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(Text by Duane R. Hurst © 2013)

Click on a link to view its information and pictures.
Significant Event:
    Construction of the Bayon
    History of North Thailand
    Preah Vihear Temple

Main Cities: Angkor Thom; Indrapura; Phimai
Time: 802-1431 AD
Language: Khmer; Sanskrit
Personage: Jayavarman II; Jayavarman VII; Suryavarman II
Religion: Buddhism; Hindu
Related Country: Cambodia; Laos; Thailand

Brief History:
      I have included only a few items concerning the history of this empire. A good source for more details can be found on Wikipedia or in history books.

      In 550 AD Bhavavarman I created Chenla, which later included the former kingdoms of Champa and Funan. The capital was at Isanapura. A third king, Isanavarman I, conquered much of the Mon territory in modern Thailand.

Map of Khmer Empire
Click Map to Enlarge
      Jayavarman II (770-835 AD) founded Angkor with a grand ritual in 802 AD on Mount Mahendraparvata (modern Phnom Kulen). Traditional accounts claimed he originally lived somewhere on Java, Indonesia -- probably at ancient Borobudur. His first city in Kambujadesa was at Hariharalaya, but Jayavarman's capital was at Indrapura (circa 781 AD). He seized Vyadhapura (modern Banteay Prey Nokor), capital of Funan, and conquered Funan.

      Indravarman I (877-889 AD) expanded territory through peaceful means. He also built the temple of Preah Ko and irrigation projects. His son, Yasovarman I (aka Leper King"), built extensive water reservoirs and founded Angkor Wat. In 950 AD, the first war between Khmer and Champa forces began. Jayavarman V (968-1001 AD) built the lovely temple of Banteay Srei. Following a few years of turmoil, Suryavarman I (1010-1050 AD) brought order and established relations with the Indian empire of Chola.

      In 1113 AD, Suryavarman II succeeded to the throne and established the Golden Age of the Khmer. He extended the empire to its zenith and completed the largest temple at Angkor Wat. His empire included regional centers at Lopburi (aka Lavapura) and Phimai (aka Vimayapura). He died between 1145 and 1150 AD while campaigning against the Dai Viet.

      In 1177 AD, Cham naval forces defeated the Khmer on Tonle Sap and made Kambuja a province of Champa. Jayavarman VII (1181-1219 AD) raised an army and regained Khmer independence. In 1203 AD, he defeated Champa and seized much of its territory. He built numerous cities, temples and the Srah Srang reservoir.

      Thai subjects at Sukhothai rebelled against King Indravarman II (1219-1243 AD). He also withdrew from eastern provinces due to a Cham-Dai Viet alliance. Jayavarman VIII (1243-1205 AD) was the last strong ruler of the Khmer. He rejected Buddhism and built a Hindu temple-mountain at Baphuon. He avoided war by paying tribute to Khublai Khan.

      Thai rebel and Dai Viet forces continued pushing against the Khmer Empire. See pictures of the period. Another cause for internal collapse was the failing irrigation system. In 1350 AD, Sukhothai lost to Ayutthaya, which sacked Angkor Thom in 1431 AD.

© Page Publisher: Duane R. Hurst