A Brief History of South Korea
Updated: Jan 15, 2020
During the 1st century AD, Korea was divided into three kingdoms. They were the Shilla, the Koguryo, and the Pekche. The area remained this way until 668 AD when Korea was unified under the rule of the Shilla Kingdom. The Shilla kingdom was followed by the Koryo kingdom in 935 and then by the Choson dynasty in 1392. The name Korea comes from the Koryo kingdom.
Korea was invaded and conquered by other larger empires and countries throughout its history. The Mongol Empire ruled over Korea from 1231 until the 14th century and Japan invaded in the 1500s. In the 1900s both the Chinese and the Russians tried to invade Korea. In both cases the Japanese fought them off and took Korea as part of the Japanese Empire.
When Japan lost World War II, Korea was divided into two zones. The Soviet Union took control of the north and the United States the south. They were divided at the 38th parallel. This was meant to be a temporary division, but it is still there today. South Korea is the country that is south of the 38th parallel.
In 1950 South Korea was invaded by North Korea and the Korean War began. It was the first major conflict of the Cold War. With the help of the United Nations forces, the South Koreans fought back and regained their territory. Today there is a two-mile demilitarized zone between the two countries at the 38th parallel.
South Korea became an independent country in 1948. The first president of South Korea was Syngman Rhee. Today South Korea has a fairly strong economy growing in technology.
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