Cambodian History Timeline

Get a brief outline of the journey that Cambodia has under gone as a nation over the years in our historical timeline of Cambodia.

Cambodia was first inhabited by the Funan Kingdom right from the first century BC. At the time Cambodia was under a strong influence of the Indian culture, religion and political trends. Archeological discoveries have established the existence of commercial societies between the Mekong Delta that existed from the first up till the sixth century.

9th-15th Century

The period starting from the ninth century to the early fifteenth century saw a mass scale construction of temples under the rule of Jayavarman and his successors. During the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries Cambodia was greatly restricted by the over imposing power of the prevailing Thai kingdom. The region also suffered in a war against the dominant Thai kingdom over the region of Angkor.

Another reason on which the lack of progress during those centuries is blamed is the adoption of Buddhism. The dharma brought about a revolutionary change in the social structure of Cambodia which was not necessarily considered to be for the better. These long years of Cambodian history are vaguely documented and are as such considered to be the dark ages of the nation.

The worst was yet to follow. Cambodia suffered at the hands of the Thais and Vietnamese who invaded the region wreaking havoc and destruction. The wars left Cambodia totally destroyed and it was not until King Nordom managed to sign a treaty to stop the hostilities against Cambodia that some sort of peace was restored in the region.

French colonial rule

Cambodia was now under direct French rule and so it remained for the next ninety years. It was not until after World War 2 that Cambodia officially managed to gain its independence from France. It was King Sihanouk who led the way to the country’s independence by transforming his monarchial rule into a political party based on the communist doctrine.

Khmer Rouge

Cambodia remained a neutral state during the cold war between the US and USSR up until 1965. It was in this year that Cambodia cut off all diplomatic relations with the US and allied themselves with the communists. In 1975 the government of the nation was taken over by the ruthless Khmer Rouge. Although they brought an end to the Cambodian Vietnamese cold war the regime brought about a lot of internal strife and civil injustice in the name of restoring order.

Modern Cambodia

The following years saw some major changes being introduced in the system that was being used to govern the nation. The introduction of the concept of a free market economy brought about further civil unrest as it widened the gap between the rich and the poor. The government was seen as being a corrupt body reaping the harvests of the poor people of the nation.
The 90s saw the UN intervening with the internal affairs of Cambodia in order to put an end to the political and social unrest that had long plagued the country’s affairs. A number of significant changes have been made since then and Cambodia is now set on its way to political and social recovery from the years of turbulence that it has been through.