Cambodia :: History

circa AD 100 Funan, the first Cambodian empire was formed. It was influenced mainly by Indian culture.
600 Funam was absorbed by the kingdom of Chenla (originally a vassal state of Funan), located northeast of the Tônlé Sap (Great Lake).

802 The Khmer ruler Jayavarman II came to power and declared himself the first devaraja or god-king. built an empire called Kambuja - the beginning of the golden age of the Khmers.
800s-1400s The rulers of the Angkor Dynasty strove to outdo one another by expanding their territory and building splendid temples and public works (hospitals, irrigation canals, reservoirs, and roads).

Suryavarman II reigned over the Khmer empire and built Angkor Wat.
1431 Siam conquered Angkor kingdom's capital city, Angkor Thom. But an independent Khmer kingdom, with its capital near what is now Phnom Penh, survived until the mid-1800's.
1600-1800 Siam and Vietnam controlled much of Cambodia

1863 Cambodia became a protectorate of the French, saving the country from being divided between Siam and Vietnam.
1864 Norodom became king.
1939-44 Japan occupied Cambodia.
1945 The French reclaimed Cambodia after the war.
Communist guerrillas begin an armed campaign against the French.

1953 On November 9, Cambodia achieved independence from France under King Norodom Sihanouk.
1955 King Norodom Sihanouk gave up the throne and took the title of prince to take part in politics. In elections held that same year, he became prime minister.
1960 Sihanouk's father (who was the king) died. Sihanouk became head of state.
1965 Sihanouk broke off relations with the US and allowed North Vietnamese guerrillas to set up bases in Cambodia in their war with US-backed South Vietnam.
1969 The United States and South Vietnam charged that North Vietnam had troops and supplies in Cambodia for use in the Vietnam War --- U.S. planes began to bomb Communist targets in Cambodia.

COUP OF 1970
1970 In March, General Lon Nol overthrew Sihanouk while he was out of the country.

In April, U.S. and South Vietnamese troops entered Cambodia to clear out the Communist supply bases. But the Vietnamese Communists withdrew deeper into Cambodia.

In October, the government of Prime Minister Lon Nol abolished the monarchy and renamed the country the Khmer Republic.

Lon Nol sent the Cambodian army to fight the North Vietnamese in Cambodia.
1972 Lon Nol made himself president and assumed full control of the government.

Sihanouk created a government in exile in China and allied himself with the Cambodian communists.

1975 Cambodian communists of the Khmer Rouge (pronounced kuh-MAIR-rooj) organization seized Phnom Penh.

The Khmer Rouge communists, led by Pol Pot, took full control of the Cambodian government and renamed the country Democratic Kampuchea.
1975-79 The Khmer Rouge forced city people in cities to move to rural areas to work as farmers in an attempt to achieve agricultural self-sufficiency.

There was evidence that they killed hundreds of thousands of Cambodians, including many former government officials and educated people. Others starved, or died from disease or exhaustion.

"Cambodian Killing Fields" videos in Japanese with English subtitles: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

1977 War broke out with Vietnam.
1978 Heng Samrin, an army division commander of the Khmer Rouge, defected and fled to Vietnam.

In December, Vietnam invaded Cambodia.
1979 In April, Vietnamese troops and Cambodian communists won control of most of Cambodia, overthrew the Khmer Rouge government and pushed the Khmer Rouge toward the Thai border.

A Vietnamese-backed puppet regime was set up. The country was renamed the People's Democratic Republic of Kampuchea led by Heng Samrin, as head with Hun Sen as foreign minister.

The international community refused to recognise the new government. The government-in-exile retained its seat at the United Nations.
1982 Norodom Sihanouk became head of the coalition of the Khmer Rouge and two main non-Communist groups.
1985 Hun Sen became prime minister.

Cambodia was plagued by guerrilla warfare. Hundreds of thousands became refugees.
1989 In September, Vietnam claimed that it had withdrew its troops from Cambodia.

The country was renamed State of Cambodia.

1991 In October, Cambodia's government and opposition groups signed a UN-sponsored peace treaty which provided for UN administration and a 12-member Supreme National Council with Sihanouk as head.
1992 Angkor was declared a World Heritage Site. UNESCO has set up a wide-ranging programme to safeguard this site and its surroundings with its magnificent remains of the different capitals, temples and sculptural decorations of the Khmer Empire, from the 9th to the 15th century.
1993 In May, democratic, multiparty elections were held and a coalition government with Prince Norodom Ranariddh as prime minister and Hun Sen as deputy prime minister. Sihanouk was re-crowned as king in September.
1994 Thousands of Khmer Rouge guerrillas surrendered in government amnesty.

1997 Hun Sen ousted Rinariddh from office and took control.

ASEAN delayed Cambodia's entry into the Association.
1998 After new elections, Hun Sen became the sole prime minister and Rinariddh was appointed president of the National Assembly (the former Constituent Assembly).

Pol Pot died in his jungle hideout.
1999 Became a full member of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations).
2003 Angry crowds attacked the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh over alleged comments made by a Thai TV star that the Angkor Wat temple complex belonged to Thailand and should be returned.

July - Prime Minister Hun Sen's Cambodian People's Party (CPP) won the general elections but failed to secure sufficient majority to govern alone.
2004 July - Hun Sen re-elected as Prime Minister after his Cambodian People's Party struck a deal with the royalist Funcinpec party to form a coalition government.

Members of Parliament from Sam Rainsy party (which came in second behind Hun Sen's CPP in the 2003 elections) boycotted the new National Assembly, claiming the other two parties violated constitutional procedures in forming the new government.

In October, King Norodom Sihanouk gave up the throne due to ill health; his son, Norodom Sihamoni, was crowned on 29 October
2005 Opposition leader Sam Rainsy went into self-exile in February, citing fear of arrest after the National Assembly stripped him of immunity from prosecution, leaving him open to defamation charges brought by the ruling coalition.
2006 Rainsy was tried and sentenced in absentia by the Cambodian court in December 2005 for defaming PM Hun Sen. He subsequently received a royal pardon and returned to Cambodia in February 2006 after a year in exile.

October - The royalist Funcinpec party dropped Prince Norodom Ranariddh as its leader.
2007 Former Khmer Rouge leader, Nuon Chea - known as "Brother Number Two" - was arrested and charged with crimes against humanity.
2008 Border dispute with Thailand over a tiny area of land surrounding the ancient Preah Vihear temple which was awarded World Heritage status on July 8. Both countries raised troop presence in disputed area.

On August 9, the National Election Committee confirmed that Cambodia's ruling party, the Cambodian People's Party (CPP) won 58.1% of the popular vote in last month's election, compared with 21.9% for its nearest rival, the main opposition Sam Rainsy party.

The Sam Rainsy party rejected the outcome, saying the election had not been conducted freely and fairly, and demanded a re-run.