Khmer History

The Mon-Khmer race developed slowly during the first six centuries of the Christian era. Under Indian influence, a powerful maritime empire called “Funan” ruled over all the shores of the Gulf of Siam. Within a short time, this new power known as Chenla absorbed the Funanese Kingdom. In the late 7th century, Chenla broke into twon parts: land Chenla (to the north) and water Chenla (to the south along the Gulf of Thailand). Land Chenla was fairly stable during the 8th century, whereas water Chenla was beset by dynastic rivalries.
At the beginning of the 9th century, the kings set up their capital in the present province of Siem Reap. For nearly six century, they erected two hundred temples as well their sanctuaries in the Angkorian area of some 400 square kilometers in the Siem Reap Province.

King Suryavarman II (113-1150) built the temples such as Angkor Wat, Thommanon, Chau Say Tevoda, Preah Palilay, Preah Pithu, and Banteay Samre.Jayavarman VII (1181-1220) was best known for his huge building program. Firstly, he built Ta Prohm (1186) and Preah Khan (1119) to dedicate to his parents.  Secondly, he erected Banteay Kdei, Srah Srang, the Terrace of the Leper King, the Terrace of elephants, Neak Pean, Ta Som, Ta Nei, and some others in other parts of the country. Thirdly, he founded his great capital, Angkor Thom. Finally, in the center, he built the Bayon with its two hundred stone faces.The decline of the Angkor era began after the death of King Jayavarman VII in the early 13th century. Due to the Siamese invasion and the limitation of irrigation system, Khmer power declined so much that the king was finally obliged to move to the vicinity of Phnom Penh in 1431. Resulting from a series of Siamese and Cham invasion, the country was put as a French protectorate in 1863. In 1991, with the Paris Agreements on Cambodia the country regains its sovereignty and begins its reconstruction up until today.

After regaining Independence in 1953, the country has had several names:
1.    The Kingdom of Cambodia (under the Reachia Niyum Regime from 1953 to 1970);
2.    The Khmer Republic (under the Lon Nol Regime from 1970 to 1975);
3.    Democratic Kampuchea (under the Pol Pot Genocidal Regime from 1975 to 1979 );
4.     The People ‘s Republic of Kampucha (1079-1989);
5.    The Sate of Cambodia (1989-1993);
6.    The Kingdom of Cambodia (1993 until now).