Information about the Khmer

The Khmer people are the main ethnic group in Cambodia, accounting for 90% of the 13 million people in the country.

The Khmer empire was a powerful kingdom based in what is now Cambodia. The empire, which seceded from the kingdom of Chenla, at times ruled over and/or vassalised parts of modern-day Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. Its greatest legacy is Angkor, which was the capital during the empire's zenith. Angkor bears testimony to the Khmer empire's immense power and wealth, as well as the variety of belief systems that it patronised over time. The empire's official religions included Hinduism and Mahayana Buddhism, until Theravada Buddhism prevailed after its introduction from Sri Lanka in the 13th century.

Khmer is one of the main Austroasiatic languages. Sanskrit and Pali have had considerable influence on the language, through the vehicles of Buddhism and Hinduism. As result of their geographic proximity, the Khmer language has influenced Thai and Laotian and vice versa.

Khmer is somewhat unusual among its neighboring languages (Thai, Laotian and Vietnamese) in that it is not a tonal language.

The Khmer Rouge was a Communist organization which ruled Cambodia from 1975 to 1979. The term "Khmer Rouge," meaning "Red Khmer" in French, was coined by former king and prime minister Norodom Sihanouk and became widely used in the English-speaking world. The official name of the Khmer Rouge was the Communist Party of Cambodia, later the Party of Democratic Kampuchea. It was also known as the Communist Party of Kampuchea, the Khmer Communist Party and the National Army of Democratic Kampuchea.

The Khmer Rouge regime is remembered mainly for the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million people, through execution, starvation and forced labor. It was one of the most violent regimes of the 20th century often compared with the regimes of Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Mao Zedong. In terms of the number of people killed as a proportion of the population of the country it ruled and time in power, it was probably the most lethal regime of the 20th century. Nevertheless, only three of the Khmer Rouge leaders have been imprisoned since their rule ended, one on unrelated charges.

The above includes excerpts from Wikipedia.org, the free encyclopedia:

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