Quick History Lesson on Cambodia

Its more enriching to have an idea of the history of Cambodia as you travel. This is a quick walk down ‘history lane’ rather than a┬ácomprehensive history lesson ­čśë

  • Evidence of people living in this region dates back to dates in BC
  • Starting from around the 3rd century, tribes of peoples living back then combined to create the foundation of Cambodia we know today
  • The Khmer Empire has been influenced by India, China and even the Mongols over centuries
  • Buddhism became State religion (following God-King ruler ship/ Hinduism and Mahayana Buddhism) in 1295
  • During the 12th century, the┬áKhmer Empire with Angkor as its capital was the largest Empire in this region until the 15th century stretching a vast expanse including to the Mekong Delta
  • The following few centuries were not so bright for Cambodia as they were under strong influence and pressure from the Siamese (Thai) and Vietnamese. Pressure by Vietnamese caused Cambodia to seek stronger alliance with Thailand
  • In 1863 King Norodom (appointed by Thailand) sought French protection which lead to ‘giving’ Siem Reap and Battambang to the Thai’s (recovered again in 1906)
  • Independence from the French was gained in 1953 during reign of┬áKing Norodom Sihanouk
  • 1970 till 75 was a time of civil unrest largely impacted by the Vietnam war and the downfall of Sihanouk by a military coup which laid the grounds of the Khmer Rouge coming in power
  • From 1975 to 79 led by Pol Pot, Khmer Rouge reigned terror throughout the country. Senseless mass killings reduced the population┬áin Phnom Penh to a ghost town of around 50,000
  • In 1978 in response to Khmer Rouge attacks on Vietnamese borders, the Vietnamese retaliated and the fall of the Khmer Rouge resulted.
  • After a few years of unstable governance, monarchy was re-established in 1993. However this was challenged again in 1997 by a coup d’etat led by Hun Sen leading to the constitutional monarchy arrangement it is today