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North Korea, officially the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, is a country in East Asia which occupies 55% of the Korean Peninsula land area. It is bordered by the Republic of Korea, commonly known as South Korea, to the south, and China and Russia to the north.
See the fact file below for more information on North Korea or alternatively, you can download our 26-page North Korea worksheet pack to utilize within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
THE DIVISION OF THE KOREAN PENINSULA
- In 1910, the Korean Peninsula became part of Japan. During World War II, Japan fought countries like the Soviet Union and the United States.
- When Japan surrendered in 1945, the United States of America and the Soviet Union agreed to temporarily divide Korea. The United States controlled the South, while the Soviet Union controlled the North. The 38th parallel (latitude 38° north on maps) was the dividing line between the two.
- Through a United Nations policy, an independent South Korea was created in 1948. The anti-communist Syngman Rhee was elected as its president.
- In the North, a communist government was established under the influence of the Soviet Union. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was created in 1948. Kim Il-Sung became its first premier. He ruled the country with an iron fist, promoting himself as the “Great Leader” of the Korean people.
- North and South Korea frequently fought along the border, resulting in the death of over 30,000 Koreans.
- On June 25, 1950, the Korean People’s Army crossed the 38th parallel and attacked South Korea, which started the Korean war.
- The war ended on July 27, 1953, when the armistice agreement was signed by North Korea, its ally, the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army, and its enemy, the United Nations Command.
- The armistice agreement also established a new boundary between North and South Korea, the four-kilometer wide Korean Demilitarized Zone. It is near the 38th parallel and gave South Korea an extra 1,500 square miles of territory.
- Despite talks about the future of Korea, the countries did not reach an agreement and Korea remains divided between the North and South to this day.
- Most people who live in North Korea are Korean. Only a small portion is Chinese.
- North Korea’s population doubled in size between 1953 and 1993, after the Korean War.
- The number of babies who die in North Korea is higher than in the South.
- Most North Koreans live along the coastlines.
- Many North Koreans have moved to cities since the government began pushing for industrialization in 1945, so the country lacks farmworkers.
- Due to extreme shortages of food and the government’s reportedly bad treatment of some groups due to their political beliefs, thousands of North Koreans have escaped to China.
- The estimated number of North Korean refugees in China in the early 21st century is from 10,000 to 300,000.
CULTURE: BELIEF SYSTEM
- When the Soviet Union took control of North Korea after World War II, they destroyed the Korean traditional family system. People were taught to work hard and live strictly based on the ideas of the ruling political party. Private life and individual freedom were repressed.
- The values and way of life of North Koreans are based on Confucian thought.
- The constitution guarantees freedom of religion but the communist regime does not practice it. The state largely controls religious activity.
- The religion Ch’ŏndogyo (“Teaching of the Heavenly Way”), which was originally called Tonghak (“Eastern Learning”), has been used for propaganda. It is a combination of Buddhism, Confucianism, and Christianity.
- Shamanism, a religion that believes that priests or shamans can contact gods, demons, and ancestral spirits, is also practiced.
CULTURE: ARTS AND MEDIA
- Leisure and cultural activities are strictly controlled by the government to promote nationalism.
- Most cultural items are based on communist ideology. Writers and artists promote the superiority of Korean culture and awareness of one’s place in the social classes.
- All North Korean writers, dancers, artists, and musicians are assigned to government institutions.
- The Korean Central News Agency controls the information that reaches North Koreans. The government strictly examines newspapers and suppresses information that is deemed anti-government.
- All Koreans in North Korea speak Korean.
- North Koreans refer to the Korean alphabet as Chosŏn muntcha. This is known as Han’gŭl (Hangul) in South Korea. They are also trying to eliminate traces of Japanese influences that were made when Japan took control of Korea.
- North Korea has a centralized economy. The state controls all means of production and sets the goals for developing the economy. Its capital, Pyongyang, is a major industrial and transport center.
- Outside North Korea, reliable information about the economic performance of North Korea is very limited. However, foreign observers say that North Korea has consistently failed to achieve its goals. They say that the North Korean government makes its production statistics appear higher compared to what the country truly achieves. It is generally believed that North Korea has only been partially successful in transforming its agrarian economy into an industrialized one.
- Its economic goals are based on the general government policy of juche, or chuch’e (self-reliance). However, it imports important commodities such as rice, beverages, mineral fuels, machinery, and textiles.
- Bad economic performance in the 1990s also forced the government to open up its economy to investments and trading with other countries.
- In the late 1900s, North Korea began adopting the motto “Strong and prosperous nation”, which focuses on building a strong military, Kim Jong Il’s primary base of power, and a booming economy.
- North Korea established a free-trade zone in Rason in the 1900s to promote economic growth through investment and trade with other countries. This was strictly supervised by the North Korean government.
- Its major trading partners are China, Russia, South Korea, Japan, India, and Thailand. Private corporations mainly promote trade with South Korea.
- North Korea mainly exports live animals and agricultural products, textiles, clothes, machines, and mineral fuels and lubricants.
- The main food crops of North Korea are grains, particularly rice, corn, wheat, and barley.
- Deforestation on the hillsides contributes to massive flooding during the monsoon season, which leads to poor harvests and economic hardship.
- North Koreans mainly get their protein from sea creatures they catch and rear. Mainly, they catch pollack, sardines, mackerel, herring, pike, yellowtail, and shellfish.
- In areas where the land is not good for crop raising, North Koreans raise livestock.
- Most mineral deposits in the Korean Peninsula can be found in the North. North Korea has the largest magnesite deposits in the world.
- The country also mines iron ore, coal, gold, tungsten, graphite, barite, and molybdenum.
- The most important industries produce iron and steel, machinery, chemicals, and textiles. State-owned enterprises and production cooperatives manage the industrial sector. Fertilizers and petrochemicals are the main focus in the production of chemicals.
- The official currency is the North Korean won. It is issued only by the Central Bank of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
- The government strictly controls tourism. Most visitors are Asians, mostly Chinese. Tourists from western countries are accompanied by official North Korean guides. Their movements are tightly restricted.
- Transportation mainly relies on trains. However, the growth of North Korea’s transport system is slow because infrastructure has been overused and energy supply is limited. River transportation is also important for transporting agricultural products, minerals, and passengers.
- Mount Paektu, which stands at 9,022 feet, is the highest mountain in North Korea and on the Korean Peninsula. It is an extinct volcano with a large crater lake.
- Mount Kŭmgang, at 5,374 feet, is famous for its breathtaking natural scenery.
- Its longest river is Yalu, called Amnok in Korean. It flows from the southern slope of Mount Paektu towards the Korea Bay.
- The Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) has become a nature preserve since it has not been touched since the end of the Korean War. Hundreds of bird species thrive in the area, including the endangered white-naped and red-crowned cranes. It is also home to dozens of fish species and mammals like the Asiatic black bears and lynxes.
North Korea Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle that includes everything you need to know about North Korea across 26 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use North Korea worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about North Korea, officially the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which is a country in East Asia which occupies 55% of the Korean Peninsula land area. It is bordered by the Republic of Korea, commonly known as South Korea, to the south, and China and Russia to the north.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- North Korea Facts
- Two Koreas
- Cities in the North
- Getting to Know
- Attractions in the North
- Tracing Roots
- War Timeline
- Choose Your Fighter
- North Korea Wiki
- Humanity in the North
- North Korea Tour Tips
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Link will appear as North Korea Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, May 3, 2020
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.