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Korea traces its founding to 2333 BC by Dangun Wanggeom. Archaeological research shows that Koreans occupied the peninsula since the Lower Paleolithic period with territories expanding as far as mainland China and eastern Russia during the Gojoseon period. Since the establishment of the modern republic in 1948, South Korea struggled with the aftermath of Japanese occupation (1910-1945), the Korean War (1950-1953), and decades of authoritarian governments, undergoing five major constitutional changes.
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Today South Korea is officially known as the Republic of Korea (ROK), an East Asian state on the southern half of the Korean Peninsula. To the north, it is bordered by North Korea (Democratic People's Republic of Korea), with which it was united until 1945. To the west, across the Yellow Sea, lies China (People's Republic of China) and to the southeast, across the Korea Strait, lies Japan. Approximately one-half of South Korea's population lives in or near the capital Seoul, the country's largest city.
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