History of Cambodia

Pre History
According to archaeological documents, people were living in the Mekong Delta and its surrounding areas since around 4000 BCE. Nowadays, although the topic related to the exact origin of the Khmer group is still an arguing issue, they are supposed to reside in the area together with their Mon relatives coming from northeast India or southwest China since around 2000 BCE. Definitely, their existence in Indochine countries significantly predates the appearance of Viet, Lao, and Thai people's ancestors.  
Pre-Angkorian era and Angkorian era
The original Shivaite Hindu empire in the South East Asia region, the kingdom of Funan was founded in the lower areas of the Mekong River in the period from the 1st to the 3rd centuries CE. Lasting for over 100 years from 550 to 680, this country integrated with one of its original vassal-countries, following initiatives in the establishment of 2 kingdoms – Water (Lower Chenla), located right at Angkor Borei‘s center and Land (Upper Chenla), which spread on a spacious region from the modern province of Kompong Thom to the southern Champassak province of Laos. Years after years, these two kingdoms gradually develop into a unified Khmer country. However, unfortunately, the dynastic dispute happening in the early 7th century badly affected the Khmers as the powerful Javanese Selendra dynasty invaded both areas, seizing members of the Khmer royal family and forcing them to get back to Java.
The coming back after a long time at Seilendra court in Java in 802 of Jayavarman II, the founder of the Angkor kingdom, was a remarkable and important point in Khmer history. He continued to convey to his new kingdom numerous traditions linking with the essence of the high development of the powerful Java. Over the next 4 hundred years, Jayavarman’s prominent inheritors expanded their strong influence to different regions including the Burmese border (in the west), the Malay peninsula (in the south), and the frontier of the Dai Viet kingdom (in the northeast). The professional hydraulic and irrigation system settled on the Tonle Sap Lake and the center of Mekong is the visibility of the prosperity of the empire. Therefore, people definitely have the right to believe that these constructions offered great support for over 1-million residences living in the area surrounding Angkor. Based on the strength of human power, kings of the Angkor built lots of religious complexes which reflected their unique culture and tradition.

Kampong Thom

The decline of the Empire
In the thirteenth century, due to the expansion of the Siamese and the Ayutthaya war in 1431, the Khmer empire began to decline. The next 4 centuries were exactly an unnoticeable chapter in this country’s history when the kings fought to lead the way to the more potential neighbors Siam and Dai Viet (later Viet Nam), turning eventually for protection to the French, who set a basement in Sai Gon during the late 1850s.
French colonialisasion
In 1864, the King of Cambodia’s kingdom agreed to the French Protectorate’s establishment, which was the beginner of the 20-year colonial period. Although people still argued about the French colonial regulations which protected this country from being allocated between Siam and Vietnam, not many things were eventually done to enhance it by the administration, which proposed Vietnamese to operate the public service.
The crowning to be a king in 1941 at the very young age of 18 years old of Norodom Sihanouk is the time when Cambodian nationalism began to emerge. Also, the World War II ‘s events clearly showed the hardness that the French applied in the administration ‘s method on Indochina. In 1945, the French got back to the kingdom after the surrender of occupying Japanese forces, but until the early 1950s, concerned with the Viet Nam war, they began negotiations with King Norodom Sihanouk, leading to the country's recognized independent state in 1953. After 2 years, the king resigned to work for public office before being collapsed in 1970.

History of Cambodia

Independence and Indochina War

While the Sangkum Reastr Niyum (also known as ‘Popular Socialist Community) period lasting from 1955 to 1970 is often considered an ideal era of prosperity and peace, the bad consequences of a collapsed economic status and serious ethnic groups’ struggling in 20 years after independence created divisions in Cambodian society, leading to the increasing support for the Khmer Rouge ‘s communist. During the 1960s, Prince Sihanouk decided to support the communists in Viet Nam and to allow the North Vietnamese army to use Cambodia’s land as an expansion of the Ho Chi Minh trail which faced the American ‘s wrath and finally led to his overthrow in 1970 by Lon Nol, a former army chief-of-staff. Nevertheless, the new government showed its weakness due to the heavily dependent on American support and eventually collapsed in 1975 when US involvement in Indochina ended.

Unfortunately, the beautiful Cambodia that we know is not famous for its sacred religious constructions and unique culture dated from the Angkor era, but for the remnants that the Khmer Rouge left in the country until now.

Khmer Rouge rule
Right after the Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot held the right to control Cambodia, they immediately set up a restructuring plan with the purpose of changing the country into a Maoist (the cooperative dominated by farmers). Some typical policies in the plan can be named are: Reseting the calendar to “Year Zero”; Terminating local currency; Suspending postal services; Closing all links that connect with foreign countries; Moving big cities’ population to the countryside and force them to do agricultural works. In around 4 years after, more than 1.5 million people died, including the major number of educated and skilled citizens. Sadly, after the collapse of the Khmer Rouge in the years of 1978 and 1979, it still showed the bad effects on society, economy, and national infrastructure.


Transition and Cambodia today
After the Vietnamese forces’ withdrawal from Cambodia in 1989, the French government organized discussions in an effort of solving domestic political differences. In 1991, the Paris Peace Accord resulted in the State of Cambodia’s establishment. The United Nations Transitional Authority Commission (also known as a UN force) was set up and received the support of around 22,000 UN troops in May 1993, a national election was organized. After that, Cambodia officially become a monarchy with the Head of State King Norodom Sihanouk.
The Party of Cambodian People and Funcinpec signed in an agreement that mentioned the sharing of power under their leaders, Hun Sen and Prince Ranariddh. However, the newly-born government caught troubles, resulting in the upheaval of 1997. One year later, according to the national election’s results, Hun Sen held the post of Prime Minister while Prince Norodom Ranariddh (Funcinpec) acted as National Assembly ‘s Chairman.
In April 1999, Cambodia officially became a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), an important point marking the country’s new history chapter as a member of the international community. Furthermore, in 2004, Cambodia joined the World Trade Organization, becoming one of the least developed countries to be listed on the ranks.

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