Encyclopedia  |   World Factbook  |   World Flags  |   Reference Tables  |   List of Lists     
   Academic Disciplines  |   Historical Timeline  |   Themed Timelines  |   Biographies  |   How-Tos     
Sponsor by The Tattoo Collection
Cambodia
Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Cambodia

The Kingdom of Cambodia (Khmer ព្រះរាជាណាចក្រ កម្ពុជា ) is a country in Southeast Asia. It is bordered in the south by the Gulf of Thailand, in the west by Thailand, Laos in the north, and Vietnam in the east. The national language is Khmer, a member of Mon-Khmer subfamily of Austroasiatic language group.
Kingdom of Cambodia
Preahreacheanachakr Kampuchea
(In Detail) (Full size)
National motto: Nation, Religion, King
Official language Khmer
Capital Phnom Penh
King Norodom Sihanouk
Prime Minister Hun Sen
Area
 - Total
 - % water
Ranked 87th
181,040 km²
2.5%
Population
 - Total (Year)
 - Density
Ranked 65th
13,124,764
72.5/km²
Independence
 - Declared
 - Recognised
from France
November 9, 1953
Currency Riel
Time zone UTC +7
National anthem Nokoreach
Internet TLD .kh
Calling Code 855

Table of contents
1 History
2 Politics
3 Provinces
4 Geography
5 Economy
6 Demographics
7 Culture
8 Miscellaneous topics
9 References and further reading
10 External links
11 Notes

History

Main article: History of Cambodia

The first known advanced civilizations in Cambodia appear in first millennium AD, and from the 9th to 13th century, the Khmer civilization flourished here.

After centuries of territorial and population losses to neighboring Siam and Vietnam, Cambodia was made French protectorate in 1863, and became part of French Indochina. Following Japanese occupation in World War II, the Cambodians declared independence in 1953.

During the War in Indochina (1946-1975), the Nixon administration of the United States conducted massive bombing campaigns against Cambodia. Some estimate civilian casualties as high as 600,000. In 1970, General Lon Nol seized power and declared the Khmer Republic. The government was opposed by the nationalist and communist Khmer Rouge, which had gathered strength because of popular resentment against the U.S. bombing campaigns. The Khmer Rouge captured Phnom Penh in 1975 and renamed the country Kampuchea. Approximately 1.7 million people died during their three year social revolution.

A 1978 Vietnamese invasion drove the Khmer Rouge from power and into pockets along the western border with Thailand. A further 13 years of sporadic fighting took place before UN-sponsored elections in 1993 helped restore some semblance of normality. A coalition government, formed after national elections in 1998, brought renewed political stability and the surrender of remaining Khmer Rouge forces. None of the Khmer Rouge leaders have been tried and convicted of crimes committed during the three years in which they held power.

Politics

Main article: Politics of Cambodia

The country is reigned by Norodom Sihanouk who was reinstated as king again in September 1993. His role is not to rule but to reign (consitutional monarchy). The current ruling party is the CPP (Cambodian People's Party), the head of government is Hun Sen. Notably, Cambodia is a member of the United Nations and ASEAN.

Provinces

Main article: Provinces of Cambodia

Cambodia is divided into 20 provinces (kaeyte, singular and plural) and 3 municipalities* (krong, singular and plural):

Geography

Main article:
Geography of Cambodia

Cambodia is about 181,040 square kilometers, sharing a 800-kilometer border with Thailand on north and west, a 541-kilometer border with Laos on northeast, and a 1,228- kilometer border with Vietnam on east and southeast. It has 443 kilometers of coastline along the Gulf of Thailand.

The most salient topographical feature is the lacustrine plain formed by the inundations of Tonle Sap (Great Lake), measuring about 2,590 square kilometers during the dry season to about 24,605 square kilometers during the rainy season. This densely populated plain, which is devoted to wet rice cultivation, constitutes the heartland of Cambodia. Most (about 75 percent) of the country lies at elevations of less than 100 meters above sea level, except for the Cardamon Mountains (highest elevation 1,771 meters), their north-south extension to the east, Elephant Range (elevation range 500-1,000 meters) and the steep escarpment of Dangrek Mountains (average elevation 500 meters) along northern border with Thailand.

Temperatures range from 10°C to 38°C. Cambodia experiences tropical monsoons: southwest monsoon blowing inland in northeasterly direction brings moisture-laden winds from Gulf of Thailand/Indian Ocean from May to October with period of heaviest precipitation September-October; northeast monsoon blowing in southwesterly direction toward coast ushers in the dry season, November to March, with period of least rainfall January-February.

Economy

Main article: Economy of Cambodia

Cambodia's economy slowed dramatically in 1997-1998 due to the regional economic crisis, civil violence, and political infighting. Foreign investment and tourism fell off. In 1999, the first full year of peace in 30 years, progress was made on economic reforms and growth resumed at 5.0%. Despite severe flooding, GDP grew at 5.0% in 2000, 6.3% in 2001, and 5.2% in 2002. Tourism was Cambodia's fastest growing industry, with arrivals up 34% in 2000 and up another 40% in 2001 before the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the US. Even given these stout growth estimates, the long-term development of the economy after decades of war remains a daunting challenge. The population lacks education and productive skills, particularly in the poverty-ridden countryside, which suffers from an almost total lack of basic infrastructure. Fear of renewed political instability and corruption within the government discourage foreign investment and delay foreign aid. The government is addressing these issues with assistance from bilateral and multilateral donors.

Demographics

Main article: Demographics of Cambodia

Cambodia is ethnically homogeneous, as more than 90 percent of its population is of Khmer origin and speaks the Khmer language, the country's official language. National minorities comprise about 3 percent of total population. The Cham, of Islamic faith, are the most significant minority group. Other scattered tribal minorities live in the upland and forested areas. There are also some minor Vietnamese and Chinese populations.

Theravada Buddhism, suppressed by Khmer Rouge, but now revived, is the main religion and other minor religions like Christianity are being gradually introduced into the country.

French is spoken by many Cambodians as a second-language and is often the language of instruction in various schools and universities. It is also frequently used in government. However, in recent decades, many younger Cambodians, as well as members of the business-classes, have favored learning English and it is gradually becoming the more widely-known second-language in the country.

Culture

Main article: Culture of Cambodia

Miscellaneous topics

References and further reading

External links

Notes

1A figure of three million deaths between 1975 and 1979 was given by the Vietnamese-sponsored Phnom Penh regime, the PRK. Father Ponchaud suggested 2.3 million; the
Yale Cambodian Genocide Project estimates 1.7 million; Amnesty International estimated 1.4 million ; and the United States Department of State, 1.2 million. Khieu Samphan and Pol Pot, who could be expected to give underestimations, cited figures of 1 million and 800,000, respectively.


[ Edit {}] Countries in Southeast Asia
Brunei | Cambodia | East Timor | Indonesia | Laos | Malaysia | Myanmar | Philippines | Singapore | Thailand | Vietnam