Asian Royalty: Cambodia

Figure 1.--.

The Kymer once dominated Southeast Asia from Angkor Wat in western Canbodia. We have no information on Cambodia's long royal line. The only monarch we know about at this time is long reigning King Sihanouk. Cambodia at the time was part of French Indochina. The French placed him on the throne (1941).

King Sihanouk

King Sihanouk (1923- )was placed on the throne by Vichy French authorities (1941). He was still a teenager at the time and the French believed that they could control him. After the War, however, King Sihanouk began a campaign for an end to French colonial rule and became a widely respected national hero. After French reversals in neighboring Viet Nam, the King announced Cambodian independence (1953). After independennce, King Sihanouk abdicated in favor of his father. This left his free to enter politics. He formed a national front governmrnt. The Nixon Administration concluded that the King was cooperating too closely with the Vietnamese which operated from Cambodian bases along the Vietnamese birder. A Cambodian military commander, Lon Nol, overthrew the Sihanouk Government (1970). While in exile he formed an alliance with the Communist guerillas he named the Kymer Rouge. With the Communist victory in Vietnam, the Lon Nol Government also fell to the Kymer Rouge (1975). Sihanouk returned from exile. The Kymer Rouge placed him under what amounted to house arrest. The Kymer Rouge remained in power for 4 years. During that period they killed many members of Sihanouk's family along with 1 million other Cambodians as part of the Cambodian genocide. Sihanouk again went into exile and returned after the Vietnamese drove out the Kymer Rouge. Sihanouk played an important role in negotiating the withdrawl of the Vietnamese and the establish ment of the Hun Sen Government. Sihanouk was a rare symbol of national unity and reinstalled as constuitutional monarch (1993). He has become increasly frustrated with national politics. He departed for China (January 2004) and has threatened to abdicate., Thev King has asked Cambodian officials to convene a throne council to select a successor.

Prince Norodom Ranariddh

Prince Norodom Ranariddh is King Sihanouk's son. Prince Ranariddh is president of the Cambodian Parliament and has said he is not interested in becoming king.


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Created: 3:43 AM 11/14/2004
Last updated: 3:43 AM 11/14/2004