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Why France Deposited Protectorate in Cambodia?

by Lay Vicheka

April 23, 2006

History, to me, is a never-ending phenomenon, since its traces have printed in all over its historically aggrieved sites. Cambodia , one of the world’s tabulated countries, located in Southeast Asia , was probably the most stigmatized mainland under France ’s advantageous protectorate. This is one of the reasons why the Cambodian-French colonial history will never be totally ignored, in particular, by the writer of this research essay.

Until presently, countless legacies are still prevailing on Cambodian sovereignty, including Civil law tradition, artifacts, language, spiritual arts and even the political paths. The sole and foremost scope of the following pages intentionally accompany all the readers concerned back to Cambodia ’s retrospect during the French protectorate for almost a century ago.

To be precise and detailed, there are too many phases of history that led to French governmental jurisdiction over Cambodian sovereignty. However, this would be beyond the theme of this research essay. Therefore, to ease the tension, only the most relevant evidence will be unveiled.

Though tough history between Cambodia and her two giant neighbors, Thailand and Vietnam, Cambodia started to face the most protracted foreign (Vietnamese and Thai) interferences in 1620s (Chandler, History of Cambodia, p. 94). Simultaneously, there were also internal power-seizing war between Royal line. The two evidences proved great difficulties for any reigning king to sustain his power.

Seeing her malicious neighbors, King Duang decided to seek for a distant support from a Western country ( France ). King Duang may wrongly assume that France would be less interest-centered than Thailand and Vietnam . But the question is “why it was France , but not other super powers in Western Europe or East Asia ( China or India )?

Celebrated world historian, such as Henri Mouhot never rejected that Cambodia was an empire in Asia in the bygone past. Her richness in natural resources (physical treasures) and artifact masterpiece, such as Angkor Wat (spiritual masterpiece) have put Cambodia into a very attentive position on the world stage.

The rational behind French protectorate is not just about her richness in resources and intellectuality, but it was the French pioneers who revealed Cambodian positive and negative images to the world. Henri Mouhot (1826-1861), French naturalist, was probably the first man to unveil Cambodia ’s exceptional prosperity, but the owner of such the exception prosperity seems to ignore such the patrimony (Chandler, History of Cambodia, p. 140.) “Richness” & “ignorance”, I suspect, were probably the two most penetrative persuasions for France ’s decision to deposit its protectorate on the Cambodian sovereignty. Moreover, some document seemed to throw indirect hints that King Duang had some knowledge in French language and even took sometimes to study in France before the protectorate era.

In the nutshell, it was arisen from the French intellectuals, revelation of Cambodia ’s physical and natural affluence and perhaps, our “laziness” & “easiness-to-obedient- the-boss” attitude are the profound incentives for French protectorate from the very early stage.

Lay Vicheka's biography: http://ezinearticles.com/?expert_bio=Vicheka_Lay

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Lay Vicheka , final year student of law, translator for Pyramid Translation Co., Ltd., freelance writer for Search Newspaper, expert author and author for different websites around the world and a freelance writer for a research-based company in the United States of America , is tirelessly contributing to the field of humanity. With extensive experience in law and politics, he is now categorized as “approaching the spiritual tuition in the very young age.” He has pledged to help Cambodia and Cambodians. LAY VICHEKA can be contacted: 855 11 268 445 or email: vichekalay@yahoo.com. Post address: 221H Street 93, Tuol Sangke quarter, Russey Keo district, Phnom Penh , Kingdom of Cambodia . LAY VICHEKA used to be a legal and language assistant to a Cambodian Member of Parliament and has even been grant with the international qualifications in his accomplishments on the world’s stage. You are strongly advised to ask him any questions for free: politics, law, history, culture, current affairs and other opinions related to Cambodia through his address. Because of his popularity, his articles are now being trafficked all over the on-line world.

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The author is a final year student of law at the University of Phnom Penh.

e-mail the author

(011) 268 445


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