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Historical Description[]

The site of Busan in southeastern Korea has been settled since the late Paleolithic period and a center of trade since the Iron Age. Much of its history was shaped by its relationship with Japan. Early on, locally refined iron was exported across the sea as well as to other parts of the Korean Peninsula. Japanese merchants were allowed to live in Busan after it was designated an official trading port in the early fifteenth century. A fortress was also built to ward off greedy shoguns, but it failed to repel Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s invasion force in 1592 at the start of the Imjin War.

Busan became Korea’s first international port in 1876. It modernized rapidly and prospered under the Japanese occupation from 1910-1945. During the Korean War, it was one of only two cities not to fall under North Korean control. Therefore it became home to many refugees and served as the temporary wartime capital. Since its buildings did not sustain much damage, Busan retains a unique historic character. It is now the country’s chief port and second-largest city, and the surrounding region is South Korea’s foremost industrial area.

History[]

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