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Gwangju (also spelled Kwangju, 광주광역시, 光州廣域市) is a city in the South Jeolla province in South Korea of which it is the capital. It is a designated special city under the direct control of the home minister.

The city has been established a long time ago and has been a centre of trade ever since. It was the administrative centre of the Three Kingdoms of Korea about 57 BC

With the construction of a railway to Seoul in 1914 modern industry was established. This includes cotton textiles, rice mills and breweries. With the construction of a designated industrial zone in 1967 industry in Gwangju grew markedly, especially owing to the automobile industry.

In May 1980 civil demonstrations against the newly installed government of Chun Doo Hwan took place in Gwangju. The demonstrations were suppressed by military forces, including elite units of the Special Operations Command. Most commentators agree that the suppression was characterized by its egregious brutality, including several incidents where military forces fired automatic weapons into crowds of unarmed demonstrators. At least 200 civilians are known to have died.

Choson University was established in 1946 and there are several colleges in the city. There are several old temples in and around the city.

Population: 1,100,000 (1990, estimate)

Administrative divisions in Gwangju