Difficult to go into the details of the history of the Khmer kingdom, a history both long and tumultuous, happy and tragic. We would simply like to introduce to you a few marks.
According to different sources, Cambodia is bornaround the sixth century of our era. The fourth of the kings Khmer rouge, Brhavavarman, mounted the throne around the year 550. Since then, the history of the kingdom can be divided in a waymore or less exhaustive in five successive periods: the expansion, the decline, the French colonization, the chaos and a return to stability.
1. Long period of expansion and greatness (VI-XVI century)
Ancient travelers Hindus, Arabs and Chinese spoke with admiration of this golden country, covered with magnificent monuments, treasures filled with gemstones, carved objects in ivory or the crystal, of these Apsaras emerging out, the celestial dancers, evolving under the shady porches of royal city.
To the first half of the thirteenth century, the Khmer empire knows the height of its power and splendor. It then extends over a large part of Siam, on the southern Laos, to the kingdoms of Champa(Central Vietnam) and Cochin( now the Mekong Delta and the provinces bordering).
Toward the first half of the XIIIth century, the Khmer empire knows the apogeeoficts power and splendor oficts. Then it extends were largely of Siam, on the Southern Laos, to the kingdoms of the Champa( the center of Vietnam)and the Cochin(the current delta of the Mekong River and the Bordering provinces).
It was during this period, especially in the twelfth century, during the reign of JavaryamanVII, architects and builders design and edify Khmer Angkor.
2. Period of decadence (the sixteenth to the nineteenth century)
Constantly torn by fratricidal conflicts between heirs to the throne (often allied to external forces), the country is plagued by foreign invasions from Siam, the Cham kingdoms and Dai Viet. According to GH MONOD, the situation in Cambodia is getting worse: its territory torn in pieces, its population decimated, its magnificent cities ransacked and overgrown until King Norodom in 1863, put his country under the protection of France.
3. Period of Frenchcolonization(1863 - 1954)
The arrival of theFrenchandthe protectorate powerput an end tothe decadence ofCambodia.During this period, many occupiedterritories arereturned toSiamCambodia: StungTreng, Mlou-Prei, Battambang, Sisophon, Siem Reapetc..
Some authors evenspeakof the saviorrole ofFrancewho, afterhaving stopped thedeclineof the Khmer Empire, implements a program ofreconstruction.
AfterWorld War II, under the combined effectofthe riseof nationalism in Cambodia and the French defeat in Indochina, Cambodia's independence was officially recognizedin 1954.
4. Chaoticperiod(1954 - 1990)
After independence, a policy ofneutrality, Cambodia hasa happy timeunder the leadership ofKingSihanouk.PhnomPenhisthe Pearl of theFar East.
The coupof 1970, directed by General Lon Nol, the U.S. ally, opened a chaoticera. Following the corruption of the regime of Lon Nol, the Cambodian people has one of its greatest tragedies: the dictatorial and bloody Khmer Rouge regime. The genocide carried out by the Maoist government(Angkar), hostile to the citizens, intellectuals, ethnic Vietnamese and causing nearly three million people in four years, puts the country to its knees and created a traumaun precedented in populations.
5. Backto the stabilization
In 1979, the arrival of Vietnamese troops in Cambodia made stop the genocide and stabilize the country. At the beginning of the 1990s, the Vietnamese troops with drew from Cambodia, and under the auspices of UNTAC( United NationsTransitional Authorityin Cambodia), the Kingdom moves to a new periodof peace, reconstruction and democratization.
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