History of Cambodia

By | May 21, 2021

802 | King Jayavarman II founds Cambodia

14.-15. Century | Cambodia loses most of its territory to Vietnam and Siam

1864 | Establishment of the French protectorate

1953 | King Sihanouk gains independence from France

1954 | Resignation of King Sihanouk in favor of his father

1960 | Election of Prince Sihanouk as head of state

1970 | Coup by Chief of Staff Lon Nol and dismissal of Prince Sihanouk

1975-1978 | Reign of Terror by the Khmer Rouge under Pol Pot

1979 | Occupation of Cambodia by Vietnam

1989 | Withdrawal of the Vietnamese troops

1991 | Signing of the Paris Peace Accords

1992-93 | UN Interim Administration in Cambodia (UNTAC)

1993 | First formal democratic elections

1997 | Hun Sens coup against First Prime Minister Prince Ranariddh

1998 | Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) under Hun Sen wins elections

2002 | First local elections; CPP wins with a large majority and can continue to govern at national level after the parliamentary elections one year later

2007 | Khmer Rouge Tribunal starts work

2008 | Another election victory for Hun Sen; military border conflict with Thailand

2011 | Cambodian and Thai soldiers sometimes engage in heavy border battles

2011 | The proceedings against Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan and Ieng Sary begin at the Khmer Rouge tribunal, which is increasingly being criticized for its political influence

2012 | The Appeals Chamber of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal sentenced Kaing Guek Eav, head of the S-21 torture prison, to life imprisonment

2013 | Prime Minister Hun Sen suffered heavy losses in the parliamentary elections at the end of July

2014 | Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan are sentenced in the first instance to life imprisonment by the Khmer Rouge Tribunal for the crimes between April 1975 and December 1977

2016 | The Appeals Chamber at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal upholds the judgments against Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan

2017 | With the dissolution of the CNRP, the government de facto ends the multi-party system

2018 | The ruling CPP wins all 125 seats in the National Assembly in parliamentary elections

Little is known about prehistoric Cambodia. It is certain that the first settlements in the Tonle Sap and the lower Mekong region arose in the Neolithic Age. Traces of human habitation dating back to the 69th millennium BC have been discovered in the Laang Spean cave (Battambang province). Although the Khmer arrived in what is now Cambodia around 2000 BC, they are considered to be one of the oldest ethnic groups in the entire region.

From the 1st to the 6th centuries, most of today’s territory belonged to the Southeast Asian Kingdom of Funan, which later became part of the strengthened Chenla Empire, which in turn existed until the early 9th century. With the proclamation of Jayavarman II as God-King (Devaraja) in 802, the time began that is known today as the kingdom of Angkor. Except for a short period in which the capital was relocated further east to Koh Ker, the region around today’s Siem Reap was always the seat of government, albeit in different places (Mahendraparvata, Hariharalaya, Yasodharapura,Angkor Thom). The empire reached its peak of power in the 12th century under the legendary King Jayavarman VII: It ruled Southeast Asia from Malacca to the Isthmus of Kra as well as Laos and parts of Vietnam. During this time the cultural bloom also falls, the Hindu temple complex Angkor Wat, which was built at that time, is still standing today, as are the most important Buddhist sacred buildings Bayon, Ta Prohm and Preah Khan. Around 1200 Angkor had about a million residents, making it the largest city in the world at the time.

In the meantime, many researchers have agreed that climatic changes were the decisive factor behind the demise of high culture. That changed the balance of power in mainland Southeast Asia, especially the neighbors in the west gradually breaking away from the dominance of the Khmer. After the armies of the Thai kingdom of Ayutthaya marched through Angkor in 1431, the history of the country was shaped for a century and a half by dynastic rivalries and armed conflicts with its powerful neighbor. One also speaks of the “dark age” of Cambodia, in which a number of weak kings ruled and the capital changed several times. In the 16th and early 17th centuries, Longvek (today’s Kampong Chhnang Province) before the royal court came to Oudong (1611 to 1866) and then to Phnom Penh under increased foreign policy pressure.

According to Computergees.com, to prevent a complete takeover of the empire by Thailand and Vietnam, Cambodia turned to France, which had taken southern Vietnam in 1859. In 1863 the country became a protectorate of France under King Norodom, and in 1887 it joined Vietnam and later Laos in the Indochinese Union. The first Indochina War, which was fought in the neighboring states of Vietnam and Laos in the aftermath of World War II, drained the strength of the French colonial power. On November 9, 1953, Cambodia was finally given independence.

History of Cambodia

Cambodia has seen only brief periods of political stability since independence. The recent history of the country is marked by war, civil war and the mass murder of the Khmer Rouge, which was accompanied by numerous regime changes. The development led

  • of a formally democratic regime under Sihanouk (1953-1970) interspersed with strong authoritarian elements,
  • about the autocratic, US-backed rule of Lon Nol (1970-1975),
  • into the totalitarian regime of the Khmer Rouge under Pol Pot (1975-1979), under which around two million people lost their lives,
  • and the internationally isolated authoritarian clientele regime of Vietnam under first Heng Samrin and then Hun Sen (1979-1992) with the parallel government in exile Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea (CGDK) with the participation of the Khmer Rouge and the FUNCINPEC Sihanouks, which also have the UN headquarters Of Cambodia,
  • and finally under the mandate of the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) (1992-1993)
  • to a formally democratic, but actually autocratically governed regime under Hun Sen (since 1993).