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Vietnam - Cambodia - Laos - Thailand - Myanmar

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Cambodia History

Early history
  • The first evidence of an advanced civilization in present day history_300Cambodia are artificial circular earthworks estimated to be from the 1st millennium BC. During the 3rd, 4th, and 5th centuries, the Indianised states of Funan and Chenla coalesced in what is now present-day Cambodia and southwestern Vietnam. These states are assumed by most scholars to have been Khmer. For more than 2,000 years, CambodiaChina and India, passing them on to other Southeast Asian civilisations that are now Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos. The Khmer Empire flourished in the area from the 9th to the 13th century. Around the 13th century, Theravada Buddhism was introduced to the area through monks from Sri Lanka. From then on Theravada Buddhism grew and eventually became the most popular religion. The Khmer Empire declined yet remained powerful in the region until the 15th century. The empire's centre of power was Angkor, where a series of capitals was constructed during the empire's zenith. Angkor could have supported a population of up to one million people. Angkor, the world's largest pre-industrial civilization, and Angkor Wat, the most famous and best-preserved religious temple at the site, are reminders of Cambodia's past as a major regional power. absorbed influences from
  • Southeast Asia circa 1100 AD. Khmer Empire lands in grayAfter a long series of wars with neighbouring kingdoms, Angkor was sacked by the Thai and abandoned in 1432 because of ecological failure and infrastructure breakdown. After Angkor was abandoned, the buildings were swallowed up by jungle creating a myth of a hidden lost civilization. The court moved the capital to Lovek where the kingdom sought to regain its glory through maritime trade. The attempt was short-lived, however, as continued wars with the Thai and Vietnamese resulted in the loss of more territory and Lovek was conquered in 1594. During the next three centuries, the Khmer kingdom alternated as a vassal state of the Thai and Vietnamese kings, with short-lived periods of relative independence between.
Modernity and French Indochina
  • In 1863, King Norodom, who had been installed by Thailand, sought the protection of France from the Thai and Vietnamese, after tensions grew between them. In 1867, the Thai king signed a treaty with France, renouncing suzerainty over Cambodia in exchange for the control of Battambang and Siem Reap provinces which officially became part of Thailand. The provinces were ceded back to Cambodia by a border treaty between France and Thailand in 1906.
  • Cambodia continued as a protectorate of France from 1863 to 1953, administered as part of the colony of French Indochina, though occupied by the Japanese empire from 1941 to 1945. After King Norodom's death, France manipulated the choice of king and Sisowath, Norodom's brother was place on the throne. But the throne became vacant in 1941 with the death of Monivong, Sisowath's son, and France passed over Monivong's son, Monireth, feeling he was too indipendently minded and enthroned Norodom Sihanouk, who was eight years old at the time, thinking he would be easy to control. But France was wrong, and under the reign of King Norodom Sihanouk,Cambodia gained independence from France on November 9, 1953.
  • It became a constitutional monarchy under King Norodom Sihanouk. When French Indochina was given independence, Cambodia lost official control over the Mekong Delta as it was awarded to Vietnam, though the area had been controlled by the Vietnamese since 1698 with King Chey Chettha II granting Vietnamese permission to settle in the area decades before.
Independence and Cold War
  • Independence Monument, Phnom Penh, a memorial of true independence of french colonial gave to Cambodia.In 1955, Sihanouk abdicated in favour of his father in order to be elected Prime Minister. Upon his father's death in 1960, Sihanouk again became head of state, taking the title of Prince. As the Vietnam War progressed, Sihanouk adopted an official policy of neutrality in the Cold War. However, Cambodians began to take sides, and he was ousted in 1970 by a military coup led by Prime Minister General Lon Nol and Prince Sisowath Sirik Matak with the back-up support of the United States, while on a trip abroad. Settling in the next alternative country, Beijing, China, Sihanouk was forced to realigned himself with the Chinese communist. Soon the Khmer Rouge rebels would use him for gaining territory in the regions. The King urged his followers to help in overthrowing the pro-United States government of Lon Nol, hastening the onset of civil war.
  • Between 1969 and 1973, U.S. forces bombed and briefly invaded Cambodia in an effort to disrupt the Viet Cong and Khmer Rouge. Some two million Cambodians were made refugees by the war and fled to Phnom Penh. Estimates of the number of Cambodians killed during the bombing campaigns vary widely, as do views of the effects of the bombing. The US Seventh Air Force ruthlessly argued that the bombing prevented the fall of Phnom Penh in 1973 by killing 16,000 of 25,500 Khmer Rouge fighters besieging the city. However, journalist William Shawcross and Cambodia specialists Milton Osborne, David P. Chandler and Ben Kiernan argued that the bombing drove peasants to join the Khmer Rouge. Cambodia specialist Craig Etcheson argued that the Khmer Rouge "would have won anyway", even without US intervention driving recruitment although the US secretly played a major role behind the leading cause of the Khmer Rouge.
  • As the war ended, a draft US AID report observed that the country faced famine in 1975, with 75% of its draft animals destroyed, and that rice planting for the next harvest would have to be done "by the hard labour of seriously malnourished people". The report predicted that
  • "Without large-scale external food and equipment assistance there will be widespread starvation between now and next February ... Slave labour and starvation rations for half the nation's people (probably heaviest among those who supported the republic) will be a cruel necessity for this year, and general deprivation and suffering will stretch over the next two or three years before Cambodia can get back to rice self-sufficiency".
  • Stupa which houses the skulls of those killed at Choeung EkThe Khmer Rouge reached Phnom Penh and took power in 1975. The regime, led by Pol Pot, changed the official name of the country to Democratic Kampuchea, and was heavily influenced and backed by China. They immediately evacuated the cities and sent the entire population on forced marches to rural work projects. They attempted to rebuild the country's agriculture on the model of the 11th century, discarded Western medicine, and destroyed temples, libraries, and anything considered Western. Over a million Cambodians, out of a total population of 8 million, died from executions, overwork, starvation and disease.
  • Estimates as to how many people were killed by the Khmer Rouge regime range from approximately one to three million. This era gave rise to the term Killing Fields, and the prison Tuol Sleng became notorious for its history of mass killing. Hundreds of thousands fled across the border into neighbouring Thailand. The regime disproportionately targeted ethnic minority groups. The Cham Muslims suffered serious purges with as much as half of their population exterminated. In the late 1960s, an estimated 425,000 ethnic Chinese lived in Cambodia, but by 1984, as a result of Khmer Rouge genocide and emigration, only about 61,400 Chinese remained in the country. The professions, such as doctors, lawyers, and teachers, were also targeted. According to Robert D. Kaplan, "eyeglasses were as deadly as the yellow star" as they were seen as a sign of intellectualism.
  • Cambodia-Vietnam friendship in Phnom Penh.In November 1978, Vietnam invaded Cambodia to stop Khmer Rouge incursions across the border and the genocide in Cambodia. Violent occupation and warfare between the Vietnamese and Khmer Rouge holdouts continued throughout the 1980s. Peace efforts began in Paris in 1989, culminating two years later in October 1991 in a comprehensive peace settlement. The United Nations was given a mandate to enforce a ceasefire, and deal with refugees and disarmament.
Reconstruction and Constitutional Monarchy
  • In recent years, reconstruction efforts have progressed and some political stability under the form of a Constitutional Monarchy, multipartide, and democratic (1993). However, Cambodia's natural resources, particularly its valuable timber, are still being exploited by interests from Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and Australia, while Khmer Rouge were still active in some areas, often supporting illegal timber operations until 1999. At that time, travel by land and river was still precarious.
  • The stability established following the conflict was shaken in 1997 by a coup d'état, but has otherwise remained in place. Cambodia has been aided by a number of more developed nations like Japan, France, Germany, Canada, Australia, the United States and Great Britain. CambodiaThailand is in political chaos, Cambodia is a regional alternative for business investments. is moving past its war torn history and focusing on national reconstruction. In recent years, the country has seen double digit economic growth, and seeks foreign business investment to modernize the nation and eliminate poverty. Especially since Thailand is in political chaos, Cambodia is a regional alternative for business investments.

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