South Korea ( listen), officially the Republic of Korea (Hangul: 대한민국; Daehan Mingug listen), is a sovereign state located in the southern part of the Korean Peninsula. The name "Korea" is derived from Goryeo, a dynasty which ruled in the Middle Ages. Its neighbors are China to the west, Japan to the east, and North Korea to the north. South Korea lies in the north temperate zone with a predominantly mountainous terrain. It covers a total area of 99,392 square kilometers and has a population of 50 million. The capital and largest city is Seoul, with a population of 9.8 million.
Archaeology indicates that the Korean Peninsula was occupied by the Lower Paleolithic period (2.6 Ma–300 Ka). Korean history begins with the founding of Gojoseon in 2333 BC by the legendary Dan-gun. Following the unification of the Three Kingdoms of Korea under Silla 668 AD, Korea was ruled by the Goryeo Dynasty (918–1392) and Joseon Dynasty (1392–1910). It was annexed by the Empire of Japan in 1910. At the end of World War II, Korea was divided into Soviet and U.S. zones of occupation. An election was held in the U.S. zone in 1948 which led to the creation of the Republic of Korea. Although the United Nations passed a resolution declaring the Republic to be the only lawful government in Korea, the Soviets set up a rival government in the North.
Seoul (English pronunciation: /soʊl/; Korean: [sə.ul] ( listen), "Capital City", from ancient Sillan "Seorabeol"), officially the Seoul Special City, is the capital and largest metropolis of South Korea. A megacity with a population of more than 10 million, it is the largest city proper in the OECDdeveloped world. The Seoul Capital Area, which includes the surrounding Incheon metropolis and Gyeonggi province, is the world's second largest metropolitan area with over 25.6 million people, home to over half of South Koreans along with 632,000 international residents.