Cambodian Independence Day
On Monday, November 9, Cambodia celebrated their 67th year of independence from French Colonial rule. Every year on this date, the country celebrates their freedom from nearly a century of French colonization which began in 1863. During the formal ceremony that takes place in the morning, all the leaders and representatives from the country are expected to celebrate in the nation’s capital.
During the 19th century, the kingdom of Cambodia had been reduced to a vassal state of the kingdom of Siam in some western provinces, while the eastern portion of the country was threatened by growing influence from Vietnam via the Nguyen Dynasty. On August 11, 1863, King Norodom signed a treaty which would acknowledge a French Protectorate over the kingdom of Cambodia. This protectorate lasted for close to 100 years and gave France control over Cambodia’s foreign and trade relations, forming a major part of the French Colonial Empire in Southeast Asia, along with their holds over Vietnam and Laos.
Following an intensive campaign mounted by King Sihanouk in 1949, Cambodia was eventually granted its full independence by France in 1953. This independence included full control of national defense, police, courts and financial matters. Upon his return to Cambodia, King Sihanouk was viewed as the Father of Independence by his people and this day has been celebrated since.