THE REST IS HISTORY
Snaking through Cambodia's past
CHARTING THE TWISTS AND TURNS OF THE KINGDOM'S TUMULTUOUS HISTORY
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
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.