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Amazing view of Angkor Wat is a temple complex in Cambodia and the largest religious monument in the world - history of Cambodia

History of Cambodia

Cambodia has had a fascinating and diverse past, from the Stone Age of hunters and gatherers, up until to the modern day.

Cambodia was for centuries divided into rival states before King Jayavarman II founded the Khmer Empire. As a nation of animists, the integration of Hinduism and Buddhism was introduced easily in the 9th century and coexisted with the traditional belief that spirits inhabited the earth. During the golden age of the empire that existed until the 13th century, great temple complexes were built with regal and fine carvings, including the notable Angkor Wat.

During the 16th century, Cambodia was conquered by the Thai, destroying the capital city, Phonm Penh, at which time European missionaries also arrived. By the 19th century, Cambodia was under the protectorate of France. Cambodia became its own independent kingdom under Norodom Sihanouk in 1953. When the Vietnam War crossed into the border of Cambodia in the mid-1970s, the communist and brutal agrarian regime of the Khmer Rouge was born. This led to what is considered one of the worst genocides in modern history that today is remembered by the mass graves known as the Killing Fields, which you can visit on one of our private Cambodia tours.

The civil war ended when the Khmer Rouge were successfully removed by Vietnamese troops and the People’s Republic of Kampuchea was formed. Today, despite a heavy-hearted legacy, Cambodia is ever optimistic about its future, and tourism is playing a positive role in boosting an emerging economy. While Phnom Penh is the official capital of modern-day Cambodia, Siem Reap remains its most-visited city owing to its proximity to the famed Angkor complex.

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