South Korea

By Caleb Schillinger

Basic Information

  • Population: 50,503,933
  • Capital: Seoul
  • President: Park-Geun-hye
  • Type of Government: Presidential Republic
  • Main Languages: English and Korean
  • Currency: Won (1 USD equals 1,173 Wons)
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South Korea has a strong, growing economy with a GDP per capita of $36,700, ranked 46th in the world. In 1960, South Korea was struggling economically after WWII, but they continued to grow with a 2.7% GDP growth rate. South Korea exports semiconductors, petrochemicals, automobile/auto parts, ships, wireless communication equipment, flat display displays, steel, electronics, plastics, and computers. South Korea's main export destinations are China (25.4%) and the US (12.3%). South Korea's main Imports are oil, electronic equipment, machines, engines, pumps, and medical equipment. South Korea also has a low unemployment rate, at 3.5%.


South Korea has had a big agricultural change. In the 1950's, over half the labor force worked in agriculture, but now less than 5% work in agriculture. Rice is South Korea's most important crop, along with a variety of fruits. Livestock is also important, as pork, milk, and beef are top agricultural products produced by South Korea. Fishing has become a major export for South Korea, due to their location in the South Pacific.

History Timeline

  • 1910: Occupied by Japan after Russo-Japenese war
  • 1945: Gains independence from Japan after Japan surrenders to U.S.
  • 1950: North Korea Invades, starting the Korean War
  • 1953: Korean war ends, two million deaths
  • 1961: Park Chung-hee comes into power
  • 1971: Park Chung-hee is assasinated
  • 1986: Constitution changed to allow direct election of president
  • 1991: South Korea joins the UN
  • 1998: President KIM Dae-jung wins Nobel Peace Prize
  • 2004: Country's GDP hits 1 trillion mark
  • 2012: Park Geun-hye elected as president

Japanese Rule

Japan's colonial rule of South Korea lasted from 1910-1945. The Japanese colonialism was very harsh until 1919, when a nationwide protest started against Japan. Despite the hard rules of the Japanese, South Korea improved it's economy and made urban growth. Many Koreans were forced to work in Japanese factories and had to change their names.

Korean War Video

History of the Korean War 1950 - 1953 Map


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