In the decades following independence, strict authoritarian rule took over the recovery of an embattled nation and its sinking economy.
The country’s capital, Seoul, is located near the center of the Korean Peninsula, chosen as such during the Joseon dynasty (1392-1897) for its impressive feng shui - the idea that the positioning of objects ensures health and harmony.
It is home to the headquarters of Samsung, Hyundai and Kia, representing two of South Korea’s important exports: technology and cars.
It has one of the world’s largest gross national savings and reserves of foreign investment, reminiscent of a dictatorship that placed heavy emphasis on saving instead of spending.
South Korea, officially the Republic of Korea, is a nation in eastern Asia with a long history of conflict that occupies the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula.
Liberated from Japan in 1945 at the end of World War II, South Korea was invaded by communist forces in North Korea a few years later.
Aid requested by the United Nations helped end the three-year war and support the south on its way to democracy.A critical divide between the two nations along the center of the peninsula remains.A couple eats in a restaurant overlooking the Seoul city skyline in February 2015.On Valentine's Day, South Korean women usually give gifts to men, with the men reciprocating a month later, on March 14.Pedestrians make their way up to the Namsan hill before the city skyline of Seoul at dusk.With a population of some 25 million people, the metropolitan area of Seoul is one of the largest in the world.