Chronography of Cambodia

Page last modified 6/11/2021 2-2021


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Useful Web resources on Cambodia


New Statesman (2014) article on Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge,


The Economist (2021) bombings and Cambodian agriculture,


11/2017, The Cambodian Supreme Court banned the Cambodia National Rescue Party, the country's principal opposition party. In 2/2018 Cambodia introduced a lese-majeste law, making it a criminal offence to defame or insult the King.

9/2016, Prosecutions were started against many political opponents to Hun Sen, ahead of elections due in 2018. The main opposition Party, the Cambodian National Rescue Party, was boycotting Parliamentary procedures. In 2017 Cambodia banned anypone convicted of an offence from running for political office, effectivey debarring many Opposiiton leaders.

3/2015 Two more Khmer Rouge leaders, Im Cheam and Meas Muth, were charged with crimes against humanity.

9/2013, Protests in Phnom Penh over contested election results in which Hun Sen had claimed victory. The Cambodian Parliament approved a new five-year term for Hun Sen, who celebrated 30 years in power in 1/2015, but this was boycotted by the Opposition There were riots in 1/2014 in Pnohm Penh against the disputed election result.

6/2013, Cambodia made it illegal to deny that atrocities were committed by the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s.

3/2013, Former Khmer Rouge foreign minister Ieng Sary died while awaiting trial for genocide, leaving only Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan among prominent Khmer Rouge figures still alive and under arrest by the UN-backed tribunal. In 8/2014 these two Khmer Rouge members were finally senten ced and jailed. An appeal by them in 11/2016 against conviction failed.

10/2012, Former King, Norodom Sihanouk, died of a heart attack, aged 89. Thousands came to pay their respects at his cremation in 2/2013.

4/2012, Environmental activist Chut Wutty was killed in a confrontation with police whilst travelling in a threatened forest region in south-west Cambodia. However in 5/2012 the Cambodian Government suspended land grants to private companies, to curb illegal logging.

3/2012, Allegations that Cambodia was obstructing the trials of some former Khmer Rouge members.

22/11/2010, 347 people died in a stampede at the Khmer Water Festival, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

2009, Former Khmer Rouge leader Kaing Guek Eav, also known as Duch, went on trial on charges of presiding over the murder and torture of thousands of people as head of the notorious Tuol Sleng prison camp. In 2010 he was found guilty of crimes against humanity and given a 35-year prison sentence. In 2/2012 Duch lost an appeal against conviction at a UN-backed tribunal and his sentence was increased to life.

10/2008, Border dispute netween Cambodia and Thailand; two Cambodian soldiers and a Thai soldier died in an exchange of fire

7/2007, UN-backed tribunals finaly began questioning surviving Khmer Rouge suspects about allegations of genocide. In September 2007, Khmer Rouge member Nuon Chea, �Brother Number Two�, was arrested and charged with crimes against humanity.

7/2006, Ta Mok, one of the leaders of the Khmer Rouge regime, died aged 80, untried by any Court.

4/2005 A tribunal to try Khmer Rouge leaders finally received funding from the UN after years of debate.

2004, After nearly a year of political deadlock, Prime Minister Hun Sen was re-elected after the Cambodian People�s Party made a deal with the royalist Funcinpec party. Cambodia joined the World Trade Organisation. King Sihanouk abdicated and was replaced by his son Sihamoni.

12/2001, A bridge was opened across the Mekong River, impriving links between east and west Cambodia.

2001, Cambodia passed a genocide law seting up a tribunal to try former Khmer Rouge leaders for atrocities. These reform efforts brought in some US$ 560 million of international aid. In June 2001, US-based Cambodian Freedom Fighter members were convicted of a 2000 attack in Phnom Penh. The group roup pledged to continue its campaign to overthrow Hun Sen.

1999, Cambodia was admitted to ASEAN.

9/2/1999, The last Khmer Rouge troops in Cambodia surrendered to Government forces.

7/1998, Cambodian elections were won by Hun Sen's Cambodian People�s Party (CPP), but voting was tainted by allegations of harassment. A coalition was again formed between the CPP and Funcinpec. Hun Sen became Prime Minister, with Ranariddh as president of the National Assembly.

15/4/1998, Pol Pot died, aged 70, unarrested, in his remote refuge headquarters..

1998, Prince Ranariddh was tried in absentia and found guilty of arms smuggling, but was then pardoned by the King.

1997, Hun Sen mounted a coup against the prime minister, Prince Ranariddh, replacing him with Ung Huot. The coup was condemned internationally. The Khmer Rouge put Pol Pot on trial and sentenced him to life imprisonment.

1996, Deputy leader of Khmer Rouge, Ieng Sary, was granted an amnesty by Sihanouk and formed a new Party.


Peace accord in Cambodia

21/9/1993, Cambodian elections were won by the Royalist Party, Funcinpec, with Hun Sen�s Cambodian People�s Party (CPP) coming second. The monarchy was restored with Sihanouk as King. Funcipec and the CPP formed a coalition, with Prince Norodom Ranariddh as Prime Minister and Hun Sen as Deputy Prime Minister. The country was renamed as the Kingdom of Cambodia. The former Khmer Rouge government in exile lost its seat at the UN. During 1994, the Khmer Rouge disarmed and thousands of its guerrillas surrendered under a government amnesty.

1/2/1993. The Cambodian government began an offensive against Khmer Rouge rebels in western and north-central Cambodia.

14/11/1991, Prince Norodom Sihanouk returned to Cambodia after 13 years exile.

23/10/1991. A peace accord between the warring factions in Kampuchea (Cambodia) was signed in Paris after being brokered by the UN. Under a UN-backed tranitional arramngement, the various warring factions in the country shared power, with Sihanouk as Head of State.

18/7/1990, The US and Vietnam began talks over the future of Cambodia.

2/5/1989, Kampuchea announced it would return to being called Cambodia.


Vietnamese-backed government of Cambodia

5/4/1989, Vietnam announced it would withdraw its troops from Cambodia by September 1989. Hun Sen attempted to attract foreign investment by abandoning socialism. The country was re-named the State of Cambodia. Buddhism was re-established as the State religion.

2/9/1985, In Kampuchea, the Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot retired. Hun Sen became Prime Minister. Cambodia saw renewed guerrilla warfare, and many of its people beceme refugees.

1981, The pro-Vietnamese Kampuchean People's Revolutionary Party won elections. However the international community refused to recognise the new government; the government-in-exile, which included the Khmer Rouge and Sihanouk as Head of State, retained the Cambodian seat at the United Nations.

19/9/1979, Pol Pot, ex-dictator of Cambodia, was sentenced to death in his absence by the Vietnamese-backed Cambodian Government. The people�s Republic of Kampuchea was established, and urban life restored.

8/1/1979, In Cambodia, the Vietnamese took Phnom Penh; the Khmer Rouge regime fell. The remnants of the Khmer Rouge fled to the remote Thai border region.


Pol Pot regime

7/1/1979. Rebel Cambodia forces, along with Vietnamese forces captured Phnom Penh, capital of Democratic Kampuchea (Cambodia). Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge retreated to Thailand.

1/10/1978 Vietnam attacked Cambodia, supported by Communists opposed to Pol Pot.

31/12/1977, Cambodia broke off diplomatic relations with Vietnam, and suspended air services between them. Fighting between the two countries had erupted in the Parrot�s Beak area, where Cambodia juts out into (South) Vietnam. The Chinese-backed Cambodian regime accused Vietnam of not being sufficiently �revolutionary�. Troubles began when many Cambodians moved across the border into the Mekong Delta area, after Saigon fell and before North Vietnam had fully established control of the area.

21/7/1977, Cambodia and Thailand fought in a border war.

1976, Khieu Samphan becameHead of State.

4/4/1976, Prince Norodom Sihanouk resigned as leader of Cambodia and was placed under house arrest.

17/4/1975. In Cambodia, the capital Phnom Penh fell to the Khmer Rouge. The civil war there ended. Pol Pot proclaimed the �Democratic Republic of Kampuchea�, and became its Prime Minister, from 1975 to 1979. Lon Nol was overthrown.


All urban inhabitants were forcibly moved to rural areas to become farm workers. All civil rights were curtailed, money ceased to be used, religion was banned, and the wealthier middle class were tortured and executed in �re-education centres�. Many died of disease and starvation; over the next 3 years the death toll from this programme was to be at least 1.7 million.


17/3/1973, A Cambodian Air Force office stole a plane and bombed the Presidential Palace, in an attempt to assassinate President Lon Nol. He missed his target, although he killed 20 others.

10/3/1972, General Lon Nol assumed complete control of the Cambodian government.

20/4/1971, Cambodian Prime Minister Lon Nol resigned, but remained in power until the next elections.

1970, Prime Minister Lon Nol deposed Sihanouk in coup; he proclaimed the Khmer Republic and began fighting the North Vietnamese in Cambodia. Sihanouk, in exile in China, forms a guerrilla movement against Lon Nol. Over next few years the Cambodian army lost territory to the North Vietnamese and Communist Khmer Rouge guerrillas

30/4/1970. US troops sent to Cambodia to attack Communist bases. They withdrew from Cambodia on 29/6/1970.

19/4/1970, Pathet Lao forces advanced close to Phnom Penh.

18/3/1969, The US began heavily bombing Cambodia, the aim being to cut the Ho Chi Minh trail and thereby disrupt supplies to the Communist Vietcong. The operation was not publicised to the West, because that would have revealed Sihanouk�s complicity in the bombing of his own country. Sihanouk was now pro-US because he perceived Pol Pot to be allied to Hanoi. In fact the bombing destabilised Cambodia so that within a year Sihanouk was deposed by his own ministers. The new Cambodian leader, Lon Nol, insisted that all Vietnamese troops leave Cambodian soil to the delight of the US. However Lon Nol was weak and his rule facilitated the advance of Pol Pot�s forces into rural areas, forcing Lon Nol�s troops back into the cities.


1965, Sihanouk broke off relations with the US and permitted North Vietnamese guerrillas to set up bases in Cambodia, from where they could harass the US backed government in South Vietnam.

4/6/1964, The United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 189, condemning military incursions into Cambodia.

1960, Sihanouk's father died. Sihanouk became Head of State.

1955, King Sihanouk abdicated to pursue a political career as Prime Minister, taking the title �Prince�. His father became King.


Moves towards independence from France

20/7/1954. Cambodian independence from France was confirmed. At a peace conference in Geneva, both France and Vietnam agreed to withdraw their troops from Cambodia.

9/11/1953. Cambodia became independent under King Sihanouk.

8/5/1952, Hun Sen, Prime Minister of Cambodia, was born (some sources state 4/4/1951).

1946, France re-imposed its protectorate. A new constitution allowed Cambodians to form political parties. Communist guerrillas began a guerrila campaign against the French.

11/3/1945. Cambodia declared its independence.


1941, Prince Norodom Sihanouk became king. Cambodia was occupied by Japan during World War II.

31/10/1922, Norodom Sihanouk, King of Cambodia, was born.

11/8/1863, A French Protectorate, which was to last 90 years, was established in Cambodia, after continued attacks by Thai and Vietnamese forces.

1860, The ruins of Angkor Wat were rediscovered by French botanist Henri Mohout, whose extended exploration of Siam, Cambodia and Laos were funded by the Royal Geographical Society. The French developed a narrative of �abandoned temples only rediscovered with European effrots�, thereby justifying a French colonial presence in the region.

1432, End of the Khmer Empire, as Thai troops from the Ayuttha Kingdom overran the country and looted the capital.

1181, Jayavarman VII became King of Cambodia; ruled until his death in 1220. He rallied the Khmer and expelled the Cham. He then built Angkor Thom (= Great City).

1177, The Cham, a people from present day Vietnam, sacked the Khmer capital, Angkor Wat. The invaders remained for 4 years.

1160, Yasovarman II succeeded his uncle Dharanihdravarman as ruler of the Khmer Empire.

1152, Death of Suryavarman II, King of the Khmer Empire from 1112.

1150, The great Temple of Angkor Wat was completed (begun 1113, by King Survayarman II).

900, The city of Yasodharapura was completed. It was begun by King Yasovarman I in 889, and stood where Angkor Wat (= Temple City) is now located.

802, The Khmer people were united under King Jayavarman II, who ruled until 850.


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