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Cambodia
Capital:
Phnom Penh
Population:
13,363,421
note: estimates for this country take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2004 est.)
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Background:
Most Cambodians consider themselves to be Khmers, whose Angkor Empire extended over much of Southeast Asia between the 10th and 14th centuries. Subsequently, attacks by the Thai and Vietnamese weakened the empire. In 1863, the king of Cambodia placed the country under French protection; it became part of French Indochina in 1887. Following Japanese occupation in World War II, Cambodia became independent within the French Union in 1948 and fully independent in 1953. After a five-year struggle, Communist Khmer Rouge forces captured Phnom Penh in April 1975 and ordered the evacuation of all cities and towns; over 1.5 million displaced people died from execution, enforced hardships, or starvation. A 1978 Vietnamese invasion drove the Khmer Rouge into the countryside and touched off almost 13 years of civil war. The 1991 Paris Peace Accords mandated democratic elections and a ceasefire, which was not fully respected by the Khmer Rouge. UN-sponsored elections in 1993 helped restore some semblance of normalcy and the final elements of the Khmer Rouge surrendered in early 1999. Factional fighting in 1997 ended the first coalition government, but a second round of national elections in 1998 led to the formation of another coalition government and renewed political stability. The July 2003 elections were relatively peaceful, but it took one year of negotiations between contending political parties before a coalition government was formed.
Government type:
multiparty democracy under a constitutional monarchy established in September 1993
GDP:
purchasing power parity - $25.02 billion (2003 est.)
Internet users:
30,000 (2002)
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