History in Seoul

Edit This

Seoul’s history dates back to the eighteenth century before Christ, making it one of the oldest capital cities in the world. It is at present the largest city in South Korea and has a population of over ten million making it one of the largest in the world.

It has been the capital city of South Korea since 1394 when it was designated as such by the rulers of the Joseon Dynasty. When Korea was colonized by the Japanese in the early part of the 20th century it underwent a lot of changes to both its historical and traditional areas, a fact that still rankles most Koreans. The Korean War in the 1950’s led to Seoul being almost completely destroyed and since then the economic development programs of the government have led to it being almost completely rebuilt. Some important historical buildings were also rebuilt during this period as an effort was made to give back to the country the glories that it did have in the Joseon dynasty

Seoul – War, Wall and Modernization

Seoul was known as Hanyang or Hanseong when it was first made a capital of the Joseon dynasty. It had a 20 feet high circular stone wall to prevent attacks from wild animals, thieves and other hostile people. Very few portions of this wall are still standing and the area that it enclosed has been completely outgrown by the vast extent of modern day Seoul. Some of the gates are still in existence, and the tradition is that all these gates used to be opened and closed to the ringing of large bells.

Seoul was isolated for a number of centuries because of this wall and finally opened its gates to foreigners in the late 19th century. Its modernization led to it being the first city in that country to have electricity, telephones, telegraph and water systems, along with trolley cars. Most of the enterprises that set up these enterprises were American owned and even in the early 20th century Seoul had the reputation of being among the cleanest cities in the world.

Seoul was extensively damaged in the Korean War and changed hands between the opposing forces in the war a number of times. The end of the Korean War led to vast reconstruction and culminated in the Olympics being held in that reconstructed city in1988. Seoul also hosted the football World Cup in 2002.

The rapid industrialization in the country has led to Seoul becoming a commercial center and the city has almost a quarter of the country's population.


Contributors
January 29, 2010 change by schitti

Nearby History Guides

Where World66 helps you find the best deals on Seoul Hotels