Editors Note: We're blogging through We Didn't Start the Fire by Billy Joel.
Syngman Rhee was born on April 18 in 1875 in Korea. Being Korean, his birthday is also March 26 and April 26, according to the Korean lunar calendar. He was the only son of his parents.
Syngman also had royal lineage. He was a 16th generation descendant of Grand Prince Yangnyeong.
Syngman’s family moved to Seoul, the capital of South Korea, when he was a toddler. He grew up learning Confucianism education, and was considered as a candidate for the Korean civil service examination.
At nine years old, Syngman was infected with smallpox and became virtually blind, but an American medical missionary by the name of Horace Allen cured him.
Syngman graduated from school in 1895.
Syngman was thrown in prison after joining an attempt to remove the King of the Korean Empire from power. He was in prison for five years before he was released and moved to the United States. His move was considered as ‘exile’. After six years in the United States he returned to Korea. He fled back to the United States after being arrested again.
He was appointed President of South Korea at age 73 while he was still in United States. He helped ease relations between prominent people in the United States and South Korea. He was reelected twice before he was overthrown by an uprising in 1960.