It is believed that the Korean Peninsula was inhabited as early as the Paleolithic, that is, several tens of millennia BC. In the 1st century A.D. several states were formed here: in the north – Goguryeo, in the south – Baekche and Silla. In the 7th century, the Silla state, with the help of Chinese emperors, conquered two other states. In the 8th century, an internecine war began in Silla, and by the 10th century, a new state, Koryo, had come to replace the state that had lost its power. At the beginning of the 13th century, the invasion of the Mongols led to its fall, and in the 14th century, after the collapse of the Mongol empire, a new state of Joseon appeared on the Korean Peninsula, the ruling dynasty of which was the Li dynasty. The Lee Dynasty was founded by the famous Korean military leader Lee Song. It was during the Li dynasty that Confucianism was adopted as the official ideology of Joseon. The Li dynasty ruled the Korean peninsula until the 18th century, when Japanese troops began to invade more and more often. Japan wanted to gain a foothold on the continent and constantly unleashed wars with neighboring countries. In addition to Japan, at the end of the 19th century, China and Russia began to claim control of the state of Joseon. However, only Japan managed to conquer the Korean Peninsula. In 1910, following the Russo-Japanese War, Joseon officially became part of the Japanese Empire and became known as Korea. Check a2zdirectory for old history of North Korea.
Japan ruled Korea until its defeat in World War II in 1945. As a result of the war, the territory of the peninsula was divided into zones of influence of two states – the USA and the USSR. In accordance with the decisions of the Tehran and Potsdam conferences, US troops occupied the south of the peninsula, while its northern part was in the hands of the USSR. The 38th parallel became the border between the two territories. In 1948, two states were formed on the territory of the Korean Peninsula. In the south, the Republic of Korea was formed with an anti-communist government, and in the north, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea with a pro-Soviet government, and the US and Soviet military forces were withdrawn from the peninsula. Communist Kim Il Sung became the chief secretary of the Workers’ Party of the DPRK and the head of state for many years.
In 1950, the DPRK launched a war on the Korean Peninsula, wanting to annex the Republic of Korea and establish socialism on the Korean Peninsula. The USSR took the side of the DPRK, and the United Nations, the United States and Great Britain took the side of South Korea. At the end of the war in 1953, two states remained on the peninsula, between which a ceasefire agreement was concluded, but the peace treaty was never signed. Since then and to this day, the border between the two countries has been the demilitarized zone, which runs along the 38th parallel.
After the Korean War, the DPRK began to develop according to a planned policy with significant spending on the military complex. Such a policy did not produce results, only led the state to an economic crisis. And the Juche ideology (“self-reliance”), developed by Kim Il Sung and chosen by him as a national one, made the country closed from the whole world and further aggravated its situation. Gradually, support for the USSR began to weaken, which also undermined the economy of North Korea.
In 1994, after the death of Kim Il Sung, power passed to his son, Kim Jong Il. The post of president was abolished in the country, and Kim Jong Il began to be called the Great Leader. He headed the DPRK Labor Party (the country’s main political party), and the DPRK Defense Committee. In 1994, Kim Jong Il declared five years of mourning for his father, during which he practically did not deal with the affairs of the country. Thus, the change of ruler did not improve the situation in the country. Now the DPRK is still the most closed state in the world. Looking at its neighbor, South Korea, whose economic situation is much better, most of the population of the DPRK understands that liberal reforms and a transition to a new political course are needed, but the authorities still resist this. Although recently there has been forced liberalization in some areas, for example, foreign investment is increasing. As far as North Korea-South Korea relations are concerned, in the 21st century, the two states started economic cooperation and signed an act of reconciliation and the intention of both countries to work towards the unification of Korea.