Cambodia, or Camboja (Fr. Cambodge), nominally a kingdom in Indo-China under a French protectorate, but practically a French dependency, on the lower course of the Mekong, between Siam, Annam, and French Cochin-China, and comprising an area of 38,000 sq. m. The coast, 156 miles long, offers but one port, Kampot. The mountains of the north and west (some of them over 3000 feet high) generally contain iron, limestone, sandstone, and more sparingly, copper. The greater part, however, of Cambodia consists of alluvial plains, completely inundated during the rainy season. In the north-east are forest-clad tracts. The principal river is the Mekong, Cambodia or Tonle-Tom, with its tributaries and branching mouths; a kind of backwater is the Tonle-Sap, expanding into the Great Lake, 100 miles by 25 miles in area, with a depth of 65 feet at its maximum. The climate is divided into the rainy season from April to October, but interrupted in August, and the dry from October to April. The thermometer ranges from 70° to 104o F. The natural products are rice, tobacco, salt fish, betel, cotton, maize, pepper, cinnamon, vanilla, cardamoms, sugar-cane, indigo, manioc, ramee, sesame, gutta-percha, etc. The forests contain excellent timber. Crocodiles are found in the rivers. The population is about 1,500,000, mainly of the Cambodian stock, with 100,000 Annamites, 150,000 Chinese, 40,000 Malays, and a few hundreds of Frenchmen. Pnom-Penh, the capital, at the junction of the 'Four Arms' of the river, has a population of 35,000. The Cambodians approach the Malay and Indian types, are less Mongoloid and more nearly resemble the Caucasian type than their neighbours; they speak a monosyllabic language. The principal industry is the fishing of the Great Lake. In Kompong-Soai are manufactures of iron. The total commerce of Cambodia is valued at from 10 to 12 million francs yearly. The religion of Cambodia is a development of Buddhism, in which the worship of ancestors forms a large part. The most remarkable feature of Cambodia is the splendid ruins of Khmer architecture. The temples and palaces of Angkor (the old capital, north of the Great Lake, abandoned in the 14th century), which were known to Portuguese missionaries in the 16th century, have since 1858 been explored by French and other travellers, and are even less remarkable for their magnitude and number than for their artistic value. They are believed to range from the beginning of our era to the 15th and 16th centuries, the finest dating from between the 8th and 14th.
The ancient kingdom of Cambodia or Khmer formerly extended over a large part of Indo-China. Buddhism would appear to have been introduced in the 4th century. In the 16th and 17th centuries Portuguese, Spaniards, and Dutch successively set up their factories at the mouth of the Mekong. In the 17th century the capital was Cambodia or Pontaipret, a place now much decayed, on the Mekong, opposite the mouth of the Tonle-Sap. The Khmer kingdom has been dismembered since the 17th century, by Annam first, and then in 1812 by Siam. In 1863 France concluded a treaty placing Cambodia under a French protectorate, and since 1887 it is practically a province like Annam (q.v.) of French Indo-China. See works by Mouhot (trans. 1864), Vincent (1873), Thomson (1875), and others.