Cambodia has gone through a lot of name changes throughout the 20th century, but one of its briefest names and indeed strangest periods was when it was known as the State of Cambodia.
To read about the different names of Cambodia click here.
Prelude to the State of Cambodia
Cambodia was known as Democratic Kampuchea during the reign of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. After being overthrown by the Vietnamese the state was to remain socialist, but wanted to make a clean break with the Khmer Rouge regime. This resulted in the formation of the Peoples Republic of Kampuchea, a Soviet/Vietnamese satellite state.
This angered the west and a civil war between the central government and the Khmer Rouge continued.
Ending the civil war in Cambodia
Peace talks began in the late 80’s and would eventually lead to the Paris Peace Accords and the formation of the Kingdom of Cambodia. This was also around the time of the Eastern Bloc beginning to fall, China opening its doors to capitalism and Doi Moi in Vietnam.
The State of Cambodia
On 29–30 April 1989, the National Assembly of the PRK, presided by Hun Sen (the current leader of Cambodia) began to make constitutional changes. The flag was replaced with the former, non-socialist flag and the country was renamed into the State of Cambodia. This deliberate negation of the word Republic was seen as a way of leaving the door open for a return of the monarchy and in particular King Sihanouk.
As time went on religious rights were again given back to the people, as well as their rights to own private property and a general liberalization of the economy, but still under a one party system, at lest initially.
The Kampuchean Peoples Revolutionary Party would rename itself to the Cambodian Peoples Party (CPP), and the implementation of the peace accords and future elections were put into place.
Marxism-Leninism was officially ended as state and party policy in 1991.
The end of the State of Cambodia
Government of the country was taken over in 1992 by the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) in February 1992 to pave the way for elections in the country. During this period the country remained as the State of Cambodia.
In May 1993 elections were held which resulted in a coalition government. In September of 1993 a new constitution was formulated which turned Cambodia into a constitutional monarchy known as the Kingdom of Cambodia.
The short lived State of Cambodia was at an end.