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Wednesday, 22 June 2016

My Mouth is on FIRE! - Korean Spicy Trail, Part I: CheongYang, Southern Chungcheong

The chili pepper (also chile pepper or chilli pepper, from Nahuatl chīlli [ˈt͡ʃiːli]) is the fruit of plants from the genus Capsicum, members of the nightshade family, Solanaceae. In Australia, Britain, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa and in other Asian countries, it is usually known simply as chilli. The substances that give chili peppers their intensity when ingested or applied topically are capsaicin and several related chemicals, collectively called capsaicinoids. That's why the people who ate chili feel the heat and at the same time, it helps them to ease depression and stress. 

Korean Spicy Trail is a column that provides the audiences about cities and counties around Korea which are famous with Chili Pepper. In this column, we will discuss about one of the county in Korea that is famous with chili pepper, CheongYang County.

CheongYang (Hangul/Hanja: 청양군/靑陽郡) is a county in Southern Chungcheong Province, Republic of Korea. Located at the Central Region of Hoseo, the county bordered with Gongju City on East, Boryeong City and Hongseong County on West, Buyeo County on South and Yesan County on North. The postal codes of CheongYang County start from 33300 [9-7~68 Dokgol Alley/Dokgol-gil, Hwaseong-myeon] to 33368 [19~140 Hwasan Avenue/Hwasanno, Jangpyeong-myeon]

As a Southern part of the the Charyeong Range (차령산맥/車嶺山脈/Charyeong Sanmaek), CheongYang flanked with Mount Chilgap (561m above sea level; gazetted as Provincial Park) and Mount Wolsan (575m), Mount Gubong (180m), Mount Woo, Mount Bibong and Mount Daebak. It also boasts a wide range of plain including Jangsu and Ganam Plains. A predominantly rural area, it is known throughout Korea for the spicy chili peppers which are grown there. Another noted local specialties are wolfberry, cherry tomato, melon, chestnut, snake's beard and shiitake mushroom.

In the era of Mahan Confederacy - one of the confederacy during Samhan Period (1st Century BCE to 3rd Century CE), CheongYang was located in Goradopyeong along the Jicheon river and Saroguk (사로국/斯盧國) was located along the Yongcheon Stream. After Mahan Confederacy annexed by Baekje Kingdom during Samguk Period, there are three former prefectures in CheongYang which are Yeolgi-hyeon, Goryangburi-hyeon and Sasiryang-hyeon. The areas which are included in three prefectures (added with the change of prefecture names during Baekje - Silla - Goryeo periods) are shown as below:
  • Yeolgi-hyeon - Yeolseong-hyeon - Jeongsan-hyeon = Jeongsan-myeon, Mok-myeon, Cheongnam-myeon and Jangpyeong-myeon (East Mount Chilgap)
  • Goryangburi-hyeon - Cheongjeong-hyeon - CheongYang-hyeon = Cheongyang-eup, Daechi-myeon, Ungok-myeon and part of Namyang-myeon (West Mount Chilgap)
  • Sasiryang-hyeon - Sillyang-hyeon - Yeoyang-hyeon = Bibong-myeon, Hwaseong-myeon and a part of Janggok-myeon in the present-day Hongseong County

In the reign of King Seongjong Wang Chi, the administrative district was changed into 10 Provinces (도/道), 12 States (주/州) and 510 Prefectures (현/縣). In the 9th reigning year of King Hyeonjong Wang Soon (1018), according to the local administrative reform, CheongYang Prefecture was included into Cheonan Governorate. It was later integrated into Yanggwang Province and finally it was called Chungcheong Province in the 5th Reigning year of King Gongmin (1355). 

In the 13th year of King Taejong Yi Bang-won, (1413) there were two prefecture in that area which were Cheongyang-hyeon and Jeongsan-hyeon. In the 5th year of King Hyeonjong Yi Yeon (1664), according to the local administration reform, Cheongyang-hyeon was integrated into Jeongsan-hyeon. In the 32nd year of Emperor Gojong-Gwangmu Yi Myeong-bok (1895), Cheongyang-hyeon and Jeongsan-hyeon were re-separated and the both became Cheongyang-gun and Jeongsan-gun. CheongYang-gun had 9 communes (면/面) including Dongsang, Dongha, Seosang, Seoha, Namsang, Namha, Buksang and Bukha. While Jeongsan-gun had 8 communes which includes Daebak, Baekgok, Bokdong, Inghwadal, Cheongso, Jangchon, Gwanhyeon and Jeokgok.

Four years after the Annexation of Korean Empire by Japanese Imperialists, Cheongyang-gun and Jeongsan-gun were integrated into one according to the land reform in 1914. As a result of the integration of CheongYang-Jeongsan counties, 10 communes and 115 villages (리/里) were newly created that included diverse communes across Hongju-gun (Hongseong-gun), Gongju-gun (Gongju-si), Buyeo-gun and Daeheung-gun (Yesan-gun). In 1942, Cheongjang-myeon was renamed as Cheongnam-myeon and Eumnae-myeon as CheongYang-myeon. In 1979, CheongYang-myeon was elevated its status as a town (읍/邑) and became CheongYang-eup, a town which is served for the Principal Seat of CheongYang County.

The County Office is located at 222 MunhwaYesul-ro, Songbang-ri 100-beonji, CheongYang-eup with its postal code: 33323. The chief of this county is Lee Seok-hwa (Saenuri). In the other hand, Chung Jin-suk (Saenuri) served as the assemblyman for Gongju City, Buyeo and CheongYang Counties in 20th Session of Gukhoe (2016-2020).  CheongYang County contains a town (eup) and 9 communes (myeon) as shown on the map below (in Hangul and Hanja).