This site is a mirror of the original site, made in 2022 by Heraldry of the World. The original site is unaltered. This mirror functions as an archive to keep the material available on-line.
All rights remain with the late Hubert de Vries, the original site owner.






National Emblem

Arms of State

Khmer Republic

Democratic Republic

People’s Republic

State of Cambodia


KIngdom of Cambodia

Royal Arms

National Assembly


Armed Forces





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..

In 1431 the Siamese seized Angkor, and Cambodia became a vassal state of  Siam ruled by a vice king residing  near Phnom Penh.


French Protectorate 1863

This 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

During 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 Cambodian state.




The 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. 

The main 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.

The (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. 

In the emblems of the kingdom  the regalia are crested with the Om-symbol.

The 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.

Another 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.


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.


The National Emblem


Throughout 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.


In the 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 1942, 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.


Flag of Cambodia 1942-‘45


Flag of Cambodia 1945-‘48[1]

The Arms of State


The arms 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, medallion


Somewhat later an achievement of state was introduced. This was printed on coins struck in 1874 but antedated 1860.

10 centimes coin, 1860 (1874)

Medal at the occasion of the coronation of King Sisowath, 1904

Achievement of Cambodia, 1935ca. Full colour version.

The achievement is:


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 Cambodia.

Mantle: Azure, lined ermine, fringed Or, supported by two spears in saltire and crowned with the royal crown of Cambodia radiant


After WWII the achievement was changed by removing the lining ermine and showing the fringes of the mantle:

100 sen coin, 1959


Republique Khmère

Sathearnak Roath Khmer



In 1970, 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.



The emblem of state was adopted 08.10.1970. It was


Emblem: Angkor Wat Argent charged in base with the star of the Order of Cambodia proper between two cambodian ornaments Or.

Crest: A halo of rays Or, charged with three five-pointed stars Argent.

Garland: Ears of rice Or, tied with a ribbon Gules.

Motto: The name of the country in black Khmer script on a ribbon Gules.


Sometimes the emblem is all Or, drawn with red lines.


A Royal 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 Jan 1976.


Democratic Republic Kampuchea



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.


The 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.


Little is known about the symbols of the Khmer Rouge. Probably they had a red flag charged with a yellow hammer and a sickle. Like this:



Such flags were displayed at most party-congresses.[2]


A flag 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. [3]



The Khmer Rouge ideology included:

  • closing schools and hospitals;
  • abolishing banking and currency;
  • outlawing religion;
  • confiscating private property; and
  • relocating people from urban areas to collective farms where they were subject to forced labor.


The Khmer 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.

When a 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.

The 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, radiant.

Supporters: The lion Reachea Sey (symbol of power and force) and the elephant Kuchea Sey (symbol of authority and courage), standing on a ribbon. [4]


People’s Republic of Kampuchea

Sathearanakrath Pracheameanit Kampuchea



After 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..

Vietnamese occupation lasted until 26 September 1989.


5 sen piece, 1979

Showing the emblem of the People’s Republic of Cambodia


The 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.


Etat du Cambodge

Rot Kampuchea



A new State of Cambodia was founded on the territory of the People’s Republic on 1 May 1989.

Its 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 base, Or.

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.

Chairman of the Supreme National Council (SNC) and head of the State became Prince Norodom Sihanouk from 23.10.1991 until 24.09.1993).        


A civil 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.



The 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. [5]


This emblem was probably adopted together with a new flag on 24 June 1991.


Royaume du Cambodge



In 1993 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 Pol Pot.

Also the 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.


The Emblem of the National Assembly



Header of the National Assembly  with a pointed halo


Coin with the emblem of the National Assembly, 1959, 1994.

The halo pointing downwards


The 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.

The emblem was introduced in the time of the sovereign kingdom of 1953.


The Emblem of the Senate




The 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.


The Royal Achievement



Back to Main Page



© Hubert de Vries 2012-03-02. Updated 2013-04-09; 2013-08-18



[1] All flags from the  Roberto Breschi flag-site

[2] Documented for eample by http://www.arte.tv/guide/de/041477-005/verschollene-filmschatze

[3] http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rote_Khmer#Flagge_der_Roten_Khmer

[4] Herzog, Hans-Ulrich, & Georg Hannes: Lexicon Flaggen und Wappen. VEB Bibliographisches Institut Leipzig, 1990.

[5] Nationalflaggen der Welt. Hamburg, 200.

Flag Counter In cooperation with Heraldry of the World