A Brief Timeline of Korean History: 1900 – Present

1392 – 1910 : Joseon Dynasty

  • Founded by Yi Seong-gye in July 1392, the dynasty lasted for 518 years.
  • Yi Seong-gye’s descendants, the House of Yi, succeeded the throne.
  • A total of 27 kings ruled the dynasty.
  • Neo-Confucianism was the dynasty’s ideology.

1910 – 1945 : Japanese Colonial Period

  • With the Japan-Korea Treaty of 1910, Japan annexed Korea.
  • The period divides into three phases. Japan tried to erase all the traces of Korea and its culture.

1. 1919 – 1919 : military-based policies

2. 1919 – 1932 : culture-based policies

3. 1932 – 1945 : assimilation-based policies

1945 – 1948 : The United States Military Government in South Korea

  • After Korea was liberated from Japan, the Soviet Army and the United States divided control over the Korean Peninsula by crossing the line in the latitude 38°N.
  • The United States Army Military Government in Korea governed the southern part of the Korean Peninsula.
  • The Soviet Civil Administration was in the northern part.

1948 – Present : Republic of Korea

  • Sadly, in 1948, two separate governments were formed in the Korean Peninsula. The socialist North Korea and the capitalist South Korea.
  • For South Korea, the presidential election was held and the first government officially proclaimed the existence of the Republic of Korea on 15 August 1948.

1950 – 1953 : The Korean War

The war started as soldiers from North Korea invaded the boundary below the 38th parallel on 25 June 1950.

China and the Soviet Union supported North Korea and the United States and the United Nations were on South Korea’s side.

The armistice agreement was finally reached on July 27, 1953, ending the tragic war in 3 years and a month. Nearly 3 million people in South and North Korea were killed or went missing.

1997 – 2001 : Financial Crisis of 1997

As Korea faced the crisis of national bankruptcy, the government signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to receive funding from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

After receiving a bailout of 19.5 billion dollars from the IMF, a major national economic restructuring began.

In order to repay the national debt, a gold-collecting campaign was conducted in 1998. Gold worth 1.82 billion dollars was contributed by Korean citizens.

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