A Brief Historical and Political
Human settlement in Cambodia dates back at least 7,000 years, and probably much further.
Early Kingdoms : Chinese sources from the first century A.D. describe a powerful kingdom called “Funan” in Cambodia, which was strongly influenced by India. Funan went into decline in the 6th century A.D., and was supplanted by a group of ethnically-Khmer kingdoms that the Chinese refer to as “Chenla.”
The Khmer Empire : In 790, Prince Jayavarman II founded a new empire, the first to unite Cambodia as a political entity. This was the Khmer Empire, which lasted until 1431.
The crown-jewel of the Khmer Empire was the city of Angkor, centered around the temple of Angkor Wat. Construction began in the 890s, and Angkor served as the seat of power for more than 500 years.
Fall of the Khmer Empire: After 1220, the Khmer Empire began to decline. It was attacked repeatedly by the neighboring Tai (Thai) people, and the beautiful city of Angkor was abandoned by the end of the 16th century.
Thai and Vietnamese Rule : After the fall of the Khmer Empire, Cambodia came under the control of the neighboring Tai and Vietnamese kingdoms. These two powers competed for influence until 1863, when France took control of Cambodia.
French Rule : The French ruled Cambodia for a century. During World War II, the Japanese occupied Cambodia but left the Vichy French in charge. By the rise of nationalism, forced France to offer increasing self-rule to the Cambodians until independence in 1953.
Independent Cambodia: Prince Sihanouk ruled newly-free Cambodia until 1970 when he was deposed during the Cambodian Civil War (1967-1975). This war pitted communist forces, called the Khmer Rouge, against the US-backed Cambodian government.
In 1975 the Khmer Rouge won the civil war, and under Pol Pot set to work creating an agrarian communist utopia by exterminating political opponents, monks and priests, and educated people in general. Just four years of Khmer Rouge rule left 1 to 2 million Cambodians dead; about 1/5 of the population.
Vietnam attacked Cambodia and captured Phnom Penh in 1979, withdrawing only in 1989. The Khmer Rouge fought on as guerrillas until 1999.
The Kingdom of Cambodia is a state in Southeast Asia with a population of more than 13 million people. A citizen of Cambodia is usually identified as Cambodian, although Khmer is also used. Most Cambodians are Theravada Buddhists of Khmer extraction, but the country also has a substantial number of Cham and small hill tribes.
Cambodia is the successor state of the once powerful Khmer Empire, which ruled most of the Indochinese Peninsula between the 11th and 14th centuries. The country shares a border with Thailand to its west, with Laos to its north and with Vietnam to its east. In the south it faces the Gulf of Thailand.
Most of the area of Cambodia are nearly untouched by tourists, except for Angkor and Phnom Penh.
Population: Estimated at 13 million. The Khmer constitute 90% of the population, Vietnamese (5%), Chinese (1%), and Other (4%). The biggest population concentrates in Phnom Penh, with more than one million people.
Area: Total -181,040 sq km, Land – 176,520 sq km, Water – 4520 sq km.
Land Borders: North borders Laos, all the East to Vietnam, and shares a long part of North and Northwest borders with the land of Thailand. . Sea Borders: Southwest, to the Gulf of Thailand.
Government: Multiparty liberal democracy under a constitutional monarchy
King: On October 14, 2004, King Norodom Sihamoni was selected by a special nine-member council, part of a selection process that was quickly put in place after the surprise abdication of King Norodom Sihanouk a week before. Sihamoni’s selection was endorsed by Prime Minister Hun Sen and National Assembly Speaker Prince Norodom Ranariddh (the new king’s brother), both members of the throne council. He was crowned in Phnom Penh on October 29. The monarchy is symbolic and has no official political power; similar to Japan and Great Britain. Norodom Sihamoni trained as a dancer and unmarried.
Prime Minister: Samdech Hun Sen – Born on 1952, Cambodian political leader, premier of Cambodia (1985-93, second premier -1993 to 1998, third premier -1998 to 2003, fourth premier – 2003 to 2008, fifth premier – 2008 to 2013, sixth premier – 2013 to 2018, seventh premier – 2018 to 2023).
In 1970 Cambodia was plunged into war. Responding to the appeal of Prince Sihanouk to Cambodians to join the war against the imperialists, at the age of 18, Samdech Hun Sen joined the struggle movement, which liberated the country on April 17, 1975. After the signing(1991) of a peace agreement with both the Khmer Rouge and Norodom Sihanouk ‘s forces and then national elections in 1993, Samdech Hun Sen became co premier with royalist Prince Norodom Ranariddh. Elections in 1998, Samdech Hun Sen’s Cambodian People’s party won, and he became sole premier in coalition with Norodom Ranariddh’s party; after protracted negotiations, the coalition was renewed after the 2003 elections. From then till now .