The History of Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge

Find out more about the history of Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge and the parallel story of Thet Sambath, investigative journalist and co-director of Enemies of the People.

A History of Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge

Explore Thet Sambath’s personal timeline, spanning his youth, the Khmer Rouge’s rule and the production of the documentary Enemies of the People


1863
French Rule

Cambodia becomes a protectorate of France

Picture: Flag of French Protectorate of Cambodia (Wikipedia user Xiengyod, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)


November 9, 1953
Independence

Cambodia gains independence from France after 90 years of French rule. King Sihanouk becomes the ruler of the Kingdom of Cambodia.

Picture: King Sihanouk (© Bettmann/CORBIS)


1960
Beginnings of the Khmer Rouge

The Communist Party of Kampuchea (CPK) is formed out of the growing opposition to the rule of King Sihanouk. King Sihanouk nicknames the CPK “Red Khmer”