Cambodia in long form the kingdom of Cambodia, in Khmer Kâmpŭchéa and ព្រះរាជាណាចក្រ កម្ពុជា, Preăhréachéanachâk Kâmpŭchéa, also called Srok Khmer, ស្រុកខ្មែរ, literally "the Khmer country", is a country in Southeast Asia, populated by about 17 million inhabitants. Its capital is Phnom Penh. Cambodia is the successor state of the Khmer Hindu and Buddhist Empire which ruled virtually the entire Indochina peninsula between the 11th and 14th centuries. Cambodia has common borders with Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. The inhabitants of the country bear the name of Cambodians. The majority of Cambodians are of the Theravāda Buddhist religion (96% of the population, state religion).
During the twentieth century, under the context of the cold war, Cambodia experienced:
- the Cambodian civil war (1967-1975), including the American intervention ordered by Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, killed between 550,000 to 750,000 Cambodians by massive aerial bombardments;
- the seizure of power in 1975 by Democratic Kampuchea and the establishment of totalitarianism, which caused the death of more than a million Cambodians, persecuted or assassinated.
Agriculture remains the dominant economic sector (57.6% of the working population and 33.4% of the GDP). The main industries in Cambodia are clothing and tourism. Oil and gas were discovered in the country's territorial waters in 2005. Although part of the population lives in extreme poverty (31% below the poverty line), Cambodia has known since the end of the 1990s strong economic development and benefited from the influx of international investment. Between 2004 and 2007, the kingdom's GDP experienced an average growth of 10% per year. Cambodia's per capita GDP, at $ 773 per year per capita, however, remains well below the regional average and at the same level as many sub-Saharan African countries.
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