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Guide to Cambodia ancestry, family history and genealogy parish registers, transcripts, census records, birth records, marriage records, and death records.
Cambodia's ancient name is "Kambuja" (Sanskrit: कंबुज). In the early 800's, Jayavarman II declared himself king. This marked the beginning of the Khmer Empire which flourished for over 600 years, allowing successive kings to dominate much of Southeast Asia and accumulate immense power and wealth. This kingdom built monumental temples including Angkor Wat, now a World Heritage Site, and facilitated the spread of first Hinduism, then Buddhism to much of Southeast Asia.
There were ongoing wars between the neighboring kingdoms of Cambodia and Thailand, and after the fall of Angkor to Ayutthaya in the 15th century, Cambodia was then ruled as a vassal between its neighbors.
Cambodia is divided into 3 municipalities [Keb, Penh and Preah Seihanu (Sihanoukville)] and 20 provinces; Banteay Mean Cheay, Batdambang, Kampong Cham, Kampong Chhnang, Kampong Spoe, Kampong Thum, Kampot, Kandal, Kaoh Kong, Krachen, Mondol Kiri, Otdar Mean Cheay, Pouthisat, Preah Vihear, Prey Veng, Rotanah Kiri, Siem Reab, Stoeng Treng, Svay Rieng, and Takev. However, most Cambodians consider themselves to be Khmers, descendants of the Angkor Empire that extended over much of Southeast Asia and reached its zenith between the 10th and 13th centuries.
Cambodia later became part of French Indochina in 1887. Following the Japanese occupation in World War II, Cambodia gained full independence from France in 1953.
The Vietnam War which started in the 1960's extended into Cambodia, during which the Khmer Rouge took Phnom Penh in 1975 and later carried out the Cambodian Genocide from 1975 until 1979 (immortalized as the Killing Fields), when they were ousted by Vietnam and then fought against the Vietnamese backed People's Republic of Kampuchea in the Cambodian–Vietnamese War (1979-1991). During this period, most of the country's national records were destroyed, making Cambodian genealogy a difficult task
Following the 1991 Paris Peace Accords Cambodia was governed briefly by a United Nations mission (1992-1993). The UN withdrew after holding elections in which around 90 percent of the registered voters cast ballots. The 1997 coup placed power solely in the hands of Prime Minister Hun Sen and the Cambodian People's Party, who remain in power as of 2014.
Cambodia does not keep accurate records of vital statistics. A link to a useful website follows: http://en.worldstat.info/Asia/Cambodia/Vital_statistics
The GenPro website has a useful link for starting Cambodian genealogy: http://www.genopro.com/genealogy-links/?country=KH&t=Cambodia.
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- This page was last modified on 31 December 2014, at 16:37.
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