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Rhee, Syngman

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Born: 1875 AD
Died: 1965 AD, at 90 years of age.

Nationality: Korean
Categories: Politician, Presidents

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1875 – He was born on the 26th day of March of this year in Hwanghae, Korea to Rhee Kyong-sun, a member of an aristocratic Yang ban family. He obtained several degrees (including an A.B from George Washington University and a Ph.D. from Princeton University) and became so Westernized that he began writing his name in the Western manner, with the personal name preceding the family name.

 

1897 - He was arrested in this year for demonstrating against the monarchy, being subsequently released in 1904 and going to the United States.

 

1910 – He returned to Korea, which had by this time been annexed by Japan. His political activism attracted unwelcome attention from the occupying army, and he left for China in 1912.

 

1919 – On this year, all of the major pro-independence factions formed the Provisional Government in Shanghai. Rhee was elected the president, a post he held for six years, until 1925 when he was impeached by the Provisional Assembly for the misuse of his authority.

 

1948 - The first president of South Korea. His presidency began from August of this year until April of 1960, remains controversial, affected by Cold War tensions on the Korean peninsula and elsewhere.

 

1950 - As president, Rhee assumed dictatorial powers even before the Korean War broke out in this year. He allowed the internal security force (headed by his right-hand man, Kim Chang-ryong) to detain and torture suspected Communists and North Korean agents.

 

1952 - On the 18th of January of this year, he declared South Korean sovereignty over the waters around the Korean peninsula, in a concept similar to that of today's exclusive economic zones. He awarded a medal to U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Ralph A. Ofstie during the Korean War in the same year.

1960 – By this year, Rhee already served three terms in office. His victory was assured when the main opposition candidate, Cho Byeong-ok, died shortly before the March 15 elections. Rhee won with 90% of the vote.

 

1965 – He died of stroke on the 19th day of July of this year in his exile in Honolulu Hawaii, USA. His body was returned to Seoul and buried in the National Cemetery on July 27 of the same year.


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Page last updated: 10:55am, 02nd Jul '07