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North Korea History Timeline

North Korea's Information

Flag of North Korea
Land Area 120,408 km2
Water Area 130 km2
Total Area 120,538km2 (#97)
Population 25,115,311 (#51)
Population Density 208.59/km2
Government Type Communist State
GDP (PPP) $40.00 Billion
Currency Won (KPW)
More Information North Korea
Largest Cities
2500 BC - 0 BC
  • (2333 BC) First Korean kingdom, Gojoseon, founded by Dangun
  • (195 BC) General Wiman Joseon established namesake region, expanded to control vast territory, controlled trade between China and nations at Manchuria
  • (108 BC) Wiman Joseon collapsed after conflicts with Han Dynasty, Proto-Three Kingdoms founded
  • (57 BC) Silla, one of Three Kingdoms, was founded
  • (37 BC) Goguryeo, one of Three Kingdoms, was founded; was longest lasting kingdom in world history
  • (18 BC) Baekje, one of Three Kingdoms, was founded; became significant regional sea power
50 AD - 1600 AD
  • (57 - 668) Three Kingdoms of Korea dominated Korean Peninsula, part of Manchuria
  • (676) Three Kingdoms unified under Silla Dynasty
  • (935) Silla Dynasty weakened due to internal conflict, surrendered to Goryeo, became Ioseon Dynasty
  • (1231) Mongol invasions began
  • (1270) Peace treaty signed with Mongols
  • (1392) Joseon Dynasty began when Yi Seonggye was crowned king
  • (1592) Japanese invaded Korea
  • (1627) First invasion by Manchu
  • (1636) Second invasion by Manchu
  • (1864) Gojong became king of Joseon Dynasty
  • (1864) French invaded Korea in retaliation for execution of several French Catholic missionaries
  • (1876) Korean ports opened with Japan-Korea Treaty of 1876
  • (1894) Donghak Peasant Revolution was armed rebellion led by peasants and followers of Donghak religion, prompted the first Sino-Japanese War
  • (1895) China recognized Korean independence in Treaty of Shimonoseki
  • (1895) Empress Myeongseong, wife of King Gojong, murdered by Japanese assassins
  • (1896) King Gojong fled to Russian legation in Seoul
  • (1897) King Gojong returned after a year of refuge
  • (1897) Ioseon renamed Korean Empire, Emperor Gojong took control
  • (1905) Japan annexed entire peninsula, Korean became a protectorate of Imperial Japan
  • (1907) Japan forced abdication of Emperor Gojong, son, Sunjong became emperor
  • (1909) Japanese Resident-General of Korea, Ito Hirobumi, assassinated by independence activist, An Jung-geun
  • (1910) Japan formally annexed Korea in Japan-Korea Treaty of 1910
  • (1910 - 1945) Japan forced Koreans to adopt Japanese names; forbade use of Korean language, converted Koreans to Shinto religion
  • (1919) Former Emperor Gojong died suddenly
  • (1919) Korea declared independence, held nation-wide peaceful demonstrations which were crushed by Japanese military and police forces
  • (1919) Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea established in Shanghai, China
  • (1919) Saito Makoto appointed Governor-General of Korea
  • (1920) Battle of Qingshanli fought between Imperial Japanese Army and Korean guerrillas; considered to be great victory for Korea
  • (1932) Lee Bong-chang, Korean independence activist, attempted unsuccessfully to assassinate Japanese Emperor Hirohito with a hand grenade
  • (1932) Independence activist, Yun Bong Gil, bombed Japanese army celebration, two killed, injured several others; he was arrested at the scene
  • (1932) Yun Bong Gil executed for bombing incident
  • (1939 - 1945) World War II
  • (1945) World War II ended; Japan relinquished control of Korea to U.S. and Soviet Union
  • (1945) Korean Peninsula divided at 38th parallel, Soviets occupied north, U.S. occupied the south
  • (1945) Worker's Party of Korea (North Korea) founded; Soviets installed Kim Il-sung as premier
  • (1948) USSR and US Joint Commission on formation of Korean government reached impasse, Commission was dissolved, Cold War began; South created Republic of Korea, Syngman Rhee became president
  • (1948) Kim Il-sung created Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Soviet troops withdrew
  • (1948) Border clashes, naval battles, guerrilla warfare erupted between North and South Korea
  • (1950) South Korea declared independence, North Korea invaded
  • (1950 - 1953) Korean War
  • (1951) 1951 Refugee Convention approved by special United Nations conference
  • (1953) War ended when truce was signed by representatives of UN forces, North Korea, allied Chinese forces. South Korea did not sign. Korean war cost over two million lives
  • (1960s) Period of rapid industrial growth occurred
  • (1961) China and North Korea signed the Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance, China agreed to defend North Korea in case of attack
  • (1968) North Korea seized U.S. Navy intelligence ship, claiming it had intruded into territorial waters on spying mission; one crewman killed, crew in captivity for 11 months
  • (1968) North Korean commandos launched failed assassination attempt against South Korea President Park Chung-hee
  • (1969) North Korea shot down U.S. airplane above Sea of Japan, 31 men aboard the plane believed dead
  • (1972) In a joint communique, the two Koreas agreed to work peacefully to reunify the divided peninsula
  • (1973) North Korea and India established diplomatic ties
  • (1974) North Korean agent attempted to assassinate South Korean President, Park Chung-hee, Park survived, first lady was killed
  • (1976) North Korean soldiers attacked U.S. and South Korean soldiers in demilitarized zone, two U.S. Army officers killed
  • (1977) Law passed making all land property of the state with no rights for sale or purchase
  • (1982) China signed 1951 Refugee Convention
  • (1983) North Korean agents placed bombs at Burma venue during visit of South Korean President, Chun Do-hwan, more than 20 killed, president escaped
  • (1986) China, North Korea established protocol on security in border area
  • (1987) North Korea blew up South Korean civilian airliner, 115 killed.
  • (1987) U.S. placed North Korea on list of countries supporting terrorism
  • (1991) North Korea became member of United Nations
  • (1992) North Korea agreed to inspections by International Atomic Energy Agency, but then refused access to suspected nuclear weapons production sites
  • (1994) U.S., South Korea, Japan agreed to seek punitive steps against North Korea over nuclear program
  • (1994) Leader Kim Il-sung died, his eldest son, Kim John-il assumed power but not the title of president
  • (1994) North Korea pledged to give up its nuclear weapons program in exchange for $5 billion worth of free fuel and two nuclear reactors in the Agreed Framework
  • (1995 - 1998) Over 220,000 people died from famine
  • (1995) U.S. agreed to help provide two nuclear reactors that produced less than weapons-grade plutonium
  • (1996) U.S. paid North Korea $2 million to help find remains of U.S. soldiers killed during Korean War
  • (1996) North Korea agreed to hold talks with South Korea
  • (1996) North Korea announced it would no longer abide by agreement that ended the Korean War, sent troops into demilitarized zone
  • (1997) North Korean submarine ran aground in South Korea,bodies of 11 crewman found nearby, seven more found next day and shot to death
  • (1998) U.S. invoked sanctions against North Korea and Pakistan for secret 1997 missile deal
  • (1998) Former president Kim Il-song was declared "eternal president"
  • (1998) Kim Jong-Il's powers were increased to include head of state
  • (1998) Food aid was brought in by UN to help flood victims
  • (1999) South Korean ships rammed and repelled four North Korean patrol boats, sank torpedo and damaged another in Yellow Sea
  • (1999) North Korea declared new demilitarized zone that placed five island controlled by South Korea, in North Korean territory
  • (2000) North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il met with South Korean President, Kim Dae-jung in Pyongyang. Agreed to work on reconciliation, signed agreement for separated families to visit
  • (2000) North Korea joined the Association of Southeast Asian Nations
  • (2000) North and South Korea agreed to reconnect railway linking two capitals
  • (2000) Border liaison offices were reopened at village of Panmunjom in "no-man's-land" between the two countries
  • (2000) 100 people from North Korea, 100 from South Korea began reunions with family members not seen in 50 years, over 100,000 on waiting lists
  • (2001) European Commission announced it would establish diplomatic ties with North Korea
  • (2001) Flooding killed more than 80 people, damaged crops, food shortages continued
  • (2002) U.S. President George Bush made "axis of evil" speech, linked North Korea with Iran and Iraq
  • (2002) Naval vessels from North and South Korea waged gun battle in Yellow Sea; 30 North Korean, four South Korean soldiers killed
  • (2002) U.S., European Union, South Korea, Japan halted oil shipments to Pyongyang due to secret weapons program in North Korea
  • (2002) North Korea began reactivating its reactor in Yongbyon, threw out international inspectors
  • (2003) North Korea withdrew from Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
  • (2003) North Korea, U.S. and China representatives met in Beijing to discuss North Korea's nuclear situation
  • (2003) Pyongyang announced it had reprocessed 8,000 nuclear fuel rods, could make up to six nuclear bombs
  • (2003) Parliament re-elected Kim John il as top leader
  • (2004) Train carrying oil and chemicals exploded near Ryongchon, more than 160 killed, hundreds injured, 8,100 homes destroyed
  • (2004) Another round of talks on North Korea's nuclear program ended inconclusively
  • (2005) On-going famine has killed more than 2.5 million people
  • (2005) UN World Food Program ordered to cease its humanitarian operations
  • (2005) Pyongyang said it built nuclear weapons for self-defense
  • (2005) In fourth round of six-nation talks on nuclear program, North Korea agreed to give up its weapons for aid, security guarantees, but remained insistent on right to use civilian atomic technology
  • (2005) North Korea test-fired short range missile
  • (2005) UN Commission on Human Rights condemned North Korea's poor human rights record, called for an end to its "systematic, widespread and grave violations of human rights"
  • (2006) Two trains packed with soldiers collided head-on, more than 1,000 were killed
  • (2006) North Korea test-fired medium and long range missiles
  • (2006) Major flooding left over 54,000 dead or missing, 2.5 million homeless
  • (2006) UN set up series of sanctions against North Korea after international outcry following nuclear tests
  • (2007) Six-nation talks on nuclear program resumed in Beijing, North Korea agreed to close main nuclear reactor in exchange for fuel aid
  • (2007) Hundreds of cows and pigs were slaughtered after outbreak of foot and mouth disease
  • (2007) Passenger trains crossed North-South Korean borders for first time in 56 years
  • (2007) Following devastating floods, North Korea asked for aid
  • (2007) The prime ministers of the two Koreas met for the first time in 15 years
  • (2008) North Korea test-fired short range missiles
  • (2008) North Korean soldier killed South Korean tourist in resort at Mount Kumgang
  • (2008) Relations between North and South Korea deteriorated; North Korea expelled South Korean managers from joint industrial base, accused President Lee Myung-bak of sending a warship into Northern waters
  • (2008) North Korea launched long-range rocket capable of carrying a nuclear warhead
  • (2009) North Korea stopped all military and political agreements with South Korea due to "hostile intent"
  • (2009) Kim Jong il appointed to third term as supreme leader by Parliament
  • (2009) North Korea conducted a second nuclear test; emergency meeting of the UN security council called
  • (2008) After criticism from the UN Security Council, North Korea walked out of talks to end its nuclear program
  • (2009) Shots exchanged near north Yellow Sea border
  • (2009) U.S., China, Russia protested North Korea's underground nuclear test
  • (2009) North Korea withdrew from 1953 Armistice between the two Koreas
  • (2009) Two U.S. journalists sentenced to 12 years hard labor for allegedly crossing the border illegally; release obtained after visit from former U.S. President Bill Clinton
  • (2009) A revaluation of currency caused closing of shops, collapse of current, surge in rice prices, wiped our traders; working capital
  • (2010) North Korea called for end of hostile relations with U.S.
  • (2010) Thousands died from starvation in Pyongan province
  • (2010) North Korea allegedly sank South Korean warship, U.S. announced new sanctions
  • (2010) Kim John Il made youngest son, Kim Jong Un, a four-star general
  • (2011) Foot and mouth disease struck livestock, aggravated food shortages
  • (2011) Kim Jong-il died, son Kim Jong-un took over as chairman of the National Defense Commission
  • (2011) North Korea agreed to suspend enriched-uranium nuclear weapons program
  • (2012) Rocked-mounted satellite launch failed
  • (2012) Ri Yong-ho is removed as Army head, leader Kim Jong-un appoints himself to the highest rank
  • (2012) North Korea asked for food aid after devastating flooding which killed nearly 200 people, left tens of thousands homeless, devastated farmland
  • (2012) Satellite was launched into orbit after earlier failure, UN regarded the launch as violation of ban on North Korean missile tests
  • (2013) Third nuclear test conducted, twice as big as 2009 test, UN Security Council approved new trade and economic sanctions
  • (2013) Armistice that ended Korean War was nullified
  • (2013) North Korea announced it would restarts its plutonium reactor and increase the production of nuclear weapons materials
  • (2013) All foreign companies and tourists in South Korean were warned by North Korea to evacuate as the two countries were near a nuclear war
  • (2013) North and South Korean agreed to reopen jointly run factory park that had been shut down during threats
  • (2013) North Korea ordered indefinite postponement of reunions between families divided since Korean war
  • (2013) 80 people were publicly executed for watching smuggled South Korean television shows
  • (2013) Jang Song-thaek, Kim Jong-un's uncle, was found guilty of attempting to overthrown the state and executed
  • (2014) Uranium enrichment facility at Nyongbyon nuclear complex was expanded, a plutonium reactor was restarted
  • (2014) Family reunions between North and South Korean reinstated
  • (2014) Parliamentary election held with approved and uncontested candidates
  • (2014) Two medium-range Nodong ballistic missiles were test fired
  • (2014) 30 short-range rockets were test-fired off east coast
  • (2014) Artillery shells were fired by North and South Korea across disputed western sea border
  • (2014) Kim Jong-un re-elected as head of country's top governing agency
This page was last updated on April 7, 2017.

North Korea Trivia

What Type of Government Does North Korea Have?

The government of North Korea has been dominated by the ruling Workers' Party of Korea since 1948. It has been described as a socialist state and a totalitarian dictatorship.

What Type of Government Does North Korea Have?

Who is the Current Leader of North Korea?

Kim Jong-Un is the current leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, often called North Korea. He was born on either January 8, 1984 or July 5th, 1984, however, no literature has documented his exact date of birth.

Who is the Current Leader of North Korea?

What Languages Are Spoken In North Korea?

Korean is the official and national language of North Korea. The Munhwaŏ dialect serves as the standard version of Korean spoken in North Korea. It was embraced as the standard language in 1966. Other dialects include the Pyongan Dialect and the Gyeonggi Dialect.

What Languages Are Spoken in North Korea?

What is the Biggest City in North Korea?

Pyongyang is North Korea's capital and largest city with more than 3 million residents.

Biggest Cities In North Korea

What Is The Juche Ideology Of North Korea?

The Juche Ideology is North Korea’s official state ideology. The country’s government works on the basis of this ideology whose core principle states that “man is the master of everything and decides everything. Juche is also considered guide North Korea’s people to inculcate a “spirit of self-reliance” and take an “independent stand.”

What Is The Juche Ideology Of North Korea?

Is North Korea a Democracy?

North Korea considers itself a democracy but is widely recognised as a dictatorship

Is North Korea a Democracy?

About the Author

John Moen is a cartographer who along with his wife are the orignal founders of worldatlas.com. He and his wife, Chris Woolwine-Moen, produced thousands of award-winning maps that are used all over the world and content that aids students, teachers, travelers and parents with their geography and map questions. Today, it's one of the most popular educational sites on the web.

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