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Cambodia on the globe (Asia centered).svg
Flag of Cambodia.svg Cambodia
20000 riel with Angkor Wat temple

Cambodia's history lies way back where King Jayavarman II founded the Khmer Empire in 9th century. The Khmer Empire was an overwhelmingly agricultural society.

During the 18th century Cambodia found itself squeezed between two powerful neighbors, Thailand and Vietnam. The Thais invaded Cambodia several times in the 18th century and in 1772 they destroyed Phnom Phen. In the last years of the 18th century the Vietnamese also invaded Cambodia. The Cambodian king was forced to look to the Thais for protection. In return Thailand took north-west Cambodia.

In the early 19th century King Chan (1806-1834) turned to the Vietnamese for protection from the Thais! The Thais were annoyed by this policy and when a rebellion occurred in south Vietnam in 1833 they took advantage by invading Cambodia. However the Vietnamese king crushed the rebellion and the Thai army retreated.

As a result the Vietnamese emperor strengthened his control over Cambodia. When Cambodian King Chan died in 1834, one of his sons was installed as King and Vietnamese people settled in Cambodia. The Vietnamese regarded the Cambodians as 'barbarians' an tried to 'civilize' them by teaching them Vietnamese customs. Resentment at Vietnamese influence led to a rebellion in 1840-1841. The Thais invaded again to re-assert their control of Cambodia.

However in the 1850s French missionaries arrived in Cambodia. The newly installed King Norodom sought French protection to protect him from both the Thais and the Vietnamese. So in 1863 Cambodia became a French protectorate. King Norodom, who was fearful of Siam, sought French protection. Although Cambodia was officially a Protectorate, with its own King, it was too all intents and purposes a colony by the end of the 19th century, and the French, who built their palaces and kept them from performing any significant political activities, placed all the next three kings of Cambodia on their thrones.

The capital city is known Phnom Penh and the currency used is riel

Where is Cambodia?[edit | edit source]

Cambodia is surrounded by three other Southeast Asian countries as well as a main body of water. It shares border with Vietnam to the east, Laos in the northeast, Thailand in the west and northwest, and has a coastline at the Gulf of Thailand in the southwest.Thailand lies to the upper northwest of Thailand, while Laos is to the northeast. Cambodia shares both its eastern and southern borders

How many people live in Cambodia?[edit | edit source]

As of latest 2019 national census, estimates about 15.3 million people lived in Cambodia. 97% of population are natives Khmer, 1.8% is Cham and 1.2% of population consists of ethnic minorities include Chinese, Vietnamese, Laotians, and various indigenous peoples of the rural highlands.

What are the most common languages in Cambodia?[edit | edit source]

Khmer word in Khmer language

The most common language spoken in Cambodia are Spoken languages are Khmer (90% of populations). The language is used in government administration, imparting education at all levels, media, etc.

French is one of the important foreign languages spoken in the country. The language was at one time the official language in Indochina and today, a number of older Cambodians speak French. French is also used to impart education in some schools and universities in Cambodia, especially those that are funded by the French Government. Thus, Cambodia is a member of the La Francophonie, an organization of countries or regions where a significant portion of the population speaks French. Cambodian French is a French dialect that is spoken on certain occasions in Cambodia, especially in court environments.

What is the most common religion in Cambodia?[edit | edit source]

Theravada (Hinayana) and Mahayana Buddhisms is the most common religion practiced in Cambodia with 93% of population practicing Buddhism. The Cham minority is Muslim (4%) , generally of the Sunni branch. The rest of minorities ethnic groups (3%) such as Khmer Loeu groups generally follow local religions, while ethnic Vietnamese and Chinese are eclectic (praying to local deities/gods), following Mahayana Buddhism and Daoism. Many Vietnamese are members of the Roman Catholic Church or of Vietnamese religious movements as Cao Dai.

What is the sport of Cambodia?[edit | edit source]

Sepak takraw, which looks like volleyball, is a very popular sport in Cambodia.

What are some important sites?[edit | edit source]

Angkor Wat
Khmers in Tonle Sap lake

Angkor Wat - It was built in the first half of the 12th century (113-5BC). Estimated construction time of the temple is 30 years by King Suryavarman II, dedicated to Vishnu (Hindu), replica of Angkor Thom style of art. It is now commonly accepted that Angkor Wat most likely served both as a temple and as a mausoleum for Suryavarman II.

Tonle Sap - The Great Lake in native language is the largest natural lake in Southeast Asia, is actually a complicated combined lake/reservoir and river system. The lake is fed by numerous tributaries, and usually, the Tonle Sap river drains the lake and flows to the south and into the Mekong at Phnom Penh.

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