South Korea is one of two countries that
occupy the Korean Peninsula. The other country, North Korea,
is slightly larger in area than South Korea, but South Korea has nearly twice
as many people as its northern neighbor.
Japan controlled the Korean Peninsula until
the end of WWII, when it was forced to give
up the territory. The Peninsula was then
divided into two distinct zones called North
Korea and South Korea. The Soviet Union occupied
North Korea and the United States controlled
South Korea. In 1948, South Koreans established
the Republic of South Korea, an autonomous nation.
Tension between communist North Korea and
democratic South Korea sparked the Korean
War in 1950, and has caused unrest between
the two countries ever since. In recent months,
however, the countries have shown signs that
peace and even reunification may be possible
in the not-too-distant future.
The Korean climate is known for its hot,
humid summers and cold winters, which are
especially bitter in the mountains that cover
much of the Korean Peninsula. The Taebaek
Mountains run through South Korea and eight
mountains surround South Korea's capital, Seoul.
Some of Korea's hilly land is covered with
forest, which is a problem for the country's
growing population. Because the low lands
are already crowded, Koreans have little
choice but to cut down large portions of
the forest, a process also known as "deforestation," in
order to build houses and create more space
for people to live.
Many forms of art are highly respected in
Korea. As in both Japan and China, calligraphy is
a popular and beautiful art form in Korea.
There is a lot more to learn
about South Korea!
- Explore these sites for facts
and figures about South Korea.
- Explore Korean myths and mythological
characters from Encyclopedia
- Read about the typical
foods eaten everyday in Korea.
More Countries (past
hosts of Olympic Games)