A map of Cambodia showing highland and lowland areas, vegetation and urban centresA thousand years ago, Cambodia was at the centre of the vast Khmer kingdom which stretched across most of mainland Southeast Asia. Gently rolling lowlands, the Cambodian Plain, cover much of the country. The Mekong River winds north to south across this plain. Its fertile valley has been used for rice farming for around 4000 years. The thickly forested Cardamom Mountains rise in the southwest, while in the north, the low Dangrek Range forms a natural border with Thailand. Cambodia has a hot, tropical climate with a rainy monsoon season between May and October.
Around a quarter of Cambodia’s population died during the Civil War (1967–75), the regime of Pol Pot (1975–79) and the Cambodian–Vietnamese War (1977–91). As a result, today Cambodia has a young population: half of its people are under 24 years old. Nine out of ten Cambodians are Khmer, a people who have lived in Southeast Asia for millennia. Around 80% of people live in villages in the countryside, farming and fishing.
Cambodia’s flag is the world’s only national flag with a building on it: the temple of Angkor Wat.
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