A region of eastern Asia forming a peninsula between the Sea of Japan and the Yellow Sea, now divided along the 38th parallel into South Korea and North Korea. Possessed of a distinct national and cultural identity and ruled from the 14th century by the Korean Yi dynasty, Korea has suffered from its position between Chinese and Japanese spheres of influence. Chinese domination was ended by the Sino-Japanese War (1894–95) and after the Russo-Japanese War a decade later the country was finally annexed by Japan in 1910. After the Japanese surrender at the end of World War II, the northern half of the country was occupied by the Soviets and the southern half by the Americans. Separate countries were created in 1948 and two years later the Northern invasion of the South resulted in the Korean War (1950–53). A 250 km-long demilitarized zone was established between the two countries at the end of hostilities but both North Korea and South Korea were some time in recovering from the devastation caused by military operations. While North Korea remains under Communist rule, South Korea is now a major industrial nation.
Subjects: Arts and Humanities.