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Background: 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 and it 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 surviving Khmer Rouge leaders have been tried or are awaiting trial for crimes against humanity by a hybrid UN-Cambodian tribunal supported by international assistance. Elections in July 2003 were relatively peaceful, but it took one year of negotiations between contending political parties before a coalition government was formed. In October 2004, King Norodom SIHANOUK abdicated the throne and his son, Prince Norodom SIHAMONI, was selected to succeed him. Local elections were held in Cambodia in April 2007, with little of the pre-election violence that preceded prior elections. National elections in July 2008 were relatively peaceful.
Location: Southeastern Asia, bordering the Gulf of Thailand, between Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos
Area land: 176,515 sq km
Area water: 4,520 sq km
Coastline: 443 km
Country name conventional long form: Kingdom of Cambodia
Country name conventional short form: Cambodia
Country name former: Khmer Republic, Democratic Kampuchea, People's Republic of Kampuchea, State of Cambodia
Age structure: 0-14 years: 32.2% (male 2,375,155/female 2,356,305); 15-64 years: 64.1% (male 4,523,030/female 4,893,761); 65 years and over: 3.8% (male 208,473/female 344,993) (2011 est.);
Population growth rate: 1.698% (2011 est.)
Birth rate: 25.4 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
Death rate: 8.07 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
Net migration rate: -0.34 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.045 male(s)/female; under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female; 15-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female; 65 years and over: 0.6 male(s)/female; total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2011 est.);
Infant mortality rate: total: 55.49 deaths/1,000 live births; male: 62.54 deaths/1,000 live births; female: 48.13 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.);
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 62.67 years; male: 60.31 years; female: 65.13 years (2011 est.);
Total fertility rate: 2.84 children born/woman (2011 est.);
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.5% (2009 est.);
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 63,000 (2009 est.);
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 3,100 (2009 est.);
Nationality: noun: Cambodian(s); adjective: Cambodian;
Ethnic groups: Khmer 90%, Vietnamese 5%, Chinese 1%, other 4%;
Religions: Buddhist (official) 96.4%, Muslim 2.1%, other 1.3%, unspecified 0.2% (1998 census);
Languages: Khmer (official) 95%, French, English;
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write; total population: 73.6%; male: 84.7%; female: 64.1% (2004 est.);
GDP (purchasing power parity): $30.13 billion (2010 est.); $28.7 billion (2009 est.); $28.73 billion (2008 est.);
GDP (official exchange rate): $11.36 billion (2010 est.);
GDP - real growth rate: 5% (2010 est.); -0.1% (2009 est.); 6.7% (2008 est.);
GDP - per capita (PPP): $2,000 (2010 est.); $2,000 (2009 est.); $2,100 (2008 est.);
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 33.4%; industry: 21.4%; services: 45.2% (2009 est.);
Population below poverty line: 31% (2007 est.);
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 3%; highest 10%: 34.2% (2007);
Labor force: 8.8 million (2010 est.);
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 57.6%; industry: 15.9%; services: 26.5% (2009 est.);
Unemployment rate: 3.5% (2007 est.); 2.5% (2000 est.);
Budget: revenues: $1.413 billion; expenditures: $2.079 billion (2010 est.);
Industries: tourism, garments, construction, rice milling, fishing, wood and wood products, rubber, cement, gem mining, textiles;
Industrial production growth rate: 5.7% (2010 est.);
Electricity - production: 1.273 billion kWh (2007 est.);
Electricity - consumption: 1.272 billion kWh (2007 est.);
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2008 est.);
Electricity - imports: 167 million kWh (2007 est.);
Statistics: CIA World Factbook.
(independent, pro-government), Phnom Penh
(Independent biweekly), Phnom Penh
Displaying 1 to 4 of 7 items.
During the Communist reign of terror in Cambodia, Comrade Duch oversaw the torture of about 16,000 prisoners. Decades later, the courts are deciding on the punishment for his crimes.
The Cambodian prime minister is rattling the cage of neighboring Thailand by offering its ousted ex-premier a position as an economics advisor.
Almost all of the answers regarding recent history of this tortured nation can be found here at Prek Kres; in this remote corner tucked between Cambodia and Vietnam.
Sarah Coleman profiles soldier-turned-conservationist David Mead