The South Korea History Timeline
Korea’s history is that of a nation divided less than a century ago into two states: North Korea and South Korea. But historically, Korea was a single country until the mid-twentieth century. This territory has been invaded and colonized by other countries and civilizations. It also suffered a great civil war.
To understand the origin of Korea it is necessary to know its geographical location, since it has played a fundamental role in its history. The Korean peninsula is located in the central-eastern part of the Asian continent, in the Pacific. It borders China to the north, the Sea of Japan to the east, the Yellow Sea to the west (Yellow Sea Strait), which separates it from the Japanese islands of Hondo (Honshu) and Kiu-Siu (Kyushu).
Origin and first settlers
The first known settlers of Korea were the Tunguse tribes from Manchuria and northern China. Possessing a Neolithic culture, they occupied the peninsula around the third millennium BC. C. Since then, Korea has retained a cultural and racial entity of its own, despite intense Chinese and Japanese influence. In the first century BC. C. began the period of the three kingdoms that exercised their rule in the peninsula for 500 years:
- The kingdom of Kokuryo, in the middle course of the Yalu
- Kingdom of Paikche, to the southwest.
- The Kingdom of Silla to the southeast.
It was precisely that of Silla, the kingdom that with Chinese support ended up imposing itself on the other two in the seventh century. He also carried out the unification of the country to his advantage. Later, the Silla dynasty fell to the invasion of nomadic peoples in 935, who founded the Koryo dynasty.
Mongol rule – The Yi dynasty
After the Mongol invasion of the thirteenth century, the Yi dynasty (1392) ruled the destinies of Korea until 1910. The Yi moved the capital to Seoul and Korean culture reached its peak during the reign of Ching-jong (1506-1544).
Korea was able to repel the Japanese invasion led by Hideyoshi (1592), but during the seventeenth century, after a series of Manchu invasions, it had to declare itself a vassal ofManchu China, which isolated it from all other external influence.
At the beginning of the nineteenth century, Western influences began to penetrate, while there was a deep peasant unrest accompanied by social revolts, and Korea was disputed by Japan, Russia and China. In 1876 Japan forced Korea to accept trade treaties, which subsequently (1882-94) was again subjected to Chinese influence.
Japanese control was imposed after the Sino-Japanese (1894–95) and Russo-Japanese (1904–05) wars. Korea was formally declared a Japanese colony in 1910. During the subsequent period (1910-1945) it experienced a considerable process of industrialization and economic development, aimed at satisfying the needs of the Japanese empire.
Japanese capital financed and controlled hydroelectric production, rice plantations, railway construction, etc. But attempts to suppress Korean nationality and culture produced resistance movements that led to the great passive demonstration of 1919, harshly repressed, and the formation of a government in exile, with residence in Saigon, under the presidency of Syngman Rhee.
During World War II, Korea remained occupied by Japan. The Cairo Declaration (Egypt) signed by the Allied Powers (December 1943) promised Korea its independence, a promise reaffirmed during the Potsdam Conference (July 1945).
After World War II and the capitulation of Japan, American troops occupied the southern part of Korea, while the Russians occupied the northern sector. The separation between the two zones was fixed at the 38th parallel. The Moscow Conference (December 1945) decided that Korea would be entrusted for five years, as a trust, to the United States, Russia, England and China. It was agreed that a Russian–American commission would establish a provisional government.
History of the flag of North Korea
On September 9, 1948, the red, blue, and white flag flew in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the new state north of the Korean peninsula, between the Yellow Sea and the Sea of Japan. Annexed by Japan in 1910, the “country of quiet morning” was occupied by Americans and Soviets in 1945, after the troops of the “Empire of the Rising Sun” were defeated. The two great world powers divided the territory. The 38th parallel would draw the border between North and South Korea.
The red of the flag indicates the communist orientation that the country of the North took. Thewhite circleis believed to be reminiscent oft’aeguk, the yin yang of Chinese philosophy. This symbol of the universe also appears on the South Korean flag.
Traditional and emblematic color, white evokes purity and dignity. Similarly, the color blue symbolizes the desire for peace. A desire that, however, could not prevent the Korean War, between 1950 and 1953, in which both antagonistic states clashed over border conflicts.
The History of South Korea Timeline
South Korea (Daehan-Minkuk) occupies the southern part of the Korean peninsula, south of the 38th parallel. A few years of reconversion of financial resources have been enough for South Korea to abandon its situation of vassalage to Western capital and manage to make a place for itself in the East Asian economy.
If until the end of the eighties the country depended, in large part, on American aid, the growing dynamism of industry and commerce has placed South Korea among the most developed Asian states.
The country already had important natural resources and a considerable infrastructure inherited from the Japanese period. The Japanese invaders had developed agriculture and managed to obtain yields much higher than those existing in crops such as rice, although the sector that benefited most from their influence was industry.
Efficiency in the communications network and in the cabotage fleet is part of the same heritage, and today it has represented a springboard that has once again favoured foreign trade.
Syngman Rhee Period
Syngman Rhee, elected president in 1948, remained in power until 1960. Under the pretext of defending democracy and keeping the country away from communism, he imposed an authoritarian regime and persecuted all his adversaries. The results of the 1960 elections were not accepted by the opposition and after a series of harshly repressed demonstrations, S. Rhee was forced to resign that same year.
The Korean War, 1950-53
On June 25, 1950, North Korea invaded the South. Just two days later, South Korean President Syngman Rhee ordered the government to evacuate Seoul, which was quickly overrun by northern forces. That same day, the United Nations authorized member countries to provide military assistance to South Korea, and U.S. President Harry Truman ordered U.S. forces to participate in the fray.
Despite the UN’s swift response, South Korean troops were woefully unprepared for North Korea’s attack. In August, the North’s Korean People’s Army (KPA) had pushed the Republic of Korea Army (ROK) to a small corner on the southeast coast of the peninsula, around the city of Busan. The North had occupied 90 percent of South Korea in less than two months.
In September 1950, UN and South Korean forces left the Busan perimeter and began pushing back the KPA. A simultaneous invasion Incheon, on the coast near Seoul, attracted some of the North’s forces. In early October, UN and ROK soldiers were inside North Korean territory. They advanced north towards the Chinese border, leading to Mao Zedong to send the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army to reinforce the KPA.
For the next two and a half years, the adversaries fought until they reached a bloody stalemate along the 38th Parallel. Finally, on July 27, 1953, the UN, China and North Korea signed an armistice agreement that ended the war. South Korean President Rhee refused to sign. An estimated 2.5 million civilians were killed in the fighting.
The government elected in the new elections was deposed by a military coup in 1961 led by General Park Chung Hee, who assumed power. This, who was elected president of the Republic in 1963, established a strongly repressive dictatorial regime.
He forced the most popular opposition leader, Kim Dae Jung, into exile, but illegally detained in Japan by the South Korean secret services, he was taken to Seoul where he remained under arrest for many years.
Following the assassination of General Park by the head of the secret services (October 1979) and a brief transition period, violent pro-democracy demonstrations led to a new military coup in 1980.
Thisnew military coup was led by General Chun Doo Hwan, of the Democratic Justice Party, who in 1981 was confirmed president of the Republic by fraudulent means and continued his authoritarian policy.
Under his tenure, Democratic leader Kim Dae Jung was accused of sedition and sentenced to 20 years in prison, but in the face of strong international pressure the president agreed to go into exile in the US.
From 1985 there was a significant increase in opposition and popular pressure forced the establishment of direct suffrage and early presidential elections (1987). In these the government candidate, Roh Tae Woo, won and promised to end the authoritarianism and corruption of the previous regime.
Amid sustained economic growth, Seoul held the Olympic Games in 1988. Roh’s position was consolidated, internally, with the merger of his party with two others to form the Liberal Democratic Party (1990), and abroad by his admission to the UN (1991).
He was succeeded in the presidency of the Government by Kim Young Sam (1993-97) of the Liberal Democratic Party. Chun Doo Hwan and Roh Tae Woo were sentenced in December 1996 to prison terms for their roles in the 1980 military coup, but were granted amnesty in 1997.
Kim Dae Jung period
The serious economic crisis that the Asian continent suffered in 1997 and that led the Government to request aid of 20,000 million dollars from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), granted under severe conditions, caused the fall of the cabinet of Kim Young Sam. he victory in the presidential elections (1997) of the opposition candidate, Kim Dae Jung, in the first truly free ballot in the history of the country. Forced to form a coalition government with minor parties, he advocated a long-term appeasement strategy for reunification and called on the U.S. to lift sanctions against the regime in Pyongyang.
In 2000, Kim Dae Jung met with his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong II to discuss rapprochement in both countries. That same year he received the Nobel Peace Prize for his work for the reconciliation of the two Koreas and human rights in South Korea.
In 2002, Roh Moo-Hyun, leader of the Millennium Democratic Party, became head of the Government. In that same year Japan and South Korea hosted the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Despite this, the relationship between the two countries would cool.
In the December 2012 elections, Park Geun-hye, daughter of dictator Park Chun-hee, was elected. Park made South Korean history by being the first woman to preside over the country.
History of t
he flag of South Korea
Male and female, positive and negative oppose and balance each other in the center of the South Korean flag. Yin and yang, symbols of infinity, perfection and eternity, harmonize in a smooth curve in the central disc. This synthesis of the Great Beginning in Chinese cosmogony gives its name to the Republic of Korea: yin and yang in Korean is said as theTuegukki flag.
The flag, in its red positive yang, shows the sun and light, day and movement. On the other hand, the blue yin, a negative symbol, makes us glimpse the moon, the darkness and the earth. With the same origin, black trigrams are continuous and broken lines that, according to interpretations, evoke the seasons, the cardinal points or the four elements (air, earth, fire and water). Black embodies perseverance, vigilance and justice.
Tension has been omnipresent since the division of the Korean peninsula into two opposing states in 1945. The border delimitation located at the 38th parallel is a continuous issue of discord between South and North Korea The Korean War (1950-1953) caused several million deaths. White, the traditional colour of this East Asian country, represents purity, justice and peace.
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