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History

The history of human activity in Korea can be traced far into the Paleolithic period, about 500,000 years ago. The beginning of Korean history is often dated to 2333 B.C. when King Tan-gun, a Legendary figure born of the son of Heaven and a woman from a bear-totem tribe, established the first kingdom named Choson, literally meaning the "Land of the Morning Calm." While the historicity of the Tan-gun myth is disputed among scholars, it is known that ancient Korea was characterized by clan communities which combined to from small city-states. They rose and fell so that by the first century B.C. three kingdoms, Koguryo (37 B.C.-A.D.668), Paekche(18 B.C.-A.D.660)and Shilla (57 B.C.-A.D. 935), had emerged on the Korean Peninsula and part of what is now known as Manchuria. [The Balhae Kingdom]

Ever since Shilla unified the peninsula in 668, Korea has been ruled by a single government and has maintained its political independence and cultural and ethnic identity in spite of frequent foreign invasions. Both the Koryo(918-1392)and Choson (1392-1910) Kingdoms consolidated their dynastic power and flourished culturally, while repelling intruders like the Khitans, Mongols, Manchus and Japanese. In the late 19th century, Korea became the focus of intense competition among imperialist nations, China, Russia and Japan. In 1910, Japan annexed Korea and instituted colonial rule, bringing the Yi Dynasty of Choson to an end and with it, traditional Korea. National liberation occurred in 1945 but was soon followed by territorial division. The Republic of Korea in the south has a democratic government, while the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in the north is ruled by a Communist regime. (Facts about Korea, 1995, Korean overseas Information Service) [Koryo], [Choson]

The history of South Korea dates from the Japanese surrender at the end of World War II, when the peninsula was divided into northern and southern zones; the Soviet Union occupied the northern part, while the United States controlled the southern part. A separate government emerged in each zone, and on Aug. 15, 1948, the Republic of Korea (South Korea) was established. [Historic Relics]

On June 25, 1950, North Korean troops invaded South Korea, pecipitating the Korean War. United Nations forces, predominantly from the United States, intervened on the side of South Korea; Chinese troops intervened on the side of North Korea. An armistice was signed on July 27, 1953.

The Korean War devastated the country, and rebuilding was accomplished with considerable U.S. aid. Under the rule of Presidents Syngman Rhee (1948-60), Park Chung Hee (1963-79), and Chun Doo Hwan (1980-87), South Korea experienced rapid economic growth while political stability was maintained by authoritarian rule, especially during the period of military domination (1961-87). The national standard of living steadily rose during these years, and South Korea became one of the most dynamic export-oriented economies in the world. With prosperity, the emergence of a large middle class, and a general rise in educational standards came growing demands for democratic political reforms, which were enacted during the term of President Roh Tae Woo (1988-93).(Source: Encyclopaedia Britannica)

President Kim Dae-Jung addressed about economic reform at stanford university in 1998 as follows: "Last December, the Republic of Korea opened a new era for genuine democracy by ending 50 years of authoritarian rule through the presidential election. That moment came about due to the ceaseless yearnings of the Korean people for democracy. Based on democratic principles, I want to establish a free market economy. And I want to seize upon the current economic crisis as an opportunity for national development."

KBS introduces the history of korea in internet website in the title of the history of korea. The history of korea consists of nine chapters. The first chapter deals with the beginning of the history of korea ;1. Life and culture in the prehistoric age, 2. Foundation and development of kojoson, 3. Other nations. The second chapter deals with the growth of the three kingdoms and unification ; 1. The rise and development of the kingdoms, 2. Unification of the three kingdoms by shilla, 3. The societies and culture of the kingdoms, 4. The inroads into foreign nations by the three kingdoms and cultural exchange. The third chapter deals with unified Shilla and Parhae ;1. Development and decline of unified shilla, 2. Founding of parhae and its domination over manchuria, 3. Prosperity of the shilla culture, 4. Advances in sea trade overseas. The fourth chapter deals with life in koryo ;1. National reunification and safeguarding independence, 2. Development within the koryo culture, 3. International activities of the koryo people. The fifth chapter deals with life in early-choson ; 1. Political development and society, 2. Scholastic activities, science, technology and culture, 3. International relations and cultural exchanges. The sixth chapter deals with life in late-choson ; 1. Social change in the latter choson period, 2. New trends in cultural activities, 3. International exchanges and new trends in religion. The seventh chapter deals with . the growth and tribulations of modern korea ; 1. Modern reform movements, 2. Economic aggression by world powers and the movement to protect, 3. Growth of modern culture and social change. The eight chapter deals with the development of the liberation movement ; 1. Colonial domination by japanese imperialism and the national ordeal, 2. Movement to protect national rights and the independence struggle, 3. Safeguarding and preserving the national culture. Lastly the nineth chapter deals with the development of the Republic of Korea and modern culture ; 1. Birth and growth of the republic of korea, 2. Economic growth and inroads overseas, 3. A flourishing modern cultur.

Hanguk internet site introduces about Korean history and culture in General Culture Guide homepage as following titles: general history, modern economic growth, the tangun legend, the founding myth of koguyro, shamanism, the korean pagoda, the silver knife, korean food, everyday food, university snacks, korean liquors, drinking habits, climate and tourist attractions, travelling in korea, the day bar and day cafe, leisure time, finding a date, finding a marriage partner, and marriage

Korea Insights introduces Korean history and culture. It introduces Korean Nature, Hisroric Relics, Koreans, Thought & Religion, Life Style, Performing Arts, Sports, on the internet web site. Nature deals with mountains, rivers, islands, plants & animals, geographical features & minerals, and nature reserves. Hisroric relics deals with tour by era, and cultural tour. Koreans deals with national living treasure, performers, and craftsmen. Thought & religion deals with sonbi and religion. Life style deals with food, housing, rites of passage, almanac, markets, and traditional holidays. Performing arts deals with instrumental music, traditional music, dance, and madangguk. Sports deals with subyoch'igi, taek'kyon, ssirum, and t'aekwondo.

You can find more informations about Korea in thr sites of Korea Net, Yellow Pages Korea, KCCI and Korea Insights.


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