Cambodia From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For the Kim Wilde song, see Cambodia (song).
Kingdom of Cambodia
Preăh Réachéa Anachâk Kâmpŭchea
Flag of Cambodia Coat of arms of Cambodia
Flag Coat of arms
"Nation, Religion, King"
Anthem: Nokoreach
Royal Kingdom
Location of Cambodia
(and largest city) Phnom Penh
[show location on an interactive map] 11°33′N 104°55′E / 11.55°N 104.917°E / 11.55; 104.917
Official languages Khmer
Demonym Khmer or Cambodian
Government Constitutional monarchy,
Parliamentary representative democracy
- King HM Norodom Sihamoni
- Prime Minister Hun Sen
- Khmer empire 802
- French colonization 1863
- Independence from France November 9, 1953
- Monarchy restored May 1993
- Total 181,035 km2 (88th)
69,898 sq mi
- Water (%) 2.5
- 2008 estimate 14,241,640[1] (67th)
- 2008 census 13,388,910
- Density 74/km2 (125th)
192/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2008 estimate
- Total $28.239 billion[2]
- Per capita $2,066 [2]
GDP (nominal) 2008 estimate
- Total $11.182 billion[2]
- Per capita $818[2]
HDI (2007) ▲ 0.598 (medium) (131st)
Currency Riel (៛)1 (KHR)
Time zone (UTC+7)
- Summer (DST) (UTC+7)
Drives on the right
Internet TLD .kh
Calling code 855
1 Local currency, although US dollars are widely used.
This article contains Indic text. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks or boxes, misplaced vowels or missing conjuncts instead of Indic text.

The Kingdom of Cambodia (pronounced /kæmˈboʊdiə/, formerly known as Kampuchea (/kæmpuːˈtʃiːə/), ព្រះរាជាណាចក្រកម្ពុជា, transliterated: Preăh Réachéa Anachâk Kâmpŭchea), derived from Sanskrit Kambujadesa[3], is a country in South East Asia with a population of over 14 million people.[4] The kingdom's capital and largest city is Phnom Penh. Cambodia is the successor state of the once powerful Hindu and Buddhist Khmer Empire, which ruled most of the Indochinese Peninsula between the 11th and 14th centuries.

A citizen of Cambodia is usually identified as "Cambodian" or "Khmer," though the latter strictly refers to ethnic Khmers. Most Cambodians are Theravada Buddhists of Khmer extraction, but the country also has a substantial number of predominantly Muslim Cham, as well as ethnic Chinese, Vietnamese and small animist hill tribes.

The country borders Thailand to its west and northwest, Laos to its northeast and Vietnam to its east and southeast. In the south it faces the Gulf of Thailand. The geography of Cambodia is dominated by the Mekong River (colloquial Khmer: Tonle Thom or "the great river") and the Tonlé Sap ("the fresh water lake"), an important source of fish.

Agriculture has long been the most important sector of the Cambodian economy, with around 59% of the population relying on agriculture for their livelihood (with rice the principal crop).[5] Garments, tourism, and construction are also important. In 2007, foreign visitors to Angkor Wat numbered more than 4 million.[6] In 2005, oil and natural gas deposits were found beneath Cambodia's territorial waters, and once commercial extraction begins in 2011, the oil revenues could profoundly affect Cambodia's economy.[7] Observers fear much of the revenue could end up in the hands of the political elites if not monitored correctly.[8][9]

* 1 History
o 1.1 Early history
o 1.2 Modernity and French Indochina
o 1.3 Independence and Cold war
o 1.4 Reconstruction and Constitutional Monarchy
* 2 Politics and government
* 3 Armed forces
* 4 Geography
o 4.1 Climate
* 5 Administrative divisions
o 5.1 City and province sizes
* 6 Foreign relations
* 7 Wildlife of Cambodia
* 8 Economy
* 9 Demographics
o 9.1 Health
* 10 Culture and society
* 11 Transport
* 12 International rankings
* 13 See also
* 14 Notes
* 15 External links

[edit] History
Main article: History of Cambodia
A Khmer army going to war against the Cham, from a relief on the Bayon

[edit] Early history

The first evidence of an advanced civilization in present day Cambodia are artificial circular earthworks estimated to be from the 1st millennium BC.[10] During the 3rd, 4th, and 5th centuries, the Indianised states of Funan and Chenla coalesced in what is now present-day Cambodia and southwestern Vietnam. These states are assumed by most scholars to have been Khmer.[11] For more than 2,000 years, Cambodia absorbed influences from China and India, passing them on to other Southeast Asian civilisations that are now Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos.[12] The Khmer Empire flourished in the area from the 9th to the 13th century.[13] Around the 13th century, Theravada Buddhism was introduced to the area through monks from Sri Lanka.[14] From then on Theravada Buddhism grew and eventually became the most popular religion. The Khmer Empire declined yet remained powerful in the region until the 15th century. The empire's centre of power was Angkor, where a series of capitals was constructed during the empire's zenith. Angkor could have supported a population of up to one million people.[15] Angkor, the world's largest pre-industrial civilization, and Angkor Wat, the most famous and best-preserved religious temple at the site, are reminders of Cambodia's past as a major regional power.
Southeast Asia circa 1100 AD. Khmer Empire lands in gray

After a long series of wars with neighbouring kingdoms, Angkor was sacked by the Thai and abandoned in 1432 because of ecological failure and infrastructure breakdown.[16][17] After Angkor was abandoned, the buildings were swallowed up by jungle creating a myth of a hidden lost civilization. The court moved the capital to Lovek where the kingdom sought to regain its glory through maritime trade. The attempt was short-lived, however, as continued wars with the Thai and Vietnamese resulted in the loss of more territory and Lovek was conquered in 1594. During the next three centuries, the Khmer kingdom alternated as a vassal state of the Thai and Vietnamese kings, with short-lived periods of relative independence between.[citation needed]

[edit] Modernity and French Indochina

In 1863, King Norodom, who had been installed by Thailand,[18] sought the protection of France from the Thai and Vietnamese, after tensions grew between them. In 1867, the Thai king signed a treaty with France, renouncing suzerainty over Cambodia in exchange for the control of Battambang and Siem Reap provinces which officially became part of Thailand. The provinces were ceded back to Cambodia by a border treaty between France and Thailand in 1906.

Cambodia continued as a protectorate of France from 1863 to 1953, administered as part of the colony of French Indochina, though occupied by the Japanese empire from 1941 to 1945[citation needed]. Cambodia gained independence from France on November 9, 1953. It became a constitutional monarchy under King Norodom Sihanouk. When French Indochina was given independence, Cambodia lost official control over the Mekong Delta as it was awarded to Vietnam.

[edit] Independence and Cold war

In 1955, Sihanouk abdicated in favour of his father in order to be elected Prime Minister. Upon his father's death in 1960, Sihanouk again became head of state, taking the title of Prince. As the Vietnam War progressed, Sihanouk adopted an official policy of neutrality in the Cold War. However, Cambodians began to take sides, and he was ousted in 1970 by a military coup led by Prime Minister General Lon Nol and Prince Sisowath Sirik Matak, while on a trip abroad. From Beijing, Sihanouk realigned himself with the communist Khmer Rouge rebels who had been slowly gaining territory in the remote mountain regions and urged his followers to help in overthrowing the pro-United States government of Lon Nol, hastening the onset of civil war.[19]

Between 1969 and 1973, U.S. forces bombed and briefly invaded Cambodia in an effort to disrupt the Viet Cong and Khmer Rouge.[20] Some two million Cambodians were made refugees by the war and fled to Phnom Penh. Estimates of the number of Cambodians killed during the bombing campaigns vary widely, as do views of the effects of the bombing. The US Seventh Air Force argued that the bombing prevented the fall of Phnom Penh in 1973 by killing 16,000 of 25,500 Khmer Rouge fighters besieging the city.[21] However, journalist William Shawcross and Cambodia specialists Milton Osborne, David P. Chandler and Ben Kiernan argued that the bombing drove peasants to join the Khmer Rouge.[22] Cambodia specialist Craig Etcheson argued that the Khmer Rouge "would have won anyway", even without US intervention driving recruitment.[23]

As the war ended, a draft US AID report observed that the country faced famine in 1975, with 75% of its draft animals destroyed, and that rice planting for the next harvest would have to be done "by the hard labour of seriously malnourished people". The report predicted that

without large-scale external food and equipment assistance there will be widespread starvation between now and next February ... Slave labour and starvation rations for half the nation's people (probably heaviest among those who supported the republic) will be a cruel necessity for this year, and general deprivation and suffering will stretch over the next two or three years before Cambodia can get back to rice self-sufficiency.[24]

Stupa which houses the skulls of those killed at Choeung Ek

The Khmer Rouge reached Phnom Penh and took power in 1975. The regime, led by Pol Pot, changed the official name of the country to Democratic Kampuchea, and was heavily influenced and backed by China. They immediately evacuated the cities and sent the entire population on forced marches to rural work projects. They attempted to rebuild the country's agriculture on the model of the 11th century, discarded Western medicine, and destroyed temples, libraries, and anything considered Western. Over a million Cambodians, out of a total population of 8 million, died from executions, overwork, starvation and disease.[25]

Estimates as to how many people were killed by the Khmer Rouge regime range from approximately one to three million.[26][27] This era gave rise to the term Killing Fields, and the prison Tuol Sleng became as notorious as Auschwitz in the history of mass killing. Hundreds of thousands fled across the border into neighbouring Thailand. The regime disproportionately targeted ethnic minority groups. The Cham Muslims suffered serious purges with as much as half of their population exterminated.[28] In the late 1960s, an estimated 425,000 ethnic Chinese lived in Cambodia, but by 1984, as a result of Khmer Rouge genocide and emigration, only about 61,400 Chinese remained in the country.[29] The professions, such as doctors, lawyers, and teachers, were also targeted. According to Robert D. Kaplan, "eyeglasses were as deadly as the yellow star" as they were seen as a sign of intellectualism.[25]

In November 1978, Vietnam invaded Cambodia to stop Khmer Rouge incursions across the border and the genocide in Cambodia.[30] Violent occupation and warfare between the Vietnamese and Khmer Rouge holdouts continued throughout the 1980s. Peace efforts began in Paris in 1989, culminating two years later in October 1991 in a comprehensive peace settlement. The United Nations was given a mandate to enforce a ceasefire, and deal with refugees and disarmament.[31]

[edit] Reconstruction and Constitutional Monarchy

In recent years, reconstruction efforts have progressed and some political stability under the form of a Constitutional Monarchy, multipartide, and democratic (1993). However, Cambodia's natural resources, particularly its valuable timber, are still being exploited by interests from Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and Australia, while Khmer Rouge were still active in some areas, often supporting illegal timber operations until 1999. At that time, travel by land and river was still precarious.[32]

The stability established following the conflict was shaken in 1997 by a coup d'état,[33] but has otherwise remained in place. Cambodia has been aided by a number of more developed nations like Japan, France, Germany, Canada, Australia, the United States and Great Britain. Cambodia is moving past its war torn history and focusing on national reconstruction. In recent years, the country has seen double digit economic growth, and seeks foreign business investment to modernize the nation and eliminate poverty. Especially since Thailand is in political chaos, Cambodia is a regional alternative for business investments.

[edit] Politics and government
Main article: Politics of Cambodia
King Norodom Sihamoni

The politics of Cambodia formally take place, according to the nation's constitution of 1993, in the framework of a constitutional monarchy operated as a parliamentary representative democracy. The Prime Minister of Cambodia is the head of government, and of a pluriform multi-party system, while the king is the head of state. The Prime Minister is appointed by the King, on the advice and with the approval of the National Assembly; the Prime Minister and his or her ministerial appointees exercise executive power in government. Legislative power is vested in both the executive and the two chambers of parliament, the National Assembly of Cambodia and the Senate.

On October 14, 2004, King Norodom Sihamoni was selected by a special nine-member throne council, part of a selection process that was quickly put in place after the surprise abdication of King Norodom Sihanouk a week before. Sihamoni's selection was endorsed by Prime Minister Hun Sen and National Assembly Speaker Prince Norodom Ranariddh (the king's half brother and current chief advisor), both members of the throne council. He was crowned in Phnom Penh on October 29, 2004.

In 2006, Transparency International's rating of corrupt countries rated Cambodia as 151st of 163 countries of their Corruption Perceptions Index.[34] The 2007 edition of the same list placed Cambodia at 162nd out of 179 countries.[35] According to this same list, Cambodia is the 3rd most corrupt nation in the South-East Asia area, behind Laos, at 168th, and Myanmar, at joint 179th. The BBC reports that corruption is rampant in the Cambodian political arena[36] with international aid from the U.S. and other countries being illegally transferred into private accounts.[37] Corruption has also added to the wide income disparity within the population.[38]

Huge issues that plague contemporary Cambodia include human trafficking[citation needed] , deforestation and forced evictions.

[edit] Armed forces
Main article: Royal Cambodian Armed Forces

The Royal Cambodian Armed Forces consists of the Royal Cambodian Army, the Royal Cambodian Navy, and the Royal Cambodian Air Force. The king is the Supreme Commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) and the country's prime minister effectively holds the position of commander-in-chief. The introduction of a revised command structure early in 2000 was a key prelude to the reorganisation of the RCAF. This saw the ministry of national defence form three subordinate general departments responsible for logistics and finance, materials and technical services, and defence services. The High Command Headquarters (HCHQ) was left unchanged, but the general staff was dismantled and the former will assume responsibility over three autonomous infantry divisions. A joint staff was also formed, responsible for inter-service co-ordination and staff management within HCHQ.

The minister of National Defence is General Tea Banh. Banh has served as defence minister since 1979. The Secretaries of State for Defence are Chay Saing Yun and Por Bun Sreu. In Janury 2009, General Ke Kim Yan was removed from his post as Commander-in-Chief of the RCAF and was replaced by his deputy, Gen. Pol Saroeun, the new Commander-in-Chief of the RCAF, who is a long time loyalist of Prime Minister Hun Sen. There were rumours that Prime Minister Hun Sen had plans to remove Ke Kim Yan from commander of RCAF because of an internal dispute in the CPP. Days later after the news broke out that Yan was being removed, members of the CPP Party said it was a regular reshuffle of the Kingdom's military leadership and that there are no internal problems within the CPP party. It is expected that Ke Kim Yan will be promoted to Deputy Prime Minister by Hun Sen and will be in charge of anti-drugs trafficking. The Army Commander is General Meas Sophea and the Army Chief of Staff is Chea Saran.
Cambodian island of Koh Tonsay (Rabbit Island)

[edit] Geography
Main article: Geography of Cambodia
Monsoon season in Kampong Speu Province

Cambodia has an area of 181,035 square kilometers (69,898 sq mi) and lies entirely within the tropics. It borders Thailand to the north and west, Laos to the northeast, and Vietnam to the east and southeast. It has a 443-kilometer (275 mi) coastline along the Gulf of Thailand.

The most distinctive geographical feature is the lacustrine plain, formed by the inundations of the Tonle Sap (Great Lake), measuring about 2,590 square kilometers (1,000 sq mi) during the dry season and expanding to about 24,605 square kilometers (9,500 sq mi) during the rainy season. This densely populated plain, which is devoted to wet rice cultivation, is the heartland of Cambodia. Much of this area has been designated as a biosphere reserve.

Most (about 75%) of the country lies at elevations of less than 100 metres (330 ft) above sea level, the exceptions being the Cardamom Mountains (highest elevation 1,813 m / 5,948 ft) and their southeast extension the Dâmrei Mountains ("Elephant Mountains") (elevation range 500–1,000 m or 1,640–3,280 ft), as well the steep escarpment of the Dângrêk Mountains (average elevation 500 m / 1,640 ft) along the border with Thailand's Isan region. The highest elevation of Cambodia is Phnom Aoral, near Pursat in the centre of the country, at 1,813 metres (5,948 ft).

[edit] Climate
Climate chart for Phnom Penh
























average temperatures in °C
precipitation totals in mm
source: BBC Weather
Imperial conversion[show]
























average temperatures in °F
precipitation totals in inches

Cambodia's temperatures range from 21° to 35°C (69° to 95°F) and experiences tropical monsoons. Southwest monsoons blow inland bringing moisture-laden winds from the Gulf of Thailand and Indian Ocean from May to October. The northeast monsoon ushers in the dry season, which lasts from November to March. The country experiences the heaviest precipitation from September to October with the driest period occurring from January to February.

It has two distinct seasons. The rainy season, which runs from May to October, can see temperatures drop to 22 °C and is generally accompanied with high humidity. The dry season lasts from November to April when temperatures can raise up to 40 °C around April. The best months to visit Cambodia are November to January when temperatures and humidity are lower.

[edit] Administrative divisions
Main article: Administrative divisions of Cambodia

Provinces (khaet) and municipalities (krong) are Cambodia's first-level administrative divisions. Rural areas are divided among Cambodia's twenty provinces, and urban areas are divided among Cambodia's four municipalities.

[edit] City and province sizes
Monivong Boulevard in Phnom Penh
A fishing boat in Koh Rung Samleom Island
A view of the top of a mosque in Phnom Penh
No. City or province Area

sq mi
1 City of Phnom Penh 290 112
2 Kandal Province 3,568 1,378
3 Takeo Province 3,563 1,376
4 Kampong Cham Province 9,799 3,783
5 Kampong Thom Province 13,814 5,334
6 Siem Reap Province 10,299 3,976
7 Preah Vihear Province 13,788 5,324
8 Oddar Meancheay Province 6,158 2,378
9 Banteay Meanchey Province 6,679 2,579
10 Battambang Province 11,072 4,275
11Pailin Province City of Pailin 803 310
12 Pursat Province 12,692 4,900
13 Kampong Chhnang Province 5,521 2,132
14 Kampong Speu Province 7,017 2,709
15 Koh Kong Province 11,160 4,309
16Sihanoukville Province City of Sihanoukville 868 335
17 Kampot Province 4,873.2 1,881.6
18Kep province City of Kep 335.8 129.7
19 Prey Veng Province 4,883 1,885
20 Svay Rieng Province 2,966 1,145
21 Kratie Province 11,094 4,283
22 Stung Treng Province 11,092 4,283
23 Ratanakiri Province 10,782 4,163
24 Mondulkiri Province 14,288 5,517
25 Tonlé Sap 3,000 1,158
TOTAL AREA 181,035 69,898

[edit] Foreign relations
Cambodia's ambassador to Russia Khieu Thavika presents his letter of credentials to former President Vladimir Putin.
Main article: Foreign relations of Cambodia

Cambodia is a member of the United Nations, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. It is an Asian Development Bank (ADB) member, a member of ASEAN, and joined the WTO on October 13, 2004. In 2005 Cambodia attended the inaugural East Asia Summit.

Cambodia has established diplomatic relations with numerous countries; the government reports twenty embassies in the country[39] including many of its Asian neighbours and those of important players during the Paris peace negotiations, including the US, Australia, Canada, China, the European Union (EU), Japan, and Russia.[40] As a result of its international relations, various charitable organizations have assisted with both social and civil infrastructure needs.[41]

While the violent ruptures of the 1970s and 80s have passed, several border disputes between Cambodia and its neighbours persist. There are disagreements over some offshore islands and sections of the boundary with Vietnam, and undefined maritime boundaries and border areas with Thailand.
Preah Vihear temple is one of the main factors of the current Cambodia-Thai dispute

In January 2003, there were anti-Thai riots in Phnom Penh prompted by rumoured comments about Angkor Wat allegedly made by a Thai actress and printed in Reaksmei Angkor, a Cambodian newspaper, and later quoted by Prime Minister Hun Sen.[42] The Thai government sent military aircraft to evacuate Thai nationals and closed its border with Cambodia to Thais and Cambodians (at no time was the border ever closed to foreigners or Western tourists) while Thais demonstrated outside the Cambodian embassy in Bangkok. The border was re-opened on March 21, after the Cambodian government paid $6 million USD in compensation for the destruction of the Thai embassy and agreed to compensate individual Thai businesses for their losses. The "comments" that had sparked the riots turned out to be false. More problems came between Cambodia and Thailand in mid 2008 when Cambodia wanted to list Prasat Preah Vihear as a UNESCO World heritage site, which later resulted in a stand-off in which both countries deployed their soldiers near the border and around the disputed territory between the two countries. Conflict restarted in April 2009, where 2 Thai soldiers died as a result of a recent clash.[43]

[edit] Wildlife of Cambodia
The Indian Elephant is the main type of Asian elephant found in Cambodia
Main article: Wildlife of Cambodia
See also: Deforestation in Cambodia

Cambodia has a wide variety of plants and animals. There are 212 mammal species, 536 bird species, 240 reptile species, 850 freshwater fish species (Tonle Sap Lake area), and 435 marine fish species. Much of this biodiversity is contained around the Tonle Sap Lake and the surrounding biosphere.[44] The Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve is a unique ecological phenomenon surrounding the Tonle Sap. It encompasses the lake and nine provinces: Kampong Thom, Siem Reap, Battambang, Pursat, Kampong Chhnang, Banteay Meanchey, Krong Pailin, Otdar Meanchey and Preah Vihear. In 1997, it was successfully nominated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.[45] Other key habitats include the dry forest of Mondolkiri and Ratanakiri provinces and the Cardamom Mountains ecosystem, including Bokor National Park, Botum Sakor National Park, and the Phnom Aural and Phnom Samkos wildlife sanctuaries.

The country has one of the highest deforestation rates in the world. Since 1970, Cambodia's primary rainforest cover fell dramatically from over 70 percent in 1970 to just 3.1 percent in 2007. In total, Cambodia lost 25,000 square kilometres (9,700 sq mi) of forest between 1990 and 2005—3,340 km2 (1,290 sq mi) of which was primary forest. As of 2007, less than 3,220 km2 (1,243 sq mi) of primary forest remain with the result that the future sustainability of the forest reserves of Cambodia is under severe threat, with illegal loggers looking to generate revenue.[46]

[edit] Economy
The OCIC Tower, under construction in Phnom Penh, will be the tallest building in Cambodia when it is completed in 2009
Main article: Economy of Cambodia

Final economic indicators for 2007 are not yet available. 2006 GDP was $7.265 billion (per capita GDP $513), with annual growth of 10.8%. Estimates for 2007 are for a GDP of $8.251 billion (per capita $571) and annual growth of 8.5%). Inflation for 2006 was 2.6%, and the current estimate for final 2007 inflation is 6.2%.[47]
Rice cropping plays an important role in the economy

Per capita income is rapidly increasing, but is low compared with other countries in the region. Most rural households depend on agriculture and its related sub-sectors. Rice, fish, timber, garments and rubber are Cambodia's major exports. The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) reintroduced more than 750 traditional rice varieties to Cambodia from its rice seed bank in the Philippines.[48] These varieties had been collected in the 1960s. In 1987, the Australian government funded IRRI to assist Cambodia to improve its rice production. By 2000, Cambodia was once again self-sufficient in rice.[49] However, few Cambodian farmers grow other crops leaving them vulnerable to crop failure. In recent years, various international aid organisations have begun crop diversification programs to encourage farmers to grow other crops.

The recovery of Cambodia's economy slowed dramatically in 1997–98, due to the regional economic crisis, civil violence, and political infighting. Foreign investment and tourism also fell off drastically. Since then however, growth has been steady. In 1999, the first full year of peace in 30 years, progress was made on economic reforms and growth resumed at 5.0%. Despite severe flooding, GDP grew at 5.0% in 2000, 6.3% in 2001, and 5.2% in 2002. Tourism was Cambodia's fastest growing industry, with arrivals increasing from 219,000 in 1997 to 1,055,000 in 2004. During 2003 and 2004 the growth rate remained steady at 5.0%, while in 2004 inflation was at 1.7% and exports at $1.6 billion USD. As of 2005, GDP per capita in PPP terms was $2,200, which ranked 178th (out of 233) countries.[50]
Prasat Angkor Wat, the biggest tourist draw of Cambodia

The older population often lacks education, particularly in the countryside, which suffers from a lack of basic infrastructure. Fear of renewed political instability and corruption within the government discourage foreign investment and delay foreign aid, although there has been significant assistance from bilateral and multilateral donors. Donors pledged $504 million to the country in 2004,[51] while the Asian Development Bank alone has provided $850 million in loans, grants, and technical assistance.[52]

The tourism industry is the country's second-greatest source of hard currency after the textile industry.[31] Between January and December 2007, visitor arrivals were 2.0 million, an increase of 18.5% over the same period in 2006. Most visitors (51%) arrived through Siem Reap with the remainder (49%) through Phnom Penh and other destinations.[53] Other tourist destinations include Sihanoukville in the south east which has several popular beaches, and the area around Kampot and Kep including the Bokor Hill Station.

[edit] Demographics
Main articles: Demographics of Cambodia and Ethnic groups in Cambodia
Cham Muslims of Cambodia

More than 90% of its population is of Khmer origin and speaks the Khmer language, the country's official language. The remainder include Chinese, Vietnamese, Cham and Khmer Loeu.

The Khmer language is a member of the Mon-Khmer subfamily of the Austroasiatic language group. French, once the language of government in Indochina, is still spoken by some older Cambodians. French is also the language of instruction in some schools and universities that are funded by the government of France. Cambodian French, a remnant of the country's colonial past, is a dialect found in Cambodia and is sometimes used in government. However, in recent decades, many younger Cambodians and those in the business-class have favoured learning English. In the major cities and tourist centers, English is widely spoken and taught at a large number of schools due to the overwhelming number of tourists from English-speaking countries. Even in the most rural outposts, however, most young people speak at least some English, as it is often taught by monks at the local pagodas where many children are educated.
Local women at a market in Battambang
Cambodia religiosity
religion percent




The dominant religion, a form of Theravada Buddhism (95%), was suppressed by the Khmer Rouge but has since experienced a revival. Islam (3%) and Christianity (2%) are also practiced.[54]

Civil war and its aftermath have had a marked effect on the Cambodian population. The median age is 20.6 years, with more than 50% of the population younger than 25. At 0.95 males/female, Cambodia has the most female-biased sex ratio in the Greater Mekong Subregion.[55] In the Cambodian population over 65, the female to male ratio is 1.6:1.[51] UNICEF has designated Cambodia the third most landmined country in the world,[56] attributing over 60,000 civilian deaths and thousands more maimed or injured since 1970 to the unexploded land mines left behind in rural areas.[57] The majority of the victims are children herding animals or playing in the fields.[56] Adults that survive landmines often require amputation of one or more limbs and have to resort to begging for survival.[57] In 2006, the number of landmine casualties in Cambodia took a sharp decrease of more than 50% compared to 2005, with the number of landmine victims down from 800 in 2005 to less than 400 in 2006. The reduced casualty rate continued in 2007, with 208 casualties (38 killed and 170 injured).[58]

[edit] Health
Main article: Health in Cambodia

Cambodia's infant mortality rate has decreased from 115 in 1993 to 89.4 per 1000 live births in 1998. In the same period, the under-five mortality rate decreased from 181 to 115 per 1000 live births.[59] In the province with worst health indicators, Ratanakiri, 22.9% of children die before the age of five.[60]

[edit] Culture and society
Main articles: Culture of Cambodia and Sport in Cambodia
Buddhist art at Phnom Santuk, Kompong Thom.

Various factors contribute to Cambodian culture including Theravada Buddhism, French Colonialism, Hinduism, Angkor era culture, and modern globalization. The Cambodian Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts is responsible for promoting and developing Cambodian culture. Cambodian culture not only includes the culture of the lowland ethnic majority, the Khmer, but of also some 20 culturally distinct hill tribes colloquially known as the Khmer Loeu, a term coined by Norodom Sihanouk to generate unity between the highlanders and lowlanders. Rural Cambodians wear a krama scarf which is a unique aspect of Cambodian clothing. Khmer culture, as developed and spread by the Khmer empire, has distinctive styles of dance, architecture and sculpture, which have been exchanged with neighbouring Laos and Thailand through the history. Angkor Wat (Angkor means "city" and Wat "temple") is the best preserved example of Khmer architecture from the Angkorian era and hundreds of other temples have been discovered in and around the region. Traditionally, the Khmer people have a unique method of recording info on Tra leaf. Tra leaf books record information on legends of the Khmer people, the Ramayana, the origin of Buddhism and other prayer book series. They are greatly taken care of and wrap in cloth as to protect from moisture and the jungle climate. [61]

Bonn Om Teuk (Festival of Boat Racing), the annual boat rowing contest, is the most attended Cambodian national festival. Held at the end of the rainy season when the Mekong river begins to sink back to its normal levels allowing the Tonle Sap River to reverse flow, approximately 10% of Cambodia's population attends this event each year to play games, give thanks to the moon, watch fireworks, and attend the boat race in a carnival-type atmosphere.[62] Popular games include cockfighting, soccer, and kicking a sey, which is similar to a footbag. Based on Theravada Buddhism, the Cambodian New Year is a major holiday that takes place in April. Recent artistic figures include singers Sinn Sisamouth and Ros Sereysothea (and later Meng Keo Pichenda), who introduced new musical styles to the country.
Phnom Penh Style Noodle Soup (Ka Tieu Phnom Penh)

Rice, as in other Southeast Asian countries, is the staple grain, while fish from the Mekong and Tonle Sap also form an important part of the diet. The Cambodian per capita supply of fish and fish products for food and trade in 2000 was 20 kilograms of fish per year or 2 ounces per day per person.[63] Some of the fish can be made into prahok for longer storage. The cuisine of Cambodia contains tropical fruits, soups and noodles. Key ingredients in Cambodian cuisine are kaffir lime, lemon grass, garlic, fish sauce, soy sauce, curry, tamarind, ginger, oyster sauce, coconut milk and black pepper. An example of French influence on Cambodian cuisine, is Cambodian red curry with toasted baguette bread. The toasted baguette pieces are dipped in the curry and eaten. Cambodian red curry is also eaten with rice and rice vermicelli noodles. Probably the most popular dine out dish, ka tieu, is a pork broth rice noodle soup with fried garlic, scallions, green onions that may also contain various toppings such as beef balls, shrimp, pork liver or lettuce. The cuisine is relatively unknown to the world compared to that of its neighbours Thailand and Vietnam.

Football is one of the more popular sports, although professional organized sports are not as prevalent in Cambodia as in western countries due to the economic conditions. Football was brought to Cambodia by the French and became popular with the locals.[64] The Cambodia national football team managed fourth in the 1972 Asian Cup but development has slowed since the civil war. Western sports such as volleyball, bodybuilding, field hockey, rugby union, golf, and baseball are gaining popularity. Native sports include traditional boat racing, buffalo racing, Pradal Serey , Khmer traditional wrestling and Bokator. Cambodia first participated in the Olympics during the 1956 Summer Olympic Games sending Equestrian riders. Cambodia also hosted the GANEFO Games, the alternative to the Olympics, in the 1960's.

[edit] Transport
Main article: Transport in Cambodia
Siem Reap International Airport

The civil war and neglect severely damaged Cambodia's transport system, but with assistance and equipment from other countries Cambodia has been upgrading the main highways to international standards and most are vastly improved from 2006. Most main roads are now paved. Cambodia has two rail lines, totalling about 612 kilometers (380 mi) of single, one meter gauge track.[65] The lines run from the capital to Sihanoukville on the southern coast, and from Phnom Penh to Sisophon (although trains often run only as far as Battambang). Currently only one passenger train per week operates, between Phnom Penh and Battambang. Besides the main interprovincial traffic artery connecting the capital Phnom Penh with Sihanoukville, resurfacing a former dirt road with concrete / asphalt and implementation of 5 major river crossings by means of bridges have now permanently connected Phnom Penh with Koh Kong and hence there is now uninterrupted road access to neighboring Thailand and their vast road system.

The nation's extensive inland waterways were important historically in international trade. The Mekong and the Tonle Sap River, their numerous tributaries, and the Tonle Sap provided avenues of considerable length, including 3,700 kilometers (2,300 mi) navigable all year by craft drawing 0.6 meters (2 ft) and another 282 kilometers (175 mi) navigable to craft drawing 1.8 meters (6 ft).
National Highway 4

[65] Cambodia has two major ports, Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville, and five minor ones. Phnom Penh, located at the junction of the Bassac, the Mekong, and the Tonle Sap rivers, is the only river port capable of receiving 8,000-ton ships during the wet season and 5,000-ton ships during the dry season. With increasing economic activity has come an increase in automobile and motorcycle use, though bicycles still predominate; as often in developing countries, an associated rise in traffic deaths and injuries is occurring.[66] Cycle rickshaws are an additional option often used by visitors.

The country has four commercial airports. Phnom Penh International Airport (Pochentong) in Phnom Penh is the second largest in Cambodia. Siem Reap-Angkor International Airport is the largest and serves the most international flights in and out of Cambodia. The other airports are in Sihanoukville and Battambang.

[edit] International rankings
Heritage Foundation Index of Economic Freedom 100 out of 157
Reporters Without Borders Worldwide Press Freedom Index 126 out of 173
Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index 162 out of 179
United Nations Development Programme Human Development Index 136 out of 177
World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report 110 out of 131

[edit] See also
Cambodia portal
Main article: Outline of Cambodia
v • d • e
Flag of Cambodia Cambodia topics
Timeline · Early history · Dark ages · Colonial · Sihanouk era (1954-1970) · Civil War · Democratic Kampuchea · People's Republic of Kampuchea · Modern Cambodia · UNTAC
Coat of arms of Cambodia
Tonlé Sap Lake
King · Prime Minister
Politics of Cambodia · National Assembly of Cambodia · Elections · Parties (Cambodian People's Party · Funcinpec · Sam Rainsy Party) · Human rights (LGBT rights)
Military of Cambodia
Meas Sophea · Royal Cambodian Army · Royal Cambodian Air Force · Royal Cambodian Navy · 911 Special Forces
Riel · ANZ Royal Bank · Canadia Bank
Ethnic groups · Khmer language
Architecture · Visual arts · Cinema · Clothing · Cuisine · Dance · Ethnic groups · Public holidays · Music · Religion · Sport
Other topics
Communications · Scouting · Transportation · Deforestation

[edit] Notes

1. ^ "The World Factbook; Cambodia". Central Intelligence Agency. March 5, 2009. Retrieved on March 7, 2009.
2. ^ a b c d "Cambodia". International Monetary Fund. Retrieved on 2009-04-22.
3. ^ Overview#Seat of the Khmer Empire "Angkor". Wikipedia. Overview#Seat of the Khmer Empire.
4. ^ "General Population Census of Cambodia 2008 - Provisional population totals" (PDF). National Institute of Statistics, Ministry of Planning. September 3, 2008. Retrieved on 2009-06-22.
5. ^
6. ^ Elizabeth Sanchez-Lacson (May 30, 2008). "San Miguel eyes projects in Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved on 2009-03-03.
7. ^ Ek Madra (January 19, 2007). "Cambodia hopes to start oil production in 2009". Reuters. Retrieved on 2009-03-06.
8. ^ Claire Truscott (February 5, 2009). "Cambodia's oil and mineral wealth sold to corrupt elites: watchdog". AFP through Yahoo! News. Retrieved on 2009-03-03.
9. ^ "Cambodia's oil resources: Blessing or curse?". Economist. February 26, 2009. Retrieved on 2009-03-03.
10. ^ Gerd Albrecht: Circular Earthwork Krek 52/62: Recent Research of the Prehistory of CambodiaPDF link
11. ^ Country Studies Handbook; information taken from US Dept of the Army. Retrieved July 25, 2006.
12. ^ History of Cambodia.. Retrieved July 25, 2006.
13. ^ Khmer Empire Map
14. ^ Windows on Asia
15. ^ Metropolis: Angkor, the world's first mega-city, The Independent, August 15, 2007
16. ^ Chandler, David P. "The Land and the People of Cambodia". 1991. HarperCollins. New York, NY. p 77
17. ^ Scientists dig and fly over Angkor in search of answers to golden city's fall, The Associated Press, June 13, 2004
18. ^ Chandler, D.P. (1993). A history of Cambodia (2nd ed.). Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
19. ^ Sihanouk, Norodom (1973). My War with the CIA, The Memoirs of Prince Norodom Sihanouk as related to Wilfred Burchett. Pantheon Books.
20. ^ Shawcross, William (1987). Sideshow: Kissinger, Nixon and the destruction of Cambodia. United States: Touchstone.
21. ^ Shawcross, Sideshow p. 298.
22. ^ e.g. Chandler, David P. Pacific Affairs, vol. 56, no. 2, Summer 1983, p. 295.
23. ^ Etcheson, Craig, The Rise and Demise of Democratic Kampuchea, Westview Press, 1984, p. 97
24. ^ Shawcross, Sideshow pp. 374-375.
25. ^ a b Kaplan, Robert D., The Ends of the Earth, Vintage, 1996, p. 406.
26. ^ Shawcross, William, The Quality of Mercy: Cambodia, Holocaust and Modern Conscience, Touchstone, 1985, pp. 115-116.
27. ^ Vickery, Michael, Correspondence, Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars, vol. 20, no. 1, January-March 1988, p. 73.
28. ^ The Cambodian Genocide and International Law, By Dr. Gregory H. Stanton, Presented February 22, 1992 at Yale Law School
29. ^ Cambodia the Chinese. Country Studies.
30. ^ Brief History of the Cambodian Genocide.. Retrieved July 25, 2006.
31. ^ a b US Department of State. Country Profile of Cambodia.. Retrieved July 26, 2006.
32. ^ Kaplan, p. 415
33. ^ UN OHCHR Cambodia [1]PDF (10.3 KB)
34. ^ 2006/cpi/surveys_indices/policy_research
35. ^ 2007/cpi/surveys_indices/policy_research
36. ^ BBC Asia-Pacific News (September 19, 2005). Corruption dents Cambodia democracy.. Retrieved July 24, 2006.
37. ^ World Bank threatens to suspend millions of dollars in aid for Cambodia AP Worldstream 01-16-2005. [2]. Retrieved December 29, 2008.
38. ^ BBC News (May 29, 2006). 'Corruption' curbs Cambodia cash.. Retrieved July 24, 2006.
39. ^ Royal Government of Cambodia.Foreign Embassies.
40. ^ Catharin E. Dalpino and David G. Timberman. "Cambodia's Political Future: Issues for U.S. Policy," Asia Society, March 26, 1998.
41. ^ "Modular Floating Bridge (2009)". Jerry Shum et al.
42. ^ Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs of the US Department of State.Report to the Congress on the Anti-Thai Riots in Cambodia on January 29, 2003.
43. ^ Cambodia, Thai troops on alert.Straits Times.
44. ^ Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve: perspective 2000, Mekong River Commission (MRC), Mar 1 2003. Retrieved from TSBR website, 29/12/2008 [3]
45. ^ Complete list of biosphere reserves in pdf, Publication Date: 03-11-2008, retrieved from UNESCO website, 29/12/2008 [4]
46. ^ Planet Ark : Logging threatens Cambodian tragedy - UN
47. ^ Economic Institute of Cambodia.
48. ^ Jahn 2006,2007
49. ^ Puckridge 2004, Fredenburg and Hill 1978
50. ^ CIA Factbook. GDP per Capita rankings. Retrieved July 24, 2006.
51. ^ a b CIA FactBook.. Retrieved September 9, 2006.
52. ^ A Fact Sheet: Cambodia and ADB, Asian Development Bank. Retrieved September 9, 2006.
53. ^ Ministry of Tourism.[5]. Retrieved December 29, 2008.
54. ^ Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labour of the US Department of State. International Religious Freedom Report 2005.. Retrieved July 24, 2006.
55. ^ CIA World Factbook [6]
56. ^ a b UNICEF. "The Legacy of Landmines". Retrieved July 25, 2006.
57. ^ a b (July 25, 2003). Cambodia Land Mines.. Retrieved July 24, 2006.
58. ^ Cambodia, Landmine Monitor Report 2007
59. ^ "WHO country cooperation strategy" (PDF). World Health Organization. April 2001. Retrieved on 2009-06-22.
60. ^ "National Child Mortality and Malnutrition (Food Insecurity Outcome) Maps". United Nations World Food Programme. Retrieved 2008-05-04.
61. ^ VietNam Net,; accessed January 31, 2009
62. ^ Government of Cambodia Webpage, Bonn Om Touk, the Water and Moon Festivals; accessed July 24, 2006
63. ^ Cambodia Country ProfilePDF
64. ^ AFF- The official site of the ASEAN Football Federation. Retrieved February 20, 2009.
65. ^ a b
66. ^ "Picking Up Speed: As Cambodia's Traffic Levels Increase, So Too Does the Road Death Toll," The Cambodia Daily, Saturday, March 9–10, 2002."

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* Cambodia Country Factsheet from The Common Language Project
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