and many more injured. The suppression was marked by mass killings, torture, rape, and forced disappearances of tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians suspected of supporting the rebellion. The Jeju Uprising is considered a dark chapter in the history of South Korea and is still a sensitive subject today.


1948 Aug 1 - 1960 Apr

First Republic of Korea

South Korea

First Republic of Korea
Syngman Rhee, the 1st President of South Korea


The first Republic of Korea existed from August 1948 to April 1960 and was the government of South Korea. It was established on August 15th, 1948, after the transfer of power from the United States Army Military Government which had been governing South Korea since the end of Japanese rule in 1945. This was the first independent republican government in Korea, with Syngman Rhee being elected as the first president of South Korea in May 1948 and the National Assembly in Seoul adopting the first constitution in July of the same year, which established a presidential system of government. The first republic claimed to have authority over all of Korea but only controlled the area south of the 38th parallel until the end of the Korean War in 1953, after which the border was changed. The first republic was marked by the authoritarian rule and corruption of Rhee, limited economic development, strong anti-communism, and by the late 1950s, increasing political instability and public opposition to Rhee. The April Revolution in 1960 led to Rhee's resignation and the beginning of the second Republic of Korea.


1949 Dec 24

Mungyeong massacre

Mungyeong, Gyeongsangbuk-do, S

Mungyeong massacre


The Mungyeong Massacre was a mass killing that occurred on December 24th, 1949, in which 86 to 88 unarmed civilians, mostly children and elderly people, were killed by the South Korean Army. The victims were suspected of being communist supporters or collaborators, however, the South Korean government blamed the crime on communist guerrillas for decades. In 2006, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Korea determined that the massacre was committed by the South Korean Army. Despite this, a South Korean court decided that charging the government with the massacre was barred by statute of limitations, and in 2009 the South Korean high court dismissed the victims' family complaint. However, in 2011, the Supreme Court of Korea decided that the government should compensate the victims of the inhumane crimes it had committed, regardless of the deadline to make the claim.


1950 Jun 25 - 1953 Jul 27

Korean War

Korean Peninsula

Korean War | ©The Cold War


The Korean War was a military conflict between North and South Korea that lasted from June 25, 1950 to July 27, 1953. The North invaded the South on June 25, 1950, in an effort to unify the country under communist rule. The United Nations, led by the United States, intervened on behalf of South Korea, and a coalition of UN forces, primarily from the United States, fought against the North Korean and Chinese armies. The war was marked by brutal fighting, with heavy casualties on both sides. A ceasefire was declared on July 27, 1953, and a demilitarized zone was established along the 38th parallel, which still serves as the border between North and South Korea today. The Korean War resulted in the deaths of millions of people and left the Korean Peninsula divided and heavily militarized.


1950 Jul 1

Bodo League Massacre

South Korea

Bodo League Massacre
South Korean soldiers walk among bodies of South Korean political prisoners shot near Daejon, South Korea, July 1950. Photo by U.S. Army Major Abbott.


The Bodo League massacre refers to a mass killing of political prisoners and suspected communist sympathizers that took place in South Korea in the summer of 1960. The killings were carried out by a group called the Bodo League, which was created and controlled by the government. The league was composed of members of the South Korean police and military, as well as civilians who were recruited to carry out the killings. The victims were rounded up and taken to remote locations, such as islands or mountainous regions, where they were killed en masse. The number of victims is estimated to be around 100,000. The Bodo League massacre was a systematic, large scale extrajudicial killing orchestrated by the South Korean government in an effort to eliminate political opponents and maintain control of the population. The event is considered one of the most serious human rights violation in the history of South Korea.


1953 Jul 27

Korean Armistice Agreement

Joint Security Area (JSA), Eor

Korean Armistice Agreement
The site of negotiations in 1951


The Korean Armistice Agreement was a ceasefire agreement signed on July 27, 1953, between North Korea and the United Nations, represented by the United States, to end the fighting in the Korean War. The agreement established a demilitarized zone (DMZ) separating North and South Korea and created the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that still exists today. The armistice was signed by North Korean General Nam Il and U.S. Army Lieutenant General William K. Harrison Jr. and was supervised by the Military Armistice Commission (MAC) and the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission (NNSC). The armistice has never been formally ended and a state of war technically still exists between the two Koreas.


1960 Apr 1 - 1961 May

Second Republic of Korea

South Korea

Second Republic of Korea
Proclamation of the Second Republic of Korea. From right: Chang Myon (Prime Minister), Yun Bo-seon (President), Paek Nak-chun (President of the House of Councillors) and Kwak Sang-hoon (President of the Chamber of Deputies)


The Second Republic of Korea refers to the political system and government of South Korea that was established after the April Revolution of 1960, which led to the resignation of President Syngman Rhee and the end of the First Republic of Korea. The April Revolution was a series of mass protests that were sparked by the discovery of the body of a local high school student who had been killed by police during demonstrations against rigged elections in March. The Second Republic of Korea was established after the fall of the Rhee government and his replacement by President Yun Posun.


The Second Republic was marked by a transition towards democracy, with a new constitution adopted in October, 1960 which provided for a separation of powers, a bicameral legislature, and a strong presidency. The government under the Second Republic was characterized by a shift from authoritarian rule to a more democratic system with free and fair elections, civil liberties, and a free press.


However, the Second Republic also had its challenges, including political instability and economic difficulties, which led to a series of coups d'etat, and military dictatorship led by Park Chung-hee which lasted until 1979. It was followed by the Third Republic of South Korea which was a democratic government that lasted until 1987.


1960 Apr 11 - 1960 Apr 26

April Revolution

Masan, South Korea

April Revolution | ©Arirang News


The April Revolution, also known as the April 19 Revolution or April 19 Movement, was a series of mass protests that occurred in South Korea against President Syngman Rhee and the First Republic. These protests began on April 11th in the city of Masan and were sparked by the death of a local high school student at the hands of police during earlier demonstrations against fraudulent elections. The protests were driven by widespread dissatisfaction with Rhee's authoritarian leadership style, corruption, use of violence against political opponents, and uneven development of the country. The protests in Masan quickly spread to the capital city of Seoul, where they were met with violent suppression. As a result of the two weeks of protests, 186 people were killed. On April 26th, Rhee resigned and fled to the United States. He was replaced by Yun Posun, marking the beginning of the Second Republic of South Korea.


1961 May 16

May 16 Coup

Seoul, South Korea

May 16 Coup


The "May 16 Coup" refers to a military coup d'état that took place in South Korea on May 16, 1961. The coup was led by Major General Park Chung-hee, who seized power from President Yun Bo-seon and the ruling Democratic Party. The coup was successful and Park Chung-hee established a military dictatorship that lasted until his assassination in 1979. During his 18-year rule, Park implemented a number of economic and political reforms that helped to modernize South Korea and transform it into a developed nation. However, his regime was also known for its suppression of political dissent and human rights abuses.


1961 Jun 13

National Intelligence Service

South Korea

National Intelligence Service


The military government established the KCIA in June 1961 as a way to monitor the opposition, with Kim Jong-pil, a relative of Park, as its first director. The KCIA is responsible for overseeing and coordinating intelligence activities both domestically and internationally, as well as criminal investigations by government intelligence agencies, including the military. With broad powers, the agency was able to become involved in politics. Agents go through extensive training and background checks before being officially inducted and assigned their first tasks.


1963 Dec 1 - 1972 Nov

Third Republic of Korea

South Korea

Third Republic of Korea
Park Chung-hee served as President for the Third Republic's existence from 1963 to 1972.


The Third Republic of Korea refers to South Korea's government from 1987-1993. It was the second and last civilian government under the 1987 constitution, which began when President Roh Tae-woo took office in 1988. During this period, South Korea experienced a period of rapid economic growth and democratization, marked by the end of military rule, the abolition of political censorship, and direct presidential elections. Additionally, South Korea's relations with North Korea and other countries improved, leading to the establishment of diplomatic ties with China and many other nations.


1964 Sep 1 - 1973 Mar

South Korea in the Vietnam War

Vietnam

South Korean ROK Soldiers in the Vietnam War


South Korea played an important role in the Vietnam War (1964-1975). After the United States withdrew its forces in 1973, South Korea sent its own troops to help the South Vietnamese government. The Republic of Korea (ROK) Army Expeditionary Force provided military assistance and support to South Vietnam, with a total of 320,000 troops taking part in the war effort.


The ROK forces were mostly stationed in the Central Highlands and along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. They provided security for local Vietnamese citizens and helped the South Vietnamese military to protect their borders. In addition, South Korean forces built infrastructure for development projects, including roads, bridges, irrigation systems and airfields.


The presence of Korean troops in Vietnam was controversial, with some accusing them of human rights abuses. However, they were credited with providing much-needed assistance to the South Vietnamese government during a difficult period in its history. The Korean Army was withdrawn from Vietnam in 1978 and their contribution to the war effort has been largely forgotten in history.


1970 Apr 22

Saemaul Undong

South Korea

Saemaul Undong changing communities around the world | ©Arirang News


Saemaul Undong (also known as the New Village Movement) is a South Korean rural development program that began in the 1970s under the leadership of then-President Park Chung-hee. Its aim is to reduce poverty and improve living conditions in rural areas by empowering local communities and encouraging self-help initiatives. The program emphasizes collective action, cooperation, self-discipline, and hard work. It includes a range of activities such as cooperative farming, improved agricultural techniques, infrastructure development, and community organization. The program has been credited with helping to reduce poverty and improve living standards in rural areas. It has also been used as a model for similar programs in other countries around the world.


1972 Nov 1 - 1981 Mar

Fourth Republic of Korea

South Korea

Fourth Republic of Korea
Choi Kyu-hah


In 1972, the Fourth Republic was established following a constitutional referendum that approved the Yushin Constitution, which provided de facto dictatorial powers to President Park Chung-hee. Under Park and his Democratic Republican Party, the country entered into an authoritarian period known as the Yushin System. Following Park's assassination in 1979, Choi Kyu-hah took over as president but martial law was declared and the country fell into political instability. Chun Doo-hwan then overthrew Choi and launched a coup d'état in December 1979. He then suppressed the Gwangju Democratization Movement against martial law in May 1980, after which he dissolved the National Assembly and was elected president of the National Council for Reunification. The Fourth republic was then dissolved when a new constitution was adopted in March 1981 and replaced with the Fifth Republic of Korea.


1979 Oct 26

Assassination of Park Chung-hee

Blue House, Seoul

Assassination of Park Chung-hee | ©KOREA NOW


The Assassination of Park Chung-hee was a major political event in South Korea which took place on October 26, 1979. Park Chung-hee was the third President of South Korea and had been in power since 1961. He had led an authoritarian regime and had implemented sweeping economic reforms that had brought rapid economic growth to the country.


On October 26, 1979, Park was attending a dinner at the Korean Central Intelligence Agency (KCIA) headquarters in Seoul. During the dinner, he was shot by Kim Jae-gyu, the director of KCIA. Kim had been a close ally of Park and had been serving as his bodyguard for many years.


The news of Park's assassination quickly spread throughout the country and sparked widespread protests. Many people viewed Park as a dictator and were glad to see him gone. However, others saw his death as a great loss since he had brought much economic prosperity to South Korea during his rule.


In the aftermath of Park's death, the country entered a period of political turmoil. This led to the election of Chun Doo-hwan as President in 1980, who then led an authoritarian military regime until 1987 when democratic elections were held again.


The assassination of Park Chung-hee remains a significant event in Korean history and is still remembered today. It was the first time that a Korean President had been assassinated and it signaled the end of an era of authoritarian rule in the country.


1979 Dec 12

Coup d'état of December Twelfth

Seoul, South Korea

Coup d'état of December Twelfth
Coup d'état of December Twelfth


Major General Chun Doo-hwan, commander of the Defence Security Command, without authorization from Acting President Choi Kyu-hah, arrested General Jeong Seung-hwa, ROK Army Chief of Staff, accusing him of involvement in the assassination of President Park Chung-hee. Subsequently, troops loyal to Chun invaded downtown Seoul and arrested two of Jeong's allies, Major General Jang Tae-wan and Major General Jeong Byeong-ju. Major Kim Oh-rang, an aide-de-camp of Jeong Byeong-ju, was killed in the gunfight. By the next morning, the Ministry of Defense and Army HQ were all under Chun's control with the assistance of his fellow 11th class of Korea Military Academy graduates. This coup, alongside the Gwangju Massacre, led to Chun's 1995 arrest by the Kim Young-sam administration and established the Fifth Republic of South Korea.


1980 May 18 - 1977 May 27

Gwangju Uprising

Gwangju, South Korea

Gwangju Uprising | ©KBS News


The Gwangju Uprising was a popular uprising in the city of Gwangju, South Korea, from May 18 to 27, 1980. It began as a protest against the dictatorship of President Chun Doo-hwan and the military government, and quickly grew into a demonstration for democracy and human rights. The uprising was violently suppressed by the South Korean military and the incident resulted in the deaths of hundreds of citizens.


The uprising began when students and workers led a protest against the military government on May 18th. The demonstration quickly spread throughout the city, with citizens joining in to demand democracy and human rights. The military responded with force, using tear gas, batons, and live ammunition to disperse the crowds. Over the next few days, clashes between protesters and the military escalated into a full-scale battle. On May 27th, the military declared martial law in Gwangju and sent in more troops to put down the rebellion. Despite this, protesters continued to resist until June 3rd, when martial law was finally lifted.


1981 Mar 1 - 1984 Dec

Fifth Republic of Korea

South Korea

Fifth Republic of Korea
South Korean President Chun Doo-hwan with U.S. President Ronald Reagan in Seoul, November 1983


The fifth republic was established in March 1981 by Chun Doo-hwan, a military colleague of long-time president and dictator Park Chung-hee, after the political instability and military rule in the fourth republic since the assassination of Park in October 1979. The fifth republic was ruled by Chun and the Democratic Justice Party as a de facto dictatorship and one-party state to extensively reform South Korea for democratization and dismantle the autocratic system of Park. The fifth republic faced growing opposition from the democratization movement of the Gwangju Uprising, and the June Democracy Movement of 1987 resulted in the election of Roh Tae-woo in the December 1987 presidential election. The fifth republic was dissolved three days after the election upon the adoption of a new constitution that laid the foundations for the relatively stable democratic system of the current sixth Republic of Korea.


1983 Oct 9

Rangoon Bombing

Martyrs' Mausoleum, Ar Zar Ni

Tragedy in Rangoon | ©ADST


On 9 October 1983, an assassination attempt occurred against Chun Doo-hwan, the fifth president of South Korea, in Rangoon, Burma (present-day Yangon, Myanmar). North Korea was believed to be behind the attack, in which 21 people died and 46 were wounded. One suspect was killed and two others were apprehended, one of whom admitted to being a North Korean military officer.


1987 Jun 10 - 1987 Jun 29

June Democratic Struggle

South Korea

June Democracy Movement | © Arirang News


The June Democratic Struggle, also referred to as the June Democracy Movement and June Democratic Uprising, was a nation-wide pro-democracy movement that took place in South Korea from June 10 to June 29, 1987. The protests triggered by the military regime's announcement of Roh Tae-woo as the next president, forced the government to hold elections and institute other democratic reforms, leading to the establishment of the Sixth Republic. Out of fear of violence before the 1988 Olympic Games at Seoul, Chun and Roh accepted the demands for direct presidential elections and restoration of civil liberties. This eventually led to Roh being elected president in December with a bare majority, paving the way for democratic consolidation in South Korea.


1988 Jan 1 - 2023

Sixth Republic of South Korea

South Korea

Sixth Republic of South Korea
Roh Tae-woo


The sixth Republic of South Korea is the current government of South Korea, established in 1988 following the end of military rule. This constitution provides for a more democratic form of government with the president being elected by popular vote and a unicameral legislature. It also includes a Bill of Rights that guarantees civil liberties such as freedom of speech, assembly, and press.


South Korea's economic growth during the sixth republic has been remarkable. The country has gone from a developing economy to one of the world's largest economies, with a per capita GDP comparable to that of some European countries. This economic growth has been largely due to the country's successful export-oriented economic policies, high levels of investment in education and research, and strong emphasis on technology-driven innovation.


The sixth republic also saw the rise of a powerful labor movement that has been instrumental in improving working conditions and wages for South Koreans. It has also brought about reforms to the judicial system, including changes that have made it easier for citizens to sue corporations for violations of their rights.


1988 Sep 17 - 1988 Oct 2

1988 Summer Olympics

Seoul, South Korea

Seoul 1988 - Opening Ceremony | ©Olympics


The 1988 Summer Olympics were held in Seoul, South Korea from September 17 to October 2, 1988. This was the first time that the Summer Olympics were held in South Korea, and the first time they were held in Asia since the 1964 games in Tokyo, Japan. The games featured 237 events in 27 sports and were attended by around 8,391 athletes from 159 nations, making it the largest number of countries participating in any Olympics at that time. The games were considered a major success for South Korea, as they showcased the country's rapid economic and social development in the years leading up to the Olympics.


1990 Jan 1

Korean Wave

South Korea

WHY are Kdramas so Popular ALL Over the World? | © K-Drama Stay


K-dramas have become immensely popular throughout Asia and around the world since they began airing in the early 1990s. These Korean television dramas often feature complicated romantic storylines, touching family themes, and plenty of action and suspense. In addition to entertaining viewers, K-dramas have had a profound effect on South Korea’s economy and soft power.


The popularity of K-dramas has helped to boost South Korea’s economy, as the sale of drama DVDs, soundtracks, and related products has become an important source of revenue for the country. Furthermore, the success of K-dramas has led to an increase in tourism to South Korea as fans of these dramas flock to experience the culture and sites that inspired the shows.


In addition to its economic effects, K-dramas have also had a significant impact on South Korea’s soft power. The melodramatic storylines and attractive actors have made these shows incredibly popular across Asia, helping to strengthen South Korea’s cultural influence in the region. This has also had a positive effect on South Korea’s international relations, as countries that had previously been hostile towards the country have begun to embrace it due to its cultural presence.


2000 Jan 1

Sunshine Policy

Korean Peninsula

Sunshine Policy
Kim Dae-jung and Kim Jong-il


The Sunshine Policy is the foundation for South Korea's approach to North Korea in terms of foreign relations. It was first established and put into practice during the presidency of Kim Dae-jung. This policy led to the initiation of cooperative business ventures between the two Koreas, including the development of a railway and the establishment of the Mount Kumgang Tourist Region, which remained open to South Korean visitors until 2008, when a shooting incident occurred and visits were halted. Despite the challenges, three family reunions were also arranged.


In 2000, the leaders of the two Koreas, Kim Dae-jung and Kim Jong-il, met for the first time since the Korean War at a summit. During this meeting, the June 15th North–South Joint Declaration was adopted, in which the two Koreas agreed on five points: the pursuit of independent reunification, peaceful reunification, addressing humanitarian issues like separated families, promoting economic cooperation and exchange, and holding a dialogue between the two Koreas. However, after the summit, talks between the two states stalled. Criticism of the policy increased and the Unification Minister Lim Dong-won faced a no-confidence vote on September 3, 2001. After a meeting with newly elected President George Bush, Kim Dae-jung felt humiliated and privately expressed his disappointment with President Bush's hardline stance. This meeting also led to the cancellation of any possibility of a North Korean visit to South Korea. With the Bush administration labeling North Korea as part of the "axis of evil," North Korea withdrew from the non-proliferation treaty, expelled UN inspectors and resumed its nuclear program. In 2002, a naval confrontation over disputed fishing territory resulted in the death of six South Korean naval soldiers, further deteriorating relations.


2003 Jan 1

K-pop

South Korea

KPOP HISTORY in 20mins | ©DKDKTV


K-pop (Korean Pop) is a genre of popular music originating in South Korea. It began in the early 1990s and has since become one of the most popular genres of music in the world. K-pop is characterized by its catchy melodies, strong beats, and fun, upbeat lyrics. It often incorporates elements from other genres such as hip hop, R&B, and EDM. The genre has seen a steady increase in popularity since its inception and continues to grow in popularity today. It has also had an impact on global culture, with K-pop stars appearing on TV shows, movies, and even fashion runways around the world. K-pop has also become increasingly popular in North America and Europe, with fans attending concerts and following their favorite artists.


In the late 2000s and early 2010s, K-pop began to gain popularity in other parts of the world, particularly in Southeast Asia and the United States. This was largely due to the success of groups like Girls' Generation, Super Junior, and 2NE1, who had a strong international fan base.


In 2012, K-pop group PSY's "Gangnam Style" became a viral sensation, garnering over 3 billion views on YouTube. This song helped to bring K-pop to a global audience and significantly increased the popularity of K-pop around the world.


2018 Feb 9 - 2018 Feb 25

2018 Winter Olympics

Pyeongchang, Gangwon-do, South

PyeongChang 2018 Opening Ceremony | ©Olympics


The 2018 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XXIII Olympic Winter Games and commonly known as PyeongChang 2018, was an international winter multi-sport event that was held between 9 and 25 February 2018 in Pyeongchang County, South Korea. A total of 102 events in 15 disciplines of 7 sports were held. The host nation, South Korea, won 17 medals, including 5 golds. The games were notable for the participation of North Korea, which sent 22 athletes to compete in 3 sports.


2018 Apr 27

April 2018 inter-Korean summit

South Korea

April 2018 inter-Korean summit
Moon and Kim shaking hands over the demarcation line


The April 2018 inter-Korean summit was a meeting between the leaders of North Korea and South Korea, which took place on April 27, 2018. The summit was the first of its kind in over a decade, and it marked a significant step towards peace and reconciliation between the two countries, which have been technically at war since the Korean War of the 1950s. The summit was held at the Peace House, a building located on the southern side of the demilitarized zone (DMZ) that separates North and South Korea. The leaders of North and South Korea, Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in, respectively, met and discussed a wide range of issues, including the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, the reduction of military tensions, and the improvement of economic and cultural ties between the two countries. As a result of the summit, the two leaders signed a joint statement in which they committed to work towards the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and to improve relations between the two countries.


2020 Jan 20

COVID-19 pandemic in South Korea

South Korea

COVID-19 pandemic in South Korea
Transfer of a COVID-19 confirmed patient by Busan Medical Center


The COVID-19 pandemic in South Korea began in January 2020 and has since spread throughout the country. South Korea was one of the first countries outside of China to report a large number of cases, with the majority of early cases linked to a religious group in the city of Daegu. The South Korean government quickly implemented measures such as widespread testing, contact tracing, and quarantine to slow the spread of the virus. The country was able to bring the outbreak under control relatively quickly and has managed to keep its case numbers low compared to many other countries. However, there were several small outbreaks and periodic resurgence of cases over time. The South Korean government has also implemented a range of social distancing measures, such as closing schools and public places, and has also issued guidelines for mask-wearing and self-quarantine. Despite the pandemic, South Korea has managed to keep its economy relatively stable, and has managed to keep its death rate low.


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Characters

Key Figures for History of South Korea



Chun Doo-hwan

Chun Doo-hwan

Military Dictator of South Korea

Chang Myon

Chang Myon

South Korean Statesman

Kim Jae-gyu

Kim Jae-gyu

Korean Central Intelligence Agency

Roh Moo-hyun

Roh Moo-hyun

Ninth President of South Korea

Kim Young-sam

Kim Young-sam

Seventh President of South Korea

Lee Myung-bak

Lee Myung-bak

Tenth President of South Korea

Kim Jong-pil

Kim Jong-pil

Director of the NIS

Roh Tae-woo

Roh Tae-woo

Sixth President of South Korea

Park Geun-hye

Park Geun-hye

Eleventh President of South Korea

Moon Jae-in

Moon Jae-in

Twelfth President of South Korea

Park Chung-hee

Park Chung-hee

Dictator of South Korea

Yun Posun

Yun Posun

Second President of South Korea

Choi Kyu-hah

Choi Kyu-hah

Fourth President of South Korea

Kim Dae-jung

Kim Dae-jung

Eighth President of South Korea

Yoon Suk-yeol

Yoon Suk-yeol

Thirteenth President of South Korea

Syngman Rhee

Syngman Rhee

First President of South Korea

Lyuh Woon-hyung

Lyuh Woon-hyung

Korean politician





Further Reading

Book Recommenations for History of South Korea



  • Cumings, Bruce (1997). Korea's place in the sun. New York: W.W. Norton. ISBN 978-0-393-31681-0.
  • Lee, Gil-sang (2005). Korea through the Ages. Seongnam: Center for Information on Korean Culture, the Academy of Korean Studies.
  • Lee, Hyun-hee; Park, Sung-soo; Yoon, Nae-hyun (2005). New History of Korea. Paju: Jimoondang.
  • Lee, Ki-baek, tr. by E.W. Wagner & E.J. Shultz (1984). A new history of Korea (rev. ed.). Seoul: Ilchogak. ISBN 978-89-337-0204-8.
  • Nahm, Andrew C. (1996). Korea: A history of the Korean people (2nd ed.). Seoul: Hollym. ISBN 978-1-56591-070-6.
  • Yang Sung-chul (1999). The North and South Korean political systems: A comparative analysis (rev. ed.). Seoul: Hollym. ISBN 978-1-56591-105-5.
  • Yonhap News Agency (2004). Korea Annual 2004. Seoul: Author. ISBN 978-89-7433-070-5.
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Source: Wikipedia
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Last Updated: Sun, 22 Jan 2023 22:03:33 GMT