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Most Cambodians consider themselves to be Khmers, descendants of the Angkor Empire that extended over much of Southeast Asia and reached its zenith between the 10th and 13th centuries. Attacks by the Thai and Cham (from present-day Vietnam) weakened the empire ushering in a long period of decline. The king placed the country under French protection in 1863. Cambodia became part of French Indochina in 1887. Following Japanese occupation in World War II, Cambodia gained full independence from France in 1953. In April 1975, after a five-year struggle, Communist Khmer Rouge forces captured Phnom Penh and evacuated all cities and towns. At least 1.5 million Cambodians died from execution, forced hardships, or starvation during the Khmer Rouge regime under POL POT. A December 1978 Vietnamese invasion drove the Khmer Rouge into the countryside, began a 10-year Vietnamese occupation, and touched off almost 13 years of civil war. The 1991 Paris Peace Accords mandated democratic elections and a ceasefire, which was not fully respected by the Khmer Rouge. UN-sponsored elections in 1993 helped restore some semblance of normalcy under a coalition government. Factional fighting in 1997 ended the first coalition government, but a second round of national elections in 1998 led to the formation of another coalition government and renewed political stability. The remaining elements of the Khmer Rouge surrendered in early 1999. Some of the remaining Khmer Rouge leaders are awaiting trial by a UN-sponsored tribunal for crimes against humanity. Elections in July 2003 were relatively peaceful, but it took one year of negotiations between contending political parties before a coalition government was formed.

Languages & Population

Approximate Population: 13,995,904 (July 2007 est.)

Nationality (Noun): Cambodian(s)

Nationality (Adjective): Cambodian

Official Language(s): Khmer

Major Languages Spoken: Cambodian, English, French, Khmer

Map of Cambodia

Country Facts

Country Name (long form): Kingdom of Cambodia

Country Name (short form): Cambodia

Country Name (local long form): Preahreacheanachakr Kampuchea (phonetic pronunciat

Country Name (local short form): Kampuchea

Name of Capital: Phnom Penh

UTC Time Difference (from capital): UTC+7 (12 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Countries Near by, and Bordering Cambodia: Thailand, Vietnam, Laos

Land Area: 176520 sq km

Water Area: 4520 sq km

Comparative Area: slightly smaller than Oklahoma

Total Land Boundry: 2,572 km

Coastline: 443 km

National Holiday: Independence Day, 9 November (1953)

International Phone Code: 855

Currency Code: riel (KHR)

Internet Country Code: .kh

US Embassy Location: #1, Street 96, Sangkat Wat Phnom, Khan Daun Penh, Phnom Penh

US Embassy Mailing Address: Box P, APO AP 96546


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