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Cambodia history and travel information- Khmer history

Cambodia History ••
Cambodia history and travel information

The first civilization of Cambodia existed from the 1st to 6th century in a State referred to as Funan. It was the oldest Indianized state in Southeast Asia, and from this period Cambodia's first writing language Sanskrit began. Influenced by Indian cultures, Funan accepted Hinduism, which was latter converted to Buddhism. What makes Cambodians different from its neighbors is due to the fact that Cambodians wear scarves, called Kramas, rather than straw hats.

From 9th to 13th century Angkor period existed. The period began with King Jayavarman II taking the throne in 802. At its peak, Angkor Empire extended from the border of modern day Burma east to the South China Sea and north to Laos.

Of great Kings who built famous temples were King Suryavarman II who built the world's renowned Angkor Wat, whereas King Jayavarman VII successfully made aggressive
construction of most of largest temples of Angkor, particularly Great City known as Angkor Thom. Not only the temples were the success of those Angkor Kings, but also vast man-made lakes with water exits for centuries together with its sophisticated system of irrigation such as canals and dikes. This enabled rice cultivation for 3 times a year, and that Angkor was a wealthy empire.

As Angkor period ended, the city moved to Longvek, then to Oudong and finally to the present day capital of Phnom Penh. The fall of Angkor marked the collapse of Cambodia Empire, which resulted in invasion and ransacks by its neighbors including the Thais and Vietnamese from the 15th to 17th centuries. This was mainly to conflict by royal courts. The post Angkor era also brought about a rapid expansion of Theravada Buddhism

Present Day
In 1863, Cambodia agreed to protection from France that ruled Cambodia for nearly 100 years. Like other colonial countries, France introduced modern Western government structure, education, courts and architectural styles on its land, thus one can see today many colonial buildings remain. In 1945, the Japanese briefly ousted the French protectorate. After the defeat of Japan in World War II, the French returned and ruled until 1953 when Cambodia gained full independence. King Norodom Sihanouk abdicated the throne to his father and led political party to unite the country from 1950 to 1960, during which Cambodia reached its peak surpassing its Southeast Asian nations.

In 1970, Vietnamese war spilled over into Cambodia, and King Norodom Sihanouk was overthrown by General Lon Nol. Lon Nol government was defeated by the Khmer Rouges in 1975, then Cambodia embarked a dark period for more than 3 years. During the Khmer Rouges time, the country's entire infrastructure was completely destroyed. No religion, no money, no education, no school and so on that the historical wheel turned to year zero. In 1979, The Khmer Rouges was toppled by Vietnamese backed movement People's Republic of Kampuchea which administered the country against the Khmer Rouges who was then ousted to northern jungles.

In 1991, Paris Peace Accords was signed, which then brought United Nations to temporarily administered and organized a free and fair elections in 1993 whereby an internationally recognized Cambodia government headed by two prime ministers was created. Monarchy has also been reinstated and King Norodom Sihanouk is a head of State. This was by no means putting an end to Cambodia civil war. In 1997, factional fighting between ruling political parties took place in the capital of Phnom Penh until cease fire was agreed to and next national elections administered by Cambodians themselves was conducted in May,1998.

After creation of new coalition government headed by Prime Minister Hun Sen, and with establishment of House of Senates in addition to the lower law making institution the National Assembly, Cambodia has experienced stability in terms of politics and economics. This allows Asean to accept Cambodia as its final 10th member.
Being part of regional groupings, Cambodia needs to look forward to attracting investments from the region and elsewhere.





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