The first traces of human settlement in Cambodia date back to the first millennium B.C. .. From the ninth to the fifteenth century Khmer civilization flourished. The vast archaeological complex of Angkor Wat is now the greatest testimony of the ancient Khmer glory. Relatively little is known, it is the second archaeological site in the world largest after that of Giza in Egypt and virtually constitutes the entire national artistic heritage. The stylization of Angkor Wat is present on the national flag.

The trade between the Roman Empire and China, at the beginning of the first millennium, saw the participation of Indian traders who sail along the "way of the sea silk" reached the Holy Celestial Empire. The first leg of the trip, driving by the trade winds in favor, allowed to reach the Gulf of Siam. During the period of several months waiting for the new winds they began many of the traders to interact with local people by developing emporiums and by river routes. These traders, being of Indian origin, as well as Indochina export their knowledge in urban planning, introduced soon the Hindu religion and the sacred mountain temple concepts and king mountain. Quickly he developed a real mercantile empire that was called Funan Kingdom (I-VII sec.).

At the fall of the Western Roman Empire, 476 A.D., maritime commerce was interrupted and the Funan Empire moved inland. It followed the United Cenla, VII-VIII sec., With its capital at Sambor Prey Kuk, who later, in 802 AD, was supplanted by the first Kingdom of Kambuja (Kampuchea, or Cambodia) or Khmer Kingdom, which flourished from the thirteenth to the nineteenth century, particularly with Jayavarman VII (1181-1218). Later there were other sovereign but also well documented the decline of the kingdom foreshadowed the worst. In 1431 A.D., after decades of conflict with the Kingdom of Siam and the Cham, the court decided to give Angkor because it is considered no longer defensible.

From the fifteenth to the nineteenth century there was a slow but steady economic and political decline, Which saw the Cambodians succumb to the expansion of Chinese, French, Siamese and Vietnamese. In the nineteenth century, Cambodia Became part of French Indochina, blackberries always gravitating toward Saigon.

During World War II, the Japanese invaded French Indochina, but agreed That the new Vichy government to participate on land management. With the defeat of the Tripartite countries, France re-established Their dominion over Indochina. He Emerged in the meantime a charismatic and important figures in Cambodian history: King Norodom Sihanouk. Ascended to the throne with the consent of the French Already in 1941, he was incendio convey the main bodies of the United Nationalist, ushering in the so-called "royal crusade for independence", Particularly in antivietnamita function. In 1953, Sihanouk Became independent of the Kingdom and in 1955 unexpectedly abdicated in favor of His Father Norodom Suramarit to rise to the post of Prime Minister, in order to lead the government directly. Thus he founded His own party, the Popular Socialist Community (Sangkum), who won all the seats in the National Assembly elections of 1955. The Sangkum dominated the political scene until the end of the sixties.


Sihanouk wielded as Prime Minister until 1960, becoming head of state Supreme until 1970. The government was very popular, especially in rural villages and Achieved remarkable social and economic achievements. In 1963, Sihanouk Announced the nationalization of the banks, the foreign trade and the establishment of a nationalist socialist experiment of considerable interest. In foreign relations, Sihanouk pursued a policy of neutrality and non-alignment policy. Accepted economic and military aid, but Also he promoted close relations with China and tried to stay on good terms with the North Vietnamese.

In 1969, the United States carpet-bombed some basic fields of Cambodia. In an effort to strike the nuclei of communist guerrillas they killed thousands of civilians and determined the country's involvement in the Vietnamese conflict. 30 April 1970 on the orders of the newly elected President Nixon, American and South Vietnamese troops invaded Cambodia brutally groped for the eradication of hanouk forces and the government of Sangkum; It was proclaimed the birth of the Republic of Khmer, led by General Lon Nol and therefore pro-American military array. There followed a period of fierce guerrilla war that shocked the whole country and which led, in 1975, the conquest of Phnom Penh by the Khmer Rouge. In 1975, the combined forces of the communists and royalists broke up the troops of General Lon Nol and established a democratic republic. President of the Republic became the King Norodom Sihanouk. However in 1976 the extremist wing of the Khmer Rouge, led by Pol Pot, assumed absolute power detenendolo until 1979. During this period, under the leadership of Pol Pot, they proceeded to the systematic two million Cambodians, especially the most educated in a bid to turn Cambodia into a sort of agrarian cooperative, Maoist, dominated by agricultural class: according to the assumptions of the genocidal government, every cambodian considered "corrupted by capitalism" had to be deleted. The currency was abolished, the blocked postal services, the population was used as a military array thus. In response to the repeated armed incursions against the border regions, in 1978 Vietnam invaded Cambodia (Cambodian-Vietnamese War), forcing the Khmer Rouge to find a relatively safe haven in the jungle near the Thai border. From their positions, they undertook an armed insurgency against the government backed by Vietnam, which bloodied the country throughout the course of the 70s and 80s.

In 1979, the Khmer Rouge were overthrown and, after three years of unrest in 1982 Norodom Sihanouk regained the presidency of the country and led Cambodia during the difficult period of reconstruction until the first half of 1993, the elections conducted under the aegis of 'UN led to the creation of a new Constitution and decided the resettlement of Norodom Sihanouk on the throne cambodian. The Khmer Rouge boycotted the elections, refused to participate in peace talks and continued to buy large quantities of arms from the major Cambodian military authorities. In the months following the elections, it was promulgated an amnesty in favor of all those who had fled the Khmer files, In 1994 the Khmer Rouge were declared criminals by the cambodian government and the main perpetrators of the massacres of the 70 were arrested and executed. The same Pol Pot died a fugitive in 1998 for an alleged heart attack, the news was greeted with anger by the people for the fact that he avoided the trial. Bloody battles led, in 1997, to the breaking of difficult coalition between Prince Ranariddh National United Front and the Cambodian People's Party of Hun Sen. After the situation calmed down, Hun Sen seized full control of the government. The elections of 1998 reconfirmed the power to Hun Sen, despite allegations of electoral fraud raised by the opposition. The international community has expressed several times with doubt about the actual democratic structure of the country under this new government; This has however revealed a kind of stabilizing force for Cambodia. Finally in 2004 the old Norodom Sihanouk abdicated in favor of one of his young sons, Norodom Sihamoni, spending his last period of life in China until his death on October 12, 2012.

THE KINGDOM OF Norodom Sihamoni

Ascended to the throne in 2004, the new King Norodom Sihamoni has definitively closed the page of the turbulent twentieth century, aiming to turn Cambodia into a great and peaceful Kingdom National, model for all of Indochina area.