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Saturday, 19 November 2016

Changwon, Southern Gyeongsang: Ancestral Seat of Changwon Hwang Clan, Environment Capital of Korea and Provincial Capital of Southern Gyeongsang since 1983

Changwon (Hangul/Hanja: 창원시/昌原市) is the Provincial Capital of Southern Gyeongsang, Republic of Korea. It is the 8th most populated city in country, with an established population of 1,069,697 people - based on 2016 Statistics, provided by Statistics Korea (KOSTAT). It encompasses a land area of 747.12 square kilometres (288.46 sq mi) on the southeastern coast of South Korea. The population of southeastern Korea, known as Yeongnam Maritime Industrial Region (Yeongnam MIR) that includes Busan Metropole, is more than 6,478,000. Changwon is known as a heavy industrial city, only covers 7% of Southern Gyeongsang Province but holds 33.6% of its population; it also accounted for 38.5% of the total 2.1821 trillion won budget of the province. 

Located at the Southern Bound of Southern Gyeongsang Province, Changwon is bordered with Goseong-Gyeongnam on Southwest, Jinju City on West, Haman County on Northwest, Changnyeong County and Miryang City on North, Gimhae City on Northeast, Busan Metropole on East and Geoje City on South which is separated by Masan Bay and Jinhae Bay. The postal codes of the Unified Changwon City starts from 51100 [440~581 Keosan Alley/Geosan-gil, Buk-myeon Commune, Changwon Uichang-gu] to 51797 [756~1726, Hoejin Avenue/Hoejinno, Jinjeon-myeon, Changwon MasanHappo-gu].

Changwon, which boasts 2000 years of history, used to be a trading center of Northeast Asia, manufacturing iron and exporting it to China and Japan during the Proto-Three Kingdoms Period of Korea. It also played a strategic role in the defeat of Japanese pirates during the Joseon Dynasty. At present, Changwon is recreating itself as a world masterpiece city and one of the most competitive cities in Korea based on Masan Districts' history and culture, Central-Changwon Districts' industry and environment and Jinhae District's logistic and oceanic resources.

It is not clear when people started living in Changwon, but according to the artifacts and data uncovered so far, it has been estimated that people started living in Changwon during the Neolithic Age. The Bronze Age began in Korea around the 10th century BCE and people probably started living in Changwon from that time. The majority of the pattern-less earthenware objects excavated from the lowest layer of the Seongsanpaechong Shellmound seems to have been made during the later period of he Bronze Age. The tradintion of pattern-less earthenware was transmitted to the makers of Gimhae earthenware, which appeared during the Proto-Three Kingdoms Period of Korea.

Changwon was previously known as Taksun-guk (탁순국/卓淳國) during Samguk Period where this state was administrated by the Greater Gaya Kingdom, one of the Kingdoms in Gaya Confederacy. In 676 (16th Reigning Year of King Munmu the Great of Silla), King Munmu the Great changed its name into Gulja County (굴자군/屈自郡). In 757 (16th Reigning Year of King Gyeongdeok) it was renamed Uian County (의안군/義安郡) during the reorganization of all Silla provinces.

In 1018 (9th Reigning Year of King Hyeonjong Wang Soon of Goryeo), the magistrate office was installed in the state which is known as Geumju (금주/金州) and divided into two smaller Prefectures which were known as Uian (의안현/義安縣) and Happo (합포현/合浦縣). These two prefectures were renamed during the 8th reigning year of King Chungnyeol Wang Geo of Goryeo (1282), where Uian Prefecture became Uichang Prefecture (의창현/義昌縣) and Happo Prefecture became Hoewon Prefecture (회원현/會原縣). Hoewon, Happo and Uichang are the former names of Changwon where these areas are included as the districts of Changwon (present-day: Changwon MasanHappo-gu, Changwon MasanHoewon-gu and Changwon Uichang-gu).

During Joseon period, Changwon first appeared in July in the 8th reigning year of King Taejong Yi Bang-won (1408) when two prefectures, namely Uichang and Hoewon, were combined to create a higher administrative division, Changwon Governorate (창원부/昌原府/Changwon-bu). In 1415 (15th reigning year of King Taejong Yi Bang-won), Changwon Governorate was ascended to become Changwon Protectorate (창원도호부/昌原都護府/Changwon-dohobu), and later during the 34th Reigning Year of King Seonjo (1601), it was ascended to become the Greater Changwon Protectorate (창원대도호부/昌原大都護府/Changwon-daedohobu), after Japanese Imjin Invasion (1592~1598). Ungcheon Prefecture (웅천현/熊川郡) in the Jinhae Region was ascended to become Ungcheon Protectorate (웅천도호부/熊川都護府) during the 5th reigning year of King Jungjong (1510) but demoted into Ungcheon Prefecture again in 1512.

After Korea's liberation from Japan in August 15th 1945, Masan Governorate was renamed as Masan City and Jinhae-eup of Changwon County was ascended to become Jinhae City in 1955. After Changwon District was ascended to become Changwon City in 1980 the three cities developed into independent administrative bodies. Notably since the establishment of the Masan Export Free Zone in 1970 and the development of the Changwon National Industrial Complex in 1974 the cities have grown together as an economic center of Korea.

Since ancient times, Changwon, Masan, and Jinhae have grown as central cities of industry, culture and administration in Yeongnam Province. Finally on July 1st 2010, the three cities united to create Unified Changwon City, Korea's first Autonomous Integrated Administration Area and rapidly became one of Korea's most competitive cities. With the construction of a regional specialized growth belt, Unified Changwon City is being recreated as a world masterpiece city by strengthening its industrial foundations to the world-class level and by strengthening the education, culture and welfare of the city and its citizens.

The city hall is located at 151 Central Boulevard/Jungang-daero, Yongho-dong 1-beonji, Changwon Uichang-gu with its postal code: 51435. The current city mayor is Peter Ahn Sang-soo (Saenuri). While Park Wan-soo, Roh Hoe-chan, Raphael Lee Joo-young, Yoon Hahn-hong and General (Rtd.) Kim Sung-chan serve as the city assemblymen for 20th Session of Gukhoe (2016-2020). The district representatives of Changwon City for the National Assembly are shown on below:
  • Park Wan-soo [Saenuri]: Changwon-Uichang
  • Roh Hoe-chan [Justice Party]: Changwon-Seongsan
  • Raphael Lee Joo-young [Saenuri]: Changwon-MasanHappo
  • Yoon Hahn-hong [Saenuri]: Changwon-MasanHoewon
  • General (Rtd.) Kim Sung-chan [Saenuri]: Changwon-Jinhae

The Unified Changwon City consists five districts, two towns, six communes, 54 administrative precincts on 194 legal precincts as shown on the map below (in Hangul and Hanja).