Cambodia - geography
Cambodia is located in the tropical belt; 3/4 of the
area is lowland around the Mekong River and the Great Lake Tonle Sap. Between
the lowlands and the rather isolated coastal plain to the southwest are the
Cardamom Mountains (Kravanh) and the Elephant Mountains (Damrei). The lowlands
with the great Mekong Delta to the south form a natural regional connection with
Population data are very uncertain. In 1962 there were approximately 6.2
million residents; the first assessment of the population after the Pol Pot regime
is from 1981, when it was estimated at 6.7 million. Presumably lost 1-2
million. people life in the chaotic years. In 1993, the population of certain
sources was estimated at 9.7 million, and at the 1998 census was calculated at
approximately 11.5 million Nearly 54% are women, reflecting civil war and genocide.
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population pyramid and resident density about this country.
An estimated 90% belong to the Khmer people, while the rest are mainly
Chinese and Vietnamese minorities. In the border areas with Vietnam and Thailand
live various minority tribes.
Business and natural resources
Cambodia is first and foremost an agricultural country. The radical policy
under Pol Pot sought to make the country self-sufficient by forcibly relocating
the urban population and expanding irrigation systems. There is uncertainty
about what really happened during the period, with agricultural
development. In 1966, approximately 2.5 million t rice, but in 1980 only approximately 1.5
million Only in the 1990's did production reach pre-war levels, and in 2000
production was up to approximately 3.8 million t.
Agriculture still employs 80-85% of the workforce. When the rainy season
begins in May, large areas around the Mekong are flooded, and through the Tonle
Sab River, water is forced up to Lake Tonle Sap, whose area is multiplied. For
these peculiar growing conditions, rice varieties with very long stems, floating
rice, are harvested from boats. When the water level drops towards the end
of the year, river sludge has fertilized the sandy soil and prepared it for
growing sales crops such as cotton, mulberry bushes (for silkworms), tobacco,
peanuts, sugar cane and fruit growing. Rice, however, is by far the most
important crop. The cultivation methods are traditional, and the hectare yields
are among the lowest in the world.
Only 1/6 of the land is cultivated, and large areas
are potentially farmland. Only 10% is artificial water, and precipitation
dependence is a major reason for the low yields.
The entire agricultural sector was hit hard by the Civil War, and the
widespread use of landmines is hampering rural reconstruction. The mines are
still scattered over large areas and require many casualties annually.
Sea fishing is not widespread, but Tonle Sap and Mekong have large fish
stocks, which are exploited by the Vietnamese minority in particular. Under Pol
Pot's xenophobic regime, this fishery declined sharply.
About half of the country is forested, and especially in the 1990's, the
utilization of tree reserves has increased sharply. Deforestation takes place at
a pace that is not matched by tree planting. It is teak for export, and the
increase is favored by a more restrictive environmental policy in neighboring
Industrial development has been very limited. In Phnom Penh and some
provincial towns, there is processing of agricultural products, textile and
tobacco industry as well as rice mills. In addition, there is an assembly plant
for tractors and one for refrigerators, as well as a few other companies that
manufacture consumer goods.
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Cambodia's official exports are very small and dominated by wood and a few
other raw materials. Imports are financed for a large part by international
aid. Smuggling is significant, especially across the border into Thailand.
The great UN effort 1991-93, which cost 3 billion. dollars, led 22,000
soldiers and civilians to the country and helped establish a market
economy. Business people from especially neighboring Thailand and Singapore
invested in this situation profitably in hotels, restaurants and tourist
services. Brothels, crime and inflation were other results of the UN
effort. Throughout the 1990's, Thailand's significant investment in Cambodia
continued. Among other things. Many smaller and larger companies have been built
up in industries such as clothing, carpets and leather goods. They take
advantage of the very cheap labor and liberal investment rules. Development aid
constitutes a large part of the balance of payments, but tourist revenues have
become increasingly important.
One of the world's great historical monuments, the Angkor Vat ruins, is
located just north of Tonle Sap, 200 km from Phnom Penh. In 1994, a
UNESCO-funded rescue program was launched and it is estimated that more than
500,000 tourists visit the site annually.
Cambodia - language
Cambodian or Khmer, spoken by an estimated 8 million
people. people, is the national language of Cambodia and belongs to
the Mon-Khmer class in the Austro-Asian languages. The writing, which is
alphabetical, is of Indian origin and is known from inscriptions dating back to
the 700's. The spoken language is characterized by dividing syllables into
two phonetic types, tone and register classes, depending on the nature of the
initial consonant. The vowel a thus becomes after an originally voiced
consonant to ie. Each phonation has its own vocal system. Nouns are not
inflected according to their function in the sentence, but the object is usually
placed just after the verb and adled after the kernel. In addition, some
minority languages are spoken; the austronesian language cham is most