South Korea Territory and History
The geological origin of the region now occupied by the country is similar to that of the contiguous North Korea. The country is characterized by a moderate mountainous area, albeit with mostly senile forms due to the long erosive action it has undergone; this mountainousness is accentuated in the central-eastern section, while to the west the flat areas prevail. The reliefs have a meridian trend and none of them reach 2000 m in height. The main range is that of the T’aebaek-sanmaekmountains (Seolag, 1708 m), which runs along the east coast and slopes down towards the west on the Lyngsu plateau, whose extreme offshoots reach as far as the sea, determining the articulated morphology of the coast. Some fairly vast plains, such as the plain of Daegu, separate the Sobaek-sanmaek chain from the T’aebaek mountains, which is maintained on average at 1500 m with a NE-SW direction and from which some mountain ridges branch off culminating in Mount Chii- san (1915 m). The plains, prevalent in the western regions, where, for example, the Seoul plain is located, nevertheless never form vast expanses uniformly flat but are generally bumpy from hilly reliefs. Being a peninsula, South Korea has a very extensive coastline. The coast is almost straight to the E and bordered by a short sandy strip. promontories and recesses, which offer good conditions for port activity and generally greater possibilities for human settlement; these coasts are also faced by rocks, islands and archipelagos as they are linked to the marine submersion of the ancient penepian, which emerges from the sea at the rocky heights. However, only one island is of considerable size: that of Cheju, which rises in the Strait of Korea above an ancient granite base.
Given the morphology of the country, rivers generally have a short and irregular course, especially those that flow to the Sea of Japan. According to findjobdescriptions, the main rivers of South Korea are: the Naktong-gang, which irrigates well-cultivated basins between the T’aebaek and Sobaek mountains; the Han and the Taedong-gang, whose basins are included between the T’aebaek and the west coast; they flow into the Yellow Sea or the Strait of Korea with wide and deep estuaries which constitute excellent natural harbors, in correspondence with which some of the main Korean centers have sprung up. The major rivers are generally navigable in their lower stretch, while in the upper they have favorable conditions for hydroelectric exploitation.
HISTORY: FROM THE ORIGINS TO THE FORMATION OF THE TWO REPUBLICS
The history of Korea is traditionally traced back to the mythical figure of Tan Gun, son of the creator of the sky, who descended to Earth in 2332 BC. C., who, having organized a kind of state in the peninsula which he governed for more than 1000 years, returned to heaven after leaving his son on the throne. Expelled these from Ch’i Tzu, the new state of Chosŏn was born, which in 108 a. C. was invaded by three Chinese armies and the following year was annexed to China and divided into four parts: Lo-lang, Hsüan-tu, Chên-fan and Lin-t’un. With the weakening of the Chinese power of the earlier Han, these territories gradually acquired a certain independence and the southern regions became confederated into the three Han: Ma-han, Chin-han, Pyŏn-han. Subsequently, the state of Koguryo arose in the north, the state of Paekche in the south and in Chin-han a new state which in 504 d. C. would have taken the definitive name of Silla and that in 668, absorbed Paekche and Koguryo, carried out the unification of Korea. As the power of Silla weakened, the country was unified in 935 under the Koryŏ reign, founded in 918 by Wang Kŏn. With the advent of the Mongols in China (1271), Korea became a vassal state until in 1368, after the Mongols were dethroned by the Ming, General Yi Sŏng-gye organized a revolt and proclaimed himself king in 1392, founding the new Yi dynasty. which lasted until 1910 and under which the country took back the ancient name of Chosŏn. Invaded first by the Japanese (1592-97) and then by the Mancesi who had dethroned the Ming in China in 1627, Korea depended on both countries. Closed to the outside world in 1644, it lived for more than two centuries in the throes of continuous internal party struggles, while the population languished due to the profound agricultural and economic crisis that the country was going through. In 1876 Korea was forced to open its doors to Japan, with which it signed the Treaty of Kang-hwa. The struggles between the parties resumed once again, involving China and Japan, one allying with the Min family, the other with the Kum family. This led to the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese war (1894-95), at the end of which the Korean king Ko Chong proclaimed himself emperor and Korea took the name of Tae Han. From 1905, after the Japanese victory over Russia, Korea became a Japanese protectorate until 1945. After the defeat of Japan, Cairo Conference in November 1943. Japan’s surrender operations were entrusted to the Soviets to the N of the 38th parallel and to the United States to the S of the same. The division of Korea should have been transitory, pending the establishment of a unitary government, but internal frictions and, above all, the intensification of international tension ended up determining the establishment of two state groups, one under Soviet influence. the other under the US one. On August 15, 1948, the Republic of South Korea and Syngman Rhee were officially proclaimedbecame president. On 12 September the Republic of North Korea was born. Each of the two states had rights over the entire peninsula, they had also had an internal evolution that was antithetical to each other: the North had adopted a Soviet-type constitution, in the South the nationalist and conservative parties had won power. The tension between the two Koreas therefore gradually increased while, due to the worsening of the Cold War, the international situation worsened. Border incidents became more frequent until on June 25, 1950 the North Korean army crossed the 38th parallel, arriving in Seoul two days later. The USA, allies of South Korea, reacted immediately by resorting to the UN Security Council which, met on June 27 (in the absence of the USSR), D. MacArthur. The conflict lasted from 25 June 1950 to 27 July 1953. It was divided into four phases: the first was characterized by the North Korean advance throughout South Korea excluding the Busan area; the second (15 September-early November 1950) from the allied counter-offensive which began with the landing of Incheon and the advance to the Manchurian border; the third (November 27, 1950-June 1951) from the Chinese intervention; the fourth (June 1951-July 1953) from the war of position around the 38th parallel. The armistice negotiations, which began on 10 July 1951 in Kaesong and continued in Panmunjeom, among other things, established a demilitarized dividing line between the two Koreas and the convening of an international conference for the definitive settlement of the Korean problem. This conference, which met in Geneva on April 26, 1954, ended in failure the following June.