Seoul is the capital and largest city in South Korea. It is considered a megacity because it has a population of over ten million people and it is one of the largest cities in the entire world. Nearly half of the South Korea’s entire population lives in the Seoul National Capital Area (which also includes Incheon and Gyeonggi and makes it the second largest metropolitan area in the world). Because of its very large population, Seoul is considered a global city and it is the center of South Korea’s economy, culture and politics.
Throughout its history, Seoul was known by a number of different names. The name Seoul itself is believed to have originated from the Korean word for capital city, Seoraneol. The name Seoul is interesting however because it has no matching Chinese characters, instead a Chinese name for the city, which sounds similar has recently been chosen.
Seoul has been continuously settled for over 2,000 years and it is believed that the city was first founded in 18 B.C.E by the Baekje, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea. The city also remained as the capital of Korea during the Joseon Dynasty and the Korean Empire. During Japanese colonization of Korea in the early 20th century, Seoul became known as Gyeongseong.