Timeline

3600 B.C.E–Oldest recorded activity of farming along the east coast of the Korean peninsula (found by Korean archaeologists in 2012 and dates back to this period).

 

2333 B.C.E. — The first Korean Empire- Gojoseon–is founded by Tangun. It is said to have “descended from heaven,” and this popular mythology is widespread in Korea today, though the origin of this is unknown.

 

108 B.C.E. — Emperor Wu of China’s Han Dynasty set up four commandaries in Northern Korea and the surrounding regions, taking land previously owned by the Gojoseon.

 

527-552 C.E.–Buddhism spreads in Korea, brought from Japan. It is first adopted by the Silla (one of Korea’s Three Kingdoms) in 527 C.E.

 

935-936 C.E.–The Three Kingdoms are united under the Goryeo Dynasty. It was established by King Taejo and helped lead to the expansion of Korea’s borders.

 

1329-1377 C.E.–Books are being printed with movable metal type for the first time, including a Buddhist scriptural document, Jikjisimgyeong.

 

1392 C.E.–The Chosun Dynasty begins within the crowning of Yi Seonggye. It lasted until the 1800s, and is Korea’s last dynasty.

 

1443 C.E.–King Sejong the Great, the fourth king of the Chosun Dynasty, creates the Korean alphabet, Hangul.

 

1584 C.E.–Death of Korean Confucianist, Yulgok. Today, he is featured on the 5,000 won bill.

 

1627 C.E.–First Manchu invasion by Huang Taiji into Korea, ended with a series of compromises regarding trade, hostages, and territory violation. Followed later by a Second Manchu Invasion in 1636.

 

1866 C.E.–After the killing of many French Catholic missionaries, French invade South Korea in retaliation, burning some 5,000 historical manuscripts.

 

1905-1910 C.E.–The Chosun Dynasty ends after 518 years when Korea is annexed by Imperial Japan in the Japan-Korea Treaty of 1910.

 

August 15, 1945 C.E.–Korea is freed from Japanese rule after Japan surrendered to the Allies.

 

September 8, 1945 C.E.–Korea is divided between the Soviet Union in the North and the United States in the South.

 

1962 C.E.–The first of the Five Year Plans for South Korean economic development begins.

 

1972 C.E.–President Park Chung-hee declares himself dictator and changes the constitution to allow himself to rule indefinitely under emergency martial law.

 

1980 C.E.–Former President Choi Kyu-ha forced to step down and succeeded by General Chun Doo-Hwan. In 1981, he is officially elected for a 7-year term.

 

1988 C.E.–Seoul hosts the Olympic Games and becomes the second Asian country to host them (after Japan in 1964), and the last games to feature the Soviet Union and East Germany, prior to the dissolution of the USSR.

 

June 13, 2000 C.E.–First ever meeting between North Korea and South Korea with Kim Jong Il and Kim Daejung, respectively, meeting to discuss reconciliation and the canceling of anti-South Korean broadcasts in the demilitarized zone.

 

December 19, 2012 C.E.–Park Geun-hye (daughter of Park Chung-hee) is elected as president, becoming the first female president in South Korean history.

 

April 16, 2014 C.E.–Sewol Ferry Incident. Ferry capsizes off the coast of South Korea, killing some 304 people and resulting in the widespread sorrow of the country and arrest of multiple crew members/the Captain for gross negligence.