Heir to the ancient Khmer Empire, modern-day Cambodia is benefiting from two decades of relative stability, having endured civil war and the murderous rule of the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s.
Painful memories still endure of the radical communist Khmer Rouge’s time in power under the leadership of Pol Pot between 1975 and 1978, when two million people died in the regime’s brutal pursuit of a rural utopia.
The economy is dominated by garment-making, but tourism is expanding, and Cambodia hopes to tap into offshore oil and gas reserves and draw in overseas investment to replace aid.
Corruption is deep-rooted and Cambodia is still one of the world’s poorest countries, with most of the workforce still employed in subsistence farming.
- Kingdom of Cambodia
- Capital: Phnom Penh
- Population 14.5 million (UN, 2012)
- Currency Riel
- Area 181,035 sq km (69,898 sq miles)
- Major language Khmer
- Major religion Buddhism
- Life expectancy 62 years (men), 65 years (women) (UN)