History of Cambodia

By | April 28, 2022

According to historyaah, the first information about the settlement of the territory of Cambodia by humans dates back to the Paleolithic era. By about the 14th millennium BC, as excavations at Moluprey, Longprao and Samrongsen showed, the population of Cambodia was already engaged in early agriculture, gathering, fishing and hunting.

From the 7th millennium BC on the territory of Cambodia, the Neolithic is dated, and from the 6th-5th millennium BC. – Late Neolithic. By this time, the population from the camps along the tops of the hills in the zone of the red lands began to descend into the river valleys. The first permanent settlements of farmers began to appear here, irrigated agriculture began to spread.

The first major state on the territory of modern Cambodia was Bapnom (1st-6th centuries), also known as Funan (from the Chinese transliteration of the Khmer word phnom – mountain). It originated in the southeast of modern Cambodia, centered on the lower reaches of the Mekong. The capital of Bapnom, Vyedhapura, was also located here. In the 2nd-4th centuries. Bapnom was the most important state on the Indochinese peninsula, and its influence extended to the territories occupied by modern Thailand, Burma and Malaysia. The material basis of this state was valley agriculture, mainly rice growing along the banks of the Mekong and Tonle Sap, and developed handicraft production. Internal trade was developed in the country, as evidenced by the finds of local coins made of gold, silver, bronze and tin, as well as stone and metal weights. See ehistorylib for more about Cambodia history.

By the 6th c. Bapnom is in decline, while in the north, the state of Chenla, previously dependent on him, is increasingly gaining strength. All R. 6th c. the ruler of Chenla, Bhavavarman, conquers Bapnom and establishes a new state of Cambodia, named after the mythical ancestor of the dynasty of rulers of Chenla, the ascetic Kambu. The political unity of the new state turned out to be fragile. Continuous wars and civil strife led to the fact that by 710 it broke up into two independent parts – Chenla Water in the southeast of Indochina and Chenla Earth in the middle reaches of the Mekong.

In the 9th century on the territory of the former Chenla Vody, the formation of a powerful and developed state of Southeast Asia at that time began – the empire of Kambujadesh with its center in the Angkor region. The core of this empire was one of the states into which Chenla Vody broke up – Indrapura, which was dependent on the rulers of Java. The history of the empire of Kambujadesh falls into three main periods: early – con. 8th-10th centuries, heyday – early. 11th c. – early 13th century, late – 13th – ser. 14th century

The early period in the history of the empire is associated with the activities of Jayavarman II (802-54), the unifier of the Khmer lands and the founder of a new dynasty. In the last of the capitals he founded, Mahedraparvata, he proclaimed the independence of his state from the Javanese rulers, built the first religious center of the country and established the official cult of the deva-raja (god-king).

The type of state that developed under Jayavarman II was a form of unlimited monarchy, where the king was considered the incarnation of God.

At 10 – early. 13th centuries there is a further political strengthening of Kambujadesh, its transformation into a multi-ethnic empire. During this period, as a result of numerous aggressive campaigns, vast territories were captured, which included, in addition to the current Cambodia, parts of the lands of modern Burma, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Malaysia.

The greatest rise of Kambujadesh is associated with the names of Suryavarman II (1113-50) and Jayavarman VII (1181-1220). Suryavarman II, having managed to establish good relations with China, began wars in the east with Dai Viet and Tyampa, and in the west with the Mon state of Haripunjaya and the Thai principalities. The territory of the empire at that time significantly exceeded the territory of modern Cambodia. In addition to the Khmers, the Mons, Thais, Tyams, Malays, and mountain tribes lived in the empire. At that time, the majestic temple of Angkorwat was being built in the capital, which became the tomb of this monarch.

Another famous ruler of this period was Jayavarman VII. Having begun his activity with a victorious war with Tyampa, he later played an outstanding role in the transition of Khmer society to a new religion – Buddhism. Laying the foundations of a new religious system, Jayavarman VII launched a broad religious construction. During his reign, the famous Bayon and a number of other temples were erected.

Under Jayavarman VIII (1243–95) and his successors, the signs of the decline of the Khmer empire became increasingly apparent. Unsuccessful wars, especially against the Thai state Skkotai, religious strife (by this time there were attempts to restore Shaivism as a state cult) increasingly weaken state power. The coming to power of a new dynasty headed by King Chai (1336-40) was evidence of the final triumph of Theravada Buddhism in Cambodia.

In the 1st third of the 15th century. the decline of the western regions of the country with the center in Angkor was determined. After the capture of Angkor by the Thais in 1432, the capital of the country under King Ponya Yat was transferred east to the Mekong Valley in the area of ​​\u200b\u200bmodern Phnom Penh. Cambodia is losing all the territories of the non-Khmer population and is turning into a mono-ethnic state.

Gradually, the country becomes more and more dependent on rapidly growing neighbors – Vietnam and Siam. The rivalry of these states for dominance in the Indochinese Peninsula extremely exacerbated the internecine feuds of the Khmer feudal lords, who sought to rely on the support of foreign rulers in the struggle for power. As a result, Cambodia became doubly dependent on Siam and Vietnam. Relations of dual suzerainty were characteristic of the country in the 2nd half. 18th century – 1st half. 19th century

In 1863, following the conquest of the territory of Cochinchina (modern South Vietnam), France forced King Norodom of Cambodia (1860–1904) to sign a protectorate treaty that deprived Cambodia of the right to pursue an independent foreign policy. As part of the agreements that followed, the country established the position of the French Supreme Resident and French residents in the provinces, created a colonial administration, which took over control over the establishment and collection of taxes, indirect taxation, and customs duties. The Khmer king was deprived of any participation in the affairs of state administration. He had only the “right” to sign decrees, he was the head of the Buddhist clergy and the nominal head of the Khmer administrative apparatus.

During the period of the French protectorate (1863-1953), the country went through an “apical modernization”, which affected mainly the urban strata and the Khmer ruling elite. Serious changes in the agrarian sector, which would significantly improve the life of the Cambodian peasantry, which accounted for up to 90% of the population, did not happen. The Khmer peasantry, within the framework of the economic model created in the country, turned out to be in fact completely dependent on moneylenders and officials, balancing on the brink of survival. This situation predetermined political instability and the threat of a social explosion in the country for many decades to come. The country’s achievement of independence in 1953 did not significantly change the situation. The process of social differentiation and ruin of the majority of peasant farms not only continued, but due to the unreasonable policy of the Sihanouk regime ruling in the country, it even intensified. The rejection of economic assistance from the United States, the nationalization of the banking sector and the sphere of export-import operations, attempts to oust usurers from the countryside in conditions when the state credit to the peasantry could be only 1/10 of the usurious one, prompted a long-awaited social explosion, the consequences of which were successfully take advantage of the Khmer communists in the face of the Khmer Rouge movement, led by Pol Pot. After the pro-American coup in Phnom Penh in March 1970, the Khmer communists, with the support of the Vietnamese troops, managed to take control of large areas of Cambodia, where, from 1973, they began to implement their plans for the reorganization of the country. At this time, in the so-called. In the liberated regions, a process of broad socialization of the peasants’ property, cultivated land, and even their agricultural implements began. There were so-called. cooperatives with common property, which, after the victory of the Khmer Rouge in the civil war and the capture of Phnom Penh by them in April 1975, were extended to the entire territory of the country. The Khmer Rouge, using the most severe repressions against their own people, tried to create a fundamentally different economic model – a non-commodity one, in which there would be no money and even commodity exchange, with total labor service and with total control over people, when the whole life of an individual and his family passed would be under the control and control of the ruling regime.

The refusal of the Khmer Rouge to enter the zone of Vietnamese control, their territorial claims to Vietnam and the policy of aggravating the armed border conflict led to the fact that, as a result of the Vietnamese invasion in January 1979, the Khmer Rouge regime was overthrown and Khmer communists came to power, closely associated with Vietnam. Following this, the country entered a new stage of civil war, when the surviving Khmer Rouge forces, together with the nationalist groups supporting Sihanouk, fought against the Vietnamese troops and the political regime formed in Phnom Penh. Only the intervention of the UN and the holding in the country of one of the largest peacekeeping operations in the history of this organization made it possible to put an end to decades of civil war and totalitarianism in Cambodia.

In 1993, under the auspices of the UN, parliamentary elections were held, which marked the country’s transition to democratic development. The Khmer Rouge did not take part in the elections, but the failure of the boycott of the elections announced by them demonstrated a sharp drop in their influence in the country. As a result of the people’s will, two political forces came to power: the People’s Party of Cambodia (CPP), created on the basis of the Cambodian People’s Party that ruled the country in 1979-90. People’s Revolutionary Party of Cambodia, which abandoned all communist slogans and attributes, and the so-called. United National Front for a sovereign, independent, neutral and peaceful Cambodia – FUNCINPEC, which united non-communist and nationalist forces. The first received approx. 39% of the votes, the second – 45% and jointly formed the first democratic government, where the head of the Nationalists, Prince Rannarit, served as the first prime minister, and the head of the CPP, Hun Sen, as the second prime minister. Such a complex division of power, with two ministers in almost all the most important ministries, was initiated by both UN peacekeepers and the former king of Cambodia. Norodom Sihanouk, who in 1993, by decision of the deputies elected to the National Assembly, was proclaimed the official head of state. The goal of creating a coalition government was to prevent a new round of civil war in the country by all means. The Khmer Rouge movement, isolated in the jungle after the formation of a coalition government, began to quickly disintegrate, and its leaders began to look for opportunities to return to legal political struggle. The entire history of the country that followed the elections is the history of the struggle of two dominant political forces for control over Cambodia. At the same time, the CPP relies mainly on rural areas (the 2002 municipal elections, where the CPP received an overwhelming majority of votes, confirm this), and FUNCINPEC relies on the urban strata (in the 1998 general election in Phnom Penh, the CPP received less than 30% of the vote, and the nationalists – more than 40 %). Despite the fact that sometimes this struggle brings Cambodia to the brink of a new civil war, as was the case in 1997, when many FUNCINPEC supporters were forced to flee the country, accused of organizing a coup d’état, a certain balance of power between these largest political organizations of Cambodia is maintained, gradually sufficiently civilized rules of political struggle are being worked out,

History of Cambodia