Just west of central Cambodia is the great Tonle Sap lake. During the dry season, its total area is about 1,042 square miles (a little smaller than the size of Rhode Island), but during the monsoon season it swells to 6,177 sq. miles (larger than Connecticut).

Source: CIA World Factbook

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, as were commune council elections in June 2012.

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Area Specialists
Khmer Language at UH

Most recent Cambodia Posts:

Take a new look at Southeast Asia through comics and graphic novels.

A 2013 talk with Professor Miriam Stark about training archeologists in Cambodia.

We spotlight the festivals and folktales of Southeast Asia as the region celebrates the new year this week with water festivals Songkran and Thingyan.

Government and International Organization Sites

– Royal Embassy of Cambodia
- U.S. Embassy in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
- U.S. Department of State: Cambodia Profile
- USAID: Cambodia
- The World Factbook: Cambodia
- World Bank Country Profile: Cambodia
- World Bank Data: Cambodia
- World Trade Organization: Cambodia
- UNHCR: Cambodia

- UNICEF: Cambodia
- Human Rights Watch: Cambodia
- Transparency International: Cambodia
- Freedom House: Cambodia
- World Health Organization: Cambodia

Business & Trade Resources

- Council for the Development of Cambodia
- United States Trade Representative: Cambodia
- AmCham Cambodia
- World Bank Doing Business in Cambodia
- Asian Development Bank: Cambodia

News & Media Resources

- The Cambodia Daily (English)
- Radio Free Asia: Cambodia (English)
- Phnom Penh Post (English)
- Ramsei Kampuchea Daily (Khmer)
- Sabay News (Khmer)
- New York Times: Cambodia
- BBC News Country Profile: Cambodia
- The Guardian: Cambodia
- Economist Intelligence Unit: Cambodia
- Documentation Center of Cambodia


Education Resources

- American University of Phnom Penh
- Royal University of Phnom Penh
- The University of Cambodia

- Khmer Fonts

Culture Resources

- Cambodia UNESCO World Heritage Centre
- GlobalEdge: Cambodia
- Kwintessential: Cambodian Language, Culture, Customs and Etiquette
- Cambodia International Film Festival

Travel & Tourism Resources

- Ministry of Tourism of Cambodia
– Tourism of Cambodia

- Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- U.S. Dept. of State Country Profile: Cambodia

- CDC Travelers’ Health: Cambodia
- National Geographic: Cambodia Guide
- Lonely Planet: Cambodia
- TripAdvisor: Cambodia
- Weather Underground: Cambodia

Study, Volunteer, and Work Abroad Resources

- UH CSEAS Scholarships
- UH Summer Abroad Program in Khmer
- UH Independent Study Abroad Program Options
– Fulbright Program: Cambodia

- Peace Corps: Cambodia
- UH CSEAS Job Listings on LinkedIn
- Jobs in Cambodia
- UN & International Organization Jobs: Phnom Penh, Cambodia

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