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The undisputed claim to land in korea.

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The history of Korea is one not many fully know. What weknow today is that Korea is split between its militaristic north and democraticsouth. But that wasn’t always the case Korea used to be unified country.            The start of the split betweenNorth and South Korea goes back to the Russo-Japanese war. During the war Japanannexed a part of Korea for military operations, after Japan had won it had anundisputed claim to land in Korea.

Using this as a platform Japan then set up agovernment and began oppressing and assimilating the Koreans. They closedprivate schools, deprived of freedom of speech, controlled the press, forcedtheir language and a new financial system upon the Koreans. When emperor Gojongdied a declaration was read at his funeral sparking an estimated 2 millionKoreans to peacefully march in the streets demanding independence from Japan. Sensing its iron will weaking Japan opted for more subtle tactics ofoppression. It gave partial freedom of press and replaced  gendarmerie with regular law enforcement, butit then proceeded to exploit Korea as a market for its goods and land. Koreafinally threw off Japan’s rule 35 years later after numerous protests, two wars, and teaming up with China and other allied forces to declare war against Japanand force them to surrender.

On August 11th the surrender terms drafted by theUnited States split Korea with the Soviet Union. The United States received the Japanese surrender in Seoulthe capital of South Korea on September 9th 1945. The historic decision todivide the peninsula has aroused speculation on several counts.

Some historiansbelieve that the decision was a measure to prevent the Soviet forces fromoccupying the whole of Korea.             South Korea began to organize a police force one yearlater. A year after that their Department of National Defense was formed. InJune of 1950, war broke out, between the two Koreas. South Korea had a force ofabout 98, 000 men with only small arms.

The U. S. had already completely withdrewfrom Korea in 1949, leaving behind about 500 men to train the South Koreanarmed forces. U. S. Congress approved $10, 970, 000 for military aid in March1950.

The military equipment committed under the U. S. military assistanceprogram was still en route, when North Korean troops invaded the South in June.

South Korea was thus unprepared to resist the total invasion from theNorth.  The North was much more preparedwhen it came to invading. Over the years thanks to deals with the soviets theywere able to create a force of over 135, 000 men with a tank brigade. On June28th Seoul fell and most of South Korea’s army was destroyed. June 27thPresident Truman had ordered air and naval forces to aid South Korea and on the30th ordered U. S. troops stationed in Japan to move in on Korea. Even with theU.

S joining the fight North Korea still advanced. In October the U. S. wasauthorized to move into North Korea and destroy the rest of their army.

Late1952 China joined the war sending 1, 200, 000 men across the North Korean border. Finally in 1953 the war had come to an end. In an effort to prevent furtherhostilities a neutral zone known as a demilitarized zone was created and Koreawas now officially split.

NorthKorea is the northern half on a peninsula off the coast of China. It is made upof mostly mountains and valleys. Mount Paektu is it’s tallest mountain.

Runningthrough the middle of the country the Nangnim Mountains stretch from thenortheastern to the northwestern parts of its peninsula and down southwest tothe Yellow Sea.  SouthKorea is the southern half of the peninsula. It is made up of mountains, valleys, and coastal narrow plains. The highest peak is Mount Halla an extinctvolcano. They have two volcanic islands, one of the southern tip and one to theeast of the mainland.

South Korea has dry cold winters and hot humid summers. It’s population with around 51. 4 people, is a mix of  Korean, Chinese, American, and Japanese. Thelanguage is mainly Korean.

They don’t have a national religion but about 43%practice buddhism, another 34. 5% are protestant, 20. 6% are roman catholic, and1. 9% are other. Won is the name of their money, one dollar is worth 1, 088 won.

South Korea is also known as the Republic of Korea as it still recognises NorthKorea as part of the country instead of a separate entity.(find some way toincorporate that south korea is a democratic republic)              South Koreans have a healthier diet as they believe thatgood and bad health come from the food they eat and how they eat it, most of their meals involve a widevariety of rice, cabbage, soups, and usually some kind of meat dish. Traditionally rice is the most popular as it is the easiest to grow, harvest, and cook. Most of their food they ferment to improve its nutritional value andits flavor. One such dish that they ferment and make almost year round and havewith every meal is Kimchi. It is made by mixing cabbage, a few seasonings, garlic and onion, and seafood or fish sauce together and then fermented for acouple days before being eaten, in some case people will let it ferment for ayear to get what they call Mugeunji which translates to ripe kimchi.

Bulgogi isone of the few meat dishes which are incredibly rare in South Korea as most oftheir cuisine is vegetable based. It is made by shredding beef and sometimespork and then grilling it with a wide variety of  sides and soy sauce. Bibimbap is nothing butrice mixed with a large number of vegetables sometimes with an egg on top ormeat mixed in, but it is widely considered to be the healthiest dish, provingto even prevent geriatric disease and even has its own festival as well asbeing regarded as one of the three main traditional Korean dishes. Hanjeongsik, the Korean set meal, consists of soup, rice, and several vegetable side dishes. As people are gradually becoming better off today’s hanjeongsik is much moreelegant with new dishes including meat and fish with the three traditionaldishes remaining.

Korea also has many fast food places such as Burger King, McDonalds, Taco Bell, KFC, and even a few burger joints showing that they’vecome a long way from just vegetables and the occasional meat dish. Those whopractice buddhism in Korea are kept on a diet that is wholly traditionalvegetarian and has no meat dishes. Korean buddhism teaches compassion for allliving things the only thing they use from an animal is dairy. They also havefive prohibited vegetables that they believe hinder spiritual practice, theyare garlic, chives, onions, green onions, and leeks.

Festivals and celebrations are a big part of Koreansociety. They have 10 very important national festivals. Lunar New YearsDay(Seollal), Independence Day, Buddha’s Birthday, Children’s Day, MemorialDay, Liberation Day, Chuseok, National Foundation Day, Hangeul Day, and Christmas, these are considered public holidays in which work is suspended. Seollal iswidely considered the most important, it is celebrated as the first day one theKorean calendar and marks the passing of another year.

Many traditional foodsare served but one in particular called tteokguk is a rice cake soup. Eating itmeans you are one year older. So say someone is born in December and thencelebrates Seollal, they are considered two years old.

The festival is thenconcluded by a ceremony in where people bow before their elders which is calledSabae. After this the elders give gift money and the festival comes to an end.              Korea is a beautiful place.

It’s cultural history and itsideals are incredible. From the beliefs on food, to the festivals they havecelebrating their traditions. While the the peninsula is split, it is thesouthern half of the peninsula that is the most vibrant and richer in itscultural background and history.

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