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The Republic of Korea is a country located in the easternmost part of Asia. It is commonly known as South Korea after its division with the North. The metropolis of Seoul is the capital and most populous city in South Korea, with over 20% of the country’s population living there.
See the fact file below for more information on the South Korea or alternatively, you can download our 26-page South Korea worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
GEOGRAPHY AND BRIEF HISTORY
- South Korea is a 100,210 sq km country located on the southern half of the Korean Peninsula. Along the west coast is arable land, while the rest is mountainous. It has sea borders with China and Japan, and a land border with North Korea along the Demilitarized Zone.
- Located on the southern tip of Jeju Island is Hallasan, the highest peak in the country.
- Korea experiences four seasons, wherein winters are cold and snowy while summers are hot, but with frequent typhoons.
- Archeologists suggest that Koreans were descendants of the people of Mongolia and Siberia. The Korean peninsula, located in East Asia, has been inhabited for at least 10,000 years.
- Old Chosun was the first kingdom of Korea which ruled parts of China for more than 22 centuries. The Chinese armies overthrew the kingdom in 108 B.C. and established the new kingdoms of Koguryo, Paekche, and Silla.
- The Kingdom of Silla dominated the others in 660 A.D. with the aid of Chinese troops.
- By 901 A.D., the kingdom was once again divided into three until it was united by Wang Kon, a powerful general who ruled the country under the kingdom Koryo or Goryeo, which lasted until 1392.
- The Kingdom of Koryo fell under the Yi family, who reigned under the Choson dynasty and ruled until 1910.
- In 1656, the Europeans who first sailed around the peninsula of Korea were Dutch merchants. They were held hostage for three years until one of them escaped and told the tales about the beauty of Korea. As a result, more European traders were inspired to go to Korea.
- In 1894, China and Japan sent troops to solve an uprising in Korea, but Japan annexed the country in 1910 after battling with the Chinese and the Soviets.
- Under a colony, Japan controlled Korea until the end of World War II, when all Japanese territories were occupied by the Allies. American troops stayed in the South, while the Soviets occupied the North.
- By 1948, Korea was formally divided in two: the communist North and the capitalist South. Since then, Korea is divided by the 38th parallel of latitude.
- In 1950, communist north invaded the south which ignited the Korean War. The conflict lasted for three years and was fought by Chinese, Americans, and Korean soldiers.
- Both Mao Zedong of China and President Harry S. Truman of the United States sent military assistance to South Korea when almost 90% of the country was already occupied by the Korean People’s Army (north).
PEOPLE AND CULTURE
- As of 2016, there are over 51 million Koreans. It terms of ethnicity, about 99% of its population are homogeneously Koreans. About 80% of its population are living in the cities. Seoul, its capital alone is the home of almost 10 million people.
- The official language of South Korea is Korean, spoken by 99% of the population. Some linguists argue that the Korean language is related to Japanese, Turkish, and Mongolian.
- In 1443, after centuries of writing in Chinese characters, hangul was created. Hangul is the phonetic alphabet with 24 letters created as commissioned by King Sejong the Great of the Joseon Dynasty. This was to simplify the writing system. As a result, most of his subjects at that time became literate making Korea one of the countries with the highest literacy rate in the world.
- The existing formal religions in South Korea include Confucianism, Buddhism, and Christianity. Korea highly supports religious freedom, but many of believe in ancestral spirits and rituals. Moreover, their culture is highly influenced by Confucianism, which highlights morality and respect.
- Almost half of the population shares the surname “Kim.” They address a person with family name first, i.e. Kim Sam Sun.
- Koreans celebrate two main holidays: New Year’s Day every second full moon after the winter solstice, and Ch’usok, which falls on every eighth full moon.
- The Korean life centers on the family. While arranged marriages are common, there are very few who undergo divorce. In terms of lineage, ancestors and descendants are linked through the husband’s line. Moreover, the eldest son in the family bears the responsibility to take care of his parents during old age. Some time in their history, only male children had the right of inheritance, but it is now equal by law.
- The traditional gentry of caste system was abolished in 1894 under the Kabo Reforms. Today, about 60% of Koreans considered themselves as middle class. Furthermore, social status in Korea is now distinguished through educational attainment, wealth, and family upbringing.
- Traditionally Korean women are expected not to shake hands with non-Korean men. They bow as a greeting.
- Like many other Asian countries, rice is a staple food in Korea. And is usually paired with stew, soup, grilled meat, and kimchi. Kimchi is made of fermented cabbage with red chilli sauce and is eaten with most meals as a side dish.
- As a sign of respect, Koreans remove their shoes when entering someone’s home. They keep the floors clean because they eat, sit, and sleep on the floor.
- KPop, or Korean Pop music, is making its introduction in the west after the success of groups like BTS, Super Junior, Brown Eyed Girls, and Bangtan Boys.
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
- Prior to 1910, Koreans were ruled under a dynastic system. Today, the presidential system is running the country with shared power from the three branches of the government: executive, legislative, and judicial.
- Under the executive branch is the president as the head of state, a prime minister, a State Council, executive ministries, and independent agencies. The president is elected by popular vote for a five-year term, while the prime minister is appointed by the president and confirmed by the National Assembly.
- The legislative branch is a single-house National Assembly with 273 members, all serving a four-year term. The judiciary has three tiers of courts namely, the Supreme Court, appellate or high courts, and district courts.
- Among the most important symbols in Korean life is the national flag called Taegukgi. The first flag of Korea was only created during the Joseon Dynasty at the height of the Japan-Korea Treaty of 1876.
- The flag underwent a number of redesigns until the current Taegukgi was adopted on July 12, 1948.
- The current Taegukgi was adopted after the formal separation of North and South Korea in 1949.
- The National Emblem of the Republic of Korea is the national flower Mugunghwa also known as the Rose of Sharon in North America. It symbolizes the balance of all eternity for Koreans.
- South Korea is divided into 17 administrative divisions with 6 metropolitan cities, 1 special city, 1 special autonomous city, 1 autonomous province, and 9 provinces.
- Among the biggest cities in South Korea are Seoul, Busan, Incheon, Daegu, Daejeon, Gwangju, Suwon, Goyang-si, and Ulsan.
- Male South Koreans are required to do mandatory military service for 21 to 24 months.
- Korea’s primary industries are electronics, steel, and telecommunications.
South Korea Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about South Korea across 26 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use South Korea worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Republic of Korea which is a country located in the easternmost part of Asia. It is commonly known as South Korea after its division with the North. The metropolis of Seoul is the capital and most populous city in South Korea, with over 20% of the country’s population living there.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- South Korea Facts
- The Land of the Morning Calm
- Northeast Asian Countries
- South Korean Flag
- Food for the Seoul
- Cultural Tradition
- Korean Timeline
- Fact or Fake
- Famous People
- The Korean War
- The Forgotten War
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Link will appear as South Korea Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, October 5, 2018
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.