go to content go to search box go to global site navigation


Jeollanam-do, far from the centre of power in Seoul during the long Joseon era, was a place of exile, and was used as a dumping ground for political and religious dissidents. The tradition of political dissent has continued and the province was a hotbed of opposition to the military governments that favoured the eastern provinces and ruled South Korea in the 1960s and 1970s. Students and trade unionists led countless pro-democracy protests and demonstrations, until army tanks crushed an uprising in Gwangju city in May 1980. The soldiers’ brutality stained the reputation of the military rulers, although it was not until 1992 that a civilian, Kim Young-sam, was finally elected president.