Prosecutors had demanded a 30-year term for Park, 66, over 18 charges of power abuse - most of which involved a controversial private confidante, Choi Soon-sil.
Park Geun-hye, the first woman to be elected as President of South Korea was declared guilty of multiple counts of abuse of power, bribery, and coercion by Seoul Central District Court. In addition to prison time, the court fined Park 16.8 million dollars. The court proceeding had been broadcast live on television for the first time since a law allowing broadcasts was passed a year ago.
Park, who has been held at a detention centre since her arrest, was not present in court for today's verdict.
Park was once again absent for Friday's hearing.
A South Korean judge says former President Park Geun-hye is guilty of abuse of power and coercion.
The judge said Park had shown "no sign of repentance" but had instead tried to shift the blame to Choi and her secretaries.
Park became South Korea's first democratically elected leader to be forced from office previous year when the Constitutional Court ordered her out over a scandal that landed the heads of two conglomerates in jail. Prosecutors previously alleged that Samsung's bribe was aimed at getting government support for a smooth company leadership transition, but the court said there was not enough evidence to prove that Samsung sought such favor from the government.
The trigger was a snowballing graft scandal involving Park and Choi and accusations of graft, influence-peddling and taking bribes from corporate bigwigs in exchange for policy favours.
Moon's office said Park's fate was "heartbreaking" not only for herself but for the country, and added that history that was not remembered would be repeated.
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The corruption scandal triggered months of mass protests and political turmoil in South Korea.
She faces 18 corruption-related charges.
Park Geun Hye's lawyer has stated that he will be speaking to Park Geun Hye about filing an appeal, and will announce the decision later on.
In December 2016 Park was impeached by Parliament over a massive corruption scandal.
Three months later, the eight-member Constitutional Court voted unanimously to remove her from office.
People walk past a giant screen broadcasting the sentence to the impeached President Park Geun-hye in Seoul, South Korea, April 6, 2018.
"It's against fairness and justice if Park is to be released only serving her jail terms for two years while the people who colluded with still in prison", said Park of Minbyun. Ten days later, she is arrested.
The conviction, which she can appeal, is the latest indignity for South Korea's first female president, who grew up in the presidential palace as the daughter of a former dictator and even served as first lady after her mother's assassination.