Cambodia is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. With a total landmass of 181,035 square kilometers (69,898 sq mi), it is bordered by Thailand to the northwest, Laos to the northwest, Laos to the northeast, Vietnam to the east, and the Gulf of Thailand to the southwest.
Cambodia is concerned about Laos' extensive upstream dam construction. Cambodia and Thailand dispute sections of boundary and in 2011 Thailand and Cambodia resorted to arms in the dispute over the location of the boundary on the precipice surmounted by Preah Vihear temple ruins, awarded to Cambodia by ICJ decision in 1962 and part of a planned UN World Heritage site.
Over the last several decades of the 20th century, the United States and Cambodia established, broke off, and reestablished relations as a result of armed conflict and government changes in Cambodia. Full diplomatic relations were established after the freely elected Royal Government of Cambodia was formed in 1993. In recent years, bilateral relations between the U.S. and Cambodia have deepened and broadened. The two countries have worked together to increase trade and address challenges from promoting regional security and democracy to expanding global health and development.
Theravada Buddhism spread in the later years of the Khmer Empire and is traditionally considered the religion of ethnic Khmer. Animist practices and what are called Brahmanistic practices are also part of the culture and are deeply intermingled with the everyday practice of Buddhism. They are not considered separate religions but part of the spectrum of choices for dealing with moral, physical, and spiritual needs.
Once simply required to complete lower secondary school and then a two- or three-year teacher training program, primary and lower secondary teachers must now graduate from both lower and upper secondary school prior to completion of a two-year teacher training program. Upper secondary school teachers must complete five years of study at the University of Phnom Penh.
One of the most impoverished countries in Southeast Asia, Cambodia is prey to the health problems that arise from malnutrition and inadequate sanitation, including diarrhea, respiratory infections, and dengue fever, as well as those that could be prevented by an adequate vaccination program such as tuberculosis. Life expectancy for Cambodia in 2000 was 54 years and the 199 birth rate was 41 per 1000 people.
The most common type of dwelling consists of one or more rooms raise on mangrove piles some three meters above the ground; it is generally crowded. Many houses in the cities are larger and of better quality.
Cambodia is a poor country, whose economy has been wrecked by war and only by 1986 it was able to supply 80% of its needs. Farming is the main activity and rice, rubber and maize are important. Tourism is increasing, and the impressive Angkor temples are a major attraction.
Cambodia’s climate is governed by the monsoon winds, which define two major seasons. From mid-May to early October, the strong prevailing winds of the southwest monsoon bring heavy rains and high humidity. From early November to mid-March, the lighter and drier winds of the northeast monsoon bring variable cloudiness, infrequent precipitation, and lower humidity.
In 1953 Cambodia gained independence from French rule. From 1964 the Government was confronted by a Marxist insurgency movement, the Khmers Rouges. In 1975 the Khmers Rouges gained power and Cambodia (renamed Democratic Kampuchea) underwent a pre-arranged programme of radical social deconstruction, during which an estimated 1.7m. people died.
About 90% of the people are Cambodians, ethnically known as Khmer; vietnamese account for 5% and Chinese for 1%. Others include Laotians, Thai, and the Cham-Malays, who inhabit the moutainous regions. The population is about 80% rural.