South Korea facts for kids

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Republic of Korea

Flag of South Korea
Motto: 홍익인간; 弘益人間
Benefit broadly the human world (unofficial)
Anthem: Aegukga (애국가; 愛國歌)
("The Patriotic Song")
and largest city
Official languages Korean
Official scripts Hangul
Ethnic groups
Korean (99.99%)
Demonym(s) South Korean, Korean
Government Presidential republic
Park Geunhye
• Prime Minister
Hwang Kyo-ahn
• Speaker
Park Hee-tae
Legislature National Assembly
• Total
100,210 km2 (38,690 sq mi) (109th)
• Water (%)
• 2010 estimate
48,875,000 (24th)
• Density
491/km2 (1,271.7/sq mi) (21st)
GDP (PPP) 2011 estimate
• Total
$1.556 trillion (12th)
• Per capita
$31,753 (26th)
GDP (nominal) 2011 estimate
• Total
$1.163 trillion (15th)
• Per capita
$23,749 (32nd)
Gini (2007) 31.3
HDI (2011) Increase 0.897
very high · 15th
Currency South Korean won (₩) (KRW)
Time zone UTC+9 (Korea Standard Time)
• Summer (DST)
UTC+9 (not observed)
Date format yyyy년 mm월 dd일
yyyy/mm/dd (CE)
Driving side right
Calling code 82
ISO 3166 code KR
Internet TLD .kr, .한국
  1. Mobile phone system CDMA, WCDMA, HSDPA and WiBro
  2. Domestic power supply 220V/60 Hz, CEE 7/7 sockets

South Korea is a country in the southern part of the Korean peninsula, in the north east region of Asia. The capital city is Seoul. The official name of South Korea is the Republic of Korea in English, 대한민국 (Daehanminguk) in Korean writing (Hangeul), and 大韓民國 in Chinese characters (Hanja). About half of the country's people live in its capital city, Seoul, or near the city in the metropolitan area. Korea's Seoul metropolitan area is one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. In fact, some sources say it is the second most populous after Tokyo, Japan.


South Korea's history began with Dangunwanggeom's Gojoseon. Gojoseon was conquered by Han China. After Gojoseon collapsed, there were a lot of countries such as Buyeo, Okjeo, Dongyae and Samhan. But Baekje, Goguryeo and Silla were the strongest. So their period began, and it is called the Three Kingdoms Period. Goguryeo and Baekje were conquered by Silla and Dang China's allied forces, and Silla unified the three kingdoms. There was another country, Balhae. Balhae was founded by Dae Jo-Young. Later Silla and Balhae's period is called South and North Countries Period. A rebellion in Later Silla caused the birth of a new nation: Goryeo, which was founded by Wanggeon. Mongolia's invaded Goryeo. Near the end of the Goryeo period, there was a great general Lee Seong-Gye. The king of Goryeo directed him to occupy Yodong, but he opposed. However, Lee Seong-Gye went to Yodong to occupy it, but he returned to Goryeo and he revolted. His revolt succeeded, and he founded the country Joseon. Joseon's first king, Taejo, moved the capital to Hanyang (Seoul). Joseon's fourth king, Sejong, made the Korean alphabet, Hangeul. Joseon's twenty-second king, Jeongjo, built Hwaseong Fortress in Suwon. Joseon's twenty-sixth king, Gojong, changed the country's name to Daehanjeguk. When Daehanjaeguk's power weakened, Japan occupied it for 35 years until Japan's defeat in World War II in 1945. In 1950, there was a big war, the Korean War. As a result, Korea was divided into two countries, North and South.


South Korea is in East Asia, bordering North Korea, and is surrounded by water on three sides, as it makes up the southern part of the Korean peninsula. It is separated from Japan, by the East Sea. South Korea is mainly mountainous, and there are many islands off the south coast. The capital city, Seoul, is quite close to the North Korean border. The largest island is Jeju Island and the highest mountain is Hallasan, on Jeju.

Politics and government

South Korea is a democracy, meaning that people can vote for their government. The President of South Korea is elected to a five-year term, and cannot stand in a Presidential Election for a second time. The current President is Park Geunhye, the first female President of South Korea, and is in this position since February 25, 2013, when she succeeded Lee Myung-bak.

Science and technology

South Korea is a very rich country and is known for a lot of technology. This includes the car-maker Hyundai. The well-known global brand Samsung, which makes mobile phones, semi-conductors and electric devices, is also South Korean.


South Korea has been affected by both continental culture and marine culture because it is located on a peninsula. Ancient South Korean culture has developed with the culture of Siberia, the northern part of Central Asia, the southern part of Southeast Asia and neighboring countries like China.


South Korea's customary and official language is Korean. Many linguists says that it is linked with Altaic languages. Hangul, the alphabet which is used to write Korean, was published by King Sejong the Great of Joseon in 1446. It is the only alphabet in the word whose creator, invention day and invention principle is known.


A customary South Korean regular meal is made up of rice, Korean soup, kimchi and other various dishes. Generally, Korean dishes are seasoned with sesame oil, soy bean paste, soy sauce, salt, ginger and chilli pepper paste. The most famous traditional food of Korea, kimchi, is eaten with nearly every meal. There are a lot of popular South Korean typical foods such as bibimbap, tteokbokki, and bulgogi.


In South Korea, 19.7% of people are Protestant, 6.6% are Catholic, 23.2% are Buddhist, 49.3% have no religion, and 1.3% either are a part of other religions or have beliefs that are unknown.


The most representative traditional music of Korea is Arirang and every region has its own folk song. Many South Korean singers are well known in world as K-pop is steadily developing. There are lots of K-pop singers like Boa, TVXQ, Super Junior, Girls' Generation, Shinee, Beast, etc.

Cities and provinces

South Korea has 1 special city (Teukbyeolsi; 특별시; 特別市), 1 special self-governing city (Teukbyeol-Jachisi; 특별자치시; 特別自治市) 6 metropolitan cities (Gwangyeoksi; 광역시; 廣域市), and 9 provinces (do; 도; 道). The names below are given in English, Revised Romanization, Hangeul, and Hanja.

Special city

  • Seoul Special City (Seoul-teukbyeolsi; 서울특별시; 서울特別市)
    • Note: 서울 (Seoul) itself has no corresponding Hanja.

Special self-governing city

  • Sejong special self-governing city (Sejong-teukbyeol-jachasi 세종특별자치시; 世宗特別自治市)

Metropolitan cities


Images for kids

South Korea Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.