South Korea facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Republic of Korea

  • 대한민국/大韓民國 (Korean)
  • Daehan Minguk
Centered taegeuk on a hibiscus syriacus surrounded by five stylized petals and a ribbon
Emblem
Motto: 
"홍익인간" ("弘益人間")
"Benefit broadly in the human world /
Devotion to the Welfare of Humanity"
National seal
국가 인감

Seal of South Korea.svg
Land controlled by the Republic of Korea shown in dark green; claimed but uncontrolled land shown in light green
Land controlled by the Republic of Korea shown in dark green; claimed but uncontrolled land shown in light green
Capital
and largest city
Seoul
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Official languages Korean (Pyojun-eo)
Korean Sign Language
Official script Korean
Ethnic groups
Predominantly Korean. No official statistics
Religion
Demonym(s)
Government Unitary presidential
constitutional republic
Moon Jae-in
Chung Sye-kyun
• Speaker of the National Assembly
Moon Hee-sang
• Chief Justice
Kim Myeong-soo
• President of the Constitutional Court
Yoo Nam-seok
Legislature National Assembly
Establishment history
• First
Kingdom
October 3, 2333 BC
• Wiman
Joseon
194 BC
18 BC
• North-South Kingdoms
698
• Unification by Goryeo dynasty
936
July 17, 1392
October 12, 1897
• Japan-Korea Treaty
August 29, 1910
• March 1st Movement
March 1, 1919
• Provisional Government
September 11, 1919
• Liberation from Japan
August 15, 1945
• U.S. administration of Korea south of the 38th parallel
September 8, 1945
• ROK
established
August 15, 1948
February 25, 1988
• Admitted to the United Nations
September 17, 1991
Area
• Total
100,363 km2 (38,750 sq mi) (107th)
• Water (%)
0.3 (301 km2 / 116 mi2)
Population
• 2019 estimate
Increase51,709,098 (28th)
• Density
507/km2 (1,313.1/sq mi) (23rd)
GDP (PPP) 2019 estimate
• Total
$2.320 trillion (14th)
• Per capita
$44,740 (29th)
GDP (nominal) 2019 estimate
• Total
$1.720 trillion (11th)
• Per capita
$31,430 (27th)
Gini (2016)  35.7
medium · 93rd
HDI (2018) Increase 0.906
very high · 22nd
Currency Korean Republic won (₩) (KRW)
Time zone UTC+9 (Korea Standard Time)
Date format
  • yyyy년 m월 d일
  • yyyy. m. d. (CE)
Mains electricity 220 V–60 Hz
Driving side right
Calling code +82
ISO 3166 code KR
Internet TLD

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.

History

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.

Geography, climate and environment

Geography

South Korea Topography
Topography of South Korea

South Korea occupies the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula, which extends some 1,100 km (680 mi) from the Asian mainland. This mountainous peninsula is flanked by the Yellow Sea to the west, and the Sea of Japan to the east. Its southern tip lies on the Korea Strait and the East China Sea.

The country, including all its islands, lies between latitudes 33° and 39°N, and longitudes 124° and 130°E. Its total area is 100,032 square kilometers (38,622.57 sq mi).

South Korea can be divided into four general regions: an eastern region of high mountain ranges and narrow coastal plains; a western region of broad coastal plains, river basins, and rolling hills; a southwestern region of mountains and valleys; and a southeastern region dominated by the broad basin of the Nakdong River.

South Korea's terrain is mostly mountainous, most of which is not arable. Lowlands, located primarily in the west and southeast, make up only 30% of the total land area.

About three thousand islands, mostly small and uninhabited, lie off the western and southern coasts of South Korea. Jeju-do is about 100 kilometers (62 miles) off the southern coast of South Korea. It is the country's largest island, with an area of 1,845 square kilometers (712 square miles). Jeju is also the site of South Korea's highest point: Hallasan, an extinct volcano, reaches 1,950 meters (6,400 feet) above sea level. The easternmost islands of South Korea include Ulleungdo and Liancourt Rocks (Dokdo/Takeshima), while Marado and Socotra Rock are the southernmost islands of South Korea.

South Korea has 20 national parks and popular nature places like the Boseong Tea Fields, Suncheon Bay Ecological Park, and the first national park of Jirisan.

Transportation, energy and infrastructure

South Korea developed the HEMU 430X high-speed train, which can travel at over 430 km/h (267 mph), making South Korea the world's fourth country after France, Japan and China to develop a high-speed train running above 420 km/h on conventional rails.
The Daegu Metro Line 3 monorail

South Korea has a technologically advanced transport network consisting of high-speed railways, highways, bus routes, ferry services, and air routes that crisscross the country. Korea Expressway Corporation operates the toll highways and service amenities en route.

Korail provides frequent train services to all major South Korean cities. Two rail lines, Gyeongui and Donghae Bukbu Line, to North Korea are now being reconnected. The Korean high-speed rail system, KTX, provides high-speed service along Gyeongbu and Honam Line. Major cities including Seoul, Busan, Incheon, Daegu, Daejeon and Gwangju have urban rapid transit systems. Express bus terminals are available in most cities.

South Korea's main gateway and largest airport is Incheon International Airport, serving 58 million passengers in 2016. Other international airports include Gimpo, Busan and Jeju. There are also many airports that were built as part of the infrastructure boom but are barely used. There are also many heliports.

The national carrier, Korean Air served over 26,800,000 passengers, including almost 19,000,000 international passengers in 2016. A second carrier, Asiana Airlines also serves domestic and international traffic. Combined, South Korean airlines serve 297 international routes. Smaller airlines, such as Jeju Air, provide domestic service with lower fares.

South Korea is the world's fifth-largest nuclear power producer and the second-largest in Asia as of 2010. Nuclear power in South Korea supplies 45% of electricity production, and research is very active with investigation into a variety of advanced reactors, including a small modular reactor, a liquid-metal fast/transmutation reactor and a high-temperature hydrogen generation design. Fuel production and waste handling technologies have also been developed locally. It is also a member of the ITER project.

South Korea is an emerging exporter of nuclear reactors, having concluded agreements with the UAE to build and maintain four advanced nuclear reactors, with Jordan for a research nuclear reactor, and with Argentina for construction and repair of heavy-water nuclear reactors. As of 2010, South Korea and Turkey are in negotiations regarding construction of two nuclear reactors. South Korea is also preparing to bid on construction of a light-water nuclear reactor for Argentina.

South Korea is not allowed to enrich uranium or develop traditional uranium enrichment technology on its own, because of US political pressure, unlike most major nuclear powers such as Japan, Germany, and France, competitors of South Korea in the international nuclear market. This impediment to South Korea's indigenous nuclear industrial undertaking has sparked occasional diplomatic rows between the two allies. While South Korea is successful in exporting its electricity-generating nuclear technology and nuclear reactors, it cannot capitalize on the market for nuclear enrichment facilities and refineries, preventing it from further expanding its export niche. South Korea has sought unique technologies such as pyroprocessing to circumvent these obstacles and seek a more advantageous competition. The US has recently been wary of South Korea's burgeoning nuclear program, which South Korea insists will be for civilian use only.

South Korea is the third highest ranked Asian country in the World Economic Forum's Network Readiness Index (NRI) after Singapore and Hong Kong respectively – an indicator for determining the development level of a country's information and communication technologies. South Korea ranked number 10 overall in the 2014 NRI ranking, up from 11 in 2013.

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.

Culture

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.

Language

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.

Food

Korean cuisine, hanguk yori (한국요리; 韓國料理), or hansik (한식; 韓食), has evolved through centuries of social and political change. Ingredients and dishes vary by province. There are many significant regional dishes that have proliferated in different variations across the country in the present day. The Korean royal court cuisine once brought all of the unique regional specialties together for the royal family. Meals consumed both by the royal family and ordinary Korean citizens have been regulated by a unique culture of etiquette.

Korean cuisine is largely based on rice, noodles, tofu, vegetables, fish and meats. Traditional Korean meals are noted for the number of side dishes, banchan (반찬), which accompany steam-cooked short-grain rice. Every meal is accompanied by numerous banchan. Kimchi (김치), a fermented, usually spicy vegetable dish is commonly served at every meal and is one of the best known Korean dishes. Korean cuisine usually involves heavy seasoning with sesame oil, doenjang (된장), a type of fermented soybean paste, soy sauce, salt, garlic, ginger, and gochujang (고추장), a hot pepper paste. Other well-known dishes are Bulgogi (불고기), grilled marinated beef, Gimbap (김밥), and Tteokbokki (떡볶이), a spicy snack consisting of rice cake seasoned with gochujang or a spicy chili paste.

Soups are also a common part of a Korean meal and are served as part of the main course rather than at the beginning or the end of the meal. Soups known as guk (국) are often made with meats, shellfish and vegetables. Similar to guk, tang (탕; 湯) has less water, and is more often served in restaurants. Another type is jjigae (찌개), a stew that is typically heavily seasoned with chili pepper and served boiling hot.

Popular Korean alcoholic beverages include Soju, Makgeolli and Bokbunja ju.

Korea is unique among East Asian countries in its use of metal chopsticks. Metal chopsticks have been discovered in Goguryeo archaeological sites.

Religion

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.

Music

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.

Images for kids


South Korea Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.