Trees on the island are different from the capital region due to the warmer climate.
, one of the temples located on the island.
Jeju-do (제주도, official name 제주특별자치도, 濟州特別自治島, or Jeju Self-governing Island) is the smallest province of South Korea, situated on, and coterminous with, the country's largest island. Jeju-do lies in the Korea Strait, southwest of Jeollanam-do Province, of which it was a part before it became a separate province in 1946. Its capital is Jeju City.
In Korean, do is the phonetic trancription of two distinct Chinese characters meaning, respectively, "island" (島) and "province" (道). Thus, Jejudo or Jeju-do can refer to either the island or the government administrative unit. Since attaining autonomy, the island is now referred to in full as 제주특별자치도 (jeju teukbyeol jachido or Jeju Special Self-governing Island).
Historically, the island has been called by many different names including:
- Doi (도이, 島夷)
- Dongyeongju (동영주, 東瀛州)
- Juho (주호, 州胡)
- Tammora (탐모라, 耽牟羅)
- Seomna (섭라, 涉羅)
- Tangna (탁라, 竣羅)
- Tamna (탐라, 耽羅)
Before the year 2000, when the Seoul government changed the official Romanization of Hangul, Jeju-do was spelled "Cheju-do". Almost all written references to the island before 2000 use that spelling.
Jeju Island – formerly known to Europeans as Quelpart – is a volcanic island, dominated by Hallasan: a volcano 1,950 metres high and the highest mountain in South Korea.
The island was created entirely from volcanic eruptions about one million years ago, and consists chiefly of basalt and lava. It has a subtropical climate, warmer than the rest of Korea, with four distinct seasons. Half of the summer is rainy, and the winter is fairly dry.
Founding Myth and History
According to the founding myth of Samsonghyol, Jeju was uninhabited until three divine men emerged from the ground at Moheunghyul, now located on the northern foot of Mt. Halla. The first was named Koh, the second Yang, and the third Boo.
Jeju-do was an independent country called Tamna (耽羅) until it became a protectorate of Shilla in 662. In 938, after the fall of Silla, Tamna became a protectorate of Goryeo. In 1105, Tamna lost its autonomy and became a province of Goryeo. It was King Euijong of Goryeo who changed the island's name from Tamna to Jeju.
In 1271, Jeju became the base of the Sambyeolcho Rebellion against the Mongols. After Sambyeolcho was defeated in 1273, the Mongols placed Jeju under direct rule, and it became Goryeo territory again in 1367.
When Korea was colonized by Japan in 1910, Jeju became known as Saishu, which is the Japanese reading of the hanja for Jeju. After the defeat of the Japanese, Jeju became an official part of the new Republic of Korea. Jeju was then a part of Jeolla until 1946, when it became a province of its own.
In a series of events over several years, known as the Jeju massacre, tens of thousands of people were killed. The cause is still disputed.
Historically, the people of Jeju Island have been the victim of discrimination owing to its location and isolation. The history of Jeju has been largely omitted from South Korean history books and textbooks.
Society and culture
Because of the relative isolation of the island, the people of Jeju Island have developed a culture that is distinct from that of mainland Korea. Jeju is home to thousands of local legends. Perhaps the most distinct cultural artifact is the ubiquitous harubang ("stone grandfather") carved from a block of lava.
Another distinct aspect of Jeju-do is the matriarchal family structures, found especially in Udo and Mara, but also present in the rest of the province. The best-known example of this is the haenyo (해녀, literally "sea women"), who are often the heads of family. They earn their living from diving to great depths without scuba gear in order to harvest abalone, conch, and a myriad of other marine products.
Jeju Province is divided into two cities ("Si" or "Shi"). The two cities are further divided into thirty-one neighbourhoods ("Dong"), seven towns ("Eup") and five districts ("Myeon"). The seven towns and five districts are in turn divided into 551 villages ("Ri").
In 2005, Jeju residents approved by referendum a proposal to merge these entities into one, which will be directly administered by the provincial government. This is part of plans to create the Jeju Free International City.
- Provincial flower: Rhododendron (Rhododendron Weyrichii / Max (Chamkkot))
- Provincial tree: Camphor Laurel (Cinnamomum camphora siebold / Noknamu)
- Provincial bird: Woodpecker (Dendrocopos leucotos quelpartensis)
The projected size of the 2006 budget will be $1.11 billion (1.11 trillion won), an increase of 10% over the year before of $1.005 billion (1.005 trillion won). The total size of the economy in 2006 is projected to be $8.48 billion, or 8.48 trillion won, with a GDP per capital of approximately $15,000.
Jeju's international sister provinces are also islands: Hainan Province, (People's Republic of China), Hawaii, (United States), Sakhalin, (Russia), and Bali, (Indonesia).
The demand for electric power on Jeju is significantly greater than the supply. Power from mainland plants makes up the difference. The island's power-grid is connected to the mainland by the HVDC Haenam-Cheju. However, the majority of the island's electric power needs are met by generators located on the island. As of 2001, there were four power plants on Jeju, with more under planning and construction. The most notable of these are the gas-fired generators of Jeju Thermal Power Plant, located in Jeju City. The present-day generators of this plant were constructed from 1982 onwards, replacing earlier structures that dated from 1968.  As elsewhere in Korea, the power supply is overseen by the Korea Electric Power Corporation, or KEPCO.