city, Cholla-puk do (province), southwestern South Korea. It is 21 miles (34 km) east of the Yellow Sea and is surrounded by steep hills with fortified castles. One of the oldest cities in Korea, Chonju had its origins in the Three Kingdoms period (c. 57 BC), when it was a strategic point of local civil and military administration. Known as the cradle of the Yi dynasty (1392-1910), the city has many historical remains. Although the population has grown, the city has retained a rural appearance, with three-fourths of its land containing vegetation. It is connected by rail and highway with Seoul north through Taejon and with the port cities of Kunsan and Yosu. A large paper mill was constructed in 1968. Other industries include textiles and canning. Chonbuk National University (1947), Chonju University (1946), and Chonju Junior Teachers' College (1962) are located there. Pop. (1990) 517,059.
Learn more about Chonju with a free trial on Britannica.com.