Before discussing the history of South Korea, it is imperative to understand the history of the origin of the Koreans. Being a peninsula, surrounded by great powers like Japan and China, Korea has been subject to attack all through its history. Archeological evidences of human habitation on the Korean peninsula have been found, which dates back to around half a million years. History of ancient Korea was characterized by three kingdoms, Koguryo (37 B.C.-A.D. 668), Paekche (18 B.C.-A.D. 660) and Shilla (57 B.C.-A.D. 935). These three kingdoms had appeared on the Korean Peninsula and part of the region which is now known as Manchuria. The history of South Korea officially commences with the establishment of South Korea in the year 1948.
Post Second World War, the division of Korea and the following Korean War shaped the early politics of the Republic of Korea. The three-year war had engaged all the major powers who came closer thus inciting a nuclear conflagration. In the following three decades, the two Koreas were locked into opposing Cold War blocs, and went their own separate ways.
In the ensuing years after the proclamation of the Republic of Korea in August 1948, the history of South Korea was characterized by alternating periods of democratic and autocratic rule. At the beginning, the First Republic, was perhaps democratic, but gradually became autocratic till it collapsed in 1960. Though the Second Republic was resolutely democratic, it was soon deposed to be replaced by an autocratic military regime. With the Sixth Republic, South Korea gradually attained stability and became a liberal democracy. Syngman Rhee was the first President of the Republic of Korea.
During the 1950s, South Korea received US military, economic and political support, which enabled the country to defeat the attempts made by North Korea to weaken the regime, led by Kim Il Sung.
South Korea has come a long way and has progressed immensely both socially and economically. After the Asian Financial Crisis of 1998, the country has bounced back and today South Korea is the 11th largest economy in the world.
Subsequent to the 1988 Olympics, South Korea has become a fully democratic nation, with the free parliamentary elections being held in 1988. The country's economy continued to expand under the leadership of the government. The government worked in tandem with the Chaebols, the major industrial conglomerates, to target all aspects of industrial society.
Owing to the continuous growth and stability of South Korea, the country has also become an attractive export country for US companies. Furthermore the almost total ban of Japanese products in South Korea has made the nation's economy more attractive to the US exporters. However South Korean economy still faces problems and the government is doing much to stabilize the economic conditions.
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