1863 King Norodom I turns Cambodia into a French protectorate.

Danseurs Cambodgiens.
Phnom Penh, danseuses du Roi se préparant à la danse.
31 October 1922 Norodom Sihanouk is born.
3 February 1930 The Indochinese Communist Party (ICP) is founded by Ho Chi Minh.
1940 Khmer Serei (“Free Khmer”) founded by Son Ngoc Thanh in Cambodia. It is formed of political groups of various factions, all demanding independence.
25 April 1941 Norodom Sihanouk is crowned King of Cambodia.
May 1941 During the Japanese occupation of Indochina, a meeting is held in a small Southern Chinese town uniting delegates of several clandestine organizations and leaders Ho Chi Minh, Pham Van Dong and Vo Nguyen Giap. The Viet Minh (League for the Independence of Vietnam) is founded.
7 December 1941 Japan attacks Pearl Harbor, causing the United States to enter World War II.
1945 Franklin Roosevelt dies. Harry Truman succeeds him as President of the United States.
12 March 1945 During the Japanese occupation, Sihanouk declares Cambodia’s sovereignty.
2 September 1945 Ho Chi Minh founds the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV), otherwise known as North Vietnam.
October 1945 Norodom Sihanouk resists French pressure to restore their protectorate over Cambodia.

Pousse-pousse près du marché central de Phnom Penh, le Psar Thmey © Micheline Dullin.
Pousse-pousse près du marché central de Phnom Penh, le Psar Thmey © Micheline Dullin.
March 1946 Ho Chi Minh becomes president of North Vietnam.
19 December 1946 The First Indochina War starts, sparked by Viet Minh insurrection against France.
1949 The first Khmer students arrive in Paris, including Saloth Sar, later known as Pol Pot. They get progressively closer to Communism. They found a Marxist study circle linked to the French Communist Party. They participate in the Committee for the Independence of Cambodia and the Khmer Student Association.
1 October 1949 Mao Zedong establishes the People’s Republic of China.
8 November 1949 France accords “limited independence” to Cambodia.
January 1950 China and the Soviet Union recognize North Vietnam.
1950-53 The Korean War opposes South Korea (supported by the United States, France and the United Kingdom) and the Communist forces of North Korea (supported by China).
1950-54 American military aid to French forces in Indochina increases. This enables the Americans to get a foothold in South Vietnam, even before France lays down arms.
30 September 1951 The Kampuchean People’s Revolutionary Party is founded at the urging of the Viet Minh. Some of its leaders come from the Communist Party of Indochina, while around a dozen were trained by the French Communist Party.
Late 1951 Viet Minh units enter Cambodian territory.
June 1952 Norodom Sihanouk starts a royal crusade for independence and becomes increasingly active in the fight against the Viet Minh, who control several Cambodian provinces.

Province de Kampong Chhnang © Micheline Dullin.
Province de Kampong Chhnang © Micheline Dullin.
4 November 1952 General Eisenhower is elected President of the United States, with Richard Nixon as his Vice-President.
6 March 1953 Joseph Stalin dies. Nikita Khrushchev succeeds him as the leader of the Soviet Union.
9 November 1953 Cambodia becomes an independent country. Penn Nouth is its Prime Minister.
1953 Several “Marxist” Cambodian students return from Paris, including Saloth Sar.
7 May 1954 The French are defeated at Dien Bien Phu by Vietnamese forces commanded by General Giap.
20 July 1954 The Geneva Accords on South-East Asia are signed. Vietnam is split in two until general elections are held on the reunification of the country. France recognizes North Vietnam. Norodom Sihanouk gets it to recognize the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of Cambodia.
8 September 1954 The South East Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) is founded under the auspices of the United States in order to stop Communism from spreading in Asia.
3 March 1955 Norodom Sihanouk abdicates in favor of his father, Norodom Suramarit.
April 1955 Prince Sihanouk founds an inclusive political party, the Sangkum Reastr Niyum (People’s Socialist Community), of which he is leader. Sihanouk represents Cambodia at the first conference of non-aligned countries, in Bandung (Indonesia).
14 May 1955 The Warsaw Pact is created.
16 June 1955 General Diem becomes president of South Vietnam. He denounces the Geneva Accords with the support of the United States.
11 September 1955 Legislative elections are held in Cambodia. The Sangkum wins.
26 February 1956 The Soviet Communist Party’s 20th congress is held. Start of deStalinisation.
28 April 1956 The French leave Vietnam. The American presence in South Vietnam becomes more important.
12 January 1957 Norodom Sihanouk declares Cambodia neutral.

Vue d'Angkor de jour © Micheline Dullin.
Vue d’Angkor de jour © Micheline Dullin.
1958 The Viet Cong start their armed resistance against General Diem’s regime.
29 May 1958 General De Gaulle is elected President of the Council (Prime Minister) of France.
31 May 1958 China starts its Great Leap Forward, an enormous effort to increase industrial and agricultural production.
3 April 1960 King Norodom Suramarit dies. The throne passes to his wife, Queen Kossomak.
14 June 1960 Norodom Sihanouk is elected head of state in a referendum.
7 November 1960 John F. Kennedy is elected President of the United States.
20 December 1960 The National Liberation Front of South Vietnam (Viet Cong) is founded.
1960 Start of political disagreements between China and the Soviet Union. The USSR stops giving economic and technical aid to China.
1962 Khieu Samphan and Hou Youn, “progressive” militants and future Khmer Rouge leaders, join the Sangkum. They are elected members of Parliament. Norodom Sihanouk names Khieu Samphan Minister of Commerce.
October 1963 Saloth Sar, Ieng Sary and Son Sen, Communists called “Khmer Rouge” by Sihanouk, go underground.
1 November 1963 General Diem is overthrown and assassinated with the help of the CIA.
10 November 1963 Norodom Sihanouk refuses American economic and military aid and expels American diplomats from the country.

Novembre 1963, Manifestation devant le Palais royal © Micheline Dullin.
Novembre 1963, Manifestation devant le Palais royal © Micheline Dullin.
22 November 1963 President Kennedy is assassinated.
January 1964 Norodom Sihanouk nationalizes banks and private business.
6 June 1964 France reestablishes diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China.
15 October 1964 Nikita Khrushchev is deposed and replaced by Leonid Brezhnev (General Secretary of the Communist Party), and Alexei Kosygin (Chairman of the Council of Ministers).
3 November 1964 Lyndon B. Johnson is elected President of the United States.
14 February 1965 The first Conference of the Indochinese Peoples is held in Phnom Penh.
20 February 1965 General Thieu and General Nguyen Cao Ky share power in Saigon.
1 May 1965 American forces bombard the region called “Duck’s Beak”, on the border with Cambodia.
3 May 1965 Cambodia and the United States cease all diplomatic relations.
9 December 1965 General De Gaulle is elected President of France.
18 April 1966 The Chinese Cultural Revolution starts.
1 September 1966 A triumphant De Gaulle visits Cambodia. He gives a speech in Phnom Penh.
11 September 1966 Legislative elections are held in Cambodia. Sihanouk does not choose the Sangkum candidates. For the first time, the majority in the National Assembly is on the right.
18 October 1966 General Lon Nol, the Prime Minister, sets up his government.
26 November 1966 Prince Sihanouk creates a leftist “counter-government”. Khieu Samphan, Hu Nim and Hou Youn are in it.
Late 1966 390,000 GIs are stationed in South Vietnam.

Jeune fille à Kampong Chhnang © Micheline Dullin.
Jeune fille à Kampong Chhnang © Micheline Dullin.
Early 1967 American forces start military operations on the South Vietnam-Cambodia border.
2 April 1967 Civil unrest erupts in the province of Battambang. It is encouraged by the Communists in order to resist Lon Nol’s expropriations. This worries Norodom Sihanouk. Lon Nol orders violent repression.
April 1967 The Communist MPs and ministers Hou Youn, Hu Nim and Khieu Samphan go underground.
30 April 1967 Lon Nol resigns. Penn Nouth is elected Prime Minister of a caretaker government on 3 May.
30 June 1967 Phnom Penh starts diplomatic relations with North Vietnam.
30 January 1968 American forces start the Tet Offensive. Tet is the Vietnamese New Year. The Viet Cong start a general offensive against more than a hundred cities in South Vietnam. They occupy several provincial cities, particularly Hue.
3 April 1968 North Vietnam is interested in negotiating with the Americans.
13 June 1968 The Conference on Vietnam starts in Paris.
1 November 1968 President Johnson decides to stop bombarding North Vietnam.
5 November 1968 Richard Nixon is elected President of the United States. He promises a more offensive military strategy.
Early 1969 The Viet Cong start to train the Khmer Rouge. The Khmer Rouge have less than a thousand members.
27 April 1969 General De Gaulle resigns as President of France.
22 May 1969 South Vietnam opens its embassy in Phnom Penh.
10 June 1969 The Viet Cong becomes the PRG (Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam).
11 June 1969 Norodom Sihanouk resumes diplomatic relations with the United States, who promise to respect Cambodia’s independence.
15 June 1969 Georges Pompidou is elected President of France.
1 August 1969 Penn Nouth resigns due to ill health. Lon Nol succeeds him on 12 August and immediately leaves for France for health reasons. Prince Sirik Matak stands in for him.

Danseuses du Ballet Royal devant le temple d'Angkor © Micheline Dullin.
Danseuses du Ballet Royal devant le temple d’Angkor © Micheline Dullin.
23 August 1969 The return of the GIs is postponed.
3 September 1969 Ho Chi Minh dies. Prince Sihanouk attends the funeral in Hanoi.
3 November 1969 Televised speech by Nixon on the “Vietnamization” of the Vietnam War.
1969 Frontier skirmishes between China and the Soviet Union.
December 1969 The Sangkum Congress is held on Sihanouk’s orders. The Sangkum opposes Sirik Matak’s denationalization project.
7 January 1970 Prince Sihanouk leaves the country for a tour of foreign capitals, starting with Paris.
11 March 1970 The embassies of both South and North Vietnam are looted upon the orders of Lon Nol.
13 March 1970 Norodom Sihanouk leaves Paris to go to Moscow.
18 March 1970 Norodom Sihanouk is deposed by a coup d’état organized by Sirik Matak and Lon Nol. Lon Nol forms a government. Cheng Heng becomes puppet head of state. Sihanouk learns of the coup in Moscow. He leaves for Beijing.
20 March 1970 The United States recognizes Lon Nol’s regime. France does not end diplomatic relations with Phnom Penh.
21 March 1970 Pham Van Dong, the North Vietnamese Prime Minister, secretly travels to Beijing to pledge Hanoi’s support to Sihanouk. Both meet Zhou Enlai.
23 March 1970 Sihanouk gives a speech on the radio from Beijing which is broadcast by both Radio Beijing and Radio Hanoi. In it, he announces the founding of the National United Front of Kampuchea (FUNK). He orders the armed resistance and overthrow of Lon Nol and Sirik Matak’s regime.
24 March 1970 The three Khmer MPs who had gone underground in 1967 make an appearance in Beijing. They are Hou Youn, Hu Nim and Khieu Samphan. They join FUNK and give their unconditional support to Prince Sihanouk.
26-28 March 1970 There is popular unrest in favor of Sihanouk in Kompong Cham. Lon Nol represses the protests. Tens of thousands of protesters make their way to Phnom Penh.
March 1970 Lon Nol orders the massacre of all Vietnamese in Cambodia. He organizes a propaganda campaign against Sihanouk through posters and loudspeaker announcements. Children are arrested. One of them is Prince Norodom Ranariddh.
24-25 April 1970 A Conference of the Peoples of Indochina is held at Norodom Sihanouk’s urging in order to coordinate the fight in three countries (Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam).
30 April 1970 President Nixon announces the invasion of Cambodia. American troops enter Cambodia on 1 May from South Vietnam.
5 May 1970 Protests are held in American universities and there is disagreement in the Senate over the invasion of Cambodia. There is a shooting at Kent State University.
5 May 1970 The Royal Government of National Union of Kampuchea (GRUNK) is founded in Beijing. It is half Sihanoukist (Penn Nouth is Prime Minister, Chea San is Minister of Justice, and Sarin Chack is Foreign Secretary), and half Khmer Rouge (Khieu Samphan is Minister of Defense, Hou Youn is Minister of the Interior, and Hu Nim Minister of Information).
11 May 1970 Senators Cooper and Church propose an amendment in order to stop all American military operations in Cambodia.

Préparation de la sauce de poisson: le Prahoc  © Micheline Dullin.
Préparation de la sauce de poisson: le Prahoc © Micheline Dullin.
20 May 1970 Mao Zedong declares his support for Norodom Sihanouk.
2 July 1970 Queen Kossomak is thrown out of the Khemarin Palace. She is put under house arrest.
5 July 1970 Norodom Sihanouk is condemned to death in absentia by Phnom Penh, and his wife to life in prison.
9 October 1970 Lon Nol declares the Republic founded. Cambodia is now called the Khmer Republic.
10 October 1970 Beijing recognizes GRUNK as the only legitimate Cambodian government.
9 November 1970 General De Gaulle dies.
Early December 1970 Phnom Penh is surrounded by resistance fighters.
January 1971 The Vietnamese advance to Pochentong Airport near Phnom Penh and destroy all military planes.
March 1971 The resistance controls 4/5 of Cambodian territory.
8 May 1971 Lon Nol is promoted Field Marshal. He comes back from two months in Honolulu, where he sought treatment for hemiplegia (paralysis of half the body).
October 1971 The Republican army is defeated at Kompong Thom in Operation Chenla II.
18 October 1971 Lon Nol dissolves the National Assembly and rules by decree.

Scène du Prahoc  © Micheline Dullin.
Scène du Prahoc © Micheline Dullin.
26 December 1971 American forces resume bombarding North Vietnam.
21-29 February 1972 Nixon visits China. In Vietnam, General Giap denounces Nixon’s “peace overtures”.
March 1972 Saloth Sar now leads the Khmer Rouge High Military Command.
10 March 1972 The head of state, Cheng Heng, is “retired” by Lon Nol, who declares himself President of the Republic. Sirik Matak becomes Prime Minister.
13 March 1972 Sirik Matak is removed from office. Son Ngoc Thanh, who had always been against Sihanouk, is named Prime Minister.
8 May 1972 Nixon orders the blockade of the ports of North Vietnam.
May 1972 Nixon visits Moscow.
7 November 1972 Nixon is reelected.
15 December 1973 American forces stop bombarding North Vietnam.
27 January 1973 Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho sign the Paris Peace Accords, which ends the Vietnam War.
February 1973 The bombardment of Cambodia intensifies. The population of Phnom Penh swells from half a million to 2 million.
February-March 1973 Norodom Sihanouk and his wife visit areas liberated by the Khmer Rouge, accompanied by leaders of the resistance. Near Angkor, Sihanouk meets Pol Pot (alias Saloth Sar) for the first time.
29 March 1973 The last American troops leave Vietnam.
March 1973 Lon Nol’s regime declines. Strikes are more and more common. Lon Nol declares a state of siege.
1973 Prince Sirik Matak openly criticizes Lon Nol’s regime, saying it leaves the way open to Communism. He is put under house arrest.
May 1973 The Watergate scandal erupts.
10 May 1973 The House of Representatives refuses to vote for the bombardment of Cambodia.
3-4 June 1973 Nixon refuses Sihanouk’s offers of negotiation.

Images extraites de “L'année du lièvre”, par Tian, collection Bayou © Gallimard 2011.
Images extraites de “L’année du lièvre”, par Tian, collection Bayou © Gallimard 2011.
15 August 1973 Congress calls for the end of the bombardment of Cambodia.
9 December 1973 Long Boret is named Prime Minister of Cambodia, a position which he will occupy until April 1975.
Early 1974 China occupies the Paracel Islands of Vietnam.
January-February 1974 Phnom Penh sees intense bombardment by the Khmer Rouge.
3 April 1974 John Gunther Dean, the new American ambassador to Cambodia, arrives in Phnom Penh.
May 1974 Valéry Giscard d’Estaing is elected President of France.
June 1974 Students protest in Phnom Penh. The Minister of Education is killed.
9 August 1974 Nixon resigns in the wake of the Watergate scandal. Gerald Ford succeeds him as president.
1 January 1975 The Khmer Rouge start their final offensive on Phnom Penh.
25 February 1975 The Americans organize an airlift from Thailand to keep Phnom Penh supplied with rice. A second airlift is organized from Saigon at the end of the month.

Images extraites de “L'année du lièvre”, par Tian, collection Bayou © Gallimard 2011.
Images extraites de “L’année du lièvre”, par Tian, collection Bayou © Gallimard 2011.
6 and 29 March 1975 General Giap takes Hue and then Da Nang.
28 March 1975 Moscow ends diplomatic relations with Lon Nol’s regime.
1 April 1975 Neak Lunong, a river port on the Mekong 50 miles from Phnom Penh, falls to the Khmer Rouge. Lon Nol agrees to leave Phnom Penh for half a million dollars. He goes to California.
12 April 1975 The American embassy closes as the last Americans leave Phnom Penh.
12 April 1975 France recognizes GRUNK.
17 April 1975 The Khmer Rouge enter Phnom Penh. The city is immediately evacuated of its 2.5 million people. Only around 20,000 remain.

Images extraites de "L'année du lièvre", par Tian, collection Bayou © Gallimard 2011.
Images extraites de “L’année du lièvre”, par Tian, collection Bayou © Gallimard 2011.
19 April 1975 The Khmer Rouge start killing the civilian and military members of Lon Nol’s regime.
20 April 1975 The Khmer Rouge demand that the Cambodians taking refuge in the French embassy be given up to them. Among them is Prince Sirik Matak, who is tortured and killed by the Khmer Rouge.
30 April 1975 Saigon falls and is renamed Ho Chi Minh City.
May 1975 The Vietnamese occupy the Cambodian Wai Islands.
August 1975 Hou Youn is executed by the Khmer Rouge. Pol Pot and Ieng Sary wield power while Khieu Samphan is the public face of the government.
2 August 1975 A Vietnamese delegation arrives in Phnom Penh. The Wai Islands are returned to Cambodia.
13 August 1975 Khieu Samphan (Vice Prime Minister of GRUNK) visits China, where he declares all problems have been solved in Cambodia.
9 September 1975 Norodom Sihanouk is “allowed” to visit Phnom Penh for two weeks.
December 1975 There is armed conflict on the Vietnam-Cambodia border in the North-East. The Khmer Rouge accuse the Vietnamese of instigating a coup d’état in Cambodia.
December 1975 Founding of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic.
December 1975 Norodom Sihanouk and his wife arrive in Phnom Penh after five years away. Their return is strongly encouraged by Zhou Enlai.
1976 The Helsinki Accords confirm the Soviet domination of the Eastern Bloc.
Early 1976 The first Khmer refugee statements are made in France. They reveal Khmer Rouge atrocities. The Khmer Rouge systematically massacre all those they consider “intellectuals”, including people who simply wore glasses or owned a pen.

Images extraites de “L'année du lièvre”, par Tian, collection Bayou © Gallimard 2011.
Images extraites de “L’année du lièvre”, par Tian, collection Bayou © Gallimard 2011.
1976 Pol Pot and Ieng Sary order the arrest of civilian and military members of the Khmer Rouge.
5 January 1976 A new Cambodian state is founded: Democratic Kampuchea (DK).
8 January 1976 Zhou Enlai dies.
2 April 1976 Norodom Sihanouk resigns as head of state against the advice of those close to him, who fear reprisals. He is put under house arrest with his wife and his two youngest sons until 6 January 1979. Khieu Samphan and Pol Pot are named President of the Presidium and head of state, respectively.
7 April 1976 Deng Xiaoping is forced out of power in China.
24 June 1976 The two Vietnams are unified into one Socialist Republic of Vietnam, with Hanoi as its capital.
9 September 1976 Mao Zedong dies.
7 October 1976 The Gang of Four is arrested in China.
3 November 1976 Jimmy Carter is elected President of the United States.
10 April 1977 Hu Nim, Minister of Information, is arrested and tortured to death in Tuol Sleng. Tuol Sleng was a high school in Phnom Penh which was transformed into a torture and execution center formally called S21. Tens of thousands of people died there.

Images extraites de “L'année du lièvre”, par Tian, collection Bayou © Gallimard 2011.
Images extraites de “L’année du lièvre”, par Tian, collection Bayou © Gallimard 2011.
23 July 1977 Deng Xiaoping is reinstated.
August 1977 The eleventh Communist Party Congress is held in China. It marks the beginning of deMaoization.
30 September 1977 Pol Pot reveals the existence of the Communist Party of Kampuchea for the first time in a long speech. Until then, it had been referred to as Angkar, meaning “revolutionary organization” in Khmer.
1977 The military conflict between Vietnam and Cambodia intensifies.
16 December 1977 The first Vietnamese attack is pushed back by the Khmer Rouge, who enter Vietnam in January 1978.
31 December 1977 Vietnam and Cambodia end diplomatic relations. Phnom Penh denounces Vietnam’s push for an “Indochinese federation”. The Khmer Rouge continues purging its ranks all year. Several plots are discovered. Vietnam is accused of being involved. In the middle of the year, soldiers and leaders of the South-West Zone, loyal to Pol Pot, control much of the country.
1978 Sporadic border skirmishes take place all year between Vietnamese and Khmer Rouge forces. The purges within the Khmer Rouge continue.
Summer and Fall 1978 Almost the whole population of the provinces of Svay Rieng and Kompong Cham, east of the Mekong, is deported to the north (Pursat and Battambang). They are accused of plotting with the Vietnamese, and will be in great part massacred by those loyal to Pol Pot before the arrival of the Vietnamese in 1979.

Images extraites de L'année du lièvre, par Tian, collection Bayou © Gallimard 2013
Images extraites de L’année du lièvre, par Tian, collection Bayou © Gallimard 2013
29 June 1978 Vietnam joins Comecon (the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance). The Soviets start sending it massive shipments of military equipment.
28 September 1978 The Khmer Rouge, sensing their imminent downfall, invite Sihanouk to dinner. Khieu Samphan and Ieng Sary give him some gifts of food. Norodom Sihanouk sees Penn Nouth again.
3 December 1978 Radio Hanoi announces the founding of the Kampuchean United Front for National Salvation (FUNSK), opposed to the Khmer Rouge. Its leader is Heng Samrin, a former Khmer Rouge from the east who deserted.
25 December 1978 The Vietnamese start their general offensive against Cambodia.
January 1979 China organizes the liberation of Norodom Sihanouk, who arrives in Beijing with his wife and two sons. Also with him is Penn Nouth and his wife. They take the last Chinese plane out of Phnom Penh. We learn that during the Khmer Rouge period, the lives of Sihanouk and his closest family members were spared due to Chinese pressure. However, five of his children, fourteen of his grandchildren, and several other family members died between 1975 and 1978.
7 January 1979 Phnom Penh falls to the Vietnamese.
5 September 1979 In Havana, during the conference of non-aligned countries, Pham Van Dong declares the Cambodian situation “irreversible”.
December 1979 Pol Pot’s Communist Party of Kampuchea is formally dissolved. The Khmer Rouge continue to exist, but they are no longer “Communist”.
15 December 1979 Khieu Samphan becomes head of state of the Khmer Rouge government, succeeding Pol Pot, who is too much of a liability both inside and outside of Cambodia.
1979 The USSR, who supports the Vietnamese invasion, uses Cam Ranh Bay in Vietnam as a base and communications center.
1979 There is armed conflict on the Vietnam-China border.
1979 Resistance against the Vietnamese invasion starts in Cambodia. There are three factions: the Khmer Rouge, the Khmer People’s National Liberation Front (KPNLF) founded by Son Sann, a former minister of Sihanouk’s, and various resistance groups loyal to Norodom Sihanouk (Moulinaka, Khleang Moeung, etc.). However, Norodom Sihanouk will remain abroad until early 1981.
31 March 1981 Norodom Sihanouk founds the Funcinpec Party (from the French acronym for the National United Front for an Independent, Neutral, Peaceful, and Cooperative Cambodia). The Sihanoukist guerrillas join the Sihanoukist National Army (SNA).
4 September 1981 The three political leaders, Norodom Sihanouk (Funcinpec), Son Sann (KPNLF), and Khieu Samphan (Khmer Rouge) sign the Singapore Accords, for common action against Vietnam.
22 June 1982 The Treaty of Kuala Lumpur is signed. It founds a Cambodian government in exile, the Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea (CGDK), a tripartite and anti-Vietnamese entity. This alliance between Communists and nationalists did not come about without some conflict, but the three parties still had a common goal: the removal of Vietnamese troops from Cambodia.
1982-1985 Norodom Sihanouk expresses his wish to leave political office several times. However, he will remain president of the CGDK due to pressure from every quarter, both in Cambodia and abroad.

illustration extraite de la BD de Tian, "L'année du lièvre."  ⓒ Gallimard, 2011.
illustration extraite de la BD de Tian, “L’année du lièvre.” ⓒ Gallimard, 2011.

Timeline by Sophie Moscoso for the original 1985 program.


26 September 1989 The last Vietnamese troops leave Cambodia.
23 October 1991 The peace treaty is signed in Paris. There are no references to Khmer Rouge crimes. A legitimate Cambodian government is formed, with a National Supreme Council comprised of members of the four signatory factions. Norodom Sihanouk is president.
Autour de Battambang ⓒ Rotha Moeng, 2013.
Autour de Battambang ⓒ Rotha Moeng, 2013.
March 1992-November 1993 The United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) is in force, under which the first legislative elections are organized in May 1993.
24 September 1993 Sihanouk is declared King of Cambodia again after the adoption of a new Constitution. Power is shared between Norodom Ranariddh and Hun Sen.
7 July 1994 The government outlaws the Khmer Rouge. It then asks the UN for technical assistance in putting the Khmer Rouge on trial.
Phare Ponleu Selpak  ⓒ Rotha Moeng, 2013.
Phare Ponleu Selpak ⓒ Rotha Moeng, 2013.
July 1997 After a disagreement on the role of the Khmer Rouge, fighting breaks out between troops loyal to Hun Sen and those loyal to Prince Ranariddh. Ranariddh is removed from his position as Prime Minister.
15 April 1998 Pol Pot dies.
26 July 1998 Hun Sen’s Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) obtains 41.42% of the vote in the legislative elections, followed by Prince Ranariddh’s Funcinpec at 31.7%. Both parties form a coalition government headed by Hun Sen. This is due to the Constitution stating that the government must have a majority of 2/3 in Parliament in order to rule alone.
December 1998 Most of the former Khmer Rouge fighters support the government. Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea are welcomed with open arms by Hun Sen in the name of national reconciliation.
30 April 1999 Cambodia joins ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations).
29 January 2003 The Thai embassy and various Thai interests are attacked after a Thai artist declares Angkor was Thai.
6 June 2003 An agreement is signed between the government and the United Nations on the creation of a tribunal to judge the Khmer Rouge leaders.
27 July 2003 The CPP wins the legislative elections again, but the coalition government (CPP-Funcinpec) is not formed until a year of institutional crisis has passed.
11 September 2003 Cambodia becomes the 148th member of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
22 January 2004 Chea Vichea, a leader of the unionist movement close to Sam Rainsy and his party, is assassinated on the streets of Phnom Penh.
Cambodge, 2011 ⓒ Serge Nicolaï.
Cambodge, 2011 ⓒ Serge Nicolaï.
7 October 2004 King Norodom Sihanouk abdicates.
29 October 2004 Norodom Sihamoni, son of Norodom Sihanouk and his wife Monineath, is crowned king.
3 February 2005 Three opposition MPs’ parliamentary immunity is lifted, including Sam Rainsy’s. He immediately leaves the country.
10 October 2005 In Hanoi, Prime Minister Hun Sen and his Vietnamese counterpart sign the controversial complementary treaty to the Frontier Treaty of 1985, a text which ended a long dispute between the countries.
22 December 2005 Opposition leader Sam Rainsy is convicted in absentia to 18 months in prison for two complaints against him filed by the Funcinpec and Prime Minister Hun Sen for libel (accusations of corruption).
5 February 2006 King Norodom Sihamoni pardons Sam Rainsy at the request of the Prime Minister.
11 February 2006 Sam Rainsy returns to Cambodia after a year-long absence.
28 February 2006 The National Assembly reinstates the parliamentary immunity of Sam Rainsy, Cheam Channy and Chea Poch. Hun Sen calls this an act of “national reconciliation”.
6 March 2006 Prince Ranariddh resigns from his position as President of the National Assembly. He is replaced by Heng Samrin (CPP).
3 July 2006 Cambodian and foreign judges chosen to rule at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) take their oaths at the Royal Palace. This marks the start of legal action against Khmer Rouge leaders and others responsible for the gravest crimes committed in Cambodia from 1975 to 1979.
Temple d'Angkor Vat ⓒ Isabelle Van Poorten.
Temple d’Angkor Vat ⓒ Isabelle Van Poorten.
21 July 2006 Ta Mok, former head of the Khmer Rouge army, nicknamed “the Butcher”, dies at the age of 81. He was arrested in March 1999 and was in prison awaiting trial.
18 October 2006 While he is in France, Prince Ranariddh is removed from his position as President of the Funcinpec.
March 2007 Prince Ranariddh, in exile since February 2007, is sentenced to 18 months in prison in absentia for breach of trust in the case of the selling of a Funcinpec seat in Parliament.
31 July 2007 Duch, the former head of Tuol Sleng (S21), under custody since April 1999, is accused of war crimes by the ECCC. Of the five suspects, he is the first to be formally accused by the international tribunal.
13 September 2007 Following South Korean aid, MPs pass a law creating a stock market.
19 September 2007 Nuon Chea, called “Brother Number Two” and considered the ideologue behind Pol Pot’s regime, is accused of crimes against humanity and war crimes after his arrest at his home in Pailin.
12 November 2007 Ieng Sary, former Foreign Minister under Pol Pot, and his wife Ieng Thirith, former Minister for Social Affairs, are arrested in their Phnom Penh home and indicted by the ECCC.
19 November 2007 Khieu Samphan, former Khmer Rouge head of state, is the fifth Khmer Rouge leader to be arrested and transferred into ECCC custody.
Phnom Penh ⓒ Rotha Moeng, 2013.
Phnom Penh ⓒ Rotha Moeng, 2013.
27 July 2008 The CPP wins the legislative elections again: they have 90 seats and 58% of the vote. Sam Rainsy’s party remains stable at 26 seats and 21.9% of the vote. The Funcinpec declines: it wins only 2 seats and 5% of the vote. It is even overtaken by two new parties, Kem Sokha’s Human Rights Party (3 seats, 6.6%), and Prince Norodom Ranariddh’s party (2 seats, 5.6%). The opposition contests the results of the election.
August 2008 Prince Ranariddh says the elections were “free and fair”.
25 September 2008 King Sihamoni pardons Prince Ranariddh, who can now return to Cambodia.
October 2009 A few days before his 87th birthday, the “King-Father” Norodom Sihanouk publishes a statement online where he declares that “this long life weighs on me too much. I want to die as soon as possible without going against the teachings of Buddha, which ban suicide.”
30 October 2011 On his 89th birthday, the “King-Father” Norodom Sihanouk declares, in front of 40,000 residents of Phnom Penh, that he “never wants to leave his motherland”.
15 October 2012 The “King-Father” Norodom Sihanouk dies in Beijing at the age of 89.
Funérailles de Norodom Sihanouk ⓒ Rotha Moeng, 2013.
Funérailles de Norodom Sihanouk ⓒ Rotha Moeng, 2013.


Timeline by Stéphanie Gée, chief editor of Ka-set*, an independent website reporting on Cambodian news (for 1989 to 2007), and by the writers of Chatomukh, a newspaper for the Cambodian community of the Île-de-France region (for 2008-2012).

Funérailles de Norodom Sihanouk ⓒ Rotha Moeng, 2013.
Funérailles de Norodom Sihanouk ⓒ Rotha Moeng, 2013.

*ka-set (“newspaper” in Khmer), comes from the French word “gazette”, which was the name of Théophraste Renaudot’s newspaper, founded in 1631. It is the name of a website with information on Cambodia and Cambodians all around the world, founded by Cambodian and French journalists. The site aimed to gather together specialists, journalists, observers and visitors wishing to look at Cambodia in a new and independent way. After several years’ existence, its creators were obliged to shut it down due to financial difficulties. The last article was put online in January 2010.
The Théâtre du Soleil thanks Stéphanie Gée of Ka-set as well as the team behind the newspaper Chatomukh for their help in creating this timeline.