South Korea

country in East Asia
(Redirected from Republic of Korea)

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 (Daehan Minguk) 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.[9] Recently, South Korean culture has become famous around the world. This is partially because of bands like BTS, Korean drama, as well as its economic miracle.

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
"홍익인간"("弘益人間") (de facto)
"Hongik Ingan"
"Benefit broadly the human world /
Devotion to the Welfare of Humanity"
"Patriotic Song"
National seal
국가 인감 (國家印鑑)

Territory controlled (dark green) Territory claimed but uncontrolled (light green)
Territory controlled (dark green)
Territory claimed but uncontrolled (light green)
and largest city
37°33′N 126°58′E / 37.550°N 126.967°E / 37.550; 126.967
Official languagesKorean
Korean Sign Language
Official script
Ethnic groups
Predominantly Korean, no official statistics[a]
GovernmentUnitary presidential
constitutional republic
• President
Yoon Suk-yeol (윤석열 ; 尹錫悅)
Han Duck-soo (한덕수 ; 韓悳洙)
Park Byeong-seug
Kim Myeong-soo
Yoo Nam-seok
LegislatureNational Assembly
Establishment history
c. 7th century BC
1 March 1919
11 April 1919
• Independence from Japan
15 August 1945
• US administration of Korea south of the 38th parallel
8 September 1945
15 August 1948
25 February 1988
• Admitted to the UN
17 September 1991
• Total
100,363 km2 (38,750 sq mi) (107th)
• Water (%)
0.3 (301 km2 / 116 mi2)
• 2019 estimate
Neutral increase 51,709,098[5] (27th)
• Density
507/km2 (1,313.1/sq mi) (13th)
GDP (PPP)2020 estimate
• Total
$2.418 trillion[6] (14th)
• Per capita
$46,451[6] (29th)
GDP (nominal)2020 estimate
• Total
$1.626 trillion[6] (12th)
• Per capita
$31,246[6] (27th)
Gini (2016)Positive decrease 35.7[7]
medium · 93rd
HDI (2018)Increase 0.906[8]
very high · 22nd
CurrencySouth Korean won (₩) (KRW)
Time zoneUTC+9 (Korea Standard Time)
Date format
  • yyyy년 m월 d일
  • yyyy. m. d. (CE)
Mains electricity220V–60 Hz
Driving sideright
Calling code+82
ISO 3166 codeKR
Internet TLD
South Korea
South Korean name
Revised RomanizationNamhan
North Korean name
Revised RomanizationNamjoseon
South Korean name
Revised RomanizationHan(-)guk
North Korean name
Revised RomanizationJoseon
Republic of Korea
South Korean name
Revised RomanizationDaehan Min(-)guk
McCune–ReischauerTaehan Min’guk



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 the 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 it. 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 the 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 large and deadly war, the Korean War, which killed millions of people. As a result, Korea was split 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. South Korea is separated from North Korea by the 38th parallel. It is separated from Japan by the Sea of Japan (known as the East Sea by the South Koreans). 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. The country is slightly smaller than Iceland and Virginia.



About 52 million people live in South Korea.[10] The largest cities are Seoul (9.6 million people), Busan (3.3 million people), Incheon (2.9 million people), and Daegu (2.4 million people).[11] The population density is about 507 people per square kilometre (1310 people per square mile).

South Korea has one of the lowest birth rates in the world. The fertility rate, or number of children born per woman, was 0.92 in 2019. This is the lowest in the world. To keep the population the same, the fertility rate must be about 2, so the two children can replace their two parents. The low fertility rate will cause the population to start falling.[12]

Politics and government


South Korea is a democracy, meaning that people can vote for their government. However, this is recent. South Korea was an authoritarian dictatorship for most of its history. 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 Moon Jae-in since 10 May 2017. The previous president, Park Geun-hye, was impeached for corruption.

Science and technology


South Korea is known for a lot of technology. This includes the car makers Hyundai and Kia. The well-known global brands Samsung and LG, which make mobile phones, semi-conductors, and electric devices, are 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 say that it is linked with Altaic languages. Hangul, the alphabet that is used to write Korean, was published by King Sejong the Great of Joseon in 1446. It is the only alphabet in the world whose creator, invention day, and invention principle are 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 lots of popular South Korean typical foods such as bibimbap, tteokbokki, and bulgogi.



As of 2008, 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 unknown beliefs.[13]

The most representative traditional music of Korea is Arirang and every region has its folk song. Many South Korean singers are well known in world as K-pop is steadily developing. Famous K-pop artists include BTS, BLACKPINK, EXO, TWICE & NCT.

Hip hop artists such as Zico, Jvcki Wai, San E & Giriboy are also popular.



77% of South Korean men are circumcised; this tradition was taken from the US military.[14][15]

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.
  • Busan Metropolitan City (Busan-gwangyeoksi; 부산광역시)

Special self-governing city

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

Metropolitan cities



  1. No official data regarding ethnicity is collected by the South Korean government. At the end of 2015, approximately 4% of the population are foreigners.[2]
  2. 19.7% are Protestant, and 7.9% are Catholic.


  1. "A New Way of Seeing Country Social Responsibility" (PDF). Faculty of Philosophy and Social-Political Sciences: 6. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 25, 2013. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
  2. "체류 외국인 현황". (in Korean). Archived from the original on 2022-07-31. Retrieved 2022-07-30.
  3. 조선일보 (2020-07-22). "신자 수, 개신교 1위… "종교 없다" 56%". 조선일보 (in Korean). Archived from the original on 2022-07-10. Retrieved 2022-07-30.
  4. Quinn, Joseph Peter (2019). "South Korea". In Demy, Timothy J.; Shaw, Jeffrey M. (eds.). Religion and Contemporary Politics: A Global Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. p. 365. ISBN 978-1-4408-3933-7. Retrieved 3 June 2020.
  5. "Kosis 100대 지표". Archived from the original on 2017-11-10. Retrieved 2020-08-08.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 "World Economic Outlook Database, October 2019". International Monetary Fund. Archived from the original on 23 May 2020. Retrieved 30 October 2019.
  7. "Distribution of income (Gini index)". e-National Index. Daejeon: Korea National Statistical Office. Retrieved June 30, 2017.
  8. "Human Development Report 2019". United Nations Development Programme. 10 December 2019. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 May 2020. Retrieved 10 December 2019.
  9. "3_4whicharethe.pdf (application/pdf 객체)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on August 4, 2004. Retrieved 9 July 2010.
  10. "Korea, South", The World Factbook, Central Intelligence Agency, 2023-02-27, archived from the original on 2021-01-29, retrieved 2023-03-21
  11. Population Census, Korean Statistical Information Service Archived 2020-05-06 at the Wayback Machine, 2000–2020, Statistics Korea
  12. "Korea marks first-ever decline in registered population". 2021-01-03. Archived from the original on 2021-01-03. Retrieved 2023-03-21.
  13. "Korean religious statistics". Archived from the original on 2008-03-03. Retrieved 2008-03-19.
  14. Ku, J. H.; Kim, M. E.; Lee, N. K.; Park, Y. H. (2003). "Circumcision practice patterns in South Korea: Community based survey". Sexually Transmitted Infections. 79 (1): 65–67. doi:10.1136/sti.79.1.65. PMC 1744613. PMID 12576619. Archived from the original on 2022-07-08. Retrieved 2022-07-08.
  15. Pang, M. G.; Kim, D. S. (2002). "Extraordinarily high rates of male circumcision in South Korea: History and underlying causes". BJU International. 89 (1): 48–54. doi:10.1046/j.1464-410X.2002.02545.x. PMID 11849160. S2CID 30235521. Archived from the original on 2022-07-15. Retrieved 2022-07-08.

Further reading

  • Breen, Michael (2004). The Koreans: Who They Are, What They Want, Where Their Future Lies, St. Martin's Griffin. ISBN 0312326092.
  • Cumings, Bruce (1997). Korea's place in the sun, New York: W.W. Norton. ISBN 0-393-31681-5.
  • Hart, Dennis (2003). From Tradition to Consumption: Constructing a Capitalist Culture in South Korea. ISBN 89-88095-44-8.
  • Hawley, Samuel (2005). The Imjin War. Japan's Sixteenth-Century Invasion of Korea and Attempt to Conquer China, The Royal Asiatic Society. ISBN 89-954424-2-5.
  • KOIS (2003). Handbook of Korea, 11 edition, Hollym. ISBN 1-56591-212-8.
  • Nahm, Andrew C. (1996). Korea: A history of the Korean people, 2 edition, Hollym. ISBN 1-56591-070-2.
  • Yang, Sung Chul (1999). The North and South Korean political systems: A comparative analysis, Hollym. ISBN 1-56591-105-9.
  • Yonhap News Agency (2004). Korea Annual 2004. ISBN 89-7433-070-9.