Kingdom of Cambodia
Kingdom of Cambodia
The Kingdom of Cambodia is a Southeast Asian nation bordered by Vietnam to the east,Laos to thenorth, Thailand to the northwest, and the Gulf of Thailand to the southwest
With a population of over 15 million, Cambodia is the 69th most populous country in the world. The official religion is Theravada Buddhism, practiced by approximately 95 percent of the population. The country’s minority groups include Vietnamese, Chinese, Chams, and 30 hill tribes. The capital and largest city is Phnom Penh, the political, economic, and cultural center of Cambodia. The kingdom is a constitutional monarchy with Norodom Sihamoni, a monarch chosen by the Royal Throne Council, as head of state. The head of government is Hun Sen, who is currently the longest serving non-royal leader in South East Asia and has ruled Cambodia for over 25 years.
Cambodia’s ancient name is “Kambuja” (Sanskrit: कंबुज). In 802 AD,Jayavarman II declared himself king and marked the beginning of the Khmer Empire which flourished for over 600 years, allowing successive kings to dominate much of Southeast Asia and accumulate immense power and wealth. The Indianized kingdom built monumental temples including Angkor Wat, now a World Heritage Site, and facilitated the spread of Hinduism, then Buddhism to much of Southeast Asia. After the fall of Angkor to Ayutthaya in the 15th century, Cambodia was then ruled as a vassal between its neighbors.
Cambodia became a protectorate of France in 1863, and gained independence in 1953. The Vietnam War extended into Cambodia, during which the Khmer Rouge took Phnom Penh in 1975 and later carried out the Cambodian Genocide from 1975 until 1979, when they were ousted by Vietnam and then fought against the Vietnamese backed People’s Republic of Kampuchea in the Cambodian–Vietnamese War (1979-1991).
Following the 1991 Paris Peace Accords, Cambodia was governed briefly by a United Nations mission (1992-1993). The UN withdrew after holding elections in which around 90 percent of the registered voters cast ballots. The 1997 coup placed power solely in the hands of Prime Minister Hun Sen and the Cambodian People’s Party, who remains in power as of 2015.
A low income economy, Cambodia nonetheless has one of the best economic records in Asia, with growth averaging 6 percent over the last decade. Agriculture remains the dominant economic sector, with strong growth in textiles, construction, garments, and tourism leading to increased foreign investment and international trade.
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