Definition of Cambodia in US English:


proper noun

  • A country in Southeast Asia between Thailand and southern Vietnam; population 15,600,000 (estimated 2015); official language, Khmer; capital, Phnom Penh.

    Also officially called the Khmer Republic (1970–75) and Kampuchea (1976–89)

The country was made a French protectorate in 1863 and remained under French influence until it became fully independent in 1953. During the Vietnam War, it was the scene of fighting between the North Vietnamese army and South Vietnamese and US forces. Following a civil war 1970–75, Cambodia came under the control of the Khmer Rouge led by Pol Pot; more than 2 million Cambodians died before the regime was toppled by a Vietnamese invasion in 1979. The Vietnamese withdrew in 1989, and the monarchy was restored in 1993. Elections were held in 1998 and again in 2003. Since then prime minister Hun Sen, a former communist, has effectively run the country