Located in the west central part of the country, Chungcheongnam-do was the center of the ancient Baekje Kingdom. Gongju (above) and Buyeo (discussed below) have the most treasures from that lost civilization, but traces of its history are scattered about the region. Despite its strong ties to Baekje, the region's history dates back to the Paleolithic age.
Included in its boundaries is Gyeoryongsan National Park and Taean Marine National Park, which has some of the best swimming beaches in the country. The provincial capital is Daejeon, which has its own governing body as a "special city." Called Chungnam for short, the province includes the cities of Asan, Boryeong, Cheonan, Gongju, Nonsan, Seosan, and Gyeryong.
A mainly agricultural province, most of the people here are tied to the land and maintain long-held traditional values. The low plains grow much of the food for the capital region, and its western coasts, though not the best for fishing, are used for salt production. Small islands are located off the coast -- the largest being Anmyeon-do, which is connected to the Taean peninsula by bridge.