Gwangju or Kwangju gwäng´jo͞o´ [key], city (1995 pop. 1,257,504), metropolitan city located in but independent of South Jeolla (Cholla) prov., SW South Korea, in the Yeongsan (Yongsan) River lowland. A regional agricultural and commercial center built on the site of an ancient market, Gwangju has rice mills and industries that produce automobiles, textiles, and beer. The city is also a railway, road, and air hub. In the hills around Gwangju are ancient tombs and temples. In 1980 demonstrators protesting martial law briefly seized control of the city the ensuing massacre of the protestors by government forces was a factor in the toppling of Choi Kyu-hah's government by General Chun Doo Hwan. Gwangju was formerly the capital of South Jeolla prov.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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