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Historical Description[]

Despite its advantageous position on the Yellow Sea just west of Seoul, Incheon was not a major shipping center until the late nineteenth century. The Qing Dynasty gained extraterritorial rights and founded Korea’s first Chinatown there in 1883-1884, after which it rapidly developed into an international port. In 1904 it saw one of the opening salvos of the Russo-Japanese War, the Battle of Chemulpo Bay. Its industrial and transportation facilities were further developed during Japan’s occupation of Korea from 1910-1945.

The city may be best known in the West as the site of the 1950 Incheon Landing during the Korean War. United Nations Supreme Commander Douglas MacArthur’s plan was to land behind enemy lines in order to encircle the North Korean army and alleviate pressure on U.N. forces bottled up at the Pusan (Busan) Perimeter. His risky gambit succeeded, pushing the North Koreans so far back that China had to enter the conflict to prevent their ally from collapsing completely. Incheon’s world-renowned airport is now the busiest in South Korea, and its seaport ranks second nationally only to Busan’s.

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