Cambodian Histories


The first civilization of Cambodia existed from the 1st to 6th century in a State referred to as Funa. It was the oldest Indianized state in Southeast Asia, and from this period Cambodia’s first writing language Sanskrit began. Influenced by Indian cultures, Funan accepted Hinduism, which was latter converted to Budddhism. What makes Cambodians different from its neighbors is due to the fact that Cambodians wear scarves, called Kramas, rather than straw hats.


From 9th to 13th century Angkor period existed. The period began with King Jayavarman II taking the throne in 802. At its peak, Angkor Empire extended from the border of modern day Burma east to the South China Sea and north to Laos of great kings who built famous temples were King Suuryavarman II who built the world’s renowned Angkor Wat, whereas King Jayavarman II successfully made agressive construction of most of largest temples of Angkor, particularly Great City known as Angkor Thom. Not only the temples were the success of those Angkor Kings. This enabled rice cultivation for 3 times a year, and that Angkor Wat was wealthy empire.

As Angkorperiod ended, the city moved to Longvek, then to Oudong and finally to the present day capital of Phnom Penh. The hall of angkor marked the collapse of Cambodia Empire, which resulted in invasion and ransacks by its neighbors including the Thais and Vietnamese from the 15th to 17th centuries. This was mainly to conflict by royal courts. The post Angkor era also brought about a rapid expansion of Theravada Buddhism.


In 1863, Cambodia agreed to protection from France that ruled Cambodia for nearly 100 years. Like other colonial countries, France introduced modern Western government structure, education, courts and architectural styles on its land, thus one can see today many colonial buildings remain. In 1945, the Japanese briefly ousted the French protectorate. After the defeat of Japan in World War II, the French returned and ruled until 1953 when Cambodia gained full independence. King Norodom Sihanouk abdicated the throne to his father and led political party to unite the country from 1950 to 1960.

Things took a major change for Siem Reap however when, in the 1847, Cambodia was colonized by France. This did not last long at all however, and Cambodia was overtaken by communist  Viet Minh troups from Northern Vietnam in the mid 1950s. By the mid 70s it was  under the rule of Khmer Rouge’s murderous leader Pol Pot, until Vietnam came in once again and took over in 1978.

Currently Cambodia isn’t the most stable of nations but has overcome much adversity in the past. The much-loved King Sihanouk abdicated in favour of his son Sihamony in Oct 2004. Although he is head of state, it is the senate that has the real power.

In 1970, Vietnamese war spilled over into Cambodia, and King Norodom Sihanouk was overthrown by General Lon Nol. Lon Nol government was defeated by Khmer Rouges in 1975, then Cambodia embarked a dark period for more than 3 years. During in the Khmer Rouges time, the country’s entire infrastructure was completely destroyed. No region, no money, no education, no school and so on that the historical wheel turned to year zero. In 1979, the Khmer Rouges was toppled by Vietnamese backed movement. People’s republic of Kampuchea which administered the country against the Khmer Rouges was then ousted to northern jungles.

In 1991, Paris Peace Accords was signed, which then brought United Nations to temporarily administered and organized a free and fair elections in 1993 a here by internationally recognized Cambodia government headed by two prime minister were created. Monarchy has also been reinstated and King Norodom Sihanouk is a lead of State. This was by no means putting an end to Cambodia civil war. In 1997 fighting between ruling political parties took place in the capital of Phnom Penh until cease fire was agreed to and next national elections administered by Cambodians themselves were conducted in May, 1998.

After creation of new coalition government headed by Prime Minister Hun Sen, and with establishment of House of Senates in addition to the lower law making institution the National Assembly, Cambodia has experienced stability in terms of politics and economics. This allows Asean to accept Cambodia as its member. Being part of regional groupings, Cambodia needs to look forward to attracting investments from the region and elsewhere.