Cambodia; key historical events
Page last modified 20/8/2021 2-2021
See also South-East Asia for other countries
For events of World War Two in Pacific, S E Asia, see China-Japan-Korea
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.