Korean History in April
Korean History in April
  • Kim Bo-ra
  • 승인 2018.07.13 16:39
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From this issue, The Yeungnam Observer starts the series of ‘Korean History in This Month’ as a social issue. The series is to let students know historical events that happened in Korea, especially for those who don't know Korean history well, including foreign students. We hope it will be helpful for you to understand Korean history.


April 16th 2014, The Sewol Ferry Disaster
April 16th 2014, The Sewol Ferry Disaster

On 16 April 2014, one of the most tragic accidents in Korea occurred: the Sewol Ferry Disaster. It took a lot of victims and created unutterable grief and suffering for our nation. The Sewol Ferry, headed to Jeju island, capsized and sank while carrying 476 people in the morning of 16 April 2014. More than 300 victims on board died or went missing, and only 172 survived by only a hair’s breath. Most of the casualties were Danwon high school students who were on their school trip. Countless people mourned for the victims and, at the same time, felt anger because in those days, the government handled this problem very carelessly. So, people have demanded the present government to reexamine the cause and treatment of the accident thoroughly. Nine of the victims still haven’t been found and peacefully laid to rest, and people have tried to excavate the ship in an effort to investigate the inside. The Sewol Ferry Disaster can be explained as an ongoing part of Korean history.


Civil demonstrations against Rhee’s dictatorship in the 1960s
Civil demonstrations against Rhee’s dictatorship in the 1960s

The 4.19 Revolution marked a rise against the corrupt political regime of the 1960s. The revolution is also known as an unprecedented democratic movement mainly led by Korean students and citizens. After the Korean War broke out, Rhee Syngman came into power for twelve years, and there was a lot of corruption under his dictatorship. In March 1960, the votes for the 4th Korean presidential election were maneuvered by his regime. It triggered people’s ongoing demonstrations against the Rhee’s dictatorship. From the beginning of April 1960, the first demonstration started in Masan city. The government deterred the revolt by shooting demonstrators, causing thousands of injuries and deaths. One of the demonstrating students, Kim Ju-yeol, met his horrible death with a tear gas bomb stuck in his eye. Because of such a violent response from Rhee’s government, the protest of outraged people spread nationwide, and, in so doing, “Resign Rhee Syngman and overthrow the dictatorship!” could be heard everywhere on 19 April 1960. People didn’t give up and kept demanding democracy. Finally, at the price of innumerable people’s desperate struggles, Rhee Syngman stepped down from his reign. Without a doubt, the 4.19 Revolution clearly demonstrates the true power of people.

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