Long before the kingdom of Cambodia came into being
there existed the Kingdom of Chen-la or Khmer in the region around Angkor,
known from the fourth or fifth century A.D..
the Siamese seized Angkor, and Cambodia became a vassal state of Siam ruled by a vice king residing near Phnom Penh.
French Protectorate 1863
period ended when Cambodia was made a French protectorate in 1863 and became
part of French Indochina. Cambodia's chief colonial official was the Resident
Superieur (Resident General) while lesser residents, or regional governors
were posted in all of the provincial centers. In 1897, the incumbent Resident
General complained to his superiors in Paris that the current king of
Cambodia, King Norodom, was no longer capable of ruling, and thus received
permission to assume the king's roles of issuing decrees, collecting taxes,
and appointing royal officials, including the next king. Norodom and his
successors thus assumed the role of figureheads and heads of the Buddhist
religion. Even in the colonial bureaucracy, French nationals held the highest
positions, while even in the lowest rungs of the bureaucracy the colonial
government preferred to hire Vietnamese.
World War II
World War II Cambodia was occupied by the Japanese. After it ended in 1945, King
Norodom Sihanouk demanded independence from France. With the military
situation getting worse throughout Indochina, the French agreed to grant
independence to the three states of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia in 1953. King
Sihanouk, a revered hero in the eyes of his people, returned to Phnom Penh in
triumph, and independence was celebrated on November 9, 1953. The last French
officials left Cambodia in 1954 after control of residual matters affecting
sovereignty, such as financial and budgetary affairs, passed to the new
emblems of Cambodia are the national emblem, the emblem of state, the smaller
royal arms, the greater royal arms, the emblem of the National Assembly and
the emblem of the Senate.
element of the emblems consist of a combination of some of the Cambodian
regalia, that is to say, two ritual goblets, a sword of state and a crown.
(holy) sword of state was kept in a special hall of the palace in Phnom Penh.
According to the legend it was made for king Jayavarman VI, King of the Khmer
(1080-1106) by Preah Vihsakan, god of arts.
emblems of the kingdom the regalia are
crested with the Om-symbol.
Cambodian regalia are copied or derived from the similar regalia of Siam,
dating from the second half of the 18th century. It is possible that they
were made at about the same time for the Cambodian vice-king.
symbol borrowed from the siamese repertory of emblems of authority is a
manyfolded umbrella, the number of screens corresponding with the rank
number. Such umbrellas are of very ancient mesopotamian origin and have
developed on their voyage to the far east.
King Norodom I (1860-1904) and some of the Regalia.
shown are a ritual goblet used in Buddhist ceremonies, and a goblet
supporting a tray with a betel-set. Behind them there is a pagoda crown with
ear-pieces of Siamese fashion.
its 19th and 20th century history the national emblem of Cambodia consisted
of a picture of the royal palace or a temple. At first the emblem was on
coins struck in the time of Siamese rule.
Reverse of a ¼ tical of King Duang (1847-’60).
Reverse of 1 tical, 1847.
time of the Protectorate and the independent kingdom and republics it was the
main charge of the flag.
Flag of Cambodia, 1863 ca -1940
in the time of Japanese occupation, the groundplan of Angkor Wat was
introduced. In 1945 this was replaced by a picture of that temple, showing
the three main pagodas of the complex.
of state were introduced in 1864. It was depicted on the medallion of the
Order of Cambodia, founded in that year. The arms consist of an oval blue shield
charged with a pile of the two goblets of the regalia and a sword per fess,
crested with the royal crown.The field is decorated with ornamental flames.
Order of Cambodia, star
Order of Cambodia,
an achievement of state was introduced. This was printed on coins struck in
1874 but antedated 1860.
10 centimes coin, 1860
Medal at the occasion of the coronation of King Sisowath, 1904
Achievement of Cambodia, 1935ca. Full colour version.
Arms: Azure, a pile of two ceremonial
goblets and a sword per fess, crested with the exalted symbol Om, and
surrounded by a garland Or.
Order: The star of the Order of
Mantle: Azure, lined ermine, fringed Or,
supported by two spears in saltire and crowned with the royal crown of
WWII the achievement was changed by removing the lining ermine and showing
the fringes of the mantle:
100 sen coin, 1959
Sathearnak Roath Khmer
while the head of state, Prince Sihanouk, was away in Beijing, General Lon
Nol seized power in a military coup
d'état and declared the Khmer Republic. Immediately a civil war began
between this military regime and the xenophobic and communist Khmer Rouge,
which had gathered much strength because of support by the communist North
Vietnamese and the Vietcong.
emblem of state was adopted 08.10.1970. It was
Angkor Wat Argent charged in base with the star of the Order of Cambodia
proper between two cambodian ornaments Or.
halo of rays Or, charged with three five-pointed stars Argent.
Ears of rice Or, tied with a ribbon Gules.
The name of the country in black Khmer script on a ribbon Gules.
the emblem is all Or, drawn with red lines.
Government of National Union in rebellion against the regime of the Khmer Republic
was founded by prince Norodom in Beijing exile until 17 Apr 1975; it
continued after the proclamation of the State of Democratic Kampuchea on 5
Led by Pol Pot, who later became the Prime Minister of Cambodia, the Khmer Rouge captured the capital Phnom Penh in 1975 and renamed the country to Democratic Kampuchea. It retained U.N. recognition until 20 November 1991.
emblem of state was:
Emblem: Rice fields and an irrigation
canal with a weir and works in the distance.
Garland: Ears of rice tied with a red
ribbon with the name of the country in golden Khmer script in base.
known about the symbols of the Khmer Rouge. Probably they had a red flag
charged with a yellow hammer and a sickle. Like this:
were displayed at most party-congresses.
ascribed to the Khmer Rouge was per bend sinister of red and black (or blue)
with a white cross potent. This however was the flag of the so-called Monatio (Mouvement National) a small
nationalist student movement. Because they identified themselves as Khmer
Rouge at their storming of the Ministry of Information just before the entry
of the Khmer Rouge in Phnom Penh, it was thought by the western press that
their flag was the one of the Khmer Rouge. Which was never denied. 
Rouge ideology included:
Rouge justified its actions by claiming that Cambodia was on the brink of
major famine due to the American bombing campaigns, and that this required
the evacuation of the cities to the countryside so that people could become
self-sufficient. It had the effect of converting the entire country into a
re-education/labor camp. During the rule of the Khmer Rouge, about 1.7
million people were killed, or one-fifth of the country's population of the
time.. If this wasn't enough, Cambodia broke into Vietnamese, Lao, and Thai
territory and massacred entire villages of border provinces. Even the royal
family was brutalized. Prince Sihanouk was put under house arrest and many of
the Sisowath branch of the family were massacred.
newly-unified Vietnam had invaded Cambodia in 1978 after repeated Khmer Rouge
raids into Vietnamese territory and drove the Khmer Rouge to the western
border with Thailand, Prince Norodom Sihanouk continued the Democratic
Republic and was recognised by the UN. He was head of state from 22 June 1982
until 2 July 1993, when he became king of Cambodia again.
achievement of this continued Democratic Republic was all Or and was:
Emblem: A winged pile of ritual goblets
and an open book, surrounde by a garland of ears of rice, tied with a ribbon
and charged with a cogwheel issuant in base.
Crest: The exalted symbol Om,
Supporters: The lion Reachea Sey
(symbol of power and force) and the elephant Kuchea Sey (symbol of
authority and courage), standing on a ribbon. 
Vietnam had invaded Cambodia in 1978 a People’s Republic of Cambodia was founded
on 7 January 1979. This republic was not recognized by the U.N..
occupation lasted until 26 September 1989.
5 sen piece, 1979
Showing the emblem of the People’s Republic of Cambodia
emblem of the People’s Republic was:
Emblem: Gules, the silhouette of Angkor Wat, and a cogwheel issuant
in base Or.
Garland: Ears of rice Or, tied with a
ribbon Gules, charged with the name of the country in Khmer script Or.
A new State of Cambodia was founded on the
territory of the People’s Republic on 1 May 1989.
emblem of state was adopted the same day. It was:
Emblem: Gules, the silhouette of Angkor
Wat, and a cogwheel issuant ,charged with an open book and a rising sun in
Garland: Ears of rice Or, leafed Vert,
tied with a ribbon Gules charged in base with the name of the country in
Khmer script Or.
In 1991 a new state simply called Cambodia took the
place of the abolished Democratic and People’s Republics of Cambodia.
of the Supreme National Council (SNC) and head of the State became Prince
Norodom Sihanouk from 23.10.1991 until 24.09.1993).
war between the Vietnamese-sponsored government of Phnom Penh and the Khmer
Rouge immediately broke out. To bring this war to an end a UN Transitional
Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) took over administration on 15 March 1992. It
continued until 26 September 1993 after United Nations sponsored elections in
1993 had restored stability.
emblem of state of this Cambodia was:
Emblem: Azure, a sun radiant Or, charged
with a picture of Angkor Wat Argent and the name Cambodia in Khmer script
Azure in base.
Garland: Ears of unripe rice Vert. 
emblem was probably adopted together with a new flag on 24 June 1991.
the Kingdom of Cambodia was restored. Prince Sihanouk became king again, and a
coalition government between the conservative-royalist Funcinpec party and
the pro-Vietnamese Cambodian People's Party was formed in 1998. That year
also saw the surrender of the remaining Khmer Rouge troops and the death of
ancient achievement of state was restored. It is on coins struck in 1994 and
still in use.
Æ See illustration in the head of this essay.
Header of the National Assembly
with a pointed halo
Coin with the emblem of the National Assembly, 1959, 1994.
halo pointing downwards
emblem of the Assemblée Nationale consists of a pile of two ritual
goblets with two books on top crested with a halo of rays, all Or.
emblem was introduced in the time of the sovereign kingdom of 1953.
emblem of the Senate of the Kingdom consists of a pile of two ritual goblets
and two books with Angkor Wat on top, the upper goblet surrounded by a halo of
rays; standing on a pair of ornamental wings, all Or.
© Hubert de Vries 2012-03-02. Updated 2013-04-09; 2013-08-18
 All flags from the Roberto Breschi flag-site
 Documented for eample by http://www.arte.tv/guide/de/041477-005/verschollene-filmschatze
 Herzog, Hans-Ulrich, & Georg Hannes: Lexicon Flaggen und Wappen. VEB Bibliographisches Institut Leipzig, 1990.
 Nationalflaggen der Welt. Hamburg, 200.