38th parallel north
|38th parallel north|
The 38th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 38 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Europe, the Mediterranean Sea, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean. The 38th parallel north has been especially important in the recent history of Korea.
Around the world
Starting at the Prime Meridian heading eastwards, the 38th parallel north passes through:
When Japan surrendered in August 1945, the 38th parallel was established as the boundary between Soviet and American occupation zones. This parallel divides the Korean peninsula roughly in the middle. In 1948, this parallel became the boundary between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) and the Republic of Korea (South Korea), both of which claim to be the government of the whole of Korea. On 25 June 1950, after a series of cross-border raids and gunfire from both the Northern and the Southern sides, the North Korean Army crossed the parallel and invaded South Korea. This sparked a United Nations resolution against the aggression and the Korean War, with United Nations troops (mostly Americans) helping to defend South Korea.
After the Armistice ended the Korean War in 1953, a demarcation line was established through the middle of the Korean Demilitarized Zone. This new border crosses the 38th parallel, from the southwest to the northeast, and it now serves as the Military Demarcation Line between South Korea and North Korea.
- Nash, Gary B., The American People (6th edition), Pearson Longman (New York), 2008.
- Oberdorfer, Don. The Two Koreas: A Contemporary History. (1997)
- 38th parallel (geopolitics) at the Encyclopædia Britannica