This city has the largest population of North Gyeongsang Province and it has the 3rd largest land area of any city (si) in South Korea.
The earliest evidence of human occupation in the Pohang area is from the Mumun Pottery Period (1500–300 BC). Archaeologists have unearthed small villages and megalithic burials (dolmen) from this period. Still a small fishing village at the dawn of the 20th century, the earliest steps toward developing Pohang into a place of greater significance were taken in 1930 with the construction of a modern harbour. Pohang grew rapidly afterward, attaining the designation of town (eup) in 1931 and then earning the status of city (si) in 1949.
Pohang's road arteries and shipping port made it a place of strategic significance during the Korean War. An unopposed landing of UN forces at Pohang on July 18, 1950 was the first large-scale amphibious operation since World War II, and the region around Pohang saw fierce clashes between South Korea's 3rd Infantry Division and North Korea's 5th Infantry Division during August–September 1950.