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Cambodia in Depth: A Peace Corps Publication

Cambodia in Depth: A Peace Corps Publication published on

Authored by Peace Corps

Cambodia is a history buff’s dream, with rich stories of empire and tyranny over the past 1,000 years. There are a variety of books and websites (some of which are listed in the Resources for Further Information section) that provide excellent summaries of Cambodia’s ancient and recent history. Wikipedia’s site ( provides a good overview.

Cambodia is a successor state of the once-powerful Hindu and Buddhist Khmer Empire, which ruled most of the Indo-Chinese peninsula between the 11th and 14th centuries. The Empire’s center was Angkor, located near the present day provincial capital of Siem Reap. The famous temple of Angkor Wat serves today as a well-preserved testament to Cambodia’s powerful and influential past.

After abandoning Angkor to the Thais in 1432, the Khmer Empire began a long decline. For most of the years between the 15th and 19th centuries, the Khmer kingdom alternated as a vassal state of the Thai or Vietnamese monarchies. In 1863, King Norodom (installed under Thai authority) sought the protection of France. After almost a century as a French colony, Cambodia’s independence in 1953 was orchestrated by King Norodom Sihanouk.

As the Vietnam War progressed, Sihanouk (then the constitutional monarch) adopted an official policy of neutrality until he was ousted in 1970 in a military coup led by Prime Minister General Lon Nol and Prince Sisowath Sirik Matak. Exiled in Beijing, Sihanouk aligned himself with the communist Khmer Rouge rebels, who had slowly been gaining territory in the remote mountain regions of Cambodia. Sihanouk urged his followers to help in overthrowing the pro-United States government of Lon Nol, hastening the onset of civil war.

Publication Date:
Sep 18 2014
1502411598 / 9781502411594
Page Count:
Binding Type:
US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
6″ x 9″
Black and White
Related Categories:
Travel / General


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