Korea has a 5000 year history and Korean mythology describes the birth of the nation as when a god came from heaven, transformed a bear into a woman and married her. She gave birth to a son named Tangun who established the first capital of the Korean nation in 2333 B.C. The capital was named Joseon, meaning Land of the Morning Calm. For five millennia, Korea has withstood the influences and invasions of neighboring countries and preserved its heritage, language and ethnic homogeneity. Throughout its history, Korea has excelled in science and technological advances developing the world’s most scientific alphabet, the world’s first ironclad warship, the first metal typeset book, and the first udometer.
Due to Korea’s location between the great imperial powers of the Orient, it has been subjected to invasions throughout its history by warring nations from China, Manchuria and Japan. In 1910, Korea was forcibly annexed by Japan and remained occupied until the end of WWII. Traditional Korean culture suffered greatly during this time and many cultural artifacts were destroyed or taken out of the country. At the end of WWII, the United Nations developed a plan to disarm the Japanese military in Korea and charged the Soviet Union with administering the plan north of the 38th parallel and the south was placed under administration by the USA. Cold War politics led to the creation of a republic government in the South and a communist-style government in the north. In 1950, the Korean War broke out and lasted three years before ending in a ceasefire and the creation of a 4 kilometer wide Demilitarization Zone (DMZ) separating north and south Korea.