|Prehistory and Gojoseon||
The earliest known Korean pottery dates to around 10000 BCE, and the Neolithic period begins around 6000 BCE. Gojoseon's founding legend describes Dangun, a descendent of heaven, as establishing the kingdom in 2333 BCE. Archaeological and contemporary written records indicate it developed from a federation of walled cities into a centralized kingdom sometime between the 7th and 4th centuries BCE.
|Original Gojoseon Capital||
The original capital may have been at the Manchuria-Korea border, but was later moved to what is today Pyongyang, North Korea. In 108 BCE, the Chinese Han Dynasty defeated Wiman Joseon and installed four commanderies in the area of Liaoning and the northern Korean peninsula. Subsequent Chinese immigrations from Yan and Qi brought elements of Chinese culture to the peninsula. By 75 BCE, three of those commanderies had fallen, but the Lelang Commandery remained under successive Chinese control until 313.
The Three Kingdoms of Korea (Goguryeo, Silla, and Baekje) dominated the peninsula and parts of Manchuria during the early Common Era. They competed with each other both economically and militarily.
Goguryeo united Buyeo, Okjeo, Dongye and other states in the former Gojoseon territory, in addition to destroying the last Chinese commandery. Goguryeo was the most dominant power, Goguryeo reached its zenith in the fifth century, when reign of the King Gwanggaeto and his son, King Jangsu expanded territory into almost all of Manchuria and part of inner Mongolia, and took the Seoul region from Baekje. Gwanggaeto and Jangsu subdued Baekje and Silla during their times. After the 7th Century, Goguryeo was constantly at war with the Sui and Tang dynasties of China.
Founded around today's Seoul, the southwestern kingdom Baekje expanded far beyond Pyongyang during the peak of its powers in the 4th century. It had absorbed all of the Mahan states and subjugated most of the western Korean peninsula (including the modern provinces of Gyeonggi, Chungcheong, and Jeolla, as well as part of Hwanghae and Gangwon) to a centralized government. Baekje acquired Chinese culture and technology through contacts with the Southern Dynasties during the expansion of its territory.
Although later records claim that Silla, in the southeast, was the oldest of the three kingdoms, it is now believed to have been the last kingdom to develop. By the 2nd century, Silla existed as a large state, occupying and influencing nearby city states. Silla began to gain power when it annexed the Gaya confederacy in 562 AD. The Gaya confederacy was located between Baekje and Silla. The three kingdoms of Korea often warred with each other and Silla often faced pressure from Baekje and Goguryeo but at various times Silla also allied with Baekje and Goguryeo in order to gain dominance over the peninsula.
|Fall of Goguryeo||
In 660, King Muyeol of Silla ordered his armies to attack Baekje. General Kim Yu-shin, aided by Tang forces, conquered Baekje. In 661, Silla and Tang moved on Goguryeo but were repelled. King Munmu, son of Muyeol and nephew of General Kim launched another campaign in 667 and Goguryeo fell in the following year.
Gojoseon 2333-108 BC
Proto Three Kingdoms 108-57 BC
Three Kingdoms 57 BC – 668 AD
North-South States 698-935 AD
Unified Silla 668-935 AD
Goryeo 918-1392 AD
Joseon 1392-1897 AD
Korean Empire 1897-1910 AD
Japanese Rule 1910-1945 AD
Division of Korea 1945-1948 AD
North, South Korea 1948-present
Korean War 1950-1953 AD
In the 5th, 6th, and 7th centuries, Silla's power gradually extended across the Korean Peninsula. Silla first annexed the adjacent Gaya confederacy. By the 660s, Silla formed an alliance with the Tang Dynasty of China to conquer Baekje and later Goguryeo. After repelling Chinese forces, Silla partially unified the Peninsula, beginning a period often called Unified Silla.
In the north, former Goguryeo General Dae Joyeong led a group of Goguryeo refugees to the Jilin area in Manchuria and founded Balhae (698 AD - 926 AD) as the successor to Goguryeo. At its height, Balhae's territory extended from northern Manchuria down to the northern provinces of modern-day Korea. Balhae was destroyed by the Khitans in 926.
Unified Silla fell apart in the late 9th century, giving way to the tumultuous Later Three Kingdoms period (892-935). Goryeo unified the Later Three Kingdoms and absorbed Balhae refugees.
The country Goryeo was founded in 918 and replaced Silla as the ruling dynasty of Korea. ("Goryeo" is a short form of "Goguryeo" and the source of the English name "Korea.") The dynasty lasted until 1392. During this period laws were codified, and a civil service system was introduced. Buddhism flourished, and spread throughout the peninsula. The development of celadon industry flourished in 12th and 13th century. The publication of Tripitaka Koreana onto 80,000 wooden blocks and the invention of the world's first metal printing press in 13th century attest to Goryeo's cultural achievements. Their dynasty was threatened by Mongol invasion from the 1230s into the 1270s, but the dynastic line continued to survive until 1392 since they negotiated a treaty with the Mongols that kept its sovereign power. In 1350s, King Gongmin was free at last to reform a Goryeo government. Gongmin had various problems that needed to be dealt with, which included the removal of pro-Mongol aristocrats and military officials, the question of land holding, and quelling the growing animosity between the Buddhists and Confucian scholars.
In 1392, the general Yi Seong-gye established the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) with a largely bloodless coup. The Joseon Dynasty is believed to have been the longest-lived actively ruling dynasty in East Asia. He named it the Joseon Dynasty in honor of the previous Joseon before (Gojoseon is the first Joseon. "Go", meaning "later", was added to distinguish between the two). King Taejo moved the capital to Hanseong (formerly Hanyang; modern-day Seoul) and built the Gyeongbokgung palace. In 1394 he adopted Confucianism as the country's official religion, resulting in much loss of power and wealth by the Buddhists.
|Joseon Dynasty Cultural and Historical Aspects||
The prevailing philosophy was Neo-Confucianism, which was developed by Zhu Xi. Joseon experienced advances in science and culture. King Sejong the Great (1418-1450) promulgated hangul, the Korean alphabet. The period saw various other cultural and technological advances as well as the dominance of neo-Confucianism over the entire peninsula. Between 1592 and 1598, Japan invaded Korea. Toyotomi Hideyoshi led the forces and tried to invade the Asian continent through Korea, but was eventually repelled before even getting through Korea. This war also saw the rise of the career of Admiral Yi Sun-shin and his "turtle ship" or gobukseon. In the 1620s and 1630s Joseon suffered invasions by the Manchu who eventually also conquered the Chinese Ming Dynasty. After that, the Joseon dynasty swore allegiance to the Qing Court. During the Joseon dynasty, Koreans brought Roman Catholicism (and other forms of Christianity in Korea followed shortly thereafter) into Korea, at first in secret.
Beginning in the 1870s, Japan began to force Korea to move out of China's sphere of influence into its own. Japan forced Korea to engage in foreign trade through the Treaty of Ganghwa in 1876. In 1895, Empress Myeongseong of Korea was assassinated by the Japanese under Miura Gorō's directive (Kim et al. 1976). In Manchuria on 1909, An Jung-geun assassinated the former Resident-General of Korea, Itō Hirobumi for his role in trying to force Korea into occupation. In 1910, an already militarily occupied Korea was a forced party to the Japan-Korea Annexation Treaty. This is a controversial treaty since the treaty was never ratified by the Korean Emperor and the required Korean Imperial seal was absent.
|Korean Liberation Movement||
Even before formal Japanese colonial rule, the Korean Independence Movement was already in existence. Korean resistance to the brutal Japanese occupation was manifested in the nonviolent March 1st Movement of 1919, where 7,000 demonstrators were killed by Japanese police and military. The Korean liberation movement also spread to neighboring Manchuria and Siberia.
Over five million Koreans were conscripted for labor beginning in 1939, and tens of thousands of men were forced into Japan's military. Approximately 200,000 girls and women, mostly from Korea and China, were forced into sexual slavery for the Japanese military. In 1993, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono acknowledged the terrible injustices faced by these euphemistically named "comfort women". However, the Japanese tend to underestimate the sufferings of them.
|Cultural Policies of the Japanese in Korea||
During Japanese Colonial rule, the Korean language was suppressed in an effort to eradicate Korean nationalism. Koreans were forced to take Japanese surnames, known as Sōshi-kaimei. Traditional Korean culture suffered heavy losses, as numerous Korean cultural artifacts were destroyed or taken to Japan. To this day, valuable Korean artifacts can often be found in Japanese museums or among private collections. One investigation by the South Korean government identified 75,311 cultural assets that were taken from Korea, 34,369 of which are in Japan, and 17,803 of which are in the United States.
With the defeat of Japan in 1945, the United Nations developed plans for a trusteeship administration, the Soviet Union administering the peninsula north of the 38th parallel and the United States administering the south. The politics of the Cold War resulted in the 1948 establishment of two separate governments, North Korea and South Korea.
|Korean War carried out and result||
In June of 1950 North Korea invaded the South, using Russian tanks and weaponry. During the Korean War (1950-1953), millions of civilians died and the three years of fighting throughout the nation effectively destroyed most cities. Around 171,000 POWs were captured and held by the Americans and South Koreans on Geojedo (an island in the south) The war ended in a ceasefire agreement at approximately the Military Demarcation Line (Korea).
Korea is located on the Korean Peninsula in North-East Asia. To the northwest, the Amnok River (Yalu River) separates Korea from China and to the northeast, the Duman River (Tumen River) separates Korea from China and Russia. The Yellow Sea is to the west, the East China Sea is to the south, and the Sea of Japan (East Sea) is to the east of Korea. Notable islands include Jeju-do, Ulleung-do, and Liancourt Rocks (Dokdo in Korean).
The southern and western parts of the peninsula have well-developed plains, while the eastern and northern parts are mountainous. The highest mountain in Korea is Baekdusan (2744 m), through which runs the border with China. The southern extension of Baekdusan is a highland called Gaema Heights. This highland was mainly raised during the Cenozoic orogeny and partly covered by volcanic matter. To the south of Gaema Gowon, successive high mountains are located along the eastern coast of the peninsula. This mountain range is named Baekdudaegan. Some significant mountains include Sobaeksan (2,184 m), Baeksan (1,724 m), Geumgangsan (1,638 m), Seoraksan (1,708 m), Taebaeksan (1,567 m), and Jirisan (1,915 m). There are several lower, secondary mountain series whose direction is almost perpendicular to that of Baekdudaegan. They are developed along the tectonic line of Mesozoic orogeny and their directions are basically northwest.
Unlike most older mountains on the mainland, many important islands in Korea were formed by volcanic activity in the Cenozoic orogeny. Jeju-do, situated off the southern coast, is a large volcanic island whose main mountain Hallasan (1950 m) is the highest in South Korea. Ulleung-do is a volcanic island in the Sea of Japan, whose composition is more felsic than Jeju-do. The volcanic islands tend to be younger, the more westward.
Because the mountainous region is mostly on the eastern part of the peninsula, the main rivers tend to flow westwards. Two exceptions are the southward-flowing Nakdonggang and Seomjingang. Important rivers running westward include the Amnok River (Yalu), the Cheong-cheongang, the Daedonggang, the Han River, the Geumgang, and the Yeongsangang. These rivers have vast flood plains and provide an ideal environment for wet-rice cultivation.
The southern and southwestern coastlines of Korea form a well-developed ria coastline, known as Dadohae-jin in Korean. Its convoluted coastline provides mild seas, and the resulting calm environment allows for safe navigation, fishing, and seaweed farming. In addition to the complex coastline, the western coast of the Korean Peninsula has an extremely high tidal amplitude (at Incheon, around the middle of the western coast. It can get as high as 9 m). Vast tidal flats have been developing on the south and west coastlines
The combined population of the Koreas is about 73 million (North Korea: 23 million, South Korea: 50 million). Korea is chiefly populated by a highly homogeneous ethnic group, the Koreans, who speak the Korean language. The number of foreigners living in Korea has also steadily increased since the late 20th century, particularly in South Korea, where more than 1 million foreigners currently reside. A minority population of ethnic Chinese (roughly 440,000 as of August 2007) live in South Korea and small communities of ethnic Chinese and Japanese are also found in North Korea.
Korean is the official language of both North and South Korea, and of Yanbian Autonomous Prefecture in Manchuria area of China. Worldwide, there are up to 80 million speakers of the Korean Language. South Korea has around 50 million speakers while North Korea around 23 million. Other large groups of Korean speakers are found in the United States (around 2.5 million speakers), China (around 2 million speakers), the former Soviet Union (around 500,000), Japan (around 900,000), Canada (100,000), Philippines (70,000) and Australia (150,000). It is estimated that there are around 700,000 people scattered across the world who are able to speak Korean because of job requirements (for example, salespersons or businessmen with Korean contacts), marriages to Koreans or out of pure interest in the language.
|Korean Language evolution||
The genealogical classification of Korean is debated. Some linguists place it in the Altaic language family; others consider it to be a language isolate. Korean is agglutinative in its morphology and SOV in its syntax. Like Japanese and Vietnamese, Korean has borrowed much vocabulary from the genetically unrelated Chinese or created vocabulary on Chinese models.
|Korean Laguage Script||
Modern Korean is written almost exclusively in the hangul script, which was invented in the 15th century. While hangul may appear logographic, it is actually a phonemic alphabet organized into syllabic blocks. Each block consists of at least two of the 24 hangul letters (jamo): at least one each of the 14 consonants and 10 vowels. Historically, the alphabet had several additional letters (see obsolete jamo). For a phonological description of the letters, see Korean phonology. Hanja (Chinese characters) and Latin alphabets are sometimes included within hangul texts, particularly in South Korea.
In ancient Chinese texts, Korea is referred to as "Rivers and Mountains Embroidered on Silk" (금수강산, 錦繡江山) and "Eastern Nation of Decorum" (동방예의지국, 東方禮儀之國). During the 7th and 8th centuries, the silk road connected Korea to Arabia. In 845, Arab traders wrote, "Beyond China is a land where gold abounds and which is named Silla. The Muslims who have gone there have been charmed by the country and tend to settle there and abandon all idea of leaving."
Korean festivities often showcase vibrant colors, which have been attributed to Mongolian influences: bright red, yellow, and green often mark traditional Korean motifs. These bright colors are sometimes seen in the traditional dress known as hanbok.
|Age Reckoning System||
One peculiarity of Korean culture is its age reckoning system. Individuals are regarded as one year old when they are born, and their age increments on New Year's Day rather than on the anniversary of their birthday. Thus, one born on December the 31st would be aged two on the day after they were born. Accordingly, a Korean person's stated age will be one or two years more than their age expressed in the Western tradition.
|Ancient Korean Literature||
Korean literature written before the end of the Joseon Dynasty is called "Classical" or "Traditional." Literature, written in Chinese characters (hanja), was established at the same time as the Chinese script arrived on the peninsula. Korean scholars were writing poetry in the classical Chinese style as early as the 2nd century BCE, reflecting Korean thoughts and experiences of that time. Classical Korean literature has its roots in traditional folk beliefs and folk tales of the peninsula, strongly influenced by Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism.
|Modern Korean Literature||
Modern literature is often linked with the development of hangul, which helped spread literacy from the aristocracy to the common people and women. Hangul, however, only reached a dominant position in Korean literature in the second half of the 19th century, resulting in a major growth in Korean literature. Sinsoseol, for instance, are novels written in hangul.
|Modern Korean Literature After the war||
The Korean War led to the development of literature centered around the wounds and chaos of war. Much of the post-war literature in South Korea deals with the daily lives of ordinary people, and their struggles with national pain. The collapse of the traditional Korean value system is another common theme of the time.
Confucian tradition has dominated Korean thought, along with contributions by Buddhism, Taoism, and Korean Shamanism. Since the middle of the 20th century, however, Christianity has competed with Buddhism in South Korea, while religious practice has been suppressed in North Korea.
According to 2003 statistics compiled by the South Korean government, about 46% of citizens profess to follow no particular religion. Christians account for 27.3% of the population (of which half are Catholics and half are various denominations of Protestantism) and Buddhists 25.3%.
|Importance of Education - Culturaly||
Koreans valued scholarship and rewarded education and study of Chinese classic texts; Yangban boys were highly educated in hanja. In Silla, the bone rank system defined a person's social status, and a similar system persisted through the end of the Joseon Dynasty. In addition, the gwageo civil service examination provided paths of upward mobility.
Korean cuisine is probably best known for kimchi(한글: 김치), which uses a distinctive fermentation process of preserving vegetables, most commonly cabbage. Pepper (chilli) paste(한글: 고추장 - pronounced go-choo-jang) is also commonly used, often as pepper (chilli) powder, earning the cuisine a reputation for being spicy.
|Cuisine - Popular Dishes||
Bulgogi(한글: 불고기) (roasted marinated meat, usually beef), galbi (ribs, 한글: 갈비), and samgyeopsal (pork belly, 한글: 삼겹살) are popular meat entrees. Meals are usually accompanied by a soup or stew, such as galbitang (stewed ribs) and doenjang jjigae(한글: 된장찌개) (fermentated bean paste stew). The center of the table is filled with a shared collection of sidedishes called banchan.
|Cuisine - other Popular Dishes||
Other popular dishes include bibimbap(한글: 비빔밥)which literally means "mixed rice" (rice mixed with meat, vegetables, and pepper paste) and naengmyeon(한글: 냉면) (cold noodles with soup).
|Korean Education - Breakdown||
The modern Korean school system consists of 6 years in elementary school, 3 years in middle school, and 3 years in high school. Students are supposed to go to elementary and middle school, and do not have to pay for it.(The teachers are paid from taxes) Most public middle school and high school students have to wear uniforms, and are not supposed to grow their hair more than a particular length. The Programme for International Student Assessment, coordinated by the OECD, currently ranks South Korea's science education as the 11th best in the world, being significantly higher than the OECD average. Although South Korean students often rank high on international comparative tests, the education system is sometimes criticized for its emphasis on passive learning and memorization. The Korean education system is much more strict and structured than most western societies and Korean students rarely have free time to spend enjoying themselves as they are under a lot of pressure to perform and gain entrance to university.
|Korean Science - Cheomseongdae (첨성대, 瞻星臺),||
One of the best known artifacts of Korea's history of science and technology is Cheomseongdae (첨성대, 瞻星臺), a 9.4-meter high observatory built in 634. It is considered to be one of the world's oldest surviving astronomical observatories.
The world's first metal mechanical movable type printing was developed in Korea in 1232 by Choe Yun-ui during the Goryeo Dynasty, modeled after widespread Chinese clay (Bi Sheng in 1041), several hundred years before Johann Gutenberg developed his metal letterset type (Cumings 1997: 65). Though the block printing was used much earlier, metal movable type printing press marked a significant development in printing allowing the same tools to be used for more diverse printings. The Jikji is the world's earliest remaining movable metal printed book, printed in Korea in 1377. The world's earliest known surviving example of woodblock printing is the Mugujeonggwang Great Dharani Sutra.
|Mugujeonggwang Great Dharani Sutra||
It is believed to have been printed in Korea in 750-751 AD which, if correct, would make it older than the Diamond Sutra.
|Goryeo silk & Korean Pottery||
Goryeo silk was highly regarded by China, and Korean pottery made with blue-green celadon was of the highest quality in the world and sought after by even Arabian merchants. Goryeo had a bustling economy with a capital that was frequented by merchants from all over the known world.
|Geobukseon (Turtle Ship)||
During the Joseon period the earliest ironclad warships, the Geobukseon (Turtle Ship) were invented, as well as other weapons such as the Bigyeokjincheolloe (비격진천뢰, 飛擊震天雷) and the hwacha.
The Korean alphabet hangul was also invented during this time by Sejong the Great (greatest king of Korea, Joseon Period).
Namdaemun or Sungnyemun is an historic gate located in the heart of Seoul, the capital of South Korea. The landmark is officially called Sungnyemun, literally "Gate of Exalted Ceremonies," as written in hanja on a plaque on the wooden structure. As the southern gate of the original walls surrounding Seoul during the Joseon Dynasty, it is widely known as Namdaemun, literally "Great Southern Gate."
On February 10, 2008, the wooden structure atop the gate was severely damaged by arson.
Wongaksa Pagoda is a twelve meter high ten-story marble pagoda in South Korea, once on the grounds of the Gyeongbokgung palace but now held at Tagpol (Pagoda) Park in a protective glass case. The Korean name literally means "ten storied stone pagoda of Wongaksa Temple site."
The pagoda is considered by art historians to be one of the finest examples of Joseon dynasty pagoda art. Built During Sejong's Reign
Cheomseongdae is an astronomical observatory in Gyeongju, South Korea. Cheomseongdae means star-gazing tower in Korean. Cheomseongdae is one of the oldest surviving observatories in East Asia, and one of the oldest scientific installations on Earth. It dates to the 7th century to the time of kingdom of Silla, which had its capital in Gyeongju. Cheomseongdae was designated as the country's 31st national treasure on December 20, 1962..
Geumgang jeondo (금강전도 金剛全圖) is a famous landscape painted by Jeong Seon during the reign of King Yeongjo. The title literally means "General view of Mt. Geumgangsan" or The Diamond Mountains). It was classified as the 217th National Treasure of South Korea on August 6, 1984. The painting is currently held and managed by the Ho-Am Art Museum in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province and is owned by Lee Kun-hee.
|The Buddha statue at Seokguram Grotto, the 24th Korean national treasure.||
Hangul 대한민국 국보
Revised Romanization daehanmin-guk gukbo
|Gwanggaeto the Great of Goguryeo||
Gwanggaeto the Great of Goguryeo (374-413, r. 391-413) was the nineteenth monarch of Goguryeo, the northernmost of the Three Kingdoms of Korea. His full posthumous name roughly means "Very Greatest King, Broad Expander of Territory, [bringer of] Peace and Security, [buried in] Gukgangsang.", sometimes abbreviated to Hotaewang or Taewang. He selected Yeongnak as his era name, and was called King Yeongnak the Great during his reign.
Eulji Mundeok was a noted military leader of early 7th century Goguryeo, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea. Often numbered among the greatest heroes in Korean military history, he defended Goguryeo against the Sui Chinese. His name is often romanized as Ulchi Mundok according to McCune-Reischauer romanization.
Yang Manchun is the name given to the Goguryeo commander of Ansi fortress in the 640s. Ansi fortress was located on the Goguryeo-Chinese border, probably present-day Haicheng. Yang is sometimes credited with saving the kingdom by his refusal to surrender the fortress to invading Tang forces.
Yeon Gaesomun (603 - 666), was a powerful and controversial military dictator and Generalissimo in the waning days of Goguryeo--one of the Three Kingdoms of ancient Korea.
Traditional Korean histories paint Yeon as a despotic leader, whose cruel policies and disobedience to his monarch led to the fall of Goguryeo. However, his achievements in defending Goguryeo against Chinese onslaughts have inspired Korean nationalist historians, most notably the 19th century Korean historian and intellectual Sin Chaeho, to term Yeon the greatest hero in Korean history. Many Korean scholars today echo Sin and praise Yeon as a soldier-statesman without equal in Korean history, though other scholars strongly disagree. Chinese and Japanese scholars continue to hold an unfavorable view of Yeon.
|Munmu of Silla||
(reigned 661–681) was the thirtieth king of the Korean kingdom of Silla. He is usually considered to have been the first ruler of the Unified Silla period. Munmu was the son of King Muyeol and Munmyeong, who was the elder sister of Kim Yu-shin. Under his father's reign, he held the office of pajinchan, who apparently was responsible for maritime affairs, and played a key role in developing the country's diplomatic links with Tang. He was born Prince Beommin (법민;/法敏), and took the name Munmu when he succeeded his father to the throne.
|Go of Balhae||
Dae Jo-yeong (unknown - 719), also known in Korea as King Go (Hangul: 고왕, Hanja: 高王), established the state of Balhae, reigning from 699 to 719. His origin is heavily disputed (see below); most Korean scholars believed that he was of Goguryeo heredity, but most scholars in China believed that he was of Mohe (Malgal) ancestry.
|Taejo of Goryeo||
Taejo of Goryeo (January 31, 877-July 4, 943, r. 918-943), was the founder of the Goryeo Dynasty, which ruled Korea from the 10th to the 14th century.
Kang Kam-chan or Gang Gam-chan (948-1031) was a medieval Korean government official and military commander during the early days of Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392). Even though he was career scholar and government official, he is best known for his military victories during the Third Goryeo-Khitan War.
King Gongmin (1330 – 1374) ruled Goryeo (Korea) from 1351 until 1374. He was the second son of King Chungsuk. In addition to his various Korean names (see right), he bore the Mongolian name Bayàn Temür (伯顔帖木兒).
|Taejo of Joseon||
Taejo of Joseon (October 11, 1335 – May 24, 1408; r. 1392-1398), born Yi Seong-gye, whose changed name is Yi Dan, was the founder and the first king of the Joseon Dynasty of Korean antiquity, and the main figure in overthrowing the Goryeo Dynasty. He was posthumously raised to the rank of Emperor in 1899 by Gojong, the Gwangmu Emperor, who had proclaimed the Empire of Korea in 1897.
Taejo's father Yi Ja-chun was a former minor Mongol official, but his ethnicity was Korean. Yi joined the Goryeo army and rose through the ranks, seizing the throne in 1392. He abdicated in 1398 during the strife between his sons and died in 1408.
|Sejong the Great of Joseon||
Sejong the Great (May 6, 1397 – May 18, 1450, r. 1418 - 1450) was the fourth king of the Joseon Dynasty of Korea. He is best remembered for creating the native Korean alphabet hangul, despite strong opposition from the scholars educated in hanja (Chinese script). Sejong is one of only two Korean rulers posthumously honored with the appellation "the Great," the other being Gwanggaeto the Great of Goguryeo.
Yi Sun-sin (April 28, 1545 – December 16, 1598, also commonly transliterated Yi Soon-shin or Lee Sun-shin, Korean:이순신) was a Korean naval leader noted for his victories against the Japanese navy during the Japanese invasions of Korea (1592-1598) during the Joseon Dynasty. He led the victories as the first commandant of the Gyeongsang, Jeolla, and Chungcheong provincial navies. His title of Samdo Sugun Tongjesa, literally meaning "Tri-provincial naval commander" was to remain as the title of the commander of the operating arm of the Korean navy until 1896. Yi is also known for his innovative use of the turtle ship (거북선), the world's first armoured warship. He is reputed to be one of the few admirals to have been victorious in every naval battle (at least 23) in which he commanded.
|Jeongjo of Joseon||
King Jeongjo was the 22nd ruler of the Joseon Dynasty of Korea. Because of his various attempts to reform and improve the nation, King Jeongjo is regarded as the reformation ruler in Korea. He was preceded by his grandfather King Yeongjo (1724–1776) and succeeded by his son King Sunjo (r. 1800–1834). He is widely regarded as one of the most successful and visionary rulers of Joseon along with King Sejong.
Empress Myeongseong (October 19, 1851 – October 8, 1895), was the first official wife of King Gojong, the 26th king of the Joseon dynasty of Korea. In 1902, she received the posthumous name, 孝慈元聖正化合天明成太皇后; 효자원성정화합천명성태황후; Hyoja Wonseong Jeonghwa Hapcheon Myeongseong Taehwanghu, often abbreviated as 明成皇后; 명성황후; Myeongseong Hwanghu, meaning Empress Myeongseong.
Ahn Jung-Geun or An Jung-Geun (September 2, 1879 - March 26, 1910) (Baptismal name: Thomas) was a Korean independence activist, nationalist, and pan-Asianist.
He assassinated the first Prime Minister of Japan, Itō Hirobumi, following the signing of the Eulsa Treaty, with Korea on the verge of annexation by Japan.
An Chang-ho, or Ahn Chang-ho, pen name Dosan, (November 9, 1878 - March 10, 1938) was a Korean independence activist and one of the early leaders of the Korean-American immigrant community in the United States. He established the Young Korean Academy (흥사단; 興士團) and was a key member in the founding of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea in Shanghai. An is one of two men believed to have written the lyrics of the aegukga, the South Korean national anthem.
Kim Gu (김구 金九, August 29, 1876 – June 26, 1949), the sixth and last president of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea, was a leader of Korean independence movement against the Japanese occupation of Korea that lasted from 1910 to 1945 and a reunification activist who had struggled for the independent reunification of Korea since its national division in 1945.
|The Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea||
The Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea was a government in exile based in Shanghai, China and later in Chongqing, during the Japanese occupation of Korea.
The Government was formed on April 13, 1919, following the Declaration of Independence during the March 1st movement of the same year.
Jeong Cheol (1536-1593) was a Korean statesman and poet. He used the pen-names Gyeham and Songgang. He is prominent in the gasa and the sijo, forms of classical Korean poetry.
-Gwan-dong-byeol-gok(the Song of the Sceneries of the Gwandong province)
-Sa-mi-in-gok(Mindful of My Seemly Lord)
-Song-gang-ga-sa(Songgang's Prose Poetry Book)
Kang Chol-Hwan (b. circa 1968) is a defector from North Korea. As a child he was imprisoned in the Yodok concentration camp for 10 years; after his release he fled the country, first to China and eventually to South Korea. He is the author, with Pierre Rigolout, of The Aquariums of Pyongyang and is a staff writer for the Chosun Ilbo.
Ko Un (born on 8 January 1933) is a Korean poet.
Portions of his work have been translated into English (The Sound of My Waves (Selected Poems 1960-1990, Cornell EAS, 1991); Beyond Self (Parallax Press, 1996, now out of print, to be republished by Parallax in 2007 as What?); Little Pilgrim (Parallax Press, 2005, a novel); Ten Thousand Lives with an introduction by Robert Hass (Green Integer, 2005); The Three Way Tavern (Selected Poems, UC Press, 2006)); Flowers of a Moment, 185 brief poems (BOA Editions, 2006); Abiding Places, Korea North & South(Tupelo, 2006); Songs for Tomorrow: A Collection of Poems 1961-2001 (Green Integer, early 2007); as well as into Spanish (4-5 volumes) Italian, French, German, Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Czech, Bulgarian, Swedish and Danish. The complete list is available on Ko Un's personal homepage.
is the capital and largest city of South Korea. With over ten million people, and 23 million in the wider metropolitan area, Seoul is one of the world's largest cities proper and metropolitan cities. As a Special City, it is administered directly by the national government.
The city is located on the basin of the Han River in the country's northwest. The North Korean border is about 50 km to the north.
Seoul first appears in history in 18 BC, when the Baekje kingdom established its capital Wiryeseong in what is now around Songpa-gu, southeastern Seoul. Modern Seoul descends from the Goryeo-era city called Namgyeong, which then became the capital of Korea during the Joseon dynasty.
The Seoul National Capital Area - which includes the major port
10,356,000 (Metropolitan area 23 million) 
Busan Metropolitan City, also known as Pusan is the largest port city in the Republic of Korea. With a population of about 3.65 million, Busan is also South Korea's second largest metropolis, after Seoul. The most densely built up areas of the city are situated in a number of narrow valleys between the Nakdong River and Suyeong River, with mountains separating some of the various districts.
Daegu, also spelled Taegu, officially called Daegu Metropolitan City, is the fourth largest city in South Korea after Seoul, Busan, and Incheon. It is the capital of Gyeongsangbuk-do province, although it is not legally part of that province. As with South Korea's other metropolitan cities, Daegu's government reports directly to the national government.
Inchon is a metropolitan city and a major seaport on the west coast of South Korea, near Seoul.
Human settlement at the location goes back to the Neolithic. In modern times Incheon became important because its location on an estuary made it a good harbor; when the port was founded in 1883, the city, then called Chemulpo (hangul: 제물포, hanja: 濟物浦, revised: Jemulpo), had a population of only 4,700. Incheon is now home to almost 2.5 million people, and is also under the control of one of the two free economic zone authorities in Korea, aimed at attracting foreign investment; the city aims to turn itself into a financial and corporate hub along with the Busan-Jinhae Free Economic Zone Authority.
Daejeon (listen (help·info)) is a metropolitan city in the center of South Korea. It is the fifth largest city of South Korea, with a population of 1,442,856 at the end of 2005. It is at the crossroads of Gyeongbu railway, Honam railway, Gyeongbu highway, and Honam highway. Within the city limits lies Daedeok Science Town, an area with more than 200 research institutions.
|Population & Income||
- estimate 49,044,790 (24th)
- Density 493/km² (12th)
GDP (nominal) 2008 estimate
- Total $999,369 billion (13th)
- Per capita $20,582 (2008) (30th)
- Total 99,646 km² (108th)
38,492 sq mi
- Water (%) 0.3
International symbol ₩ Pronounced Won (KRW)
Calling code +82
Gwangju Metropolitan City is the sixth largest city in South Korea. Gwangju is a designated metropolitan city under the direct control of the central government's Home Minister. The city was also the capital of South Jeolla Province until the provincial office moved to the southern village of Namak, Muan in 2005.
Gwang (광,光) means light. Ju (주,州) means province.
Seongnam is a city in Gyeonggi Province, South Korea. Because of its convenient location near Seoul, the South Korean capital, it is a largely residential city with a population similar to other satellite cities, such as Goyang and Gwacheon. Its most heavily occupied sector is the Bundang district, which is home to a huge number of multi-skyscraper apartment complexes that are also common in other major Korean cities. The Bundang district serves as Seongnam's heart and provides the rest of the city with the Bundang subway line, which extends into Seoul.
Ulsan is a metropolitan city in the south-east of South Korea, facing the Sea of Japan (East Sea). It is located 70km north of Busan.
Bucheon is a city in Gyeonggi Province, South Korea. It is sandwiched between Incheon and Seoul. Many manufacturing operations are located in the city.
Bucheon promotes itself as the cultural centre of Seoul Metropolitan Area. The Bucheon Philharmonic Orchestra is one of the most famous orchestras in Korea; and since 1997, the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival, called as PiFAN, has been held in Bucheon.
Suwon (Suwon-si) is the provincial capital of Gyeonggi-do, South Korea. A city of over a million inhabitants, Suwon lies approximately 30 kilometres (20 miles) south of Seoul and is one of the most populous of Seoul's satellite cities. It is traditionally known as "The City of Filial Piety".
Suwon has existed in various forms throughout Korea's history, growing from a small settlement in tribal times to a major industrial and cultural city today. Suwon is the only remaining completely walled city in South Korea. As such, the city walls are one of the more popular tourist destinations in Gyeonggi Province. As an industrial centre, Suwon houses a large Samsung Electronics factory. Suwon is served by two motorways, the national railway network and the Seoul Metropolitan Subway, facilitating transport of commuters, tourists and goods alike.
Suwon is a major educational centre, being home to 14 university campuses. This, along with widespread transport links, draws inhabitants from across the country and foreign population of 1.85%.