October 9 of every year holds a very special place in the hearts of Koreans; it is the birthday of Hangeul, the native Korean alphabet.
The Korean alphabet is unique in that it is the only writing system in the world about which both the creation date and creator are known.
Before the invention of Hangeul, Chinese characters called “hanja” were used in Korea.
However, hanja was difficult to learn, especially for people of lower social status with little to no access to education, and this led to rampant illiteracy throughout the country.
In order to resolve the problem, King Sejong the Great (r. 1418-1450) began developing a new writing system that would be easy to access as well as to learn.
The invention of the new script was started in 1443 and Hangeul underwent three years of trials before being official completed in 1446.
At that time, Hangeul was disseminated with a thorough explanation of logic behind each stroke of its characters in the text.