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An experience we will never forget
March 24, 2012


Like most Asian countries, Cambodia also has a turbulent modern history in contrast to a peaceful past. Below are the most important milestones in recent Cambodia history:

August 11, 186 : French protectorate over Cambodia

The Kingdom of Cambodia, to escape the grip of Siam (now Thailand) and Annam (now Vietnam), asks for help to France. By the treaty of protectorate, King Norodom I refrain from any relationship with a foreign power without the agreement of France. In 1887, Cambodia will be incorporated into French Indochina and the king will lose all authority. The country regained its independence in 1953, during the reign of King Norodom Sihanouk, who became the Father of the Nation.

March 18, 1970: Coup in Cambodia

Marshal Lon Nol, backed by the United States, overthrew the monarchy and established a military regime in Cambodia. The regional context, dominated by the Vietnam War is then chaotic. Lon Nol is overthrown by the Khmer Rouge of Pol Pot five years later.

April 17, 1975: The fall of Phnom Penh
The Khmer Rouge seized Phnom Penh, the Cambodian capital, and their leader, Pol Pot, impose a dictatorial regime. The Khmer Rouge are held responsible for the deaths of nearly 2 million people. They will be driven out of Phnom Penh by Vietnamese forces in January 1979.Civil war continues between the Khmer Rouge and the government supported by Vietnam until a cease-fire was finally got under the supervision of the UN in October 1991.

January 11, 1979: Pol Pot ousted
While the Vietnamese army drove Pol Pot from power, Khmer Rouge dissident activists form a new government. It displays a tragic toll estimated at around 2 million deaths, while there were only 7 million inhabitants.

The 1993 elections organized by the UN helped restore some semblance of normalcy. A coalition government, formed after national elections in 1998 brought a new political stability and the surrender of remaining Khmer Rouge forces.