Korea: Important Events
One of the most important events of all in South Korea and all of Korea’s history was the Korean War. The
Korean War was a surprise attack on South Korea by its northern communist
counterpart North Korea. On June
25, 1950, North Korean troops attacked South Korea
at the border of the two nations. South Korean troops fought well, but could not stop the well-prepared all-out attack
by the heavily armed Korean communists and Russian T-3 tanks. Both China
and the Soviet Union supported North Korea.
The United Nations, appealed by South Korea, passed a resolution for North Korea to withdraw and countries to give military support in South Korea. US troops, along with support from Australia,
New Zealand, Britain,
France, Canada, South Africa, Turkey, Thailand, Greece, the Netherlands, Ethiopia, Columbia,
the Philippines, Belgium,
and Luxemburg arrived at South Korea to
aid them. General Douglas MacArthur commanded the Allied troops and landed a surprise attack at Inch’on.
From there, the Allied forces forced the Northerners out of South Korea
and pursued them into North Korea.
In October of that year, China decided
to intervene, sending out a large number of troops that the UN forces had to retreat. On January 9, 1951, Seoul fell into communist hands, but was under their control for a short
time. Allied forces regrouped and counterattacked on March 12, retaking the city. At last the Soviet
Union called truce negotiations. But the talks went on for two years until an armistice agreement was reached
on July 27, 1953.
Back in 50 BC, Three Kingdoms came up on the Peninsula. Those kingdoms were the Shilla,
Koguryo, and Paekche. The Koguryo and Paekche lasted around 500 years in Korea.
The Shilla though lasted around 900 years, ending close to the 11th century. Each one developed some what
the same culturally, but had differences in their military and economy. The Paekche and Shilla dwelled in the southern
end of the peninsula while the Koguryo homed to the north. The Shilla conquered the southern end of the peninsula while
the Koguryo fell to the north and were replaced by the Parhae. Following the fall of the two empires, the Koryo Dynasty
took control. Towards the end of the Koryo Dynasty, Japanese pirates began raiding the coast and later moved inland.
General Yi Song-gye, successful from beating off the Japanese pirates, seized control of the government and military.
He began the Choson Dynasty. It was during the Choson period that art and culture flourished. Most pieces of artwork
and literature come from this period, everything else being destroyed before. In the late 16th century, Toyotomi
Hideyoshi rose to power in Japan.
He ordered his generals to attack the Choson Dynasty in Korea and the Ming
Dynasty in China. The attacks proved
successful on the Korean peninsula, but Korean Admiral Yi Sun-shin counterattacked many Japanese warships in the South Sea. The
Admiral’s warship was an ironclad with improved plated armor that resembled that of a turtle; henceforth they were called
turtle ships. The war with Japan finally ended in 1597, leaving a
great impact on the Choson Dynasty in Korea, the Ming Dynasty in China, and Japan.