History of Cambodia

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A Brief History of Cambodia

Migrations into the mainland regions of Southeast Asia from the north continued for centuries. The ancestors of the Cambodians came with earlier waves that the proto-Malays. The Cambodians are closely related to the Mon who settled further to the west but of whom only small clusters survived in Thailand and Burma. According to historical records based mainly on Chinese sources, when the Cambodians arrived in present day Cambodia, two powerful states had already been established there by people of the Malay origin--Champa, controlling part of central and southern Vietnam, and Funan (Funan), sited in the southernmost part of Vietnam and most of present day Cambodia. Funan was at the peak of its power at the end of the fifth century A.D. Some scholars, such as Nasuruddin, believe that the court of Funan had Indian dance and music, which spread to the other parts of the Kingdom.

It is believed that one of Funan's vassals was the Cambodian state of Chenla, situated in present-day northern Cambodia and southern Laos. By about the middle of the sixth century A.D., Chenla overcame Funan and reversed the pattern of overlord and vassal. About A.D. 627, Chenla completely absorbed Funan, during the reign of Isanvarman I who married a princess of the neighboring kingdom of Champa. This allowed him to extend his domains westward until it bordered the Mon kingdom of Dvaravati. Before the end of Jayavarman I's reign, Chenla was beginning to show signs of breakup. After his death civil war broke out and eventually the country split into two parts Civil war followed his death, and the country split into two parts: Land Chenla (northern part) and Water Chenla (southern part), and Cambodian power suffered an eclipse for more than a century.

The Cambodians, like the people...