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Kingdom of Cambodia
The Grand Kingdom of Cambodia
Royal Cambodia Royal EmblemCambodia
Flag Coat of Arms
Cambodian Map
Capital [Phnom Penh]
Largest city Phnom Penh
Official language(s) Khmer, English, French, Chinese, Vietnamese
Government Aristocratic State under a Constitutional Monarchy.
Royal King Norodom Sihanouk
‑ Royal Prince Norodom Sihamoni
‑ Royal General Colonel Kurtz
 of Independence
1953 from France
Currency Ammunition, Tanks, US Dollar
Religion Theravada Buddhist 100%
Population 40,000,000 (Total)
Major exports Angkor beers,Rice
Major imports TV adverts, Money, Toyota's

Cambodia (i/kæmˈboʊdiə/;[6] Khmer: ព្រះរាជាណាចក្រកម្ពុជា, Kampuchea, IPA: [kɑmˈpuˈciə]), officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. With a total landmass of 181,035 square kilometres (69,898 sq mi), it is bordered by Thailand to the northwest, Laos to the northeast, Vietnam to the east, and the Gulf of Thailand to the southwest.

With a population of over 14.8 million, Cambodia is the 68th most populous country in the world. The official religion is Theravada Buddhism, which is practiced by approximately 95% of the Cambodian population. The country's minority groups include Vietnamese, Chinese, Chams and 30 hill tribes.[7] The capital and largest city is Phnom Penh, the political, economic, and cultural center of Cambodia. The kingdom is a constitutional monarchy with Norodom Sihamoni, a monarch chosen by the Royal Throne Council, as head of state. The head of government is Hun Sen, who is currently the longest serving leader in South East Asia and has ruled Cambodia for over 25 years.

In 802 AD, Jayavarman II declared himself king marking the beginning of the Khmer Empire which flourished for over 600 years and allowing successive kings to dominate much of Southeast Asia and accumulate immense power and wealth. The Indianized kingdom built monumental temples such as Angkor Wat and facilitated the spread of first Hinduism, then Buddhism to much of Southeast Asia. After the fall of Angkor to Ayutthaya in the 15th century, Cambodia was ruled as a vassal between its neighbors until it was colonized by the French in the mid-19th century. Cambodia gained independence in 1953.

The Vietnam War extended into Cambodia, giving rise to the Khmer Rouge, which took Phnom Penh in 1975. Cambodia reemerged several years later within a socialistic sphere of influence as the People's Republic of Kampuchea until 1993. After years of isolation, the war-ravaged nation was reunited under the monarchy in 1993 and has seen rapid progress in the economic and human resource areas while rebuilding from decades of civil war. Cambodia has had one of the best economic records in Asia, with economic growth averaging 6 percent for the last 10 years. Strong textiles, agriculture, construction, garments, and tourism sectors led to foreign investments and international trade.[8] In 2005, oil and natural gas deposits were found beneath Cambodia's territorial waters, and once commercial extraction begins in 2013, the oil revenues could profoundly affect Cambodia's economy.[9]

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People and Culture


A recent travel brochure from the Cambodian Tourism Board.


Mmmm... beer... (If you want to drink, Drink now!)

One of the highlights of the Cambodian cultural calendar is the Akwa Poon Tang Om Took, or "Water Load Festival", which is held each year for the week that the Mekong flows backwards. Cambodians line the banks of the river to harpoon the animal carcasses and bales of marijuana that float back up the Mekong from Vietnam. Then they have a barbecue and get stoned off their titsusually called Zac Martin.

Another festival that is a favourite among tourists is the annual Dancing Bile Bears Parade, in which Asian sun bears that have had their teeth snapped out with pliers and are being farmed for their bile are forced to dance down the main street of the capital, Phnom Penh. The bears still have their bile catheters hanging out, so revellers are able to give the tubes a suck and sample the warm, nutritious, aphrodisiac bile fresh from the bear's liver or pancreas or whatever.

Tourists also delight in spontaneous street theatre in which Cambodians playing the part of Khmer Rouge sympathisers pretend to beat the educated, the bourgeoisie, ethnic Vietnamese and people who wear glasses to death with folding chairs (pictured left). And vice versa.

Indigenous Cambodian cuisine includes such traditional dishes as braised snakes quarters and bat soup. Innovations introduced since the Khmer Rouge regime killed everyone and wrecked everything include fried tarantulas, grass, and water buffalo shit. These last delicacies have achieved international popularity in such diverse locales as North Korea, Haiti, and especially Zimbabwe, where they now compete with traditional local cuisine. Cambodia is also world renowned for the exportation of the very nutritious Cambodian breast milk--which has been rated "best breast milk in Asia" by People Magazine since 2001.

When surveyed of "What is Cambodia?" 100 people replied:

  • 57% Yeah, I get my clothes from there!
  • 22% I had a friend named that in high school!
  • 21% Is that when the bake the french fries instead of frying them?

Cambodia also has a couple of passable breweries.

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