Cambodia or Kampuchea officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in Southestern Asia, bordering the Gulf of Thailand, between Thailand, Vietnam and Laos. Edited and posted by Hồ Đình Hải
Location of Cambodia in Southeast Asia
1-1-The name of country The official name of the country in English is the Kingdom of Cambodia, translated from the Khmer “Preăh Réachéanachâk Kâmpŭchéa”, often shortened to just Kampuchea . Kampuchea derives from the Sanskrit word Kambuja. Colloquially, Cambodians most often refer to their country as “Srok Khmer”, meaning "The Land of the Khmers" or by using the slightly more formal form “Prateh Kampuchea”, literally "The Country of Cambodia". The English form "Cambodia" is derived from "Cambodge/ Kamboj", the Sanskrit transcription of "Kampuchea". 1-2-Location Cambodia or Kampuchea officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in Southeastern Asia, bordering the Gulf of Thailand, between Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos. Its approximate geographical coordinates are 11°N 104°E. Its 2,572 km border is split among Vietnam (1,228 km), Thailand (803 km) and Laos (541 km), as well as 443 km of coastline. Cambodia covers 181,040 square kilometres in the southwestern part of the Indochina peninsula. It lies completely within the tropics; its southernmost points are only slightly more than 10° above the equator. Roughly square in shape, the country is bounded on the north by Thailand and by Laos, on the east and southeast by Vietnam, and on the west by the Gulf of Thailand and by Thailand. Much of the country's area consists of rolling plains. Dominant features are the large, almost centrally located, Tonle Sap (Great Lake) and the Mekong River, which traverses the country from north to south and is the 12th longest river in the world.
Continent: Asia Region: Southeast Asia Coordinates: 13°00′N 105°00′E Area: Ranked 96th, 181,035 km2 (69,898 sq mi), 97.50% land, 2.50% water Borders: 2572 km (Laos 541 km, Thailand 803 km, Vietnam 1228 km) Highest point Phnum Aoral 1810 m Lowest point Gulf of Thailand 0 m Longest river Mekong river Largest lake Tonle Sap 2-1-Topography Cambodia falls within several well-defined geographic regions. The largest part of the country, about 75 percent, consists of the Tonle Sap Basin and the Mekong Lowlands. To the southeast of this great basin is the Mekong Delta, which extends through Vietnam to the East Sea (also called South China Sea). The basin and delta regions are rimmed with mountain ranges to the southwest by the Cardamom Mountains and the Elephant Range and to the north by the Dangrek Mountains. Higher land to the northeast and to the east merges into the Central Highlands of southern Vietnam. The Tonle Sap Basin-Mekong Lowlands region consists chiefly of plains with elevations generally of less than 100 meters. As the elevation increases, the terrain becomes more rolling and dissected. The Cardamom Mountains in the southwest, oriented generally in a northwest-southeast direction, rise to more than 1,500 meters. The highest mountain in Cambodia--Phnom Aural, at 1,771 meters-is in the eastern part of this range. The Elephant Range, an extension running toward the south and the southeast from the Cardamom Mountains, rises to elevations of between 500 and 1,000 meters. These two ranges are bordered on the west by a narrow coastal plain that contains Kampong Saom Bay, which faces the Gulf of Thailand. This area was largely isolated until the opening of the port of Kampong Saom (formerly called Sihanoukville) and the construction of a road and railroad connecting Kampong Saom, Kampot, Takev, and Phnom Penh in the 1960s. The Dangrek Mountains at the northern rim of the Tonle Sap Basin consist of a steep escarpment with an average elevation of about 500 meters, the highest points of which reach more than 700 meters. The escarpment faces southward and is the southern edge of the Korat Plateau in Thailand. The watershed along the escarpment marks the boundary between Thailand and Cambodia. The main road through a pass in the Dangrek Mountains at O Smach connects northwestern Cambodia with Thailand. Despite this road and those running through a few other passes, in general the escarpment impedes easy communication between the two countries. Between the western part of the Dangrek and the northern part of the Cardamom ranges, however, lies an extension of the Tonle Sap Basin that merges into lowlands in Thailand, which allows easy access from the border to Bangkok. The Mekong Valley, which offers a communication route between Cambodia and Laos, separates the eastern end of the Dangrek Mountains and the northeastern highlands. To the southeast, the basin joins the Mekong Delta, which, extending into Vietnam, provides both water and land communications between the two countries.
Climate of Cambodia
See also:Climate 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. The monsoonal airflows are caused by annual alternating high pressure and low pressure over the Central Asian landmass. In summer, moisture-laden air - the southwest monsoon - is drawn landward from the Indian Ocean. The flow is reversed during the winter, and the northeast monsoon sends back dry air. The southwest monsoon brings the rainy season from mid-May to mid-September or to early October, and the northeast monsoon flow of drier and cooler air lasts from early November to March. The southern third of the country has a two-month dry season; the northern two-thirds, a four-month one. Short transitional periods, which are marked by some difference in humidity but by little change in temperature, intervene between the alternating seasons. Temperatures are fairly uniform throughout the Tonle Sap Basin area, with only small variations from the average annual mean of around 25 °C (77.0 °F). The maximum mean is about 28.0 °C (82.4 °F); the minimum mean, about 22.98 °C (73.36 °F). Maximum temperatures of higher than 32 °C (89.6 °F), however, are common and, just before the start of the rainy season, they may rise to more than 38 °C (100.4 °F). Minimum temperatures rarely fall below 10 °C (50 °F). January is the coolest month, and April is the warmest. Tropical cyclones that often devastate coastal Vietnam rarely cause damage in Cambodia. The total annual rainfall average is between 1,000 and 1,500 millimeters (39.4 and 59.1 in), and the heaviest amounts fall in the southeast. Rainfall from April to September in the Tonle Sap Basin-Mekong Lowlands area averages 1,300 to 1,500 millimeters (51.2 to 59.1 in) annually, but the amount varies considerably from year to year. Rainfall around the basin increases with elevation. It is heaviest in the mountains along the coast in the southwest, which receive from 2,500 millimeters (98.4 in) to more than 5,000 millimeters (196.9 in) of precipitation annually as the southwest monsoon reaches the coast. This area of greatest rainfall, however, drains mostly to the sea; only a small quantity goes into the rivers flowing into the basin. The relative humidity is high at night throughout the year; usually it exceeds 90 percent. During the daytime in the dry season, humidity averages about 50 percent or slightly lower, but it may remain about 60 percent in the rainy period. 2-3-Drainage Except for the smaller rivers in the southeast, most of the major rivers and river systems in Cambodia drain into the Tonle Sap or into the Mekong River. The Cardamom Mountains and Elephant Range form a separate drainage divide. To the east the rivers flow into the Tonle Sap, while on the west they flow into the Gulf of Thailand. Toward the southern end of the Elephant Mountains, however, because of the topography, some small rivers flow southward on the eastern side of the divide. The Mekong River in Cambodia flows southward from the Cambodia-Laos border to a point below Kracheh city, where it turns west for about 50 kilometers and then turns southwest to Phnom Penh. Extensive rapids run above Kracheh city. From Kampong Cham the gradient slopes very gently, and inundation of areas along the river occurs at flood stage-June through November-through breaks in the natural levees that have built up along its course. At Phnom Penh four major water courses meet at a point called theChattomukh (Four Faces). The Mekong River flows in from the northeast and the Tonle Sab -a river emanating from the Tonle Sap-flows in from the northwest. They divide into two parallel channels, the Mekong River proper and the Basak River, and flow independently through the delta areas of Cambodia and Vietnam to the South China Sea. The flow of water into the Tonle Sap is seasonal. In September or in October, the flow of the Mekong River, fed by monsoon rains, increases to a point where its outlets through the delta cannot handle the enormous volume of water. At this point, the water pushes northward up the Tonle Sab and empties into the Tonle Sap, thereby increasing the size of the lake from about 2,590 square kilometers to about 24,605 square kilometers at the height of the flooding. After the Mekong's waters crest—when its downstream channels can handle the volume of water—the flow reverses, and water flows out of the engorged lake. As the level of the Tonle Sap retreats, it deposits a new layer of sediment. The annual flooding, combined with poor drainage immediately around the lake, transforms the surrounding area into marshlands unusable for agricultural purposes during the dry season. The sediment deposited into the lake during the Mekong's flood stage appears to be greater than the quantity carried away later by the Tonle Sap River. Gradual silting of the lake would seem to be occurring; during low-water level, it is only about 1.5 meters deep, while at flood stage it is between 10 and 15 meters deep.
See also:Administrative divisions of Cambodia Cambodia's boundaries were for the most part based upon those recognized by France and by neighboring countries during the colonial period. The 800-kilometre boundary with Thailand, coincides with a natural feature, the watershed of the Dangrek Mountains, only in its northern sector. The 541-kilometer border with Laos and the 1,228-kilometer border with Vietnam result largely from French administrative decisions and do not follow major natural features. Border disputes have broken out in the past between Cambodia and Thailand as well as between Cambodia and Vietnam.
Cambodian administrative divisions.
2-5-Area and boundaries
Area: -Total: 181,035 km² -Land: 176,520 km² -Water: 4,520 km² Maritime claims: -Contiguous zone: 24 nmi (27.6 mi; 44.4 km) -Continental shelf: 200 nmi (230.2 mi; 370.4 km) -Exclusive economic zone: 200 nmi (230.2 mi; 370.4 km) -Territorial sea:12 nmi (13.8 mi; 22.2 km) Elevation extremes: -Lowest point:Gulf of Thailand 0 m -Highest point:Phnum Aoral 1,810 m. 2-6-Resources and land use +Natural resources: Oil and natural gas, timber, gemstones, iron ore, manganese, phosphates, hydropower potential. +Land use: -Arable land: 20.44% -Permanent crops: 0.59% -Other: 78.97% (2005) -Total renewable water resources: 476.1 km3 (114.22 cu mi) (1999) +Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): -Total: 4.08 km3 or 0.979 cu mi/yr (1%/0%/98%) -Per capita: 290 km3 or 69.6 cu mi/yr (2000) -Irrigated land: 2700 km² (2003) 2-7-Environmental concerns -Natural hazards: monsoonal rains (June to November); flooding; occasional droughts. -Environment - current issues: illegal logging activities throughout the country and strip mining for gems in the western region along the border with Thailand have resulted in habitat loss and declining biodiversity (in particular, destruction of mangrove swamps threatens natural fisheries); soil erosion; in rural areas, most of the population does not have access to potable water; declining fish stocks because of illegal fishing and overfishing -Environment - international agreements: -party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Marine Life Conservation, Ship Pollution (MARPOL 73/78), Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands -signed, but not ratified:Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping. -Geography - note: a land of paddies and forests dominated by the Mekong River and Tonle Sap 2-8-Lakes: See also: Tonlé Sap Lake The Tonlé Sap , "Large Fresh Water River", but more commonly translated as "Great Lake") is a combined lake and river system of major importance to Cambodia. The Tonlé Sap is the largest freshwater lake in South East Asia and is an ecological hot spot that was designated as a UNESCO biosphere in 1997. The Tonlé Sap is unusual for two reasons: its flow changes direction twice a year, and the portion that forms the lake expands and shrinks dramatically with the seasons. From November to May, Cambodia's dry season, the Tonlé Sap drains into the Mekong River at Phnom Penh. However, when the year's heavy rains begin in June, the Tonlé Sap backs up to form an enormous lake.
Map of Tonle Sap Lake and its floodplain
Scenery, overlooking the lake
3-History of Cambodia
Khmer army going to war against the Cham, from a relief on the Bayon
Main article:History of Cambodia 3-1-Pre-history Main article:Early history of Cambodia There is sparse evidence for a Pleistocene human occupation of present day Cambodia, which includes quartz and quartzite pebble tools found in terraces along the Mekong River, in Stung Treng and Kratié provinces, and in Kampot Province, although their dating is unreliable. Some slight archaeological evidence shows communities of hunter-gatherers inhabited Cambodia during Holocene: the most ancient Cambodian archeological site is considered to be the cave of L'aang Spean, in Battambang Province, which belongs to the Hoabinhianperiod. 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 Neolithic, 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 the ancient capital of Udong), where the first investigations began in 1877, and Phum Snay, in the northern province of Banteay Meanchey. Prehistoric artifacts are often found during mining activities in Ratanakiri. However, the most curious prehistoric evidence in Cambodia are the various "circular earthworks" discovered in the red soils near Memot and in the adjacent region of Vietnam in the latter 1950s. Their function and age are still debated, but some of them possibly date from 2nd millennium BC at least. A pivotal event in Cambodian prehistory was the slow penetration of the first rice farmers from the north, which began in the late 3rd millennium BC. Iron was worked by about 500 BC, with supporting evidence coming from the Khorat Plateau, in modern day Thailand. In Cambodia, some Iron Age settlements were found beneath Baksei Chamkrong and other Angkorian temples while circular earthworks, were found beneath Lovea a few kilometers north-west of Angkor. Burials, much richer than other types of finds, testify to 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. 3-2-Pre-Angkorian era and Angkorian era
Faces of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara at Prasat Bayon
Main articles:Kingdom of Funan, Chenla, and Khmer Empire During the 3rd, 4th, and 5th centuries, the Indianized states of Funan and its successor, Chenla, coalesced in present-day Cambodia and southwestern Vietnam. For more than 2,000 years, Cambodia absorbed influences from India, passing them on to other Southeast Asian civilizations that are now Thailand and Laos. Little else is known for certain of these polities, however Chinese chronicles and tribute records do make mention of them. It is believed that the terriority of Funan may have held the port known to Alexandrian geographer Claudius Ptolemy as "Kattigara". The Chinese chronicles suggest that after Jayavarman I of Chenla died around 690, turmoil ensued which resulted in division of the kingdom into Land Chenla and Water Chenla which was loosely ruled by weak princes under the dominion of Java. The Khmer Empire grew out of these remnants of Chenla becoming firmly established in 802 when Jayavarman II (reigned c790-850) declared independence from Java and proclaimed himself a Devaraja. He and his followers instituted the cult of the God-king and began a series of conquests that formed an empire which flourished in the area from the 9th to the 15th centuries. Around the 13th century, monks from Sri Lanka introduced Theravada Buddhism to Southeast Asia. The religion spread and eventually displaced Hinduism and Mahayana Buddhism as the popular religion of Angkor. The Khmer Empire was Southeast Asia's largest empire during the 12th century. The empire's center of power was Angkor, where a series of capitals were constructed during the empire's zenith. In 2007 an international team of researchers using satellite photographs and other modern techniques concluded that Angkor had been the largest pre-industrial city in the world with an urban sprawl of 1,150 square miles. The city, which could have supported a population of up to one million people and Angkor Wat, the most well known and best-preserved religious temple at the site, still serve as reminders of Cambodia's past as a major regional power. The empire, though in decline, remained a significant force in the region until its fall in the 15th century.
3-3-Dark ages of Cambodia
Main article:Dark ages of Cambodia After a long series of wars with neighboring kingdoms, Angkor was sacked by the Ayutthaya Kingdom and abandoned in 1432 because of ecological failure and infrastructure breakdown. This led to a period of economic, social, and cultural stagnation when the kingdom's internal affairs came increasingly under the control of its neighbors. By this time, the Khmer penchant for monument building had ceased. Older faiths such as Mahayana Buddhism and the Hindu cult of the god-king had been supplanted by Theravada Buddhism for good. The court moved the capital to Longvek where the kingdom sought to regain its glory through maritime trade. The first mention of Cambodia in European documents was in 1511 by the Portuguese. Portuguese and Spanish travelers described the city as a place of flourishing wealth and foreign trade. The attempt was short-lived however, as continued wars with Ayutthaya and the Vietnamese resulted in the loss of more territory and Longvek being conquered and destroyed by King Naresuan the Great of Ayutthaya in 1594. A new Khmer capital was established at Udong south of Longvek in 1618, but its monarchs could survive only by entering into what amounted to alternating vassal relationships with the Siamese and Vietnamese for the next three centuries with only a few short-lived periods of relative independence. In the nineteenth century a renewed struggle between Siam and Vietnam for control of Cambodia resulted in a period when Vietnamese officials attempted to force the Khmers to adopt Vietnamese customs. This led to several rebellions against the Vietnamese and appeals to Thailand for assistance. The Siamese–Vietnamese War (1841-1845) ended with an agreement to place the country under joint suzerainty. This later led to the signing of a treaty for French Protection of Cambodia by King Norodom I.
3-4-French colonial period (1863-1953)
Map of Indochine_française_(1913)
Main articles:French protectorate of CambodiaandFrench 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. In 1863, King Norodom signed an agreement with the French to establish a protectorate over his kingdom. The state gradually came under French colonial rule.In 1867, 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. Cambodia 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 Sihanouk, a maternal grand-son of king Sisowath 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. During World War II, the 1940 - 1941 Franco-Thai War left the French Indochinese colonial authorities in a position of weakness. The Vichy government signed an agreement with Japan to allow the Japanese military transit through French Indochina. Meanwhile the Thai government, under the pro-Japanese leadership of Field Marshal Plaek Phibunsongkhram, took advantage of its position and invaded Cambodia's western provinces. Cambodia's situation at the end of the war was chaotic. The Free French, under General Charles de Gaulle, were determined to recover Indochina, though they offered Cambodia and the other Inchochinese protectorates a carefully circumscribed measure of self-government. Convinced that they had a "civilizing mission", they envisioned Indochina's participation in a French Union of former colonies that shared the common experience of French culture. Between 1874 and 1962, the total population increased from about 946,000 to 5.7 million.
3-5-Administration of Sihanouk (1953-1970)
King Norodom Sihanouk ( 31/10/1922-15/10/2012).
Main articles:Japanese occupation of CambodiaandKingdom of Cambodia (1953–1970) On 9 March 1945, during the Japanese occupation of Cambodia, young king Norodom Sihanouk proclaimed an independent Kingdom of Kampuchea, following a formal request by the Japanese. Shortly thereafter the Japanese government nominally ratified the independence of Cambodia and established a consulate in Phnom Penh. The new government did away with the romanization of the Khmer language that the French colonial administration was beginning to enforce and officially reinstated the Khmer script. This measure taken by the short-lived governmental authority would be popular and long-lasting, for since then no government in Cambodia has tried to romanize the Khmer language again. After Allied military units entered Cambodia, the Japanese military forces present in the country were disarmed and repatriated. The French were able to reimpose the colonial administration in Phnom Penh in October the same year. Sihanouk's "royal crusade for independence" resulted in grudging French acquiescence to his demands for a transfer of sovereignty. A partial agreement was struck in October 1953. Sihanouk then declared that independence had been achieved and returned in triumph to Phnom Penh. As a result of the Geneva Conference on Indochina, Cambodia was able to bring about the withdrawal of the Viet Minh troops from its territory and to withstand any residual impingement upon its sovereignty by external powers. Neutrality was the central element of Cambodian foreign policy during the 1950s and 1960s. By the mid-1960s, parts of Cambodia's eastern provinces were serving as bases for Communist Vietnamese Army (CVA) forces operating against South Vietnam, and the port of Sihanoukville was being used to supply them. As CVA activity grew, the United States and South Vietnam became concerned, and in 1969, the United States began a 14 month long series of bombing raids targeted at CVA elements, contributing to destabilization. The United States claims that the bombing campaign took place no further than ten, and later twenty miles (32 km) inside the Cambodian border, areas where the Cambodian population had been evicted by the CVA. Prince Sihanouk, fearing that the conflict between communist Vietnam and South Vietnam might spill over to Cambodia, publicly opposed the idea of a bombing campaign by the United States along the Vietnam-Cambodia border and inside Cambodian territory. In December 1967 Washington Post journalist Stanley Karnow was told by Sihanouk that if the US wanted to bomb the Vietnamese communist sanctuaries, he would not object, unless Cambodians were killed. Prince Sihanouk, facing internal struggles of his own, due to the rise of the Khmer Rouge, did not want Cambodia to be involved in the conflict. Sihanouk wanted the United States and its allies (South Vietnam) to keep the war away from the Cambodian border. Sihanouk did not allow the United States to use Cambodian air space and airports for military purposes. This upset the United States greatly and contributed to there view that of Prince Sihanouk as a North Vietnamese sympathizer and a thorn on the United States. However, declassified documents indicate that, as late as March 1970, the Nixon administration was hoping to garner "friendly relations" with Sihanouk. Throughout the 1960s, domestic Cambodian politics became polarized. Opposition to the government grew within the middle class and leftists including Paris-educated leaders like Son Sen, Ieng Sary, and Saloth Sar (later known as Pol Pot), who led an insurgency under the clandestine Communist Party of Kampuchea (CPK). Sihanouk called these insurgents the Khmer Rouge, literally the "Red Khmer." But the 1966 national assembly elections showed a significant swing to the right, and General Lon Nolformed a new government, which lasted until 1967. During 1968 and 1969, the insurgency worsened. However members of the government and army, who resented Sihanouk's ruling style as well as his tilt away from the United States, did have a motivation to overthrow him. After his second abdication in 2004, he was known as "The King-Father of Cambodia", a position in which he retained many of his former responsibilities as constitutional monarch.
3-6-Khmer Republic and the War (1970-1975)
From left to right, Sirik Matak, Lon Nol, and In Tam.
While visiting Beijing in 1970 Sihanouk was ousted by a military coup led by Prime Minister General Lon Nol and Prince Sisowath Sirik Matak in the early hours of March 18, 1970. The Khmer Republic's leadership was plagued by disunity among its three principal figures: Lon Nol, Sihanouk's cousin Sirik Matak, and National Assembly leader In Tam. Lon Nol remained in power in part because none of the others were prepared to take his place. In 1972, a constitution was adopted, a parliament elected, and Lon Nol became president.
However, once the coup was completed, the new regime, which immediately demanded that the Vietnamese communists leave Cambodia, gained the political support of the United States. The Vietnamese communist's forces, immediately launched armed attacks on the new government. However, from 1970 until early 1972, the Cambodian conflict was largely one between the government and army of Cambodia, and the armed forces of Vietnamese communist. The king urged his followers to help in overthrowing this government, hastening the onset of civil war, Soon Khmer Rouge rebels began using him to gain support. Between 1969 and 1973, Republic of Vietnam and U.S. forces bombed Cambodia in an effort to disrupt the Vietnam Communist and Khmer Rouge. At the same time, the Communist Party of Kampuchea forces became stronger and more independent. Lon Nol's control was reduced to small enclaves around the cities and main transportation routes. More than 2 million refugees from the war lived in Phnom Penh and other cities. On New Year's Day 1975, Communist troops launched an offensive which, in 117 days of the hardest fighting of the war, collapsed the Khmer Republic. Simultaneous attacks around the perimeter of Phnom Penh pinned down Republican forces, while other CPK units overran fire bases controlling the vital lower Mekong resupply route. A US-funded airlift of ammunition and rice ended when Congress refused additional aid for Cambodia. The Lon Nol government in Phnom Penh surrendered on April 17, 1975, just five (5) days after the US mission evacuated Cambodia.
3-7-Khmer Rouge Era (Democratic Kampuchea) (1975-1979)
Flag of Khmer Rouge
Main articles: Democratic Kampuchea and Khmer Rouge The Khmer Rouge reached Phnom Penh and took power in 1975. Led by Pol Pot, they changed the official name of the country to Democratic Kampuchea. Immediately after its victory, the CPK ordered the evacuation of all cities and towns, sending the entire urban population into the countryside to work as farmers, as the CPK was trying to reshape society into a model that Pol Pot had conceived. The new government sought to completely restructure Cambodian society. Remnants of the old society were abolished and religion, particularly Buddhism and Catholicism, was suppressed. Agriculture was collectivized, and the surviving part of the industrial base was abandoned or placed under state control. Cambodia had neither a currency nor a banking system. The new regime modelled itself on Maoist China during the Great Leap Forward, 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. At least 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; the most commonly cited figure is two million (about one-fourth of the population). 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 ethnic minority groups. The Cham Muslims suffered serious purges with as much as half of their population exterminated. 3-7-1-Social and cultural implications of the regime Thousands starved or died of disease during the evacuation and its aftermath. Many of those forced to evacuate the cities were resettled in newly created villages, which lacked food, agricultural implements, and medical care. Many who lived in cities had lost the skills necessary for survival in an agrarian environment. Thousands starved before the first harvest. Hunger and malnutrition-bordering on starvation-were constant during those years. Most military and civilian leaders of the former regime who failed to disguise their pasts were executed. Some of the ethnicities in Cambodia, such as the Cham suffered specific and targeted and violent persecutions. To the point of some international source referring to it as the "Cham genocide". Entire families and towns were targeted and attacked with the goal of significantly diminishing their numbers and eventually eliminated them. Life in 'Democratic Kampuchea' was strict and brutal. In many areas of the country people were rounded up and executed for speaking a foreign language, wearing glasses, scavenging for food, and even crying for dead loved ones. Former businessmen and bureaucrats were hunted down and killed along with their entire families; the Khmer Rouge feared that they held beliefs that could lead them to oppose their regime. A few Khmer Rouge loyalists were even killed for failing to find enough 'counter-revolutionaries' to execute. Modern research has located 20,000 mass graves from the Khmer Rouge era all over Cambodia. Various studies have estimated the death toll at between 740,000 and 3,000,000, most commonly between 1.4 million and 2.2 million, with perhaps half of those deaths being due to executions, and the rest from starvation and disease. The U.S. State Department-funded Yale Cambodian Genocide Project estimates approximately 1.7 million. R. J. Rummel, an analyst of historical political killings, gives a figure of 2 million. A UN investigation reported 2–3 million dead, while UNICEF estimated 3 million had been killed. Demographic analysis by Patrick Heuveline suggests that between 1.17 and 3.42 million Cambodians were killed, while Marek Sliwinski estimates that 1.8 million is a conservative figure. Researcher Craig Etcheson of the Documentation Center of Cambodia suggests that the death toll was between 2 and 2.5 million, with a "most likely" figure of 2.2 million. After 5 years of researching grave sites, he concluded that "these mass graves contain the remains of 1,386,734 victims of execution". In the late 1960s, an estimated 425,000 ethnic Chinese lived in Cambodia, but, by 1984, due to Khmer Rouge killings and to emigration, only about 61,400 Chinese remained in the country. Forced repatriation in 1970 and deaths during the Khmer Rouge era reduced the Vietnamese population in Cambodia from between 250,000 and 300,000 in 1969 to a reported 56,000 in 1984. However, most of the victims of the Khmer Rouge regime were not ethnic minorities but ethnic Khmer. Professionals, such as doctors, lawyers and teachers, were also targeted. According to Robert D. Kaplan, "eyeglasses were as deadly as the yellow star" as they were seen as a sign of intellectualism. 3-7-2-The Kampuchean United Front for National Salvation (KUFNS) attacked Khmer Rouge In December 1978, Vietnam announced formation of the Kampuchean United Front for National Salvation (KUFNS) under Heng Samrin, a former DK division commander. It was composed of Khmer Communists who had remained in Vietnam after 1975 and officials from the eastern sector-like Heng Samrin and Hun Sen-who had fled to Vietnam from Cambodia in 1978. In late December 1978, Vietnamese forces launched a full invasion of Cambodia, capturing Phnom Penh on January 7, 1979 and driving the remnants of Democratic Kampuchea's army westward toward Thailand.
Victims of Khmer Rouge
3-8-People's Republic of Kampuchia (1979-1993)
Flag-map of the People's Republic of Cambodia (1979-1993)
Main article: PRK/SOC, Cambodia under Vietnamese occupation (1979–1989) In November 1978, Vietnamese troops invaded Cambodia in response to border raids by the Khmer Rouge. The People's Republic of Kampuchea (PRK), a Pro-Soviet state led by the Kampuchean People's Revolutionary Party, a party created in 1951, and led by a group of Khmer Rouge who had fled Cambodia to avoid being purged by Pol Pot and Ta Mok, was established. In opposition to the newly created state, a government-in-exile referred to as the Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea (CGDK) was formed in 1981 from three factions. This consisted of the Khmer Rouge, a royalist faction led by Sihanouk, and the Khmer People's National Liberation Front. Its credentials were recognized by the United Nations. The Khmer Rouge representative to the UN, Thiounn Prasith, was retained, but he had to work in consultation with representatives of the noncommunist Cambodian parties. The refusal of Vietnam to withdraw from Cambodia led to economic sanctions by the U.S. and its allies. Peace efforts began in Paris in 1989 under the State of Cambodia, culminating two years later in October 1991 in a comprehensive peace settlement. The UN was given a mandate to enforce a ceasefire and deal with refugees and disarmament known as the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC). In 1993, Norodom Sihanouk was restored as King of Cambodia, but all power was in the hands of the government established after the UNTAC sponsored elections. The stability established following the conflict was shaken in 1997 by a coup d'état led by the co-Prime Minister Hun Sen against the noncommunist parties in the government. Many of the noncommunist politicians were murdered by Hun Sen's forces. In recent years, reconstruction efforts have progressed and led to some political stability through political repression of a multiparty democracy under a constitutional monarchy. In July 2010 Kang Kek Iew was the first Khmer Rouge member found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity in his role as the former commandant of the S21 extermination camp. He was sentenced to life in prison. However, Hun Sen has opposed any extensive trials of former Khmer Rouge mass murderers. He says that this is because he wishes to avoid political instability.
3-9-Modern Campodia (1990-present)
Former king Norodom Sihanouk
Main article: Modern Cambodia (1990–present) On October 23, 1991, the Paris Conference reconvened to sign a comprehensive settlement giving the UN full authority to supervise a cease-fire, repatriate the displaced Khmer along the border with Thailand, disarm and demobilize the factional armies, and prepare the country for free and fair elections. Prince Sihanouk, President of the Supreme National Council of Cambodia (SNC), and other members of the SNC returned to Phnom Penh in November 1991, to begin the resettlement process in Cambodia. The UN Advance Mission for Cambodia (UNAMIC) was deployed at the same time to maintain liaison among the factions and begin demining operations to expedite the repatriation of approximately 370,000 Cambodians from Thailand. On March 16, 1992, the UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) arrived in Cambodia to begin implementation of the UN Settlement Plan. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees began fullscale repatriation in March 1992. UNTAC grew into a 22,000-strong civilian and military peacekeeping force to conduct free and fair elections for a constituent assembly. Over 4 million Cambodians (about 90% of eligible voters) participated in the May 1993 elections, although the Khmer Rouge or Party of Democratic Kampuchea (PDK), whose forces were never actually disarmed or demobilized, barred some people from participating. Prince Ranariddh's royalist FUNCINPEC Party was the top vote recipient with 45.5% of the vote, followed by Hun Sen's Cambodian People's Party and the Buddhist Liberal Democratic Party, respectively. FUNCINPEC then entered into a coalition with the other parties that had participated in the election. The parties represented in the 120-member assembly proceeded to draft and approve a new constitution, which was promulgated September 24, 1993. It established a multiparty liberal democracy in the framework of a constitutional monarchy, with the former Prince Sihanouk elevated to King. Prince Ranariddh and Hun Sen became First and Second Prime Ministers, respectively, in the Royal Cambodian Government (RGC). The constitution provides for a wide range of internationally recognized human rights. On October 4, 2004, the Cambodian National Assembly ratified an agreement with the United Nations on the establishment of a tribunal to try senior leaders responsible for the atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge. Donor countries have pledged the $43 million international share of the three-year tribunal budget, while the Cambodian government’s share of the budget is $13.3 million. The tribunal started trials of senior Khmer Rouge leaders in 2008. Cambodia is also recovering from the land mines which were used heavily by the Khmer Rouge and Vietnamese; it will take approximately a decade to remove most of the land mines from Cambodia
Main articles:Politics of CambodiaandList of political parties in Cambodia 4-1-Government National politics in Cambodia take place within the framework of the nation's constitution of 1993. The government is a constitutional monarchy operated as a parliamentaryrepresentative democracy. The Prime Minister of Cambodia, an office held by Hun Sensince 1985, is the head of government, while the King of Cambodia (currently Norodom Sihamoni) is the head of state. The prime minister is appointed by the king, on the advice and with the approval of the National Assembly. The prime minister and the ministerial appointees exercise executive power while legislative powers are shared by the executive and the bicameralParliament of Cambodia, which consists of a lower house, the National Assembly or Radhsphea and an upper house, the Senate or Sénat. Members of the 123-seat Assembly are elected through a system ofproportional representation and serve for a maximum term of five years. The Senate has 61 seats, two of which are appointed by the king and two others by the National Assembly, and the rest elected by the commune councillors from 24 provinces of Cambodia. Senators serve six year terms. On October 14, 2004, King Norodom Sihamoni was selected by a special nine-member throne council, part of a selection process that was quickly put in place after the abdication of King Norodom Sihanouk a week prior. 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 29, 2004. The Cambodian People's Party (CPP) is the major ruling party in Cambodia. The CPP controls the lower and upper chambers of parliament, with 73 seats in the National Assembly and 43 seats in the Senate. The opposition Sam Rainsy Party is the second largest party in Cambodia with 26 seats in the National Assembly and 2 in the Senate. Hun Sen and his government have seen much controversy. Hun Sen was a former Khmer Rouge commander who was originally installed by the Vietnamese and, after the Vietnamese left the country, maintains his strong man position by violence and oppression when deemed necessary. In 1997, fearing the growing power of his co-Prime Minister, Prince Norodom Ranariddh, Hun launched a coup, using the army to purge Ranariddh and his supporters. Ranariddh was ousted and fled to Paris while other opponents of Hun Sen were arrested, tortured and some summarily executed. In addition to political oppression, the Cambodian government has been accused of corruption in the sale of vast areas of land to foreign investors resulting in the eviction of thousands of villagers as well as taking bribes in exchange for grants to exploit Cambodia's oil wealth and mineral resources. Cambodia is consistently listed as one of the most corrupt governments in the world.
Main article:Royal Cambodian Armed Forces The Royal Cambodian Army, Royal Cambodian Navy, Royal Cambodian Air Force andRoyal Gendarmerie collectively form the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, under the command of the Ministry of National Defense, presided over by the Prime Minister of Cambodia. His Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni is the Supreme Commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF), and the country's Prime Minister Hun Sen effectively holds the position of commander-in-chief. The introduction of a revised command structure early in 2000 was a key prelude to the reorganization of the Cambodian military. This saw the defence ministry form three subordinate general departments responsible for logistics and finance, materials and technical services, and defence services under the High Command Headquarters (HCHQ). The minister of National Defense is General Tea Banh. Banh has served as defense minister since 1979. The Secretaries of State for Defense are Chay Saing Yun and Por Bun Sreu. The new Commander-in-Chief of the RCAF was replaced by his deputy General Pol Saroeun, who is a long time loyalist of Prime Minister Hun Sen. The Army Commander is General Meas Sophea and the Army Chief of Staff is Chea Saran. In 2010, the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces comprised about 210,000 personnel. Total Cambodian military spending stands at 3% of national GDP. The Royal Gendarmerie of Cambodia total more than 7,000 personnel. Its civil duties include providing security and public peace, to investigate and prevent organized crime, terrorism and other violent groups; to protect state and private property; to help and assist civilians and other emergency forces in a case of emergency, natural disaster, civil unrest and armed conflicts.
Foreign Minister Hor Nam Hong meets with Hillary Clinton
Main article:Foreign relations of Cambodia The foreign relations of Cambodia are handled by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs under H.E. Hor Namhong. Cambodia is a member of the United Nations, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund. It is a member of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), ASEAN, and joined the WTO on October 13, 2004. In 2005 Cambodia attended the inaugural East Asia Summit in Malaysia. On November 23, 2009, Cambodia reinstated its membership to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Cambodia first became a member of IAEA on February 6, 1958 but withdrew its membership on March 26, 2003. Cambodia has established diplomatic relations 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 have assisted with social, economic, and civil infrastructure needs. In recent years, bilateral relations between the United States and Cambodia have strengthened. The U.S. supports efforts in Cambodia to combat terrorism, build democratic institutions, promote human rights, foster economic development, eliminate corruption, achieve the fullest possible accounting for Americans missing from the Vietnam War-era, and to bring to justice those most responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law committed under the Khmer Rouge regime. China's geopolitical interest in Cambodia changed significantly with the end of the Cold War. It retains considerable influence, including, before his death, close links with former KingNorodom Sihanouk, senior members of the Cambodian Government, and the ethnic Chinese community in Cambodia. There are regular high level exchanges between the two countries. Japan has been a vital contributor to Cambodia's rehabilitation and reconstruction since the high-profile UN Transitional Authority (UNTAC) mission and elections in 1993. Japan provided some US$1.2 billion in total overseas development assistance (ODA) during the period since 1992 and remains Cambodia's top donor country. While the violent ruptures of the 1970s and 80s have passed, several border disputes between Cambodia and its neighbors persist. There are disagreements over some offshore islands and sections of the boundary with Vietnam and undefined maritime boundariesand border areas with Thailand. Both Cambodian and Thai troops have clashed over land immediately adjacent to the Preah Viheartemple, leading to a deterioration in relations. The International Court of Justice in 1962 awarded the temple to Cambodia but was unclear regarding some of the surrounding land. Both countries blamed the other for firing first and denied entering the other's territory.
As of 2010, Cambodia has an estimated population of 14,805,358 people. Ninety percent of Cambodia's population is of Khmer origin and speak the Khmer language, the country's official language. Cambodia's population is relatively homogeneous. Its minority groups include Vietnamese (740,268 est.), Chinese (700,000 est.), Cham (220,000 est.), and Khmer Loeu (550,000 est.). The country's birth rate is 25.4 per 1,000. Its population growth rate is 1.70%, significantly higher than those of Thailand, South Korea, and India. The Khmer language is a member of the Mon–Khmer subfamily of the Austroasiatic language group. French, once the language of government in Indochina, is still spoken by many older Cambodians. French is also the language of instruction in some schools and universities that are funded by the government of France. Cambodian French, a remnant of the country's colonial past, is a dialect found in Cambodia and is sometimes used in government, particularly in court. 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, most young people speak at least some English, as it is often taught by monks at the local pagodas where many children are educated. The civil war and its aftermath have markedly affected the Cambodian population; 50% of the population is younger than 22 years old. At a 1.04 female to male ratio, 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. 6-2-Religion Religion in Cambodia Religion percent Buddhism 96.4% Islam 2.1% Christianity 1.3% Others 0.3% TheravadaBuddhism is the official religion of Cambodia, which is practiced by more than 95 percent of the population. The Theravada Buddhist tradition is widespread and strong in all provinces, with an estimated 4,392 monastery temples throughout the country. The vast majority of ethnic Khmers are Buddhist, and there are close associations between Buddhism, cultural traditions, and daily life. Adherence to Buddhism generally is considered intrinsic to the country's ethnic and cultural identity. Religion in Cambodia, including Buddhism, was suppressed by the Khmer Rouge during the late 1970s but has since experienced a revival. Islam is the religion of the majority of the Chams and Malay minorities in Cambodia. The majority of Muslims are Sunnis of the Shafi'i school and are highly populated in Kampong Cham Province. Currently there are more than 300,000 Muslims in the country. One percent of Cambodians are identified as being Christian, of which Catholics make up the largest group followed by Protestants. There are currently 20,000 Catholics in Cambodia, which represents 0.15% of the total population. Other denominations include Baptists, The Christian and Missionary Alliance, Methodists, Jehovah's Witnesses,Apostolic or United Pentecostals, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Mahayana Buddhism is the religion of the majority of Chinese and Vietnamese in Cambodia. Elements of other religious practices, such as the veneration of folk heroes and ancestors, Confucianism, and Taoism mix with Chinese Buddhism are also practiced.
Buddhist monks in front of the Angkor Wat
Main article:Education in Cambodia The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports is responsible for establishing national policies and guidelines for education in Cambodia. The Cambodian education system is heavily decentralised, with three levels of government, central, provincial and district – responsible for its management. The constitution of Cambodia promulgates free compulsory education for nine years, guaranteeing the universal right to basic quality education. In 2004 it was estimated that 73.6% of the population was literate (84.7% of males and 64.1% of females). Male youth age (15–24 years) have a literacy rate of 89% compared to 86% for females. The education system in Cambodia continues to face many challenges, but during the past years there have been significant improvements, especially in terms of primary net enrollment gains, the introduction of program based-budgeting, and the development of a policy framework which helps disadvantaged children to gain access to education. Many of Cambodia's most acclaimed universities are based in Phnom Penh. Traditionally, education in Cambodia was offered by the wats (Buddhist temples), thus providing education exclusively for the male population. During the Khmer Rouge regime, education suffered significant setbacks.
Children in Cambodia
Main article: Health in Cambodia The quality of health in Cambodia is rising. As of 2010, the life expectancy is 60 years for males and 65 years for females, a major improvement since 1999 when the average life expectancy was 49.8 and 46.8 respectively. Health care is offered by both public and private practitioners and research has found that trust in health providers is a key factor in improving the uptake of health care services in rural Cambodia. The Royal Cambodian Government plans to increase the quality of healthcare in the country by raising awareness of HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases. Government spending on health care corresponded to 5.8% of Cambodia's gross domestic product (GDP). Cambodia's infant mortality rate has decreased from 115 per 1,000 live births in 1993 to 54 in 2009. In the same period, the under-five mortality rate decreased from 181 to 115 per 1,000 live births. In the province with worst health indicators, Ratanakiri, 22.9% of children die before age five. UNICEF has designated Cambodia the third most landmined country in the world, attributing over 60,000 civilian deaths and thousands more maimed or injured since 1970 because of 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. However, the number of landmine casualties has sharply decreased, from 800 in 2005 to less than 400 in 2006 and 208 in 2007 (38 killed and 170 injured). There were 271 landmine and unexploded ordnance casualties recorded by the Cambodian Mine/UXO Victim Information System in 2008, 243 in 2009, and 286 in 2010. This rise is partly due to two major anti-tank landmine accidents in 2010 – in Palin province in May, and in Battambang province in November – that between them killed or injured 30 people. There were 211 total casualties in 2011, and the statistics for January–June 2012 numbered 104. Twenty-seven per cent of these casualties in 2011–12 occurred in Battambang.
Amok, a popular Khmer dish.
Main article: Cuisine of Cambodia Rice is the staple grain, as in other Southeast Asian countries. Fish from the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers is also an important part of the diet. The supply of fish and fish products for food and trade in 2000 was 20 kilograms per person or 2 ounces per day per person. Some of the fish can be made into prahok for longer storage. The cuisine of Cambodia contains tropical fruits, soups and noodles. Key ingredients are kaffir lime, lemon grass, garlic, fish sauce, soy sauce, curry, tamarind, ginger, oyster sauce,coconut milk and black pepper. Some delicacies are (Num Bunhjok),(Amok), (Ah Ping). French influence on Cambodian cuisine includes the 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 brothrice noodlesoup with fried garlic, scallions, green onions that may also contain various toppings such as beef balls, shrimp, pork liver or lettuce. The cuisine is relatively unknown to the world compared to that of its neighbours Thailand and Vietnam.
Banh chiao, Cambodian-style Bánh xèo.
A bowl of kuyteav.
6-5-1-Introduction Main articles:Culture of Cambodia,Sport in Cambodia, andPreah Ko Preah Keo Various factors contribute to the Cambodian culture including Theravada Buddhism, Hinduism, French colonialism, Angkorian culture, and modern globalization. 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, but also some 20 culturally distinct hill tribes colloquially known as the Khmer Loeu, a term coined byNorodom Sihanouk to encourage unity between the highlanders and lowlanders. Rural Cambodians wear a krama scarf which is a unique aspect of Cambodian clothing. The sampeahis a traditional Cambodian greeting or a way of showing respect to others. 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 throughout history.Angkor Wat (Angkor means "city" and Wat "temple") is the best preserved example of Khmer architecture from the Angkorian era along with hundreds of other temples that have been discovered in and around the region. Traditionally, the Khmer people have a unique method of recording information on Tra leaves. Tra leaf books record 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 to protect from moisture and the climate. Bon 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, dine, and attend the boat race in a carnival-type atmosphere. Popular games include cockfighting, soccer, and kicking a sey, which is similar to a footbag. Based on the classical Indian solar calendar and Theravada Buddhism, the Cambodian New Year is a major holiday that takes place in April. Recent artistic figures include singers Sinn Sisamouth and Ros Sereysothea (and later Meng Keo Pichenda), who introduced new musical styles to the country.
Main article: Dance in Cambodia Cambodian dance can be divided into three main categories: Khmer classical dance, folk dance, and social dances. The exact origins of Khmer classical dance are disputed. Most native Khmer scholars trace modern dance forms back to the time of Angkor, seeing similarities in the temple engravings of the period, while others hold that modern Khmer dance styles were learned (or re-learned) from Siamese court dancers in the 1800s. Khmer classical dance is the form of stylized performance art established in the royal courts of Cambodia exhibited for both entertainment and ceremonial purposes. The dances are performed by intricately costumed, highly trained men and women on public occasions for tribute, invocation or to enact traditional stories and epic poems such as Reamker, the Khmer version of the Ramayana. Known formally as Robam Preah Reach Trop ("theater of royal wealth") it is set to the music of a pinpeat ensemble accompanied by a vocal chorus. Cambodian folk dance, often performed to mahori music, celebrates the various cultural and ethnic groups of Cambodia. Folk dances originated in the villages and are performed, for the most part, by the villagers for the villagers. The movements are less stylized and the clothing worn is that of the people the dancers are portraying, such as hill tribes, Chams or farmers. Typically more fast-paced than classical dance, folk dances display themes of the "common person" such as love, comedy or warding off evil spirits. Social dances are those performed by guests at banquets, parties or other informal social gatherings. Khmer traditional social dances are analogous to those of other Southeast Asian nations. Examples include the circle dancesRomvong and Romkbach as well as Saravan and Lam Leav. Modern western popular dances including Cha-cha, Bolero, and the Madison, have also influenced Cambodian social dance.
Cambodian music equipments
Main article: Music of Cambodia Traditional Cambodian music dates back as far as the Khmer Empire. Royal dances like the ApsaraDance are icons of the Cambodian culture as are the Mahori ensembles that accompany them. More rural forms of music include Chapei and A Yai. The former is popular among the older generation and is most often a solo performance of a man plucking a Cambodian guitar (chapei) in between a cappella verses. The lyrics usually have moral or religious theme. A Yai can be performed solo or by a man and woman and is often comedic in nature. It is a form of lyrical poetry, often full of double entendres, that can be either scripted or completely impromptu and ad-libbed. When sung by a duo, the man and women take turns, "answering" the other's verse or posing riddles for the other to solve, with short instrumental breaks in between verses. Pleng kaah (lit. "wedding music") is a set of traditional music and songs played both for entertainment and as accompaniment for the various ceremonial parts of a traditional, days-long Khmer wedding. Cambodian popular music is performed with western style instruments or a mixture of traditional and western instruments. Dance music is composed in particular styles for social dances. The music of crooner Sinn Sisamouth and Ros Sereysothea from the 1960s to the 1970s is considered to be the classic pop music of Cambodia. During the Khmer Rouge Revolution, many classic and popular singers of the 60s and 70s died of execution, starvation, or overwork and many original master tapes from the period were lost or destroyed. In the 1980s, Keo Surath, (a refugee resettled in the United States) and others carried on the legacy of the classic singers, often remaking their popular songs. The 80s and 90s also saw the rise in popularity of kantrum, a music style of the Khmer Surin set to modern instrumentation.
The tourism industry is the country's second-greatest source of hard currency 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. Most visitors (51%) arrived through Siem Reap with the remainder (49%) through Phnom Penh and other destinations. Other tourist destinations include Sihanoukville in the south west which has several popular beach resorts and the area around Kampot and Kep including the Bokor Hill Station. Tourism has increased steadily each year in the relatively stable period since the 1993 UNTAC elections; in 1993 there were 118,183 international tourists, and in 2009 there were 2,161,577 international tourists. Most of the tourists were Japanese, Chinese, Filipinos, Americans, South Koreans and French people, said the report, adding that the industry earned some 1.4 billion U.S. dollars in 2007, accounting for almost ten percent of the kingdom's gross national products. Chinese-language newspaper Jianhua Daily quoted industry official as saying that Cambodia will have three million foreign tourist arrivals in 2010 and five million in 2015. Tourism has been one of Cambodia's triple pillar industries. The Angkor Wat historical park in Siem Reap province, the beaches in Sihanoukville and the capital city Phnom Penh are the main attractions for foreign tourists. Tourist souvenir industry employs a lot of people around the main places of interest. Obviously, the quantity of souvenirs that are produced is not sufficient to face the increasing number of tourists and a majority of products sold to the tourists on the markets are imported from China, Thailand and Vietnam. Some of the locally produced souvenirs include: -Krama (traditional scarf) -Ceramic works -Soap, candle, spices -Wood carving, lacquerware, silverplating Painted bottles containing infused rice wine
The civil war and neglect severely damaged 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). As of 1987, only one passenger train per week operated between Phnom Penh and Battambang but a $141 million project, funded mostly by the Asian Development Bank, has been started to revitalize the languishing rail system that will "(interlink) Cambodia with major industrial and logistics centers in Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City". Besides the main interprovincial traffic artery connecting 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. Cambodia's road traffic accident rate is high by world standards. In 2004, the number of road fatalities per 10,000 vehicles was ten times higher in Cambodia than in the developed world, and the number of road deaths had doubled in the preceding three years. The nation's extensive inland waterways were important historically in international trade. The Mekong and the Tonle 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). 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-tonships 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. "Cyclo" (as hand-me-down French) or Cycle rickshawsare an additional option often used by visitors. These kind of rickshaws are unique to Cambodia in that the cyclist is situated behind the passenger(s) seat, as opposed to Cycle rickshaws in neighbouring countries where the cyclist is at the front and "pulls" the carriage. The country has four commercial airports. Phnom Penh International Airport (Pochentong) 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. 6-5-7-Internet As Cambodia continues to grow, so does its connection to the world. There are numerous places where internet access is available for public use, such as coffee shops, bars, restaurants and petrol stations. USB modems and internet capabilities on cell phones now allow many Cambodians to connect with the outside world. Internet service in metropolitan areas is less expensive than in rural areas. Basic service with 3 Mbit/s speed costs $12 per month plus the price of modem rental.Installation and delivery fees in rural areas may add to the cost. Recent improvements to internet connection technology and competition have resulted in lower prices. Improved internet access has created demand for more websites focused on Cambodia. Because of the literacy rate in Cambodia, the issue arises of whether Cambodia-focused sites need to be in English or Khmer. English is the predominant language of the internet, and the majority of internet users in Cambodia are able to understand English, but with the use of Khmer Unicode more sites have the capability to provide Khmer language versions.
Bridge that connect Koh Pich with Phnom Penh
Main articles:Economy of CambodiaandCambodia Securities Exchange In 2011 Cambodia's per capita income in PPP is $2,470 and $1,040 in nominal per capita. Cambodia's per capita income is rapidly increasing but is low compared to 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 the Philippines. These varieties had been collected in the 1960s. Based on the Economist, IMF: Annual average GDP growth for the period 2001–2010 was 7.7% making it one of the world's top ten countries with the highest annual average GDP growth. Tourism was Cambodia's fastest growing industry, with arrivals increasing from 219,000 in 1997 to over 2 million in 2007. In 2004, inflation was at 1.7% and exports at $1.6 billion US$. China is Cambodia's biggest source of foreign direct investment. China planned to spend $8 billion in 360 projects in the first seven months of 2011. It is also the largest source of foreign aid, providing about $600 million in 2007 and $260 million in 2008. The National Bank of Cambodia is the central bank of the kingdom and provides regulatory oversight to the country's banking sector and is responsible in part for increasing the foreign direct investment in the country. Between 2010 and 2012 the number of regulated banks and micro-finance institutions increased from 31 covered entities to over 70 individual institutions underlining the growth within the Cambodian banking and finance sector. In 2012 Credit Bureau Cambodia was established with direct regulatory oversight by the National Bank of Cambodia. The Credit Bureau further increases the transparency and stability within the Cambodian Banking Sector as all banks and micro-finance companies are now required by law to report accurate facts and figures relating to loan performance in the country. One of the largest challenges facing Cambodia is still the fact that 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 aid 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.