HISTORY
Early History
Parts of what is now Cambodia were inhabited from around 1000-2000 BCE by a neolithic culture that probably migrated from South Eastern China. The most advanced groups lived along the coast and in the lower Mekong River valley and delta regions. The Khmer people were one of the first inhabitants of South East Asia, and they adopted religious ideas and political institutions from India. The Funan Empire 68-550, reached its height in the early 3rd century C.E., extending its influence south to Malaysia and west to Burma, and established a system of mercantile monopolies. Chenla 550-802, was the first independent Khmer state, and encompassed large parts of modern Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand.

Colonial Period
In 1863, King Norodom Sihanouk signed an agreement with the French to establish a protectorate over the kingdom. By 1884, Cambodia was a virtual colony, and was made part of the Indochina Union with Annam, Tonkin, Cochin-China, and Laos. Even after the start of World War II, France continued to control the country through the Vichy government.

Angkorian Period
The Khmer Empire, 802-1431, was the golden age of Khmer civilization and Kambuja ruled large territories from its capital of Angkor in western Cambodia. The Khmer Kingdom of Angkor produced some of the world's most magnificent architectural masterpieces. Suryavarman II built the main temple, Angkor Wat, between 1112 and 1150. Angkor Wat symbolizes the Hindu cosmology: the central towers represent Mount Meru, home of the gods; the outer walls are the mountains enclosing the world; and the moat represents the oceans beyond. Angkor Thom, the capital city after 1177, coincided with a change from Hinduism to Buddhism. Temples were altered to display images of the Buddha, and Angkor Wat became a major Buddhist shrine.
The Khmer Empire reached its zenith under Jayavarman VII (11811218) who gained power and territory in wars against the Cham and Vietnamese. After Jayavarman VII died, Kambuja went into a gradual decline. During the 15th century, nearly all of Angkor was abandoned, and the magnificent city and temples remained hidden by the forest until the late 19th century.
The Angkorian monarchy survived until 1431, when Angkor Thom was captured by Siam, and the king fled to the southern part of the country. Cambodia had a brief period of prosperity however in the 16th century when its kings promoted trade with other parts of Asia. But in 1594 the new capital at Lovek was conquered by Siam, and caught between Siam and Vietnam, territory continued to be lost through the first half of the nineteenth century.

Modern History
In 1945, at the end of the war, an independent Cambodia was declared. However, the French were determined to reoccupy Indochina. When the French lost Indochina, the 1954 Geneva conference guaranteed the neutrality of Cambodia. But by the mid-1960s, North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces were operating in Cambodia's eastern provinces, which led to the 1969 bombing of Cambodia by the United States. Saloth Sar (Pol Pot), led the Communist Party of Kampuchea (CPK), and Prince Sihanouk called these insurgents Khmer Rouge (Red Khmer). Prince Sihanouk went abroad for medical reasons in January 1970.
In the absence of Prince Sihanouk, General Lon Nol deposed him in a coup d'tat and allied Cambodia with the United States. On October 9, the Cambodian monarchy was abolished, and the country was renamed the Khmer Republic. In April 1970, U.S. and South Vietnamese ground forces entered Cambodia. In 1972 a parliament was elected, and Lon Nol became president, but disunity and corruption made the government weak. By 1973, the CPK controlled nearly 60% of Cambodia, and Lon Nol controlled only small enclaves. The Lon Nol government in Phnom Penh surrendered on April 17, 1975, just 5 days after the US evacuated Cambodia.
The Khmer Rouge forcibly evacuated all cities and towns, sending the entire urban population to the countryside to reshape society into an agrarian model envisioned by Pol Pot. The old society were abolished, and religion was suppressed. What survived of the industrial base was abandoned, or placed under state control. Cambodia had neither a currency nor a banking system. Estimates of the number of people who died between 1975 and 1979 from execution, starvation, and disease range from 1 to 3 million.
Democratic Kampuchea's relations with Vietnam worsened rapidly, and in mid-1978, Vietnam invaded Cambodia, capturing Phnom Penh in January 1979. Heng Samrin was installed as head of the new People's Republic of Kampuchea (PRK). But resistance to Vietnam's occupation was extensive, and in 1986, Vietnam begun withdrawing its occupation forces, and the last Vietnamese troops left Cambodia in September 1989. In 1991 a UN-sponsored peace accord was signed, and in March 1992, the UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) arrived in Cambodia to begin implementation of the UN Settlement Plan and to conduct elections. In the 1993 elections, Prince Ranariddh's royalist FUNCINPEC Party received the most votes followed by Hun Sen's Cambodian People's Party, and the Buddhist Liberal Democratic Party. FUNCINPEC formed a coalition with the other parties and approved a new constitution, on September 24, 1993. Prince Sihanouk returned from exile in 1993 to become king, leading a new constitutional monarchy. Prince Ranariddh and Hun Sen became First and Second Prime Ministers, respectively, in the Royal Cambodian Government (RGC).

Economy
The natural resources of Cambodia include timber, gemstones, iron ore, manganese and phosphate. There is also potential hydroelectric power from the Mekong River, and oil and gas deposits have been discovered. Agricultural products include: rice, rubber, corn, meat, vegetables, dairy products, sugar, flour and fishing. Types of manufacturing industries are garment & shoe manufacturing, rice milling, wood products, textiles, cement, rubber production, paper and food processing. Major trading partners are the United States, Germany, U.K., Singapore, China, Japan, Taiwan & Vietnam. Tourism is now the second largest foreign currency earner in Cambodia's economy.

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