November 9 is Independence Day, which celebrates the independence of Cambodia from France in 1953.
In 802 AD, Jayavarman II declared himself king, uniting the warring Khmer princes of Chenla under the name “Kambuja”. This marked the beginning of the Khmer Empire which flourished for over 600 years, allowing successive kings to control and exert influence over much of Southeast Asia and accumulate immense power and wealth. The Indianized kingdom built monumental temples including Angkor Wat, now a World Heritage Site, and facilitated the spread of first Hinduism, then Buddhism to much of Southeast Asia. After the fall of Angkor to Ayutthaya in the 15th century, a reduced and weakened Cambodia was then ruled as a vassal state by its neighbors.
In 1863, King Norodom, who had been installed by Thailand, sought the protection of France from the Thai rule. In 1867, the Thai king signed a treaty with France renouncing suzerainty over Cambodia in exchange for the control of Battambang and Siem Reap provinces which officially became part of Thailand.
Cambodia continued as a protectorate of France from 1867 to 1953, administered as part of the colony of French Indochina, though occupied by the Japanese empire from 1941 to 1945. Under the reign of King Norodom Sihanouk, Cambodia gained independence from France on November 9, 1953. Cambodia became a constitutional monarchy.
Cambodia, officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia and once known as the Khmer Empire, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia.