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South Korea (한국, 韓國 Hanguk), officially the Republic of Korea (대한민국, 大韓民國 Daehan Minguk) is a country in East Asia.

South Korea occupies the southern half of the Korean Peninsula, with North Korea to the north, China across the sea to the west and Japan a short ferry ride to the southeast.

As one of the East Asian Tigers, the South Korean economy's industrialization and modernization efforts gained traction in the 1980s and 1990s, with per capita income rising to 20 times the level of North Korea.

Archaeological finds of prehistoric toolmaking on the Korean Peninsula date back to 70,000 BC, and the first pottery is found around 8000 BC.

Neolithic era comb-pattern pottery culture peaked around 3500-2000BC.

North and South each declared independence as separate states in 1948, with Kim Il-Sung establishing a communist regime with the support of Soviet Union in the north, and Syngman Rhee establishing a capitalist regime with the support of the United States in the south.

The disastrous Korean War, which destroyed much of the country, began in 1950 when Kim Il-Sung attacked the south.

Eventually, Goguryeo fell to a Silla-Tang alliance, which had earlier defeated Baekje.

This "unified" Korea began under the Silla dynasty, however true political and cultural unification would not be be achieved until the Goryeo dynasty, after absorbing Goguryeo remnants (Balhae) in 926.

Then in 1905, Japan defeated Russia in the Russo-Japanese War, making Korea a protectorate until they were finally able to annex Korea in 1910, thus beginning a 35-year occupation of the country.

Despite numerous armed rebellions, assassinations and intellectual and cultural resistance, suppression and a cultural assimilation policy that included forcing Koreans to take Japanese names and forbidding them to speak the Korean language allowed Japan to maintain colonial control.

The western half fell to the encroaching Han Dynasty of China and its territories were governed by remote outposts, but was a tenuous foothold and the natives of the peninsula and Manchuria soon reclaimed the territory, namely the Three Kingdoms of Korea, Goguryeo, Silla, and Baekje.

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