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Snaking through Cam­bo­dia's past



Strongly in­flu­enced by In­dian cul­ture and phi­los­o­phy, the King­dom of Fu­nan (as it was known to Chi­nese chron­i­clers) rises from the banks of the Mekong Delta.


US-aligned Gen­eral Lon Nol launches a coup d'état, oust­ing Prince Si­hanouk and be­com­ing pres­i­dent of the newly formed Kh­mer Repub­lic. The Cam­bo­dian Civil War be­gins.


Ph­nom Penh falls to the com­mu­nist Kh­mer Rouge. The regime dec­i­mates the ed­u­cated classes and be­gins a bloody reign of na­tional rein­ven­tion that claims an es­ti­mated 1.7 mil­lion Cam­bo­dian lives.


Fu­nan's for­mer vas­sal-state of Chenla gains in­de­pen­dence and de­poses its pre­de­ces­sor to be­come the dom­i­nant power in the re­gion, swal­low­ing parts of mod­ern-day Laos and Thai­land.


King Si­hanouk's long-run­ning cam­paign for in­de­pen­dence is rewarded as France of­fi­cially cedes con­trol of Cam­bo­dia. Two years later, Si­hanouk ab­di­cates to pur­sue a ca­reer in pol­i­tics as prime min­is­ter.


Pro­voked by a se­ries of bor­der raids, in­vad­ing Viet­namese forces cap­ture Ph­nom Penh and drive the Kh­mer Rouge from power. A van­guard of Kh­mer Rouge de­fec­tors, in­clud­ing Hun Sen, is in­stalled into power un­der de facto leader Heng Sam­rin.


The now-legendary Jayavar­man II re­turns from ex­ile in Java to rule a di­vided Chenla. Two years later, he is con­se­crated as god-king of the newly formed Kh­mer Em­pire.


Suryavar­man II leads the Kh­mer Em­pire to the apex of its power, ruling much of to­day's Cam­bo­dia, Thai­land, Laos and south­ern Viet­nam. He ded­i­cates the tem­ple com­plex of Angkor Wat to the Hindu god Vishnu but dies be­fore it is com­pleted.


In the dying days of World War II, Ja­panese forces de­pose the French au­thor­i­ties. On Ja­panese urg­ing, King Si­hanouk pro­claims a short-lived in­de­pen­dence from the French. Colo­nial rule is re-es­tab­lished fol­low­ing Ja­pan's sur­ren­der.


The United Na­tions Tran­si­tional Author­ity in Cam­bo­dia takes over the ad­min­is­tra­tion of the coun­try, mon­i­tor­ing the 1993 election that sees Prime Min­is­ter Hun Sen ce­ment his power – de­spite los­ing the election. King Si­hanouk is re­in­stated as monarch.


The neigh­bour­ing Chams – pos­si­bly col­lud­ing with dis­si­dent Kh­mer fac­tions – launch a shock naval at­tack on Angkor, over­throw­ing the re­cently risen usurper Trib­hu­vana­dityavar­man and oc­cu­py­ing the sa­cred cap­i­tal.


Ja­panese troops oc­cupy Cam­bo­dia, though day-to-day ad­min­is­tra­tion re­mains with the French. At age 19, and be­lieved by the French to be pli­able and in­ex­pe­ri­enced, King Si­hanouk ac­cedes the throne upon the death of King Monivong.


Hun Sen wins the 1998 Na­tional Assem­bly elec­tions amid al­le­ga­tions of wide­spread in­tim­i­da­tion and vi­o­lence. De­posed Kh­mer Rouge leader Pol Pot dies, im­pris­oned by his own troops on the

Thai bor­der.


Jayavar­man VII drives the in­vad­ing Chams from Angkor and is crowned supreme ruler of the Kh­mer Em­pire. He es­tab­lishes Ma­hayana Bud­dhism as the of­fi­cial state re­li­gion.


Hemmed in by the Viet­namese and Thais, and ter­ri­fied of do­mes­tic re­bel­lion, the Kh­mer royal fam­ily asks France for pro­tec­tion. Cam­bo­dia is de­clared a French pro­tec­torate shortly after the ascension of King Norodom.


Cit­ing health con­cerns and sick of po­lit­i­cal in­fight­ing, King Si­hanouk ab­di­cates in favour of his son Si­ha­moni. Long a fig­ure of great po­lit­i­cal in­flu­ence, the role of monarch is re­duced to a purely cer­e­mo­nial one. Si­hanouk dies in 2012.


Jayavar­man VII cap­tures and sacks the Champa cap­i­tal, bring­ing the Cham king back to Angkor in chains and ex­pand­ing the Kh­mer Em­pire in all di­rec­tions. Thir­teen years later, he an­nexes all of Champa.


The gen­eral election mark the great­est loss of seats for the ruling Cam­bo­dian Peo­ple's Party since 1998, with the op­po­si­tion Cam­bo­dian Na­tional Res­cue Party surg­ing in pop­u­lar­ity.


Jayavar­man VII dies after nearly 40 years on the throne, leav­ing a legacy of ex­quis­ite Bud­dhist mon­u­ments, roads, hos­pi­tals and mil­i­tary tri­umphs.


The Mekong Delta re­gion is an­nexed by the Viet­namese. Over the next 100 years, they con­tinue this ex­pan­sion into Kh­mer-oc­cu­pied ter­ri­tory – of­ten by force.


After a seven-month siege at the hands of Thai in­vaders, Angkor falls and the cap­i­tal is moved to Ph­nom Penh.


Now ruling from the cos­mopoli­tan cap­i­tal of Longvek, King Sattha begs the gover­nor of the Philip­pines for pro­tec­tion from the en­croach­ing Thai forces. Sol­diers ar­rive too late, and the Kh­mer Em­pire, which had been long in de­cline, never re­cov­ers.

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