Saturday, November 19, 2005

History of South Korea

History of South Korea. This short essay highlights the key events in the history of the Asian nation of South Korea.

Of course, South Korea is a divided part of a single Korean nation. Since the taint of communism infected the northern part of the country, the Koreans have been divided against each other. The rule of mad men in the north has made the hope of reunification slim.

But I have hope. Germany was reunified against seemingly impossible odds. It can happen in Korea too. And I am optimistic it will happen in my lifetime.

From the site:

The myth of Korea's foundation by the god-king Tangun in BC 2333 embodies the homogeneity and self-sufficiency valued by the Korean people. Korea experienced many invasions by its larger neighbors in its 2,000 years of recorded history. The country repelled numerous foreign invasions despite domestic strife, in part due to its protected status in the Sino-centric regional political model during Korea's Chosun dynasty (1392-1910). Historical antipathies to foreign influence earned Korea the title of "Hermit Kingdom" in the 19th century.

With declining Chinese power and a weakened domestic posture at the end of the 19th century, Korea was open to Western and Japanese encroachment. In 1910, Japan began a 35-year period of imperial rule over Korea. Memories of Japanese annexation still recall fierce animosity and resentment by older Koreans, as a result of Japan’s efforts to supplant the Korean language and culture. Nevertheless, restrictions on Japanese movies, popular music, fashion, etc. have been lifted, and younger Koreans eagerly follow Japanese pop culture.

Japan's surrender to the Allied Powers in 1945, signaling the end of World War II, only further embroiled Korea in foreign rivalries. Division at the 38th Parallel marked the beginning of Soviet and U.S. trusteeship over the North and South, respectively. On August 15, 1948 the Republic of Korea (R.O.K.) was established, with Syngman Rhee as the first President; on September 9, 1948, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (D.P.R.K.) was established under Kim Il Sung.

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