‘Mapo has been a region favored by many poets and artists from across the country for its beautiful riverscape’
The current name of the area came from its old names such as Mapogang and Mapohang. Located by the banks of the Hangang River in middle western Seoul, the Mapo area had three mountain ranges―Wausan Mountain Range branching off from Ansan and Nogosan and Yongsan Mountain Ranges―that stretched towards the Hangang River. Along the mountain ranges were three lakes named Seoho, Mapo and Yongho, respectively. These three lakes were collectively called "Samgae," meaning "three ports" of which Mapo was referred to as "Mapogang" or "Mapohang". The current name "Mapo" came from these old names. The Mapo area, as a hub for waterway transport and an area with storages for grain from the three southern provinces, saw the development of prosperous fishing villages since ancient times. During the early Joseon era, the area was under the jurisdiction of Hanseong-bu. Though it was located within 10 li (equivalent to about 4 km) of the fortress, it is presumed that it was not an independent administrative district. By the late Joseon Dynasty, five bang (Dumo-bang, Hangang-bang, Dunji-bang, Yongsan-bang, and Seogang-bang) were newly established as administrative districts within Hanseong-bu and part of the current Mapo-gu was incorporated into Yongsan-bang and Seogang-bang.
Today's Mapo-gu was established on October 30, 1944 as a district including the areas separated from Seodaemun-gu and Yongsan-gu in accordance with the Japanese Government-General of Korea Ordinance No. 350. At the time of its establishment, Mapo-gu had 23 jeong within it: Ahyeon-jeong, Gongdeok-jeong, Singongdeok-jeong, Dohwa-jeong, Mapo-jeong, Tojeong-jeong, Yonggang-jeong, Yeomni-jeong, Daeheung-jeong, Sinsu-jeong, Gusu-jeong, Hyeonseok-jeong, Sinjeong-jeong, Hajung-jeong, Changjeon-jeong, Donggyo-jeong, Seogyo-jeong, Sangsuil-jeong, Hasuil-jeong, Dangin-jeong, Hapjeong-jeong, Mangwon-jeong, and Yuldo-jeong. After the Japanese forces withdrew with the liberation of Korea on August 15, 1945, the US military government started to rule South Korea. On October 16, 1945, the "gu yeokso" that was in charge of the administration of each gu changed to "gu cheong" (gu office), and "gujang," the title of the head of gu, also changed to "gucheongjang". Since then, the Mapo Guyeokso was called "Mapo-gu Cheong" and 23 jeong within the gu were referred to as "dong."
"donghoe" was replaced by "dong." With this, administrative dong were organized under the jurisdiction of each gu for effective administrative work. Mapo-gu had 19 administrative dong including Ahyeon 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5-dong, Singongdeok 1 and 2-dong, Dohwa 1 and 2-dong, Gwannan-dong, Daeheung-dong, Yeomni-dong, Sinseok-dong, and Segyo-dong.
Afterwards, there were several more changes in the administrative dong names and the areas under the jurisdiction of each dong. Pursuant to Seoul City Ordinance No. 2016 on September 1, 1985, part of Yonggang-dong was incorporated into Yeomni-dong. On June 1, 1989, in accordance with Seoul City Ordinance on the Dong Names and Deliminations in Mapo-gu No. 84, the entire Hasu-dong was integrated into Sangsu-dong; the 28-beonji area in Mangwon-dong and all the rest of Mangwon-dong except for the areas under the jurisdiction of Mangwon 1 and 2-dong were incorporated into Seogyo-dong and Hapjeong-dong, respectively. In this process, today's administrative organization of Mapo-gu was completed. Mapo-gu is now envisioning a brighter future.