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The location[]

Over view[]

The Korean Peninsula is a peninsula in East Asia. It extends southwards for about 684 miles from continental Asia into the Pacific Ocean and is surrounded by the Sea of Japan, Yellow Sea, Korea Strait, Cheju Strait and Korea Bay. It extends southwards for about 684 miles (1,100 km) from continental Asia into the Pacific Ocean and is surrounded by the Sea of Japan (In Korea known as Donghae/East Sea) to the east, and the Yellow Sea to the west, the Korea Strait connecting the first two bodies of water. The peninsula's area is 219,140 sq km (84,610 sq miles), with a total coastline length of 8,458 km (5,255 miles). The Southern population has grown greatly since 1955, but the Northern population has only had modest groath.

  1. Countries: North Korea/North Korea.
  2. Borders on: China, Russia, Sea of Japan, East China Sea, Yellow Sea, Korea Strait.
  3. Highest point: Paektu Mountain 2,744 m (9,003 ft).
  4. Lowest point: sea level.
  5. Length: 1,100 km (684 mi), north to south.
  6. Area: 220,847 km2 (85,270 sq mi).
  7. Population: 74,461,933 (2012).
  8. Population density: 337 / km2 (873 / sq mi).
  9. First human population occered: ~800,000 BCE 

Climate and terrain[]

Circa ~70% of the Korean Peninsula is covered by mountains, although there are some arable lands on the plains between the mountain ranges. The eastern Taebaek Mountains are a mountain range that stretches across North Korea and South Korea. They form the main ridge of the Korean peninsula, with others forming near the border with China. The west coast, including Seoul and Pyongyang, and the souhern region south of Busan (Pusan) is a flat arable land.

The climate of Korea differs dramatically from north to south. The southern regions experience a relatively warm and wet climate similar to that of Japan, affected by warm ocean waters including the East Korea Warm Current. The northern regions experience a colder and to some extent more inland climate, in common with Manchuria. For example, the annual precipitation of the Yalu River valley (600 mm (24 in)) is less than half of that on the south coast (1,500 mm (59 in)). Likewise, there is a 20 °C (36 °F) difference in January temperature between the peninsula's southern and northern tips  The entire peninsula, however, is affected by similar general patterns, including the East Asian monsoon in midsummer and the frequent incidence of typhoons in autumn. The majority of rainfall takes place during the summer months, with nearly half during the monsoon alone. Winters are cold, with January temperatures typically below freezing outside of Jeju Island. Winter precipitation is minimal, with little snow accumulation outside of mountainous areas.

Major settlements[]

Busan, a large port city in South Korea, is known for its beaches, mountains and temples. Busy Haeundae Beach has a Folk Square with traditional games such as tug-of-war, while Gwangalli Beach is a nightlife hub with views of modern Diamond Bridge. Beomeosa, a Buddhist temple built in 678 C.E., is at the base of Geumjeong Mountain, which offers challenging hikes.

Seoul, the capital of South Korea, is a sprawling metropolis where hyper-modern skyscrapers, high-tech subways and pop culture meet Buddhist temples, palaces and street markets. Notable attractions include futuristic Dongdaemun Design Plaza, a convention hall with curving architecture and a rooftop park; Gyeongbokgung Palace, which once had more than 7,000 rooms; and Jogyesa Temple, site of centuries-old locust and pine trees.

Incheon played a major role in the Korean War. It is the place where Korea opened up to the world in 1883. Incheon is the second largest port city in Korea and was the first city in Korea to truly begin modernizing. Wolmido Island and Yeonan Pier are top tourist attractions of Incheon and Incheon International Airport, Incheon Bridge and Incheon Songdo International City, a free economic zone and lon standing transportation hub. The city is undergoing a extrnsive real estate development and arts revival. The ultramodern, massive Incheon International Airport, with railway connections to Seoul, features a casino, spa and golf course. Yeonan Pier, close to the popular Incheon Fish Market, is the starting point for many boat tours. Incheon is also known for its beach-lined islands, including Yeongjong and Muui-dong. The population is 2.838 million (2014).

Pyongyang is the capital of North Korea and the largest city in the country. Pyongyang is located on the Taedong River and, according to preliminary results from the 2008 population census, has a population of 3,255,388. It is a lot poorer than Seoul.

Chŏngjin is the capital of North Korea's North Hamgyong Province and the country's third largest city. It is sometimes called the City of Iron. The Chongjin concentration camp is a forced labour camp in North Korea for political prisoners. The official name is Kwan-li-so (English: Penal-labour Colony) No. 25.

The city Chongjin was a small fishing village prior to the Japanese annexation of Korea and its date of establishment is distant, but unknown. The Chinese characters for its name mean 'clear river crossing'. During the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905, Japanese forces landed at Chongjin, and established a supply base due to its proximity to the front lines in Manchuria. The Japanese remained after the end of the war, and in 1908, declared the city an open trading port both for transport of Korean resources and as a stopping point for resources from China.

Rivers and mineral resources[]

The Taebaek Mountains or T’aebaek Mountains, (Korean: T’aebaek-sanmaek) are economically, important for the mining of iron, coal, tungsten, timber, fluorite, and limestone. Many of the slopes are extensively covered in forests. Some Magnesite, zinc, iron, and tungsten, coal and manganese are also present in the DPRK, with most of the coal and manganese in the northern pats of the country.

The Taebaek Mountains, (Korean: T’aebaek-sanmaek) are the sources of South Korea’s most important rivers, among them the Han, Naktong and Kŭm.

Historical background[]

The name Korea (Korean: 조선반도 (Hanja: 朝鮮半島; MR: Chosŏn Pando) in North Korea, Korean: 한반도 (Hanja: 韓半島; RR: Han Bando) in South Korea) is derived from the Kingdom of Goguryeo, also spelled as Koryŏ.

The earliest Korean pottery dates to 8000 BC, with three kingdoms flourishing at 1st century BC. One of them, Goguryeo, ruled Northeast China, parts of Russia and Mongolia under Gwanggaeto the Great. Since their unification into Silla and Balhae in the 7th century, Korea enjoyed over a millennium of relative tranquility under long lasting dynasties with innovations like Hangul, the unique alphabet created by Sejong the Great in 1446, enabling anyone to easily learn to read and write. Its rich and vibrant culture left 17 UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritages of Humanity, the third largest in the world, along with 12 World Heritage Sites. Korea was annexed by Imperial Japan in 1910, after whose surrender in 1945, it was divided into North and South Korea. A North Korean invasion led to the Korean War (1950–53). Peace has since mostly continued with the two agreeing to work peacefully for reunification and the South solidifying peace as a regional power.

The Lower Paleolithic era in the Korean Peninsula began roughly half a million years ago.The earliest known Korean pottery dates to around 8000 BC, and the Neolithic period began after 6000 BC, followed by the Bronze Age by 800 BC, and the Iron Age around 400 BC.

The history of Korea begins with the founding of Joseon (often known as "Gojoseon" to prevent confusion with another dynasty founded in the 13th century; the prefix Go- means 'older,' 'before,' or 'earlier') in 2333 BC by Dangun, according to Korean foundation mythology.

Historians in Korea use the Three-age system to classify Korean prehistory. The three age system was applied during the post-Imperial Japanese colonization period as a way to refute the claims of Imperial Japanese colonial archaeologists who insisted that, unlike Japan, Korea had "no Bronze Age"

  1. Bissalmuneui or Jeulmun Pottery Period #("Neolithic") 8000-1500 BCE
  2. Incipient 8000-6000 BCE
  3. Early 6000-3500 BCE
  4. Middle 3500-2000 BCE
  5. Late 2000-1500/1000 BCE
  6. Mumun Pottery Period ("Bronze Age") 1500/1000-300 BCE
  7. Samhan / Proto–Three Kingdoms Period ("Iron Age") 100 BCE to 300 CE

There are some problems with the three-age-system applied to the situation in Korea. This terminology was created for the situation in prehistoric Europe, where sedentism, pottery and agriculture go together to characterize the Neolithic stage. The periodization scheme used by Korean archaeologists proposes that the Neolithic began in 8000 BCE and lasted until 1500 BCE. This is despite the fact that palaeoethnobotanical studies indicate that the first bona fide cultivation did not begin until circa 3500 BCE. The period of 8000 to 3500 BCE corresponds to the Mesolithic cultural stage, dominated by hunting and gathering of both terrestrial and marine resources.

Korean archaeologists traditionally (until the 1990s) used a date of 1500 or 1000 BCE as the beginning of the Bronze Age. This is in spite of Bronze technology not being adopted in the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula until circa 700 BCE, and the archaeological record indicates that bronze objects were not used in relatively large numbers until after 400 BCE. This does leave Korea with a proper Bronze Age, albeit a relatively short one, Bronze metallurgy beginning to be replaced by ferrous metallurgy soon after it had become widespread.

Korea had been an independent kingdom or Kingdoms in medieval times, but later had been de facto economically dominated by China and Japan since about 1850. After a short period isolationist de jure Independence; all be it with Chines, Japanese, Russian, French and American interference; the Korean Empire of 1897–1910 was annexed by Japan from 1910 to 1945, when it was finally devised between the USSR and the USA.

During World War II, Koreans at home were forced to support the Japanese war effort and 20% of the Japanese Empire's industries was in Korea by 1945. Tens of thousands of men were conscripted into Japan's military. Around 200,000 girls and women, many from Korea, were forced to engage in sexual services for the Japanese military, with the euphemism "comfort women".

Koreans were forced to adopt Japanese names. Worship at Japanese Shinto shrines was made compulsory. The school curriculum was radically modified to eliminate teaching in the Korean language and history. Numerous Korean cultural artefacts were destroyed or taken to Japan.

Resistance groups known as Dongnipgun (Liberation Army) operated along the Sino-Korean border, fighting guerrilla warfare against Japanese forces. Some of them took part in allied action in China and parts of South East Asia. One of the guerrilla leaders was the communist Kim Il-sung, who later became the leader of North Korea.

Japan's racial hatred warped Korea's attitude to the world for about the next 40 years.

Nation summery[]

The Southern economy boomed between 1980 and 2010. The Northern economy folded and declined sharply since 1995.


North Korea, officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, is the indipendent East Asian country situated in the northern part of the Korean Peninsula. The name Korea is derived from the Kingdom of Goguryeo, also spelled as Koryŏ. The nation has a reputation in the West for frigid and shabby apartment buildings. North Korea's leadership is reportedly committing systematic and appalling human rights abuses against its own citisens.

  • Capital: Pyongyang
  • Supreme leader: Kim Jong-un
  • Premier: Pak Pong-ju
  • Dialling code: +850
  • Population: 24.9 million (2013) World Bank
  • Currency: North Korean won
  • Official languages: Korean (Pyongyang and Northern dialect in the Pyongyang acent)
  • Official script: Chosŏn'gŭl
  • Demonym: North Korean\Korean
  • Government: Unitary Juche, one-party, totalitarian state (various interpretations)

The North Korean famine, which together with the accompanying general economic crisis are known as the Arduous March (Hangul: 북한기근; Chosŏn'gŭl: 고난의 행군) in North Korea, occurred in North Korea from 1994 to 1998. The famine stemmed from a variety of factors such as economic mismanagement, natural disasters, collapse of the Soviet bloc, military-first policy and growing isolationism. The death of Kim Il-sung (Chosŏn'gŭl: 김일성; English pronunciation: /ˈkɪm ˈɪlˈsʊŋ, ˈsʌŋ/; Korean pronunciation: [kim ils͈ʌŋ]; born Kim Sŏng-ju (김성주); 15 April 1912 – 8 July 1994) was also a major social factor. Deaths were estimated at 0.24 to 3.5 million. The he Yalu River has frequently been crossed by North Koreans fleeing to China since the early 1990s.


South Korea, officially the Republic of Korea (commonly referred to as just 'Korea'), is a sovereign state in East Asia. South Korea, a democratic East Asian nation on the southern half of the Korean Peninsula, shares one of the world’s most heavily militarized borders with North Korea. It’s equally known for its green, hilly countryside dotted with cherry trees and centuries-old Buddhist temples, plus its coastal fishing villages, tropical islands and high-tech cities such as Seoul, the capital. South Korea had a boom in the first half of the 1950s that allowed heavy manufacturing to prosper, leading to an economic boom. The second half of the 1950s then saw the rise of German consumer good industry, leading to an economic boom.

  • Capital: Seoul
  • Dialing code: +82
  • President: Park Geun-hye
  • Population: 50.22 million (2013) World Bank
  • Prime minister: Hwang Kyo-ahn
  • Currency: South Korean won
  • Demonym: South Korean\Korean
  • Government: Unitary presidential constitutional republic
  • Official scripts: Hangul
  • Official languages: Korean (Seoul dialect in the Seoul and Busan acent)

South Korea is a member of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the G-20 major economies. South Korea has a market economy that ranks 13th in the world by nominal GDP and 13th by purchasing power parity (PPP). It is a developed country, with a developed market and a high-income economy.

The Korean Republics[]

North and South Korean Republics.
South Korea (R.O.K.). North Korea (D.P.R.K.).
The United States Army Military Government in Korea (USAMGIK; Korean: 재조선 미육군 사령부 군정청; Hanja: 在朝鮮美陸軍司令部軍政廳) was the official ruling body of the southern half of the Korean Peninsula from September 8, 1945 to August 15, 1948. The Provisional People’s Committee for North Korea (Chosŏn'gŭl: 북조선인민위원회, Hancha: 北朝鮮人民委員會, Revised Romanization: Bukjoseon Inmin Wiwonhoe, McCune–Reischauer: Pukchosǒn Inmin Wiwŏnhoe) was the official name of the provisional government governing the northern portion of the Korean Peninsula following its post-World War II partition by the United States and the Soviet Union after the defeat of the Empire of Japan in 1945. Soviet forces had seized and occupied the northern portion of Korea from the Japanese during World War II, while the Americans had managed to seize the southern portion from the Japanese. In the north, a pro-Soviet, ideologically communist government was established, officially succeeding a quasi-government composed of five provinces in 1946. The government was largely modeled after the Soviet Union.
The First Republic of South Korea (Korean: 제1공화국, Jeil Gonghwaguk, literally "the first republic") was South Korea's first independent government, ruling the country from 1948 to 1960. The North Korean government refers to Kim Il-sung as "The Great Leader" (위대한 수령, widaehan suryŏng) and he is designated in the North Korean constitution as the country's "Eternal President". His birthday is a public holiday in North Korea and is called the "Day of the Sun". Under his leadership, North Korea became a socialist state and had close political and economic relations with the Soviet Union, which gave the country many similarities in those respects. By the 1960s and 1970s, North Korea enjoyed a relatively high standard of living, out-performing the South, which was crippled by political instability and economic crises. Differences between North Korea and the Soviet Union made the country non-aligned in world politics, central among these differences being Kim Il-sung's philosophy of Juche, which focused on Korean patriotism and self-reliance. Juche eventually replaced Marxism-Leninism and communism altogether.
The Second Republic of South Korea was the government of South Korea for eight months in 1960 and 1961. It succeeded the First Republic, and was followed by a military government under the Supreme Council for National Reconstruction. It was the only government under a parliamentary system in the history of Korea. Kim Jong-il (Korean pronunciation: [ɡ̊imd͜zɔŋil]; 16 February 1941/1942 – 17 December 2011) was the supreme leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), commonly referred to as North Korea, from 1994 to 2011. By the early 1980s Kim had become the heir apparent for the leadership of the country and assumed important posts in the party and army organs. He succeeded his father and founder of the DPRK, Kim Il-sung, following the elder Kim's death in 1994. Kim Jong-il was the General Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK), Chairman of the National Defence Commission (NDC) of North Korea, and the Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army (KPA), the fourth-largest standing army in the world. Kim's leadership is thought to have been even more dictatorial than his father's. During Kim's regime the country suffered from famine, partially due to economic mismanagement, and had a poor human rights record. Kim involved his country in state terrorism and strengthened the role of the military by his Songun, or "military-first", politics. Kim's rule also saw tentative economic reforms, including the opening of the Kaesong Industrial Park in 2003.
The Supreme Council for National Reconstruction, initially named the Military Revolutionary Committee, was a military junta that oversaw the government of South Korea from May 16, 1961 until the inauguration of the Third Republic of South Korea in 1963. It was composed largely of military officers who were involved in or supportive of the May 16 coup which overthrew the Second Republic of South Korea. The council was chaired initially by Chang Do-yong, and subsequently by Park Chung-hee. The president of the Second Republic, Yun Po-sun, stayed in office as a figurehead. Kim Jong-un (Korean pronunciation: [kimd͜zɔŋɯn]; born 8 January 1983; in Revised Romanization as Kim Jeong-eun) is the Supreme Leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), commonly referred to as North Korea. Kim is the son of Kim Jong-il (1941–2011) and the grandson of Kim Il-sung (1912–1994). Kim was officially declared the Supreme Leader, following the state funeral of his father on 28 December 2011. Kim holds the titles of First Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea, Chairman of the Central Military Commission, Chairman of the National Defence Commission, Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army, and presidium member of the Politburo of the Workers' Party of Korea. Kim is the third and youngest son of Kim Jong-il and his consort Ko Yong-hui.From late 2010, Kim Jong-un was viewed as the heir apparent to the leadership of the nation, and following his father's death, Kim was announced as the "Great Successor" by North Korean state television. At Kim Jong-il's memorial service, Chairman of the Supreme People's Assembly Kim Yong-nam declared that "Respected Comrade Kim Jong-un is our Party, Military, and Country's Supreme Leader, who inherits great comrade Kim Jong-il's ideology, leadership, character, virtues, grit and courage". The P'yŏngdŏk Line is an electrified standard-gauge trunk line of the North Korean State Railway running from P'yŏngyang to Kujang on the Manp'o and Ch'ŏngnyŏn P'alwŏn lines. On 21 October 2014 a groundbreaking ceremony for the Sŭngri ("Victory") project to modernise the P'yŏngnam Line from Namp'o to P'yŏngyang and the P'yŏngdŏk Line from P'yŏngyang to Chedong was held. The project, supported by Russia. North Korea has continued to develop its nuclear arsenal despite international condemnation. Cellular coverage is available with a 3G network operated by Koryolink, a joint venture with Orascom Telecom Holding.  The number of subscribers has increased from 3,000 in 2002 to almost two million in 2013. International calls through either fixed or cellular service are restricted, and mobile Internet is not available. On 7 February 2016, North Korea successfully launched a long-range rocket, supposedly to place a satellite into orbit. Critics believe that the real purpose of the launch was test a ballistic missile. The launch was strongly condemned by the UN Security Council. A statement broadcast on Korean Central Television said that a new Earth observation satellite, Kwangmyongsong-4, had successfully been put into orbit less than 10 minutes after lift-off from the Sohae space centre in North Phyongan province.
The Third Republic of South Korea was the government of South Korea from 1963 to 1972. It was presented as a return to civilian rule after a period of rule by the military junta known as the Supreme Council for National Reconstruction which had overthrown the Second Republic of South Korea in 1961. However, throughout this period the presidency was held by Park Chung-hee, who is the father of Park Geun-hye (present president of Korea), who had also been an influential member of the junta. He left his military post in order to run as a civilian in the presidential election. Park ran again in the election of 1967, taking 51.4% of the vote. At the time the presidency was constitutionally limited to two terms, but a constitutional amendment was forced through the National Assembly in 1969 to allow him to seek a third term. He was re-elected in the 1971 presidential election. The leading opposition candidate was Kim Dae-jung, who lost by a narrow margin. -
The Fourth Republic (Korean: 제4공화국; Hanja:第四共和國; revised romanisation:je-sa gonghwaguk) was the government of South Korea between 1972 and 1981, regulated by the Yusin Constitution adopted in October 1972 and confirmed in a referendum on 21 November 1972. From 1972 to 1979, power was monopolized by Park Chung Hee and his Democratic Republican Party under the highly centralized authoritarian "Yushin System". With the assassination of Park on 26 October 1979, the Republic entered a period of tumult and transition under the short-lived nominal presidency of Choi Kyu-hah, controlled under severe escalating martial law and witnessing the coup d'état of December Twelfth, the violent unfolding of the Gwangju Democratization Movement and its armed suppression, the coup d'état of May Seventeenth and presidency of Chun Doo-hwan, and finally the transition to the Fifth Republic under Chun in 1981. This period also saw continued dramatic economic growth, following the government's five-year plans. The government invested heavily in heavy industries. -
The Fifth Republic of South Korea was the government of South Korea from 1979 to 1987, replacing the Fourth Republic of South Korea. Throughout this period, the government was controlled by Chun Doo-hwan, a military colleague of the assassinated president Park Chung-hee. This period saw extensive efforts at reform. It laid the foundations for the relatively stable democratic system of the subsequent Sixth Republic in 1987. -
The relatively stable democratic system of the subsequent Sixth Republic occurred in in 1987. In 1988, Seoul hosted the 1988 Summer Olympics. It became a member of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 1996. It was adversely affected by the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis. However, the country recovered and continued its economic growth, albeit at a slower pace. In June 2000, as part of president Kim Dae-jung's "Sunshine Policy" of engagement, a North–South summit took place in Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea. Later that year, Kim received the Nobel Peace Prize "for his work for democracy and human rights in South Korea and in East Asia in general, and for peace and reconciliation with North Korea in particular." However, because of discontent among the population for fruitless approaches to the North under the previous administrations and, amid North Korean provocations, a conservative government was elected in 2007 led by President Lee Myung-bak, former mayor of Seoul. More recently, Park Geun-hye won the South Korean presidential election, 2012. In 2002, South Korea and Japan jointly co-hosted the 2002 FIFA World Cup. However, South Korean and Japanese relation)s later soured because of conflicting claims of sovereignty over the Liancourt Rocks, in what became known as the Liancourt Rocks dispute. -

Also see[]

  1. The Cold War
  2. 1950–1953 Korean War
  3. Korea
  4. The Korean Air Flight 007 incident in 1983
  5. Daewoo


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