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Found in East Asia, South Korea sits on the southern tip of the Korean peninsula, extending southward about 620 miles (1000km). Soviet Siberia is on its northeast side and Chinese Manchuria to the north. Japan is just a short ferry trip to southeast. South Korea is actually a collection of approximately 3000 islands, with the island of Cheju (and now a province too) being the largest. The total area of the country including all of its islands is around 85,000 sq. Miles (222,000sq. km).

South Korea has become a prosperous nation since its separation from North Korea in 1948. Although the war with North Korea ended in 1953, no peace treaty was ever signed, so technically speaking South Korea is still at war more than half a century later!

Korea is essentially mountainous a country, with only about 1/5 of its land flat enough to allow cultivation. The capital city is Seoul is located on the Han River. Initially, Seoul was a walled capital in 1394 in the Choson Dynasty. It was the first East Asian city to have electricity, a water system, telephones, and trolley cars. It has now become huge metropolis, but the remnants of Choson Dynasty are still prominent in the city.


Four main religions have been influential in Korea: Buddhism, Confucianism, Christianity and Shamanism. There is now a very large mosque in It’aewon-dong catering to the needs of the Muslim population. It is not uncommon for Koreans to practice more than one religion. Many of the new converts to Christianity still practice ancestral rites of Buddhist faith.

Fast Facts:

Government:  Republic with single legislative body.

Official Language:  Korean with English taught and spoken widely.

Major Religions:  Christianity and Buddhism.

Climate:  Temperate with hot, wet summers and cold winters.


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