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History of Cambodia

History of CambodiaThe Legend of the Origin

A beautiful legend tells about the birth of Cambodia: Indian Brahmin named Kaundinya sailed on the water of a country where the ruler was a dragon king. And the Brahman saw a boat, in which there was a beautiful princess, the daughter of the dragon king, the young princess was of an amazing beauty and a rare slender waist. No wonder that at the very first site Brahman fell in love with her. 


Kaundinya shot a magic arrow from his magic boat and thus the princess to follow him. Then they got married, and as a dowry the bride's father drank the water in the part of his kingdom, thereby freeing the part of the land. Here at the dragon king’s daughter dowry the country of Cambodia was established. Despite its fantastic nature, the legend represents one important detail: the establishment of the Khmer society was really strongly influenced by the culture of India. Hinduism, until it was replaced by Buddhism was the main religion in the country. The cult of the god-king was also borrowed from India. Khmer Empire has its roots dating back to Sanskrit and Pali.

The Beginning of Khmer Empire

The first historical mentioning of the Khmer Empire is owned by the Chinese and refers to the beginning of our era. Before the IX century Cambodia was comprised of a number of small kingdoms at war with each other. In 802, King Yavarman II on the sacred mountain of Phnom Kulen proclaimed himself a "universal god-king" and began the unification of the countries. Since that time start four brilliant centuries for Khmer empire, that was dominating almost the whole of Indochina. In 889, King Yasovarman I moved the capital to the city of Angkor. His heirs for four centuries have built many grand temples, including the largest in the world - Angkor Wat.


History of Cambodia

From Empire to the colony

All empires fall, and Khmer is not an exception. On its western borders began to gain momentum Siamese principality. In 1431, the Siamese captured and sacked Angkor, killing or taking its inhabitants into slavery. Over the next four centuries, the Khmer state was reduced in size, giving the pieces of its territory to Siam and Vietnam. In the XVIII century, even a symbol of the country, Angkor, went over to the Thai people, together with a number of north-western provinces. Balance between Thai and Vietnamese Khmer rulers was proclaimed until 1864, when the French King Norodom I offered to sign a protectorate treaty. Gradually Khmer realized the benefits of cooperation with France, and in fact passed into the hands of the French the whole control over the country.   

Red nightmares

In March 1970, the US-backed General Lon Nol made a military coup. Former King Sihanouk was at that time in Paris, he later moved to China, where he announced about his support for the partisans operating in Cambodia, which were called theKhmer Rouge. Americans involved in the Vietnam War, were not able to provide support to General Lon Nola, and April 17, 1975 (two weeks before the fall of Saigon), the Khmer Rouge took Phnom Penh. In Cambodia started a terrible genocide against its own people led by Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot. December 25, 1978, Vietnamese troops invaded Cambodia, and two weeks later took Phnom Penh. Pol Pot and his followers retreated to the west, settling on both sides of the border with Thailand. At home, he was sentenced in absentia to death. However, he died - at least according to the official version - of natural causes April 15, 1998.






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