Kaesong (UK: , US: ; Korean: [kɛsʌ̹ŋ]) is a special city in the southern part of North Korea (formerly in North Hwanghae Province), and the capital of Korea during the Taebong kingdom and subsequent Goryeo dynasty. The city is near the Kaesong Industrial Region close to the border with South Korea and contains the remains of the Manwoldae palace. Called Songdo while it was the ancient capital of Goryeo, the city prospered as a trade centre that produced Korean ginseng. Kaesong now functions as North Korea's light industry centre.

During the Japanese occupation from 1910 to 1945, the city was known by the Japanese pronunciation of its name, "Kaijō". Between 1945 and 1950, Kaesong was part of South Korea and under its control. During the Korean War, North Korea captured the city, and the 1953 Korean Armistice Agreement left the city under ...Read more

Kaesong (UK: , US: ; Korean: [kɛsʌ̹ŋ]) is a special city in the southern part of North Korea (formerly in North Hwanghae Province), and the capital of Korea during the Taebong kingdom and subsequent Goryeo dynasty. The city is near the Kaesong Industrial Region close to the border with South Korea and contains the remains of the Manwoldae palace. Called Songdo while it was the ancient capital of Goryeo, the city prospered as a trade centre that produced Korean ginseng. Kaesong now functions as North Korea's light industry centre.

During the Japanese occupation from 1910 to 1945, the city was known by the Japanese pronunciation of its name, "Kaijō". Between 1945 and 1950, Kaesong was part of South Korea and under its control. During the Korean War, North Korea captured the city, and the 1953 Korean Armistice Agreement left the city under North Korean control. Due to the city's proximity to the border with South Korea, Kaesong has hosted cross-border economic exchanges between the two countries as well as the jointly run Kaesong Industrial Region.

As of 2009, the city had a population of 192,578.

The earliest archaeological signs of habitation in the Kaesong area date from the Neolithic. Artifacts such as Jeulmun pottery, stone ware, and stone axes have been excavated from Osongsan and Kaesong Nasong, the double-walled fortress of Kaesong. As Kaesong has been occupied by various states throughout centuries, its name has changed. It was in the realm of Mahan confederacy, and was referred to as Busogap during the rule of Goguryeo. Before the strength of Baekje was retreated to the southwest of Jungnyeong, Mungyeong Saejae, and Asan Bay in 475, the area had been a part of Baekje for about 100 years.

However, it became a territory of Silla in 555, the 16th year of Jinheung of Silla's reign, and its name was changed to Song'ak-gun during the period. According to the Samguk Sagi, when a castle was built in the site in 694, the third year of Hyoso of Silla's reign, Kaesong was referred to as "Song'ak (송악; 松嶽)". Therefore, it is assumed that the name Song'ak had been used at least before the time.[1]

Goryeo

Silla began to decline in late 9th century, and a period of rival warlords ensued. In 898, Kaesong fell under the hand of Gung Ye, the founder of his short-lived state, Taebong, and then became a part of Goryeo in 919 by its founder, Wang Geon, who was enthroned as Taejo of Goryeo. Taejo established the capital in the south of Song'ak, and incorporated Kaesong into Song'ak under the name of "Gaeju". In 919, Kaesong became the national capital. In 960, the 11th year of Gwangjong of Goryeo's reign, the city was renamed Gaegyeong, and in 995, the 14th year of Seonjong of Goryeo's reign, it was elevated to "Gaesong-bu". The Gaeseong-bu is a combined term of Song'ak-gun, and Gaesong-gun, which is different from the region of the pre-1945 Gaesong-ri, Seo-myeon, Kaepung-gun. In 1010, the first year of Hyeonjong of Goryeo's reign, the palace and houses were almost burnt down during the second conflict in the Goryeo–Khitan War, so in 1018, Gaesong-bu was relegated for the "bu" system, and became to govern the three hyeon unites of Jeongju, Deoksu, and Gangeum.[1]

In the late 12th century, there was instability in both the government and the countryside. A slave named Manjǒk (or Manjeok) (만적; 萬積) led a group of slaves who gathered outside Kaesong in 1198. The revolt plot was suppressed by Choe Chung-heon.[2] When Yi Songgye overthrew Goryeo in 1392 and established Joseon as Taejo of Joseon, he moved the Korean capital from Kaesong to Hanyang (modern-day Seoul) in 1394.[1]

20th century  Kim Il Sung statue in Kaesong, as it appeared in October 2012. The statue has since been updated and a statue of Kim Jong Il has been added next to the Kim Il-sung statue.[3]

Kaesong remained a part of Gyeonggi Province until the Korean War. When Korea was partitioned at the 38th parallel after World War II, Kaesong was on the southern side of the line (within South Korea).

However, the battle of Kaesong-Munsan was won by the Korean People's Army (KPA) in the first days of the Korean War. The city was recaptured by UN Forces on 9 October 1950 during the pursuit of the KPA that followed the successful Inchon landings. UN Forces abandoned the city 16 December 1950 during the withdrawal to the Imjin River following the Chinese People's Volunteer Army intervention in the war. Kaesong would remain under Chinese/North Korean control until the end of the war.[1]

Ceasefire negotiations began in Kaesong[4] on 10 July 1951, but were moved to Panmunjom, southeast of the city, on 25 October 1951. The Korean Armistice Agreement signed on 27 July 1953 recognised North Korean control over Kaesong making it the only city to change control from South Korea to North Korea as a result of the war. Postwar Kaesong and the part of Kyonggi Province that came to be occupied was organized into "Kaesong Region" (Kaesŏng Chigu; 개성 지구; 開城 地區). In 1957, Kaesong became a "Directly Governed City" (Kaesŏng Chikhalsi; 개성 직할시; 開城 直轄市).

21st century

In 2002, Kaesŏng Industrial Region was formed from part of Kaesong. In 2003, the remaining part of Kaesong (excluding the Industrial Region) became part of North Hwanghae Province. The city is close to the Demilitarized Zone that divides North and South Korea.

In October 2019, Kaesong became a "Special City".[5]

^ a b c d 개성시 開城市 (Kaesong) (in Korean). Nate/ Encyclopedia of Korean Culture. Archived from the original on 10 June 2011. ^ Michael J. Seth. A concise history of Korea: from the neolithic period through the nineteenth century. pp. 99–102. Rowman & Littlefield, 2006. ^ Voice of Korea. "Bronze statues of great Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il unveiled in Kaesong City" – via Internet Archive. ^ "Kaesŏng | North Korea | Britannica". ^ "Bae, sae 'chianchongsu'e gimjeongho…"Gaeseongsi, teugbyeolsilo seung-gyeog"" 北, 새 '치안총수'에 김정호…"개성시, 특별시로 승격". Yonhap News Agency. 13 February 2020. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
Photographies by:
John Pavelka from Austin, TX, USA - CC BY 2.0
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