Soul Survivors, by Bhavia C. Wagner
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Cambodian History Chronology
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Chronology of Cambodian History

802 ADKingdom of Angkor is established.
Angkor Empire covers most of southeast Asia and is known for its beautiful temples and sculpture.
Angkor declines due to warfare and loses territory to the Thais and the Vietnamese.
1863 Cambodian King Norodom reluctantly signs a treaty of protectorate with the French, which lasts until 1953.
1930 The movement for independence from foreign imperialism in Southeast Asia begins. Ho Chi Minh founds the Indochinese Communist Party.
1941 The French establish nineteen-year-old Prince Norodom Sihanouk as king. The Japanese occupy Cambodia during World War II.
1946 The war for independence in Vietnam begins as Ho Chi Minh's Viet Minh army fights the French. Saloth Sar (Pol Pot) goes to study in France.
1954 Sihanouk wins Cambodia's independence from France.
1963 Saloth Sar (Pol Pot) becomes leader of Cambodia's Communist Party.
1965 US troops arrive in Vietnam. Sihanouk ends diplomatic relations with the United States.
1967 Cambodia loses tax revenues on rice that is smuggled into Vietnam during the war. Sihanouk increases the tax on remaining rice supplies, which spurs a peasant uprising and the armed communist revolution. Communists seek to eliminate widespread rural poverty and the corrupt ruling elite.
1969 President Nixon begins an illegal secret bombing of neutral Cambodia that continues until August 1973 when US Congress stops the Pentagon.
Mar. 1970 General Lon Nol, with US backing, deposes King Sihanouk. Sihanouk sets up a government-in-exile in Beijing and forms an alliance with the Khmer Rouge, a faction of the Cambodian communist party led by Pol Pot.
Apr. 1970 US and South Vietnamese forces invade Cambodia in an effort to destroy the Viet Cong, withdraw two months later.
The Khmer Rouge fight the Lon Nol government and gradually take over the rural areas. The Khmer Rouge is seen as the alternative to US bombing and government corruption, and has the support of King Sihanouk. Two million rural residents flee to the cities to escape the war and bombing.
April 17, 1975 The Khmer Rouge marches into Phnom Penh, the Lon Nol government surrenders, and the last vestiges of American support are withdrawn.
The Khmer Rouge declares "Year Zero" and proceeds to transform Cambodian society by establishing Maoist, peasant- run, rural cooperatives. City residents are evacuated and the entire population is forced into slave labor: farming rice, digging irrigation canals, and building dams. "Enemies within" are purged from the new society to eliminate all traces of foreign influence. The rich, the educated, former government employees, Buddhist monks, ethnic Vietnamese, Chinese, and Cham are systematically massacred in an act of genocide. An estimated two million people die from torture, execution, starvation, or disease. Other than aid from China, Cambodia is cut off from the outside world.
1976 The Khmer Rouge announces that Pol Pot is prime minister of Democratic Kampuchea. Kampuchea is the ancient name for Cambodia.
1977 The Khmer Rouge instigates border clashes with Vietnam and Thailand. Hun Sen and other disenchanted Khmer Rouge officers escape to Vietnam.
Dec. 1978 The National Salvation Front, consisting of Cambodians and 120,000 Vietnamese soldiers, invades Cambodia from Vietnam. Khmer Rouge soldiers escape to Thailand.
Jan. 1979 The Vietnamese install a new communist government led by Cambodians Hun Sen and Heng Samrin. The Thais and Chinese secretly agree to arm and support the Khmer Rouge in a guerrilla war against the new government.
1979 The country is in turmoil as people walk home from their assigned work camps and search the country for their lost family members. Hunger is widespread. Hundreds of thousands of Cambodians flee to Thai refugee camps. The United States imposes an international trade embargo and blocks development assistance. The Khmer Rouge is voted, with US support, Cambodia's official representative in the United Nations.
1982 The three rebel groups opposed to the new Vietnamese-backed Cambodian government form a resistance coalition. By the late 1980s FUNCINPEC, the royalist group loyal to King Sihanouk, has 12,000 soldiers; Khmer People's National Liberation Front (KPNLF), the non-communist former Lon Nol group, has 8,000; and the Khmer Rouge, the communist group, has 40,000.
1985 Vietnamese troops and the Cambodian army attack the resistance coalition camps in Cambodia and push them into Thailand.
1980s The Khmer Rouge-led resistance coalition shells towns, plants landmines, attacks road transport, kidnaps village chiefs, and kills local administrators and school teachers. Cambodia is the only Third World country denied United Nations development aid.
Sept. 1989 Suffering from internal economic problems, the Soviets cut off aid to Vietnam, causing Vietnam to withdraw its troops from Cambodia. The resistance coalition launches a series of military offensives, displacing tens of thousands of civilians within Cambodia.
July 1990 With the Soviet threat gone, the United States withdraws its support for the resistance coalition and initiates diplomatic contact with Vietnam and Cambodia.
Oct. 1991 A peace plan agreed upon by the UN Security Council is signed by the Vietnamese- backed Cambodian government and the three resistance coalition members (Khmer Rouge, Lon Nolists, and royalists). The United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) is established to disarm rebel factions, repatriate refugees, and administer democratic elections.
1992 The Khmer Rouge refuses to disarm or cooperate with UNTAC. The Khmer Rouge controls about fifteen percent of Cambodia and profits from the sale of Cambodian timber and gems through Thailand. Buddhist monks, nuns, and lay people support the peace process and organize the first annual Dhamma Yietra (peace walk) led by Maha Ghosananda. The United States lifts its trade embargo.
Mar. 1993 To gain popular support, the Khmer Rouge massacres ethnic Vietnamese living in Cambodia. Twenty thousand ethnic Vietnamese flee to Vietnam.
May 1993 National elections are held and eighty-five percent of eligible Cambodians vote. The Khmer Rouge refuse to participate. A coalition government is formed between FUNCINPEC (the royalists) who won 45% of the vote and the Cambodian People's Party (the former Vietnamese-backed Cambodian government) who won 38%. Hun Sen and Prince Ranariddh, King Sihanouk's son, become Co-Prime Ministers.
1993 A new constitution is adopted and the Royal Government of Cambodia is established, with King Sihanouk as head of state. Cambodia is re-admitted to the international community. The Khmer Rouge, under the direction of Pol Pot, continues to wage war against the government.
1994 The Cambodian government outlaws the Khmer Rouge. US Congress passes the Genocide Investigation Act to document the killings by the Khmer regime.
1996 The fifth annual Dhamma Yietra (peace walk) is led by Buddhist monk Maha Ghosananda, as the fighting continues. Khmer Rouge leader Ieng Sary is granted a royal pardon and many Khmer Rouge troops defect.
1997 Second Co-Prime Minister Hun Sen ousts First Co-Prime Minister Ranariddh in a coup. The United States cuts aid to Cambodia.
1998 Pol Pot kills his military chief Son Sen. The Khmer Rouge holds a trial of Pol Pot and places him under house arrest. The United States tries to extradite Pol Pot, but he dies the day before he is to be handed over. The Khmer Rouge weakens as thousands of soldiers defect. Cambodia holds a national election and Hun Sen is elected Prime Minister.
1999 Khmer Rouge leaders Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea declare that the Khmer Rouge doesn't exist and are allowed to re-enter Cambodian society. Ta Mok (a.k.a. the Butcher) and Duch are placed in custody and charged with genocide.
2003 Hun Sen is re-elected Prime Minister. His government is accused of corruption and suppression of political dissent.
2006 After seven years of negotiations, the United Nations and the government of Cambodia reach an agreement on the International Tribunal to bring the top leaders of the Khmer Rouge to trial for crimes against humanity.
2007 The garment industry accounts for 80% of Cambodia's exports, two-thirds are sold to the US and support one in five Cambodians. Khmer Rouge leaders Nuon Chea, Ieng Sary, and Khiue Samphan are arrested and charged with mass murder.
2008 The US trade policy that helped create Cambodia's garment industry by giving preferential access to US markets in exchange for high labor standards ends. The genocide trial begins.

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