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 Joseon state. 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.
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 under the control 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the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea with a pro-Soviet government, and the US and Soviet military forces were withdrawn from the peninsula. Korean Lee Syngman became the President of South Korea. Check a2zdirectory for old history of South Korea.
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 a demilitarized zone running along the 38th parallel.
South Korea entered into agreements with the United States for military and economic support, but this led to the fact that it became dependent on the American authorities. This led to constant protests from Koreans. In 1960, the first president, Syngman Rhee, was overthrown as a result of precisely such anti-government protests. Chang Myung took his place. However, the new government failed to improve the post-war situation, which led to a military coup. Power passed to the military government headed by General Pak Chung Hee. The new government adhered to a rigid presidential regime. Park Chung-hee’s reign is remembered for its significant restrictions on political freedoms and civil rights. However, in 15 years, Park Chung Hee was able to boost the country’s economy. He set a course for industrialization, establishing five-year plans for economic development. But in 1979, General Pak Chung Hee was killed and martial law was introduced in the country. The country was swept by a wave of democratic demonstrations. General Chung Doo-hwan became the new head of state. Under him, protests were brutally suppressed and repressions were carried out. But, despite all this, local residents were able to regain the right to elect the president. In 1987, the Constitution was amended to restore the system of direct general election of the President of the country. In the same year, the first democratic elections were held in South Korea, as a result of which a follower of Chung Doo-hwan, the military Ro Dae-woo, became the new ruler.
The rule of the military ended only in 1992, when the first civilian president, Kim Yong Sam, came to power. In 1996, Jung Doo-hwan and Ro Dae-woo were put on trial, after which they were pardoned. By 1997, South Korea had achieved the status of an economically developed country and significantly strengthened its position in the international arena. In 2002, South Korea began talks with North Korea about a possible unification of the two countries.