The Kingdom of Cambodia
( ), formerly known as
( , ព្រះរាជាណាចក្រកម្ពុជា Preăh
Réachéa Nachâk Kâmpŭchea
, derived from Sanskrit Kambujadesa
), is a country in
South East Asia
with a population of
over 14 million people. The kingdom's capital and largest city is
Cambodia is the successor state
of the once powerful
, which ruled most of the
between the 11th
A citizen of Cambodia is usually identified as "Cambodian" or
"Khmer," though the latter strictly refers to ethnic Khmers
. Most Cambodians are Theravada Buddhists
of Khmer extraction, but the
country also has a substantial number of predominantly Muslim Cham
, as well as
and small animist
country borders Thailand to its west
and northwest, Laos to its
northeast and Vietnam to its east
and southeast. In the south it faces the Gulf of
geography of Cambodia is dominated by the Mekong River (colloquial Khmer: Tonle Thom or "the great
river") and the Tonlé
Sap ("the fresh water lake"), an important source of
has long been the most
important sector of the Cambodian economy, with around 59% of the
population relying on agriculture for their livelihood (with
being the principal crop). Garments
construction are also important. In 2007, foreign visitors to Angkor Wat numbered more than 4 million.
In 2005, oil
and natural gas deposits were found beneath Cambodia's territorial
waters, and once commercial extraction begins in 2011, the oil
revenues could profoundly affect Cambodia's economy. Observers fear
much of the revenue could end up in the hands of the political
elites if not monitored correctly.
is the traditional English
name, taken from the French Cambodge
(កម្ពុជា), formerly the name of the country in
English, is the direct transliteration
, more faithful to the Khmer
pronunciation. The Khmer
is derived from the ancient Khmer kingdom of
( ). Kambuja or Kamboja
(Devangari: कम्बोज) is the ancient
Sanskrit name of the Kambojas, an early tribe of north India, named after
their founder Kambu Svayambhuva,
believed to be a variant of Cambyses.
See Etymology of Kamboja
means "Kingdom of Cambodia".
Etymologically, its components are: Preah-
("king, royal, realm", from Sanskrit);
"authority, command, power", itself from Sanskrit , same meaning)
(from Sanskrit chakra
, meaning "wheel", a symbol of power and
The name used on formal occasions, such as political speeches and
news programs, is Prâteh Kampuchea
( ), literally "the
Country of Cambodia". Prâteh
is a formal word meaning
"country."The colloquial name most used by Khmer people, is
( ), literally "the Khmer Land". Srok
is a Mon-Khmer
equal to prâteh
, but less formal. Khmer
spelled with a final "r" in the Khmer alphabet, but the word-final
disappeared from most dialects
of Khmer in the 19th century and is not pronounced in the
contemporary speech of the standard dialect.
Since independence, the official name of Cambodia has changed
several times, following the troubled history of the country. The
following names have been used in English and French since 1954.
- Kingdom of Cambodia/Royaume du Cambodge under
the rule of the monarchy from 1953 through 1970;
- Khmer Republic/République
Khmère (a calque of French Republic) under the Lon Nol led
government from 1970 to 1975;
- Democratic Kampuchea/Kampuchea démocratique
under the rule of the communist Khmer
Rouge from 1975 to 1979;
- People's Republic of Kampuchea/République
populaire du Kampuchea under the rule of the
Vietnamese-sponsored government from 1979 to 1989;
- State of Cambodia/État du Cambodge (a neutral
name, while deciding whether to return to monarchy) under the rule
of the United Nations transitional authority from 1989 to
- Kingdom of Cambodia/Royaume du Cambodge
reused after the restoration of the monarchy in 1993.
evidence for a Pleistocene human
occupation of present day Cambodia are quartz
and quartzite pebble tools found in
terraces along Mekong River, in Stung Treng and Kratié provinces, and in Kampot Province, but their dating is not reliable.
it's sound that little communities of hunter-gatherers inhabited Cambodia during
Holocene: the most ancient Cambodian
archeological site is considered to be the cave of Laang
Spean, in Battambang Province, which belongs to the so-called Hoabinhian period.
Excavations in its
lower layers produced a series of radiocarbon
dates as of 6000 BC.
Upper layers in the same site gave evidence of transition to
, containing the earliest dated
earthenware ceramics in Cambodia
Archeological records for the period between Holocene and Iron Age
remain equally limited. Other prehistoric
sites of somewhat uncertain date are Samrong Sen (not far
from ancient capital of Oudong), where
first investigations started just in 1877, and Phum Snay,
in the northern province of Banteay Meanchey. Prehistoric artifacts are often found during
mining activities in Ratanakiri.
outstanding prehistoric evidence in Cambodia however are probably
"circular earthworks", discovered in the
red soils near Memot and in
adjacent region of Vietnam as of the end of the Fifties.
Their function and age are still
debated, but some of them possibly date from 2nd millennium BC at
A pivotal event in Cambodian prehistory was the slow penetration of
the first rice
farmers from North, which begun
in the late 3rd millennium BC. They probably spoke ancestral
Iron was worked by about 500 BC. The most part of evidence come from
Plateau, Thai country nowadays. In Cambodia some Iron
Age settlement were found beneath Angkorian temples, like Baksei
Chamkrong, others were circular earthworks, like
Lovea, a few kilometers north-west of Angkor.
Burials, much richer, testify improvement of food availability and
trade (even on long distances: in the 4th century BC trade
relations with India were already opened) and the existence of a
social structure and labor organization.
Pre-angkorian and angkorian polities
During the 3rd
, and 5th
centuries, the Indianised states of Funan
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, Cambodia absorbed
influences from China and India, passing
them on to other Southeast Asian
civilisations that are now Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos.
Khmer Empire flourished in the area from the 9th
to the 13th
. Around the 13th century, Theravada Buddhism was introduced to the
area through monks from Sri
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
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
Dark ages of Cambodia
After 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.
moved the Capital to Lovek where the
kingdom sought to regain its glory through maritime trade.
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
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.
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.
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 in 1904, France manipulated the choice of king and Sisowath,
Norodom's brother, was placed on the throne. 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
independently minded. Instead, Norodom
, who was eighteen years old at the time, was
enthroned. The French thought young Sihanouk would be easy to
control. They were wrong, however, and under the reign of King
Norodom Sihanouk, Cambodia gained independence from France on
November 9, 1953.
Cambodia 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.
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
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
. 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
States, while on a trip abroad. Settling in the next
alternative country, Beijing, China, Sihanouk
was forced to realign himself with the Chinese communist.
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
Between 1969 and 1973, Republic of
forces and 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 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
, David P. Chandler
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
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
"Without large-scale external food and equipment
assistance there will be widespread starvation between now and next
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
The 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
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
" as they were seen as a
sign of intellectualism.
November 1978, Vietnam invaded Cambodia
Khmer Rouge incursions across the border and the genocide in
Cambodia. Violent occupation and warfare
Vietnamese and Khmer Rouge holdouts continued throughout the 1980s.
efforts began in Paris in 1989,
culminating two years later in October 1991 in a comprehensive
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 led to
some political stability under the form of a constitutional monarchy
, and democratic
The stability established following the conflict was shaken in
by a coup
, 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 the United Kingdom.
Politics and government
The politics of Cambodia formally take place, according to the
of 1993, in the
framework of a constitutional
operated as a parliamentary representative democracy
Prime Minister of
is the head of
, and of a pluriform multi-party system
, while the king
is the head
. The Prime Minister is appointed by the King, on the
advice and with the approval of the National Assembly
; the Prime
Minister and his or her ministerial appointees exercise executive power
in government. Legislative power
is vested in both the
executive and the two chambers of parliament, the National Assembly of Cambodia
and the Senate
On October 14, 2004, King Norodom
was selected by a special nine-member throne council,
part of a selection process that was quickly put in place after the
surprise abdication of King Norodom
a week before. Sihamoni's selection was endorsed by
Prime Minister Hun Sen
and National Assembly
Speaker Prince Norodom Ranariddh
(the king's half brother and current chief advisor), both members
of the throne council. He was enthroned in Phnom Penh on October
The Royal Cambodian Armed Forces consists of the Royal Cambodian Army
, the Royal Cambodian Navy
, and the Royal Cambodian Air Force
is the Supreme Commander of
the Royal Cambodian Armed
(RCAF) and the country's prime
effectively holds the position of commander-in-chief
. The introduction of a
revised command structure early in 2000 was a key prelude to the
reorganisation of the RCAF. This saw the ministry of national
defence form three subordinate general departments responsible for
logistics and finance, materials and technical services, and
defence services. The High Command Headquarters (HCHQ) was left
unchanged, but the general staff was dismantled and the former will
assume responsibility over three autonomous infantry divisions. A
joint staff was also formed, responsible for inter-service
co-ordination and staff management within HCHQ.
The minister of National Defence is General Tea
. Banh has served as defence minister since 1979. The
Secretaries of State for Defence are Chay Saing Yun and Por Bun
Sreu. In January 2009, General Ke Kim Yan was removed from his post
as Commander-in-Chief of the RCAF and was replaced by his deputy,
Gen. Pol Saroeun, the new Commander-in-Chief of the RCAF, who is a
long time loyalist of Prime Minister Hun Sen. There were rumours
that Prime Minister Hun Sen had plans to remove Ke Kim Yan from
commander of RCAF because of an internal dispute in the CPP
. Days later after the news
broke out that Yan was being removed, members of the CPP Party said
it was a regular reshuffle of the Kingdom's military leadership and
that there are no internal problems within the CPP party. It is
expected that Ke Kim Yan will be promoted to Deputy Prime Minister
by Hun Sen and will be in charge of anti-drugs trafficking. The
is General Meas Sophea
and the Army Chief of Staff
is Chea Saran.
Cambodia has an area of 181,035 square kilometers
(69,898 sq mi) and lies entirely within the tropics.
borders Thailand to the north and west, Laos to the northeast, and
Vietnam to the east
and southeast. It has a 443-kilometer (275 mi)
coastline along the Gulf of Thailand.
distinctive geographical feature is the lacustrine plain, formed by the inundations
of the Tonle
Sap (Great Lake), measuring about 2,590 square
kilometers (1,000 sq mi) during the dry season and
expanding to about 24,605 square kilometers (9,500 sq mi)
during the rainy season.
This densely populated plain, which
is devoted to wet rice cultivation, is the heartland of Cambodia.
Much of this area has been designated as a biosphere reserve.
(about 75%) of the country lies at elevations of less than 100
metres (330 ft) above sea level, the exceptions being the
Mountains (highest elevation
1,813 m / 5,948 ft) and their southeast
extension the Dâmrei Mountains ("Elephant Mountains") (elevation range
500–1,000 m or 1,640–3,280 ft), as well the steep
escarpment of the Dângrêk Mountains (average elevation
500 m / 1,640 ft) along the border with
region. The highest elevation of Cambodia is
Phnom Aoral, near Pursat in the
centre of the country, at 1,813 metres
Cambodia's climate, like that of the rest of Southeast Asia
is dominated by Monsoons
, which are known as tropical wet and dry
because of the distinctly marked seasonal differences.
Cambodia's temperatures range from 21° to 35°C (69° to 95°F) and
experiences tropical monsoons
. Southwest monsoons blow inland bringing moisture-laden winds
from the Gulf of
Thailand and Indian Ocean from May to October.
The northeast monsoon
ushers in the dry season, which lasts from November to March. The
country experiences the heaviest precipitation
from September to October with
the driest period occurring from January to February.
Cambodia has two distinct seasons. The rainy season, which runs
see temperatures drop to 22 °C and is generally accompanied with
high humidity. The dry season lasts from November to April when
temperatures can rise up to 40 °C around April. The best months to
visit Cambodia are November to January when temperatures and
humidity are lower. Disastrous flooding, due to extremely heavy
rainfall, occurred in 2001 and again in 2002.
Capital (Reach Theani) and Provinces (Khaet) are Cambodia’s
First-level administrative divisions. Cambodian areas are divided
into 23 provinces and the capital. Municipalities, Districts (Srok)
and Khan are the second-level administrative divisions of Cambodia.
The provinces are divided into 26 municipalities and 159 districts,
and the capital is divided into 8 khan. The districts in turn are
further divided into communes (khum) and sangkat. The
municipalities and khan are divided into sangkat.
City and province sizes
Monivong Boulevard in Phnom Penh
A fishing boat in Koh Rung Samleom
On 22 December, 2008, King Norodom Sihamoni signed a Royal Decree
that changed the municipalities of Kep, Pailin and Sihanoukville
into provinces, as well as adjusting several provincial
is a member of the United Nations, the World
Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
It is an Asian Development Bank
a member of ASEAN
, and joined the WTO
on October 13, 2004. In 2005 Cambodia attended the
inaugural East Asia Summit
Cambodia has established diplomatic
with numerous countries; the government reports
twenty embassies in the country including many of its Asian
neighbours and those of important players during the Paris peace
negotiations, including the US, Australia, Canada, China, the
European Union (EU), Japan, and Russia. As a result of its
international relations, various charitable organizations
assisted with both social
and civil infrastructure
While the violent ruptures of the 1970s and 80s have passed,
several border disputes
Cambodia and its neighbours persist. There are disagreements over
some offshore islands and sections of the boundary with Vietnam,
and undefined maritime boundaries and border areas with
In January 2003, there were anti-Thai riots in Phnom Penh
rumoured comments about Angkor Wat allegedly made by a Thai actress
and printed in Reaksmei Angkor
, a Cambodian newspaper, and
later quoted by Prime Minister Hun Sen
government sent military aircraft to evacuate Thai nationals and
closed its border with Cambodia to Thais and Cambodians (at no time
was the border ever closed to foreigners or Western tourists) while
Thais demonstrated outside the Cambodian embassy in Bangkok.
The border was re-opened on March 21, after
the Cambodian government paid $6 million USD
compensation for the destruction of the Thai embassy and agreed to
compensate individual Thai businesses for their losses. The
"comments" that had sparked the riots turned out to have never been
made. More problems came between Cambodia and
Thailand in mid 2008 when Cambodia wanted to list Prasat Preah
Vihear as a UNESCO World heritage site, which later
resulted in a stand-off in which both
countries deployed their soldiers near the border and around the
disputed territory between the two countries.
restarted in April 2009, where 2 Thai soldiers died as a result of
a recent clash.
Wildlife of Cambodia
Cambodia has a wide variety of plants and animals. There are 212
species, 536 bird
species, 240 reptile
species, 850 freshwater
species (Tonle Sap Lake area), and 435
marine fish species. Much of this biodiversity is contained around
the Tonle Sap Lake and the surrounding biosphere. The Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve
unique ecological phenomenon surrounding the Tonle Sap.
encompasses the lake and nine provinces: Kampong
Thom, Siem Reap, Battambang, Pursat, Kampong
Chhnang, Banteay Meanchey, Krong
Pailin, Otdar Meanchey and Preah Vihear. In 1997, it was successfully nominated as a
UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Other key habitats
include the dry forest of Mondolkiri and Ratanakiri provinces and the Cardamom Mountains ecosystem, including Bokor National Park, Botum-Sakor
National Park, and the Phnom Aural and Phnom Samkos wildlife
The country has one of the highest deforestation
rates in the world. Since 1970,
Cambodia's primary rainforest cover fell dramatically from over 70
percent in 1970 to just 3.1 percent in 2007. In total, Cambodia
lost of forest between 1990 and 2005— of which was primary forest.
As of 2007, less than of primary forest remain with the result that
the future sustainability
forest reserves of Cambodia is under severe threat, with illegal
loggers looking to generate revenue.
The OCIC Tower, under construction in
Phnom Penh, will be the tallest building in Cambodia when it is
completed in 2009
Final economic indicators for 2007 are not yet available. 2006 GDP
was $7.265 billion (per capita
GDP $513), with annual
growth of 10.8%. Estimates for 2007 are for a GDP of $8.251 billion
$571) and annual growth of 8.5%. Inflation for
2006 was 2.6%, and the current estimate for final 2007 inflation is
Per capita income
Rice cropping plays an important role
in the economy
increasing, but is low compared with other countries in the region.
Most rural households depend on agriculture and its related
sub-sectors. Rice, fish, timber, garments and rubber are Cambodia's
major exports. The International Rice
Research Institute (IRRI) reintroduced more than 750
traditional rice varieties to Cambodia from its rice seed bank in
These varieties had been collected in the
1960s. In 1987, the Australian government funded IRRI to assist
Cambodia to improve its rice production. By 2000, Cambodia was once
again self-sufficient in rice. However, few Cambodian farmers grow
other crops leaving them vulnerable to crop failure. In recent
years, various international aid organisations have begun crop
diversification programs to encourage farmers to grow other
The recovery of Cambodia's economy slowed dramatically in 1997–98,
because of the regional economic
, civil violence, and political infighting. Foreign investment
also fell off drastically. Since then however, growth has been
steady. 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
increasing from 219,000 in 1997 to 1,055,000 in 2004. During 2003
and 2004 the growth rate remained steady at 5.0%, while in 2004
inflation was at 1.7% and exports at $1.6 billion USD
. As of 2005, GDP
per capita in PPP terms was
$2,200, which ranked 178th (out of 233) countries.
The older population often lacks education, particularly in the
countryside, which suffers from a lack of basic infrastructure
. Fear of renewed political
instability and corruption within the government discourage foreign
investment and delay foreign aid, although there has been
significant assistance from bilateral and multilateral donors.
Donors pledged $504 million to the country in 2004, while the Asian
Development Bank alone has provided $850 million in loans, grants,
and technical assistance.
The tourism industry is the country's second-greatest source of
after the textile
industry. Between January and December 2007, visitor arrivals were
2.0 million, an increase of 18.5% over the same period in 2006.
visitors (51%) arrived through Siem Reap with the remainder (49%) through Phnom Penh and
other destinations. Other tourist destinations include Sihanoukville in the south east which has several popular
beaches, and the area around Kampot and
Kep including the Bokor Hill Station.
55% of its population is of Khmer
origin and speaks the Khmer language
the country's official language. The remainder include Chinese
, Vietnamese, Cham
and Khmer Loeu
with nearly half of the population being of Vietnamese descent and
The Khmer language is a member of the Mon-Khmer
subfamily of the Austroasiatic language
once the language of government in Indochina
, is still spoken by some older
Cambodians. French is also the language of instruction in some
schools and universities that are funded by the government of
, a remnant of the country's colonial past, is a dialect
found in Cambodia and is sometimes used in government. However, in
recent decades, many younger Cambodians and those in the
business-class have favoured learning English. In the major cities
and tourist centers, English is widely spoken and taught at a large
number of schools because of the overwhelming number of tourists
from English-speaking countries. Even in the most rural outposts,
however, most young people speak at least some English, as it is
often taught by monks at the local pagodas where many children are
The dominant religion, a form of Theravada Buddhism
(95%), was suppressed
by the Khmer Rouge but has since experienced a revival. Islam
(3%) and Christianity
(2%) are also practiced.
The civil war and its aftermath have had a marked effect on the
Cambodian population. 50% of the population is younger than 22. At
0.96 males/female, Cambodia has the most female-biased sex ratio in
the Greater Mekong Subregion. In the Cambodian population over 65,
the female to male ratio is 1.6:1. UNICEF
designated Cambodia the third most landmined
country in the world, attributing over
60,000 civilian deaths and thousands more maimed or injured since
1970 to the unexploded land mines left behind in rural areas. The
majority of the victims are children herding animals or playing in
the fields. Adults that survive landmines often require amputation
of one or more limbs and have to resort to begging for survival. In
2006, the number of landmine casualties in Cambodia took a sharp
decrease of more than 50% compared to 2005, with the number of
landmine victims down from 800 in 2005 to less than 400 in 2006.
The reduced casualty rate continued in 2007, with 208 casualties
(38 killed and 170 injured).
Cambodia's infant mortality
has decreased from 115 in 1993 to 89.4 per 1000 live
births in 1998. In the same period, the under-five mortality rate
decreased from 181 to 115 per 1000 live births. In the province
with worst health indicators, Ratanakiri
, 22.9% of children
die before the age of five.
Culture and society
factors contribute to Cambodian culture including Theravada Buddhism, French Colonialism, Hinduism, Angkor
era culture, and modern
The Cambodian Ministry
of Culture and Fine Arts
is responsible for promoting and
developing Cambodian culture. Cambodian culture not only includes
the culture of the lowland ethnic majority, the Khmer, but of also
some 20 culturally distinct hill tribes colloquially known as the
, a term coined by Norodom Sihanouk
to generate unity between
the highlanders and lowlanders. Rural Cambodians wear a krama
scarf which is a unique aspect of Cambodian clothing
. Khmer culture, as
developed and spread by the Khmer
empire, has distinctive styles of dance, architecture and
sculpture, which have been exchanged with neighbouring Laos and Thailand through the history. Angkor Wat (Angkor means "city" and Wat
"temple") is the best preserved example of Khmer architecture from
the Angkorian era and hundreds of other temples have been
discovered in and around the region.
Khmer people have a unique method of recording information on Tra
leaf. Tra leaf books record information on legends of the Khmer
people, the Ramayana, the origin of Buddhism and other prayer book
series. They are greatly taken care of and wrapped in cloth as to
protect from moisture and the jungle climate.
Bonn Om Teuk
(Festival of Boat Racing),
the annual boat rowing contest, is the most attended Cambodian
national festival. Held at the end of the rainy season when the
Mekong river begins to sink back to its normal levels allowing the
Tonle Sap River to reverse flow, approximately 10% of Cambodia's
population attends this event each year to play games, give thanks
to the moon, watch fireworks, and attend the boat race in a
carnival-type atmosphere. Popular games include cockfighting
kicking a sey,
which is similar to a footbag
. Based on Theravada Buddhism
, the Cambodian New Year
is a major holiday
that takes place in April
. Recent artistic
figures include singers Sinn
and Ros Sereysothea
(and later Meng Keo Pichenda
introduced new musical styles to the country.
Phnom Penh Style Noodle Soup (Ka Tieu
Rice, as in other Southeast Asian
countries, is the staple grain, while fish from the Mekong and
Tonle Sap also form an important part of the diet. The Cambodian
per capita supply of fish and fish products for food and trade in
2000 was 20 kilograms
of fish per year or
per day per person. Some
of the fish can be made into prahok
longer storage. The cuisine of
contains tropical fruits, soups and noodles. Key
ingredients in Cambodian cuisine are kaffir
, lemon grass
, fish sauce
, coconut milk
. An example of French influence on Cambodian cuisine, is
Cambodian red curry with toasted baguette
bread. The toasted baguette pieces are dipped in the curry and
eaten. Cambodian red curry is also eaten with rice
and rice vermicelli
noodles. Probably the most popular dine out dish, ka tieu, is a
pork broth rice noodle soup
with fried garlic
that may also contain various toppings such as beef balls
liver or lettuce
. The cuisine is relatively
unknown to the world compared to that of its neighbours Thailand
is one of the more
popular sports, although professional organized sports are not as
prevalent in Cambodia as in western countries because of the
economic conditions. Football was brought to Cambodia by the French
and became popular with the locals. The Cambodia national football
managed fourth in the 1972 Asian
but development has slowed since the civil war. Western
sports such as volleyball, bodybuilding, field hockey, rugby union
, golf, and baseball are gaining
popularity. Native sports include traditional boat racing
, buffalo racing,
, Khmer traditional wrestling
. Cambodia first participated in the
during the 1956 Summer Olympic
Cambodia also hosted the GANEFO
alternative to the Olympics, in the 1960s.
The civil war and neglect
Cambodia's transport system, but with assistance and equipment from
other countries Cambodia has been upgrading the main highways to
international standards and most are vastly improved from 2006
. Most main roads are now paved. Cambodia has two
rail lines, totalling about 612 kilometers (380 mi) of single,
one meter gauge track. The lines run from the capital to
Sihanoukville on the southern coast, and from Phnom Penh to
Sisophon (although trains often run only as far as Battambang).
Currently only one passenger train per
week operates, between Phnom Penh and Battambang.Besides the main
interprovincial traffic artery connecting the capital Phnom Penh with Sihanoukville, resurfacing a former dirt road with concrete /
asphalt and implementation of 5 major river crossings by means of
bridges have now permanently connected Phnom Penh with Koh
Kong and hence there is now uninterrupted road access to
neighboring Thailand and their vast road system.
The nation's extensive inland waterways were important historically
in international trade. The Mekong and the
Sap River, their numerous tributaries, and the Tonle
Sap provided avenues of considerable length, including 3,700
kilometers (2,300 mi) navigable all year by craft drawing 0.6
meters (2 ft) and another 282 kilometers (175 mi)
navigable to craft drawing 1.8 meters (6 ft).
National Highway 4
Cambodia has two major ports, Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville, and five minor ones. Phnom Penh, located at the junction of the Bassac, the Mekong, and the Tonle Sap rivers, is the only river port capable of receiving 8,000-ton ships during the wet season and 5,000-ton ships during the dry season.
With increasing economic activity has come an increase in
automobile and motorcycle use, though bicycles still predominate;
as often in developing countries, an associated rise in traffic
deaths and injuries is occurring. Cycle
are an additional option often used by
The country has four commercial airports. Phnom Penh
International Airport in Phnom Penh is the second largest in
Cambodia. Siem Reap-Angkor International
Airport is the largest and serves the most international
flights in and out of Cambodia. The other airports
are in Sihanoukville and Battambang.
(as in 2009)
- Casey, Robert. Four Faces of Siva. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill
Company, 1934, p 88-100.
- , p.120
- , pp.13-22
- Country-Studies.com. Country Studies Handbook; information
taken from US Dept of the Army. Retrieved July 25, 2006.
- Britannica.com. History of Cambodia.. Retrieved July 25, 2006.
- Khmer Empire Map
- Metropolis: Angkor, the world's first
mega-city, The Independent, August 15, 2007
- Chandler, David P. "The Land and the
People of Cambodia". 1991. HarperCollins. New York, NY. p 77
- Scientists dig and fly over Angkor in search of
answers to golden city's fall, The Associated Press, June 13,
- Shawcross, Sideshow p. 298.
- e.g. Chandler, David P. Pacific Affairs, vol. 56, no.
2, Summer 1983, p. 295.
- Etcheson, Craig, The Rise and Demise of Democratic
Kampuchea, Westview Press, 1984, p. 97
- Shawcross, Sideshow pp. 374-375.
- Shawcross, William, The Quality of Mercy: Cambodia,
Holocaust and Modern Conscience, Touchstone, 1985, pp.
- Vickery, Michael, Correspondence, Bulletin of Concerned
Asian Scholars, vol. 20, no. 1, January-March 1988, p.
- The Cambodian Genocide and International Law,
By Dr. Gregory H. Stanton, Presented February 22, 1992 at Yale Law
- Cambodia the Chinese. Country Studies.
- Kaplan, Robert D., The Ends of the Earth, Vintage,
1996, p. 406.
- CambodianGenocide.org. A Brief History of the Cambodian Genocide..
Retrieved July 25, 2006.
- US Department of State. Country
Profile of Cambodia.. Retrieved July 26, 2006.
- CIA - The World Factbook. Cambodia.. Retrieved September 13,
- UN OHCHR Cambodia
- Royal Government of Cambodia. .
- Catharin E. Dalpino and David G. Timberman. " ," Asia
Society, March 26, 1998.
- Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs of the US Department
of State. Report to the Congress on the Anti-Thai Riots
in Cambodia on January 29, 2003.
- Cambodia, Thai troops on alert. Straits Times.
- Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve: perspective 2000, Mekong River
Commission (MRC), Mar 1 2003. Retrieved from TSBR website,
- Complete list of biosphere reserves in pdf, Publication Date:
03-11-2008, retrieved from UNESCO website, 29/12/2008 
- Planet Ark : Logging threatens Cambodian tragedy -
Institute of Cambodia.
- Jahn 2006, 2007
- Puckridge 2004, Fredenburg and Hill 1978
- CIA Factbook. GDP per Capita rankings. Retrieved July 24,
- CIA FactBook.. Retrieved September 9,
- A Fact Sheet: Cambodia and ADB, Asian
Development Bank. Retrieved September 9, 2006.
- Ministry of Tourism. . Retrieved December 29, 2008.
- Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labour of the US
Department of State. International Religious Freedom Report 2005..
Retrieved July 24, 2006.
- CIA World Factbook
- UNICEF. "The Legacy of Landmines". Retrieved July 25,
- PBS.org (July 25, 2003). Cambodia Land Mines.. Retrieved July
- Cambodia, Landmine Monitor Report 2007
- "National Child Mortality and Malnutrition (Food
Insecurity Outcome) Maps". United Nations World Food
Programme. Retrieved 2008-05-04.
- VietNam Net,
accessed January 31, 2009
- AFF- The official site of the ASEAN Football
Federation. Retrieved February 20, 2009.
- "Picking Up Speed: As Cambodia's Traffic Levels Increase, So
Too Does the Road Death Toll," The Cambodia
Daily, Saturday, March 9–10, 2002."
- General information
- Films and Videos