OFFICIAL NAME: Kingdom of Cambodia
CAPITAL: Phnom Penh
SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT: Constitutional Monarchy
AREA: 181,035 Sq Km (69,898 Sq Mi)
ESTIMATED 2000 POPULATION 10,766,700
LOCATION & GEOGRAPHY: Cambodia is located in the southwestern
section of the Indo-Chinese Peninsula in South East Asia.
It is bound by Thailand to the northwest and west, Laos
to the north and northeast, Vietnam to the east and southeast
and the Gulf of Thailand to the south. About 75% of central
Cambodia is a level basin that is bordered by the Mekong
River and the Tonle Sap lake. Behind and to the southwest
of the basin the Cardamom and Dangrek Ranges are located,
with the latter a prominent escarpment that runs along the
Thai border to the north. The coastline has a small plain
fronted by numerous offshore islands. Major Cities (pop.
est.); Phnom Penh 564,000, Batdambang 45,000, Kampong Cham
33,000, Pursat 16,000 (1987). Land Use; forested 66%, pastures
11%, agricultural-cultivated 14%, other 9% (1993).
CLIMATE: Cambodia has a tropical climate with two distinct seasons.
(1.) The wet or monsoon season that lasts from May to October and (2.)
the dry season that lasts from November to April while humidity is high
throughout the year. In Phnom Penh average monthly precipitation is highest
in October at 257 mm (10 inches) and lowest in January with 7 mm (.3 inches).
The average annual temperature for Phnom Penh is 27 degrees Celsius (81
degrees Fahrenheit) all year.
PEOPLE: The principal ethnic majority are the Khmer who account
for around 94% of the population while 3% are Chinese and 2.3% are Cham-Malays.
The remainder are a combination of small ethnic minorities such as Thai,
Lao, Kola and Vietnamese.
DEMOGRAPHIC/VITAL STATISTICS: Density; 50 persons per sq km (129
persons per sq mi) (1992). Urban-Rural; 12.0% urban, 88.0% rural (1989).
Sex Distribution; 47.0% male, 53.0% female (1989). Life Expectancy at Birth;
46.5 years male, 49.4 years female (1989). Age Breakdown; 32% under 15,
33% 15 to 29, 20% 30 to 44, 10% 45 to 59, 4% 60 to 74, 1% 75 and over (1989).
Birth Rate; 41.8 per 1,000 (1989). Death Rate; 16.9 per 1,000 (1989). Increase
Rate; 24.9 per 1,000 (1989). Infant Mortality Rate; 131.0 per 1,000 live
RELIGIONS: The constitution of 1981 was amended in 1989 resulting
in Buddhism being recognized as the national religion. Around 95% of the
population are Theravada Buddhists, 2% are Muslims with the remainder small
minorities of Mahayana Buddhists and Roman Catholics.
LANGUAGES: The official language is Khmer which is spoken by
the entire native population, although a little French and Chinese is also
EDUCATION: Aged 25 or over and having attained: N/A. Literacy;
literate population aged 15 or over 48.0% (1980).
MODERN HISTORY - WWII TO 1993: After World War II and Japan's
surrender, French rule returned to Cambodia. On Nov. 9, 1954 Cambodia gained
complete independence from France and in 1955 Prince Sihanouk abdicated
while still retaining his position as head of state. In 1960 Sihanouk's
neutralist regime faced external pressure from the Vietnam War. However,
he attempted to maintain neutrality by allowing the establishment of Vietcong
sanctuaries as well as the US bombing of these bases. In 1970 Sihanouk
was ousted and replaced by a promilitary regime of Gen. Lon Nol. In Oct.
1970 Lon Nol abolished the monarchy and renamed the country the Khmer Republic.
In response Sihanouk formed an alliance with his former communist enemies
the Khmer Rouge and set up a government in exile located in Beijing. In
1973 heavy US bombing narrowly averted a coup attempt by the Khmer Rouge.
However, in Apr. 1975 the Khmer Rouge entered Phnom Penh and took power.
Under the new regime the country was renamed Democratic Kampuchea and the
government embarked on a planned social and economic experiment which resulted
in the deaths of many hundreds of thousands of people due to brutal treatment,
ill health and disease. Tensions between Cambodia and Vietnam mounted over
the next 3 years leading to heavy border fighting. In Dec. 1978 a Vietnamese
invasion ousted Pol Pot's Khmer regime and a new pro-Hanoi government was
installed. The country was renamed the People's Republic of Kampuchea.
In the period from 1970 to 1978 guerrilla warfare and upheavals caused
millions of Cambodians to die. During the late 1980's, as a result of reapproachment
between the Soviet Union and China, attempts were made towards a peaceful
settlement in Cambodia. In 1989 Vietnam announced that all troops would
be withdrawn, which only increased the fighting among the internal factions.
In Aug. 1990 the UN agreed on a political settlement based principally
on an Australian initiative which the 3 resistance groups and Hun Sen government
accepted. It allowed for a 12 member Supreme National Council (SNC) with
6 members from the Hun Sen government and two each from the Khmer Rouge,
the Khmer People's National Liberation Front and the Sihanouk faction.
Although, it was not until June 1991 when the prospect for peace improved
when all four factions who had raised objections to the previous proposal
accepted Sihanouk as SNC chairman and the future head of state. Additionally,
all parties agreed to an immediate and unconditional cease-fire and in
Sept. 1991 agreed to an electoral system. On Oct. 23, 1991 a peace treaty
was signed in Paris with elections planned for 1993. In Jan. 1992 the UN
appointed Yasushi Akashi as head of the UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia
(UNTAC) and in Mar. 1993 deployed some 16,000 peace-keeping troops to oversee
the cease-fire. However, the Khmer Rouge faction refused to cooperate with
UNTAC launched guerrilla operations in northern central Cambodia and continued
to derail the process through fighting after cease-fires were brokered
in April and May. In June 1992 when the UN began regrouping some 200,000
Cambodian troops in advance of demobilizing 70% of them the Khmer Rouge
refused to join claiming that the UN had not verified that all Vietnamese
troops had left while they also demanded that the Phnom Penh government
be dismantled. In Dec. 1992 the UN embargoed the Khmer-held areas which
resulted in the Khmer taking a number of UN hostages. Also during 1992
the SNC agreed on freedom of the press and the freedom to form parties
while a number of prisoners were also released in line with the peace accord.
In Jan. 1993 political and ethnic violence increased while the Jan. 31
deadline for the Khmer Rouge to participate in the elections was ignored.
Before the months leading to the elections some 200 people were killed,
mostly ethnic Vietnamese by the Khmer Rouge while some workers of opposition
parties were also killed by government forces. By the end of April 1993
some 370,000 refugees were back in the country from Thailand with around
4.7 million registering to vote and 20 parties signing up. In late May
1993, some 4.2 million cast their votes of the six mainly peaceful days
of the election with Prince Sihanouk forming a coalition government in
early June 1993, although it was dissolved by Sihanouk a day later due
to internal party conflict. On June 14, 1993 the National Assembly met
and agreed to give Sihanouk "full and special powers" as head
of state, although in early July a new coalition government formed with
Norodom Ranariddh and Han Sen as prime ministers. Also in July the Khmer
Rouge continued attacks against UNTAC forces and after talks agreed to
join a united national army with their officials joining the government,
although the US warned it would cut of aid if this occurred. On Sept. 21,
1993 the National Assembly ratified constitutional changes that restored
the monarchy and in Nov. 1993 the UNTAC was disbanded. In Aug. and Dec.
1993 the government forces launched successful offenses against the Khmer
with the US also announcing a $10 million aid program over the next five
CURRENCY: The official currency is the New Riel which is divided
into 100 Sen.
ECONOMY: Gross National Product; USD $1,580,000,000 (1993). Public
Debt; USD $239,400,000 (1993). Imports; USD $668,000,000 (1994). Exports;
USD $458,000,000 (1994). Tourism Receipts; N/A. Balance of Trade; USD -$230,000,000
(1994). Economically Active Population; 3,964,000 or 43.1% of total population
(1992). Unemployed; N/A.
MAIN TRADING PARTNERS: Its main trading partners are Vietnam,
the former USSR and other former European communist countries.
MAIN PRIMARY PRODUCTS: Bananas, Bauxite, Cotton, Fish, Gemstones,
Iron Ore, Jute, Livestock, Maize, Manganese, Pepper, Phosphates, Rice,
Rubber, Sugar Palms, Timber, Tobacco.
MAJOR INDUSTRIES: Agriculture, Cement, Cigarette Production, Fishing,
Forestry, Rubber Production, Textiles, Wood Products.
MAIN EXPORTS: Dried Fish, Pepper, Rice, Rubber, Wood, Vegetables.
TRANSPORT: Railroads; route length 649 km (403 mi) (1988), passenger-km
54,000,000 (34,000,000 passenger-mi) (1981), cargo ton-km 10,000,000 (7,000,000
short ton-mi) (1981). Roads; length 14,800 km (9,196 mi) (1989). Vehicles;
cars 4,000 (1988), trucks and buses 7,100 (1988). Merchant Marine; vessels
3 (1990), deadweight tonnage 3,839 (1990). Air Transport; passenger-km
42,000,000 (26,000,000 passenger-mi) (1977), cargo ton-km 400,000 (274,000
short ton-mi) (1977).
COMMUNICATIONS: Daily Newspapers; total of 1 (1991). Radio; receivers
860,000 (1994). Television; receivers 70,000 (1994). Telephones; units
MILITARY: 88,500 (1994) total active duty personnel with 40.7%
army, 2.3% navy and 0.6% air force while military expenditure accounts
for N/A of the Gross National Product (GNP).
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