A short history of Cambodia

The Brunei Times carries an unauthored article about the history of Cambodia. For a more fleshed out history of Cambodia, particularly of the Angkor period, I highly recommend The Civilization of Angkor by C. HighamCharles Higham’s The Civilization of Angkor.

12 July 2007 (Brunei Times) – The Brunei Times carries an unauthored article about the history of Cambodia. For a more fleshed out history of Cambodia, particularly of the Angkor period, I highly recommend Charles Higham’s The Civilization of Angkor.

History of Cambodia

NO one knows for certain how long people have lived in what is now Cambodia. A study suggests that people using stone tools lived in the cave as early as 4000 bc, and rice has been grown on Cambodian soil since well before the 1st century ad.

The first Cambodians likely arrived long before either of these dates, probably migrated from the north.

By the beginning of the 1st century ad, Chinese traders began to report the existence of inland and coastal kingdoms in Cambodia. These kingdoms already owed much to Indian culture, which provided alphabets, art forms, architectural styles, religions, and a stratified class system.

Local beliefs that stressed the importance of ancestral spirits coexisted and remain powerful today.

Modem-day culture has its roots in the 1st to 6th centuries in a state referred to as Funan, known as the oldest Indianized state in Southeast Asia.

Historians have noted that Cambodians can be distinguished from their neighbors by their clothing – checkered scarves known as Kramas are worn instead of straw hats. The following 600 years saw powerful Khmer kings dominate much of present day Southeast Asia, from the borders of Myanmar east to the South China Sea and north to Laos.

Read the full article about the history of Cambodia.

More books about the history of Cambodia:
Khmer Civilization and Angkor by D. L. Snellgrove
Angkor and the Khmer Civilization (Ancient Peoples and Places) by M. D. Coe
The Civilization of Angkor by C. Higham
A History of Cambodia by D. P. Chandler

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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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