|Kingdom of Cambodia|
Chéat, Sasna, Preăhmôhaksât
"Nation, Religion, King"
(and largest city)
|Official script||Khmer script|
|Demonym||Khmer or Cambodian|
Parliamentary representative democracy
|-||Prime Minister||Hun Sen|
|-||Lower House||National Assembly|
|-||Independence from France||November 9, 1953|
|-||Khmer Republic||March 18, 1970|
|-||Monarchy Restored||September 24, 1993|
|-||Total||181,035 km2 (88th)
69,898 sq mi
|-||2010 estimate||14,805,000 (66th)|
|GDP (PPP)||2009 estimate|
|GDP (nominal)||2009 estimate|
|Gini (2007)||43 (medium)|
|HDI (2007)||0.593 (medium) (124th)|
|Drives on the||right|
Cambodia (; derived from Sanskrit: कम्बोजदेश Kambujadesa), officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia (Khmer: ព្រះរាជាណាចក្រកម្ពុជា Preăh Réachéa Nachâk Kâmpŭchéa), is a country in Southeast Asia that borders Thailand to the west and northwest, Laos to the northeast, Vietnam to the east, and the Gulf of Thailand to the southwest. The geography of Cambodia is dominated by the Mekong River (Tonlé Mékong) and Tonlé Sap lake.
The kingdom is a constitutional monarchy with King Norodom Sihamoni as head of state, and prime minister Hun Sen as head of government. Phnom Penh is the kingdom's capital and largest city, and is the center of political, commercial, industrial and cultural activities. Siem Reap is the gateway to the Angkor region, a main destination for tourism is the temple of Angkor Wat and other Angkorian temples. Battambang, the largest province in northwestern Cambodia is known for its rice production, and Sihanoukville, a coastal city, is the primary sea port and beach resort.
Cambodia has an area of and a population of over 14 million people. A citizen of Cambodia is usually identified as "Cambodian" or "Khmer", although the latter strictly refers to ethnic Khmers. Theravada Buddhism is the official religion of Cambodia, which is practiced by around 96% of the Cambodian population. The country's minority peoples include Chams, Chinese, Vietnamese and various hill tribes.
Agriculture has long been the most important sector to the Cambodian economy, with around 59% of the population relying on agriculture for their livelihood (with rice being the principal crop). Other important sectors include garments, construction and tourism - foreign visitors to Angkor Wat numbered more than 4 million in 2007. In 2005, oil and natural gas deposits were found beneath Cambodia's territorial waters, and once commercial extraction begins in 2011, the oil revenues could profoundly affect Cambodia's economy.
The full official name of the modern country is ព្រះរាជាណាចក្រកម្ពុជា (Preăh Réachéa Nachâk Kâmpŭchéa), "Kingdom of Cambodia". Names used on general occasions include "Cambodia", "Cambodge", "Kâmpŭchea" and "Srok Khmer", a transliteration of the colloquial Khmer: ស្រុកខ្មែរ which means "the land of Khmers". "Cambodia" is the English form of the French "Cambodge" which, in turn, is a transliteration of the Khmer name "Kâmpŭchea" (កម្ពុជា).
The sparse evidence for a Pleistocene human occupation of present day Cambodia are quartz and quartzite pebble tools found in terraces along the Mekong River, in Stung Treng and Kratié provinces, and in Kampot Province, but their dating is unreliable.
Some slight archaeological evidence shows communities of hunter-gatherers inhabited Cambodia during Holocene: the most ancient Cambodian archeological site is considered to be the cave of L'aang Spean, in Battambang Province, which belongs to the so-called Hoabinhian period. Excavations in its lower layers produced a series of radiocarbon dates as of 6000 BC.
Archeological records for the period between Holocene and Iron Age remain equally limited. Other prehistoric sites of somewhat uncertain date are Samrong Sen (not far from the ancient capital of Oudong), where the first investigations began in 1877, and Phum Snay, in the northern province of Banteay Meanchey. Prehistoric artifacts are often found during mining activities in Ratanakiri.
The most outstanding prehistoric evidence in Cambodia however are probably various "circular earthworks", discovered in the red soils near Memot and in the adjacent region of Vietnam as of the end of the 1950s. Their function and age are still debated, but some of them possibly date from 2nd millennium BC at least.
Iron was worked by about 500 BC, with supporting evidence coming from the Khorat Plateau, which is now in modern day Thailand. In Cambodia, some Iron Age settlements were found beneath Angkorian temples, like Baksei Chamkrong. Others were circular earthworks, like Lovea, a few kilometers north-west of Angkor. Burials, much richer, testify to improvement of food availability and trade (even on long distances: in the 4th century BC trade relations with India were already opened) and the existence of a social structure and labor organization.