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K-HISTORY

Meaningful Days of Korean History

  • 1963.1.18
    designated date
    Deoksugung Palace is unique among Korean palaces in having a modern seal engraving and a western style garden and fountain. Medieval and modern style architecture exists together in harmony in Deoksugung Palace. The Changing of the Royal Guard can be seen in front of Daehanmun (Gate) and is a very popular event for many visitors. During the Joseon Dynasty, the royal guard was responsible for opening and closing the palace gate as well as patrolling around the gate area. Outside the palace is a picturesque road flanked by a stone wall which is much loved by visitors.

    Originally, Deoksugung Palace was not a palace. The Imjin War (the Japanese invasions in 1592) left all the palaces in Korea severely damaged. When King Seonjo (the fourteenth king of the Joseon Dynasty) returned to Seoul from his evacuation, the primary palace Gyeongbokgung Palace had been burnt to the ground and other palaces were also heavily damaged. A temporary palace was chosen from among the houses of the royal family. This is the origin of Deoksugung Palace. King Gwanghaegun (the fifteenth king of the Joseon Dynasty) named the palace Gyeongungung, formalizing it as a royal palace. Since then it has been used as an auxiliary palace by many Joseon kings. In 1897, Emperor Gojong (the twenty-sixth king of the Joseon Dynasty) stayed here and expanded it. The modern buildings such as Seokjojeon (Hall) were constructed during this period. In 1907, the palace was renamed Deoksugung.
  • 1986.1.20
    Export date
    1,000 Korean cars departed Ulsan Port on January 20, 1986 to export to the United States.

    It has already exported Korean cars to the world for more than a decade, but it was the first time to export them to the United States, the world's largest market and the owner of the automobile industry.

    The car model, which was exported to the U.S., was Pony excel, and Presto continued to step on U.S. soil.
  • 1963.1.21
    a date designated as a historical site
    Built in 1395, Gyeongbokgung Palace is also commonly referred to as the Northern Palace because its location is furthest north when compared to the neighboring palaces of Changdeokgung (Eastern Palace) and Gyeonghuigung (Western Palace) Palace. Gyeongbokgung Palace is arguably the most beautiful, and remains the largest of all five palaces.

    The premises were once destroyed by fire during the Imjin War (1592-1598). However, all of the palace buildings were later restored under the leadership of Heungseondaewongun during the reign of King Gojong (1852-1919).

    Remarkably, the most representative edifices of the Joseon dynasty, Gyeonghoeru Pavilion and the pond around Hyangwonjeong Pavillion have remained relatively intact. The raised dias and stone markers of Geunjeongjeon showcase the representative art style of their time.

    The National Palace Museum of Korea is located south of Heungnyemun Gate, and the National Folk Museum is located on the eastern side of Hyangwonjeong Pavillion.
  • 1963.1.21
    designated date
    Hwaseong Fortress, designated as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site on December 12, 1997, has deep history protecting the capital from outside attack. Hwaseong Fortress offers various performances daily as well as Suwon Hwaseong Cultural Festival every fall. The fortress circles Paldalsan Mountain at the center for 5.7 kilometers long. The fortress, constructed from 1794 to 1796, was built as a display of King Jeongjo’s filial piety towards his father and to build a new pioneer city with its own economic power.
  • 1963.1.21
    designated date of treasure
    Heunginjimun Gate was built to protect Hanseongbu, which historically housed important government facilities. Heunginjimun Gate was the gate on the east side of the outer wall of Seoul Fortress among eight gates. It is referred to as Dongdaemun Gate as well. The gate was constructed during King Taejo’s 5th year in 1396, remodeled during the reign of King Danjong in 1453 and was newly built in 1869 during the sixth year of King Gojong’s reign in 1869.

    The gate features a hipped roof which has five front compartments and two side compartments on a two-storied building. The thin and weak bracket system supports the eaves and is excessively decorated, reflecting the construction features of the late Joseon period. Also, outside of the fortress is the half-circle shaped Ongseong, a small wall, to protect the gate.

    One of the unique factors of Heunginjimun Gate is that it is the only gate among Seoul’s eight to have Ongseong, further exhibiting the style of construction used during the late Joseon period as well.
  • 1963.1.21
    designated date of treasure
    Bosingak Belfry was used during the Joseon dynasty to keep the time. The bell would ring 33 times at 4 AM, signaling the start of the day and the opening of the city gates. At 10 PM, the bell would ring 28 and the gates would close for the night. The bell was originally installed at Wongaksa Temple in 1468, in the 13th year of King Sejo, but was moved to its current location in 1619. The bell has high cultural value due to the exact year of construction being known, allowing historians to accurately date artifacts from the same time period. The original bell, National Treasure No. 2, is preserved in the National Museum of Korea.

    Tourists to Jongno-gu and locals alike can enjoy a living history through the bell-ringing ceremony that takes place for one hour every day (excluding Mondays), starting at 11:20. In addition, Bosingak Belfry is the location of Korea's very own "ball drop ceremony" on December 31. On this evening, the streets surrounding the belfry are closed to traffic and people gather to ring in the New Year with the striking of the bell.
  • 1963.1.21
    a date designated as a historical site
    Poseokjeong Pavilion served as a separate palace where kings enjoyed banquets with nobles. The building no longer exists, but the abalone-shaped stone water canal still remains, speculated to have been built during the Unified Silla period although the exact year is unknown. The water canal has an estimated length of 10 meters, with a width of approximately 35 centimeters and an average depth of 26 centimeters. Based on Chinese writings from 353, it is said that drinking glasses were floated on the canal. One popular party game had guests creating poems before the glass had passed nine sections of the canel. Guests who could not do this had to drink three glasses. Modern research has shown that the site was not merely a place for fun, but also served as a meeting venue for the royal family, as well as for holding memorial services.
  • 1968.1.21
    Event day
    On January 21, 1968, North Korean armed communist forces attacked CheongWaDae and invaded Seoul's Segeomjeong Pass to assassinate President Park Chung-hee.

    Of the 31 people who invaded the gun, 29 were shot dead, 1 unidentified, and 1 surrendered (Kim Shin-jo).

    In the name of the only survivor, Kim Shin-jo, this case is also called the "Kim Shin-jo case".
  • 1968.1.23
    Kidnapping Day
    In the case of the abduction of the US information ship Pueblo, the recout ship Pueblo belonging to the US Navy was captured by the North Korean Navy on the high seas of Wonsan, North Korea in 1968 during the Johnson administration.

    Eighty-two U.S. Navy personnel were arrested for 11 months, but only the crew was released.

    The Pueblo was captured by a North Korean warship on January 23, 1968 while collecting information on the high seas of Wonsan, North Korea, and in the process, a crew member was fired by the North Korean army. He died and injured 13 people.

    It was the first time in 106 years in American history that a US ship was abducted on the high seas.
  • 1991.1.25
    designated date of national treasure
    Joseon Baekja is the most widely known pottery in Korea, along with Goryeo Cheongja(celadon porcelain).

    Baekja(White porcelain) and Buncheongsagi(powdered blueware) are representative ceramics of Korea. Baekja was continuously produced and used throughout the Joseon Dynasty, while Buncheongsagi were produced for 150 years.

    The white porcelain, which shows the beauty of purity and moderation, was used by new Dynasty and the noblity who pursued Confucian philosophy, so it contains their thoughts and preferences.

    The Baekja of National Treasure No. 258 is considered one of the most representative white porcelain bottles of the time in a state in which the bold and tasteful pictures of bamboo show the spirit of the Sunbi people at that time.
  • 1958.1.30
    Specified date
    On January 30, 1958, Gimpo Airport was designated as an international airport, and a system of jurisdiction from the Minister of Transportation was promulgated.

    Gimpo Airport opened in 1942 at Gimpo Airfield and was used as an airfield for the United Nations Military Command during the Korean War.

    Management was transferred to Korea in 1961 and served as Korea's first gate until Incheon Airport opened in 2001.
  • 1953.1.30
    Fire occurrence date
    On the night of January 30, 1953, a big fire broke out in the international market, which was the economic center of the temporary capital Busan.

    The fire was extinguished at dawn on January 31, but caused great damage, with more than 30,000 people displaced and 4,000 shops burned down.
  • 877.1.31
    Taejo Wang Geon's Birthday
    Taejo (r. 918-943 CE), previously known as Wang Geon or Wang Kon, was the founder and first king of the Goryeo (Koryo) kingdom which unified and ruled ancient Korea from 918 CE to 1392 CE. Wang Geon was given the posthumous title of Taejo meaning 'Great Founder.' His dynasty would oversee an unprecedented flourishing of Korean culture, and its name is the origin of modern Korea's English name.

    The Fall of Silla
    The Unified Silla Kingdom (668- 935 CE) had held sway over the Korean peninsula for three centuries, but the state was in a slow decline. Rebellions from the peasantry and the aristocracy were rife, and there followed a period of political turmoil referred to as the Later Three Kingdoms period (889-935). Gyeon Hwon, a peasant leader, took advantage of the political unrest in 892 CE and formed a revival of the old Baekje kingdom in the south-west portion of the peninsula. Meanwhile, an aristocratic Buddhist monk leader, Gung Ye declared a new Goguryeo state in the north in 901 CE, known as Later Goguryeo. Gung Ye was assisted by his first minister and general Wang Geon, the son of a wealthy merchant and local headman at Gaeseong in the Silla kingdom.
  • 1989.2.1
    historical event day
    ☆Korea signed an agreement on the establishment of the Korean-Hungarian Resident Representative on August 26, 1988, placed the Korean Permanent Mission to Hungary in Budapest on October 25, the same year, and established the Hungarian Permanent Mission to Korea in Seoul on December 7.

    The following year Korea and Hungary officially established ambassador-level diplomatic relations on February 1, 1989, and on the same day, the resident representative was promoted to the embassy.

    Hungary became the first communist country in Eastern Europe to establish formal diplomatic relations with Korea, and in November 1989, President Roh Tae-woo visited Hungary for the first time as a Korean president to sign an aviation agreement and tourism agreement.
  • 1963.2.1
    Opening Day
    Jangchung Gymnasium was Korea's largest indoor stadium with 8,000 seats and is a circular stadium.

    Originally used as an army gymnasium, it was changed to a sports stadium and opened on February 1, 1963.

    In the 1960s and 1970s, Jangchung Gymnasium was a regular venue for various control events as well as sports.

    It is where various national celebrations such as the $10 billion export ceremony, the Liberation Day, and the inauguration ceremony of the president were held.