Cambodia, officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country in Southeast Asia. The country is under a constitutional monarchy, and is ruled by Hun Sen, who has been the head of the government of Cambodia for the past 25 years, establishing himself as the longest serving non-royal leader in South East Asia. With these 58 interesting facts about Cambodia, let’s explore more about its history, culture, people, politics, Khmer Rouge, Angkor Wat, etc.
Interesting facts about religion, history, brutal killings
1. Theravada Buddhism, which is practiced by approximately 95 percent of the population, is the official religion of Cambodia. The religion is also practiced in Sri Lanka, Burma (Myanmar), Thailand and Laos.
2. This branch of Buddhism (Theravada Buddhism) follows the teachings of the Tipitaka or Pali Canon, which is a collection of the oldest recorded texts of Buddha’s teachings. There are more than 100 million Theravada Buddhists today.
3. Evidence from carbon dating suggests that Cambodia was inhabited as early as 4000 B.C.
4. Did you know that recently, multiple cities between 900 and 1,400 years old beneath the tropical forest floor, some of which rival the size of Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh, were revealed by the cutting-edge airborne laser scanning technology?
5. Archeologists say that there is also a massive city beneath Mount Kulen.
6. In Cambodia, millions of land mines were planted during the war years. There is a land mine removal trust in Cambodia that is operational today, which assists in the removal of the mines, making the country safer.
7. Rice is considered to be the first crop that was grown on Cambodian soil since before the first century, AD.
8. A Pepsi bottling plant in Battambang, which began its operations in the 1960s, was forcefully shut down in 1975 during the Khmer Rouge’s control of the country. Today, the building is no longer standing.
9. Until 1953, Cambodia was a protectorate of France.
10. In Cambodia, genocide (the systematic killing of people on the basis of ethnicity, religion, political opinion, social status, etc.) was carried out by the Khmer Rouge (KR) regime between 1975 and 1979, killing at least one and a half to three million people. The genocide came to an end when Vietnam invaded Cambodia.
11. The bodies of the people that were killed in the genocide were buried in the “Killing Fields.” The term Killing Fields was coined by the Cambodian journalist – Dith Pran – after he escaped from the regime that led to the killings of so many Cambodians.
12. Cambodia is also home to the first of its kind – “the Killing Cave” of Phnom Sampeau. The cave has the bones of the doctors, teachers, men, women and children killed by the Khmer Rouge.
13. There is a small carving of a dinosaur on the walls of a temple at Ta Prohm. The carving might be an indication that dinosaurs lived on much later than originally thought. However, there is no concrete evidence for this assumption.
14. There is a “blind clinic” in Cambodia where you can receive massages from blind people. These people are trained in the art of massage so that they can make their living. An estimated 1% of Cambodia’s population is blind.
15. During the Vietnam War, the U.S. also bombed Cambodia from 1963 until 1973.
Facts about Cambodia’s economy, political leaders and government
16. Cambodia is one of the fastest-growing economies in Asia with an average growth rate of more than 6% in the last ten years.
17. The name “Kampuchea” is more widely used in the East for “Cambodia.”
18. Kids take note that apart from Afghanistan’s national flag, the national flag of Cambodia is the only other national flag in the world to incorporate an actual building on it.
19. Despite Cambodia being one of the poorest countries in Asia, it received a whopping 4.5 million visitors during 2014, and an estimated two million every year since 2007. Clearly, tourism is playing a vital role in helping the economic growth of the country.
20. The garment and footwear sector in Cambodia is also among the top sectors that support the nation’s economy. More than 600,000 Cambodians are employed in these two sectors, the majority of whom are women.