Cambodia Independence Day is celebrated on November 9 each year. This day is significant because it commemorates Cambodia’s independence from France on November 9, 1953. The people of Cambodia celebrate this day in various parts of the country. The main venue where the official celebrations of the ceremony are held happens at the Independence Monument which is situated in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. Every year on this day, a high-ranking official lights a ceremonial flame at the interior portion of the Independence Monument, and people deck the monument’s stairs with flower tributes.
History of Cambodia Independence Day
In the 19th century, the kingdom of Cambodia fell under the control of the kingdom of Siam and became a vassal state of the kingdom of Siam. To break free from their domination, King Norodom signed a treaty with France on August 11, 1863, claiming that the kingdom is now under France’s protection. This pact resulted in the occupation of Cambodia by the French. Not only did France seize control of the city, but it also took over Cambodia’s trade relations and military might.
During World War II, the Japanese invaded Cambodia and occupied the country. On March 9, 1945, after a formal request by the Japanese forces, Cambodian King Norodom Sihanouk proclaimed Cambodia as an independent Kingdom. The Japanese government also backed Cambodia’s independent status and withdrew its troops.
The French, however, had not given Cambodia full independence. In 1946, Cambodia was granted self-rule within the French Union. In 1949, the French took away the protectorate status from Cambodia that the treaty had established. The French revoked Cambodia’s protectorate status, which had been established under the treaty, in 1949. By June 1952, King Sihanouk of Cambodia had decided to begin agitating for Cambodia’s official independent status, dismissing his cabinet, suspending the constitution, and taking charge of the government as prime minister.
In March 1953, King Sihanouk arrived in France to persuade the French to grant Cambodia complete independence. His campaign proved to be effective as the French government announced on July 3, 1953, that it was ready to grant complete independence to the three states of Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos. King Sihanouk reclaimed full control of the military, the police, foreign and trade relations, the judicial system, and the country’s finance. The French relinquished the authority of the Cambodian police and military. As a result, King Sihanouk became a hero to all Cambodians, and his freedom battle is commemorated every year on Independence Day. He was given the name “the Father of Independence”.
Cambodia Independence Day timeline
King Norodom signs a treaty with France stating that Cambodia is under the protection of France on August 11.
After a formal request by the Japanese forces, Cambodian King Norodom Sihanouk proclaims Cambodia as an independent Kingdom on 9 March.
Cambodia is not given complete independence but is granted self-rule status within the French Union.
King Sihanouk persuades the French to give Cambodia its full independence and the French government yields.
Cambodia Independence Day FAQs
What language do Cambodians speak?
The Cambodians speak the Khmer language. It is the national language of Cambodia and was influenced by the ancient languages, Sanskrit and Pali.
How is Independence Day celebrated in Cambodia?
Cambodian Independence Day is celebrated with festivals, parades, and fireworks across the country. The main ceremony is held in the capital city, Phnom Penh.
How long did France rule Cambodia?
France ruled Cambodia for 90 years. The French rule started from the treaty in 1863 announcing Cambodia as a protectorate of France to 1953.
How To Observe Cambodia Independence Day
Brush up on your history
Don’t know much about Cambodia? Well now is the time to find some history books and read up about the beautiful country.
Plan a trip to Cambodia
Cambodia is a place with wonderful sights. Plan your next trip to Cambodia and visit the popular spots.
Visit a local museum
If you are a native of Cambodia, then drop by at a nearby museum and learn more about your country’s rich heritage. There’s always something new to discover.
5 Facts About Cambodia That You Didn’t Know
Cambodia’s flag is unique
The Cambodian flag is the only one in the world to have a building on it!
Cambodian New Year is celebrated in April
The Choul Chnam Thmey or the New Year celebrations in Cambodia are held in April each year and also signify the end of the harvest season.
Geckos are considered to bring good luck
Cambodian people believe that seven or more chirps by a gecko denote good luck for one’s marriage prospects in the future.
Cambodians eat different kinds of insects
Cambodians cook different kinds of insects like crickets, ants, and even tarantulas.
The largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia
The Tonle Sap in Cambodia is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, which is a major source for fishing.
Why We Love Cambodia Independence Day
To pay tribute
Cambodia Independence Day is a day to pay tribute to the different kings that became heroes and participated in the freedom struggle. It is a day to remember their contributions.
To remember history
History should always be remembered because it is the root of the present. Knowing the history of one’s country and how it came to be is important.
To be politically conscious
This day is significant because it makes people politically aware. They came to understand the benefits of an independent native government.
Cambodia Independence Day dates