Japan and the Korean Peninsula

How did North and South Korea come to be

From 1392 to 1910 the Korean peninsula was the home of the Choson Kingdom (as it is referred to by its inhabitants). In 1910 Japan took control of the peninsula but lost this territory after its defeat in World War II. North and South Korea are still divided by a line that lies near the latitude of 38 degrees north. This latitude marked the line dividing the Soviet occupation zone in the north and the American occupation zone in the south following World War II. From 1950 to 1953, the Communist North Koreans fought with the democratic South Koreans. With American forces involved in the Korean war, North Korea’s army was eventually forced to retreat into China, though it later recaptured land to the 38th parallel, where the border between the two Koreas remains today.


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