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Tuesday 25th June
Republic of Korea Information - Page 2
Nomadic Mongol tribes were living in Korea during the Neolithic Age - the New Stone Age.

The first dynasty in Korea was named Gojoseon (Ko Chosun) founded by the legendary Dangun in 2333.

Gojoseon (2333-108 BC) gave way to the "Three Kingdoms" Period: Goguryeo (37 BC-668 AD), Baekje (18 BC-660 AD) and Silla (57 BC-935 AD). Other dynasties were Balhae (698-926), Goryeo (918-1392) and Joseon (1392-1910).

Joseon, the last dynasty, was followed by Japanese colonial rule lasting until 1945.

At the end of the Second World War (1939-45) the Korean Peninsula was divided into the North, occupied by the USSR, and the South, occupied by the USA. The Democratic People's Republic of Korea was proclaimed in North Korea and the Republic of Korea established in South Korea.

In June 1950 North Korea invaded South Korea starting the Korean War. The War lasted three years, with a ceasefire in July 1953. Over fifty years after the armistice (2007) the leaders of North and South Korea signed a joint declaration to seek a treaty to formally end the Korean War.

The story of Korea's economy is one of success. After the Korean War (1950-53), Korea was left with a shattered, agrarian economy. From this beginning Korea went on to achieve an economic miracle. Growth accelerated in the 1960s and by the 1980s the Korean economy was booming. However, in 1997 Korea suffered an economic set-back and needed financial assistance from the International Monetary Fund. By the beginning of the millennium Korea's economy was back on track.

In October 2008 South Korea was hit by the global financial crisis; government intervention was needed to stabilize the markets.

Korea's main industries include steel, shipbuilding, automobile production, electronics, chemicals, textiles and telecommunications.

A relatively small percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) comes from the agricultural sector. Products are rice, barley, root crops, vegetables, ginseng and fruit. Chickens, pigs and cattle are reared. Korea's fishing industry includes fish farms.

The service sector earns the largest percentage of the GDP and employs the largest percentage of the working population. Korea's IT industry is a significant area of growth. The tourist industry benefited from Korea's co-hosting of the FIFA World Cup in 2002.

Korean art, dating back five thousand years, can be seen in the National Museum of Korea. There are examples of art from the Three Kingdoms and a number of Buddhist statues. Korea is also famous for calligraphy, ceramics, textiles and furniture.

Some of Korea's earliest literature includes poems (hyangga) from the time of the Unified Silla Kingdom (676-918). The first Korean novel was "The Story of Hong Gildong" written during the early seventeenth century.

There are traditions in both classical and folk music and dance. Korean Folk Opera is masked dance-drama dating back to the Gojoseon (Ko Chosun) Dynasty.

Korea was the co-host (with Japan) for the FIFA 2002 World Cup. Stadiums used for the World Cup were Busan, Daegu, Daejeon, Gwangju, Incheon, Jeonju, Seogwipo, Seoul, Suwon and Ulsan.

Other popular sports and games in Korea include basketball, the martial art of taekwondo and the tradition of kite flying.

New Year's Day, the Lunar New Year and the Harvest Moon Festival (Chuseok) are celebrated.

Religious holidays include Christmas Day and the Birthday of Buddha.

Memorial Day, Constitution Day, Independence from Japan - Liberation Day - (1945) and National Foundation Day are among other days observed.

News from Korea can be found in Newslink.

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