History of Korea
Korea is a modern nation with a history of over 5,000 years. A look back at the Korean history reveals triumphs and tragedies which have been instrumental in shaping the Korean nation and the Koreans of today. And the history with its culture can be seen in the Korean art and architecture that remains today.

As most Koreans have believed, the first kingdom named
Go-Choseon (Old Choseon) was founded by Dangun, the nation's progenitor, in 2333 B.C. There has been a story in Korean mythology about the birth of the Korean nation. A god named Hwanung came from heaven and transformed a bear into a woman. The god married her and she gave birth to a son named Dangun. Dangun established the first capital of the Korean nation near Pyongyang, now the capital of North Korea.  

In the
prehistoric period, the people living in the Korean Peninsula believed that all objects had the spirits and this belief has been known as Animism. They also believed that some people had a power to communicate with the spirits and this has been known as Shamanism. Farming at this time included growing rice, so many farm tools have been found from this time. This was about at the start of the Bronze Age (1000 - 300 B.C.). After that, there has been numerous rises and falls of tribal states until around 100 B.C., when the Three Kingdoms of Goguryo, Baekje, and Silla came into existence with a centralized power.

Goguryo was founded in 37 B.C. to the north, in Manchuria and northern Korea, and became a buffer against the aggressive nations of China. Silla was founded in 57 B.C. in the south-eastern corner of the Korean Peninsular and Baekje was founded in 18 B.C. in the south-western part of the peninsular. The three of them became known as the "Three Kingdoms" although there was a fourth kingdom known as Gaya, which was founded in 42 A.D.

In 668 A.D., Silla unified all the three kingdoms into a nation, the
Silla Dynasty. However, some of the Silla rulers began to fight each other and, in 918, Wang Geon founded the Goryo Dynasty (918-1392) where the current name "Korea" was derived. In the 12th century, Goryo underwent conflicts between the civilian and military structures and later in the 13th century it was invaded several times by the Mongolians from the north and by Japanese pirates, so Goryo was being weakened.
In 1392, the Goryo dynasty was taken over by the Choseon Dynasty (1392-1910) which was ruled by the Yi family, maintaining a unified country on the Korean Peninsula for over 1,300 years with the creation of a splendid culture. During the Choson dynasty period, the peninsula's final dynasty, there were the adoption of Confucianism as the state ideology, the invention of Han-geul, the establishment of its new capital city, Hanyang, now known as Seoul in South Korea, etc.

Ever since the foundation of the country, the Korean people have survived over 930 cases of invasion by neighboring tribes, every time wisely overcoming the difficulties and defeating the enemies. In the latest part of its history, however, they experienced an unfortunate fate that was the loss of sovereignty. In 1910, the Japanese invasion made an end in the Choseon Dynasty and Japan annexed Korea as a Japanese colony in from 1910 to 1945 for 35 years. Koreans were not allow to speak their own language and also was not allowed to learn about their history during the time.

Korea remained under the Japanese colonial rule until the end of
World War II. On August 15, 1945, Japan surrendered to the Allies and withdrew from the Korean Peninsula. Since then, the peninsula has been divided into two separate states: the Republic of Korea in the south and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in the north until now, divided along the 38th parallel. The Republic of Korea in the south established an independent government three years later, in 1948. In 1950, North Korea launched an all-out attack on the Republic of Korea, triggering the Korean War until 1953 when the devastating conflict was halted when an armistice agreement was signed. This established the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in the Korean Peninsula, dividing the peninsular ever since.   

In 1972, negotiation for peace between South Korea and North Korea was made.

In 1982, South Korea and the United States celebrated the centennial of the establishment of diplomatic relations.

In 1986, South Korea hosted the
Asian Games.

In 1988, South Korea hosted the
Seoul Olympics, in which Seoul made great strides toward being ranked among the most advanced capital cities around the world in 1988 Olympics.

As of the end of 1998, South Korea grew to an economic power ranking No. 11 in the world, registering a scale of trade amounting to $225.59 billion, GDP $321.3 billion, and looking forward to achieving per capita GNP $10,000.

In 1991, South Korea was admitted into the
United Nations (U.N.) as a regular member at the 46th General Assembly.

The year 1994 marked the
600th anniversary of Seoul being designated as the capital of South Korea.

In 1995, South Korea became an elected nonpermanent member of the
U.N. Security Council at the 50th General Assembly.
On October 25, 1996, South Korea became the second nation after Japan in the Asian region to join the
OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), as a member of the so-called club of advanced nations.

In 2001, South Korea hosted the Asia Europe Meeting,
ASEM, in Seoul.

In 2002, South Korea co-hosted the
FIFA World Cup 2002 with Japan.

In 2002, South Korea hosted the
14th Asian Games In Busan.

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