2ND-6TH CENTURIES. The state of Funan, predecessor to Cambodia, is established in the Mekong Delta.
9TH-15TH CENTURIES. The glorious Angkor Empire reigns in present-day Cambodia.
1863. France establishes a protectorate over Cambodia.
1953. On 8 November, Cambodia claims its independence from France.
1955-70. The reign of Prince Sihanouk as ruler of the Kingdom of Cambodia; Cambodia remains neutral and peaceful in a sea of political turmoil.
1970. Neutral Prince Sihanouk is ousted by General Lon Nol and Prince Sirik Matak, who abolish the monarchy and rename the country the Khmer Republic (KR). Subsequently U.S. and South Vietnamese armies invade eastern Cambodia and the economy is totally disrupted by the civil war that ensues.
1973. The United States carries out an intensive campaign of bombing rural Cambodia, forcing a tremendous influx of people into Phnom Penh and other cities and disrupting Cambodian agriculture.
1975. In April, Phnom Penh is overtaken by the radical Khmer Rouge, who are led by Pol Pot. The urban population is forced into the countryside and over the next 3 years, the country—renamed Democratic Kampuchea (DK)—becomes a massive work camp, with up to 2 million dying from overwork, starvation, poor health, and executions.
1978. Vietnam invades Cambodia and overthrows the Pol Pot regime.
1979-89. The Vietnamese-backed government (People's Republic of Kampuchea, PRK) wages a long civil war against the Khmer Rouge. Though the economy returns to near normalcy, it is boycotted economically by the United States, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and many other nations because of its ties to Vietnam and the former USSR.
1993. United Nations-supervised elections are won by Prince Sihanouk's party, FUNCINPEC; as a compromise, a new 2-headed government is formed with 2 prime ministers, 1 representing FUNCINPEC and the other representing the Cambodia People's Party (CPP), the former communist party.
1997. The 2-headed government ends with military action by CPP Prime Minister Hun Sen.
1998. New national elections won by CPP and Hun Sen. Following the death of Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot in April, peace and stability return to Cambodia for the first time in 3 decades, and tourism begins to grow rapidly.
2001. The consultative group of international donors pledge US$560 million of international aid to Cambodia, primarily for infrastructure development.