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Tuesday 25th June
Cambodia Information - Page 2
Cambodia was part of the early trading state of Funan (first century to sixth century AD) which laid the foundations for the great Angkor civilization.

The first Angkor king was Jayavarman II at the beginning of the ninth century. The Angkor kings built cities, temples, irrigation systems and roads. Angkor Wat, the most famous temple city, was built by King Suryavarman II; the city of Angkor Thom and The Bayon (temple) were built by King Jayavarman VII.

In the fifteenth century Angkor was attacked by Siam (Thailand). Wars continued with the Thais; the city temples were abandoned and the capital moved to Phnom Penh. In 1863 Cambodia became a French Protectorate. For the next ninety years Cambodia remained under French control, and was part of French Indochina, until independence in 1953.

Towards the end of the 1960s Cambodia became involved in the Vietnam War. Continued unrest in the country led to the formation of the Khmer Rouge. In 1975 Pol Pot took control of the capital and the country was renamed Democratic Kampuchea. During Pol Pot's reign over one and a half million people died.

In 1978 Vietnamese forces invaded Cambodia and the People's Republic of Kampuchea established. Vietnamese troops left Cambodia in 1989; a peace agreement was signed in 1991.

In 1993 the monarchy was restored and the country became the Kingdom of Cambodia.

In the latter half of the twentieth century the economy of Cambodia suffered from war, political unrest and regional economic crisis. However, with the turn of the century, the economy began to grow with expansion in the garment industry and tourism.

Many people living in Cambodia are subsistence farmers. Products grown are rice, corn, cassava, mung beans, soybeans, sweet potatoes and cashews. Fishing is important and fish farming is practised.

Industries include mining (gems, gold, bauxite and iron), rubber, cement, wood products, textiles, clothing and rice milling. Oil and natural gas deposits were discovered off the coast of Cambodia in 2005.

The Ministry of Tourism is keen to promote Cambodia's historical attractions including its Archaeological Parks and temples. (2008)

Angkor Wat, the world's largest temple, and the other temples of the Angkor Archaeological Park are Cambodia's greatest works of art. Angkor Wat has been called the "eighth wonder of the world" and contains many sculptures and stone carvings depicting epic Indian stories such as the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. Carvings in the Bayon, in Angkor Thom, show people going about their daily lives, farming and shopping.

The craft of carving continues today, along with crafts such as silver work and weaving.

The National classical dance is the "ramthon" and members of the national dance troupe perform on special occasions.

Team sports played in Cambodia include football, basketball and volleyball. There are opportunities for swimming along the coastline and in the inland waters.

An international half marathon in December is held at Angkor Wat, one of the most important archaeological sites in Southeast Asia.

Days celebrated are International New Year's Day - 1 January, National Day - 7 January, Cambodian New Year - 14-16 April, the Royal Ploughing Ceremony - 25 May, the Birthday of Buddha - 29 May, Labour Day - 1 May and Independence Day - 9 November. Other days commemorated include the King's birthday, the Feast of the Ancestors and the Water Festival at the beginning of the fishing season.

News from Cambodia is available in Newslink.

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