When the Second World War ended Korea found itself under the rule of the two leading countries of the time. While the north was under the Soviet Union the southern half of the country was being dominated by the Unites States of America. Though the 1943 Cairo Declaration promised a unified Korea, the country was divided into two halves- the communist North and the democratic South. Since then every big event that has taken place below the 38th parallel in the earlier ancient and enriched land of Korea is referred to as the history of South Korea.
The first major event in the history of South Korea is the election that chose Syngman Rhee as the president of the country. But under the instigation of Stalin the two nascent countries involved in a war as North Korea attacked its neighbor on 25th June, 1950. Commonly known as the Korean War this is one of the bloodiest chapters of South Korean history. It ended with a casualty figure above 4 million (soldiers and civilians). The truce of 1953 resulted in the peninsula split along the demilitarized zone.
The next episode of the history of South Korea was the student uprising in 1960. It was against the autocratic government of President Syngman Rhee who was forced to resign. His resignation was followed by a civil unrest and political instability. Taking this opportunity General Park Chung-hee led a military coup and became the president in 1961. He was assassinated in 1979.
In 1980 South Korea witnessed another military coup by General Chun Doo-hwan. He succeeded against the transitional government to become the president. The country got into another civil unrest with violent protests in Gwangju. This had the president sending special forces leading to the Gwangju Massacre.
One of the best phases of the historical development of South Korea was the hosting of 1988 Summer Olympics. South Korea became a member of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development in 1996. The country owes its economic development to the Chaebols, family owned business in the country. Some of the internationally renowned Chaebols are Samsung, Hyundai, and LG.
The sunshine Policy of Kim Dae Jung led to development of trade and investment between the two countries- South Korea and North Korea. Today South Korea is one of the leading countries in Asia holding immense clout in the economy and the politics of the region.