38th parallel north

The 38th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 38 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Europe, the Mediterranean Sea, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean. The 38th parallel north formed the border between North and South Korea prior to the Korean War.

38th parallel north
38th parallel north
Revised RomanizationSampalseon

At this latitude the sun is visible for 14 hours, 48 minutes during the summer solstice and 9 hours, 32 minutes during the winter solstice.[1]

Around the world

Starting at the Prime Meridian heading eastward, the 38th parallel north passes through:

Co-ordinates Country, territory or sea Notes
38°0′N 0°0′E Mediterranean Sea Passing just north of the island of Marettimo,  Italy (at 37°59′43″N 12°1′47″E)
38°0′N 12°19′E  Italy Islands of Levanzo and Sicily
38°0′N 15°25′E Mediterranean Sea Strait of Messina
38°0′N 15°38′E  Italy Passing through Reggio di Calabria (southern suburbs)
38°0′N 16°8′E Mediterranean Sea Ionian Sea - passing between the islands of Kefalonia (at 38°4′N 20°43′E) and Zakynthos (at 37°56′N 20°42′E),  Greece
38°0′N 21°16′E  Greece Passing through Athens (northern suburbs)
38°0′N 24°2′E Aegean Sea
38°0′N 24°14′E  Greece Islands of Petalioi and Euboea
38°0′N 24°34′E Aegean Sea Passing just north of the island of Andros (at 37°59′57″N 24°47′23″E),  Greece
38°0′N 27°7′E  Turkey
38°0′N 44°17′E  Iran
38°0′N 48°55′E Caspian Sea
38°0′N 53°49′E  Turkmenistan
38°0′N 55°17′E  Iran
38°0′N 57°22′E  Turkmenistan Passing just north of Ashgabat
38°0′N 66°38′E  Uzbekistan
38°0′N 68°17′E  Tajikistan
38°0′N 70°19′E  Afghanistan
38°0′N 71°16′E  Tajikistan
38°0′N 74°54′E  People's Republic of China Xinjiang
Inner Mongolia
Inner Mongolia
Shaanxi − for around 5 km
Inner Mongolia − for around 14 km
Shanxi — passing just north of Taiyuan
Hebei — passing just south of Shijiazhuang
38°0′N 118°58′E Yellow Sea Passing just north of Baengnyeong Island (at 37°59′N 124°41′E),  South Korea
38°0′N 125°7′E  North Korea Ongjin PeninsulaSouth Hwanghae Province
38°0′N 125°35′E Yellow Sea Ongjin Bay
38°0′N 125°46′E  North Korea South Hwanghae Province
North Hwanghae Province
passing just north of Kaesong
38°0′N 126°49′E  South Korea Gyeonggi Province- Passing through Paju, Yeoncheon County, Pocheon, Gapyeong County
Gangwon Province - Passing through Hwacheon County, Chuncheon, (passing just north of Soyang Dam), Inje County, Yangyang County
38°0′N 128°44′E Sea of Japan
38°0′N 138°14′E  Japan Island of Sado:
Niigata Prefecture
38°0′N 138°33′E Sea of Japan
38°0′N 139°14′E  Japan Island of Honshū:
— Niigata Prefecture
Yamagata Prefecture
Miyagi Prefecture
38°0′N 140°55′E Pacific Ocean
38°0′N 123°1′W  United States California (passing through Stockton)
Indiana (passing through Evansville)
West Virginia
38°0′N 76°28′W Chesapeake Bay
38°0′N 75°53′W  United States Maryland
38°0′N 75°16′W Atlantic Ocean Passing between Pico (at 38°23′N 28°14′W) and São Miguel (at 37°55′N 25°47′W) islands, Azores,  Portugal
38°0′N 8°51′W  Portugal Setúbal District
Beja District - passing just south of Beja
38°0′N 7°12′W  Spain Andalusia
Region of Murcia - passing just north of Murcia
Valencian Community
38°0′N 0°39′W Mediterranean Sea


Japan had ruled the Korean peninsula between 1910 and 1945. When Japan surrendered in August 1945, the 38th parallel was established as the boundary between Soviet and American occupation zones. This parallel divided the Korean peninsula roughly in the middle. In 1948, this parallel became the boundary between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) and the Republic of Korea (South Korea), both of which claim to be the government of the whole of Korea. On 25 June 1950, after a series of cross-border raids and gunfire from both the Northern and the Southern sides, the North Korean Army crossed the parallel and invaded South Korea. This sparked a United Nations resolution against the aggression and the Korean War, with United Nations troops (mostly Americans) helping to defend South Korea.[2]

After the Armistice agreement was signed on July 27, 1953, a new line was established to separate North Korea and South Korea. This Military Demarcation Line is surrounded by a Demilitarized Zone. The demarcation line crosses the 38th parallel, from the southwest to the northeast. The Demarcation Line is often confused with 38th parallel, but as can be seen in the image of the map, the two are not the same.

See also


  1. "Duration of Daylight/Darkness Table for One Year". aa.usno.navy.mil.
  2. Nash, Gary B., The American People (6th edition), Pearson Longman (New York), 2008.

Further reading

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