Norodom Sihanouk - Former Ruler of Cambodia, Career and Facts

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Norodom Sihanouk's Personal Details

Norodom Sihanouk was the King of Cambodia and also the first Prime Minister of the nation

InformationDetail
BirthdayOctober 31, 1922
Died onOctober 15, 2012
NationalityCambodian
FamousEmperors, Former Ruler of Cambodia, Kings, Historical Personalities, Emperors & Kings, Prime Ministers
HobbiesFilm making
SpousesMam Manivan Phanivong, Norodom Monineath, Norodom Thavet Norleak, Phat Kanhol, Sisowath Monikessan, Sisowath Pongsanmoni
Childrens Norodom Ranariddh, Norodom Sihamoni
Founder / Co-Founder
  • Funcinpec Party
  • Royal University of Agriculture
  • Cambodia
Birth PlaceRoyal Palace, Phnom Penh
ReligionBuddhism, Theravada
GenderMale
FatherNorodom Suramarit
MotherSisowath Kossamak
Sun SignScorpio
Born inRoyal Palace, Phnom Penh
Famous asFormer Ruler of Cambodia
Died at Age89

// Famous Emperors

Norodom Sihanouk's photo

Who is Norodom Sihanouk?

Norodom Sihanouk was appointed the King of Cambodia when he was merely nineteen years old. He remained the ruler of the nation for fourteen years, interspersed with brief but frequent spells as Prime Minister. According to the 'Guinness Book of World Records', this former ruler is the only politician to have been appointed in the most number of political offices. After fourteen years of reign, he abdicated the throne, and his father, Suramarit took over as the king. After his father's death, Norodom once again became the Prime MInister. For five years in between, military general Lon Nol ruled after having deposed the existing rule. Helped by political party 'Khmer Rouge', Sihanouk won back his kingdom, and became the head-of-state. However, he was only a puppet in the hands of the communist leader Pol Pot. After Pol Pot was deposed by the Vietnamese army, the Cambodian King had to face another round of political struggle. His reign was marked by political turmoil, with different countries and organizations taking over Cambodia. However, with the goal of achieving independence for his nation, and the ambition of remaining the king, this ruler did everything possible to establish his reign. Till his death, this king was popular amongst Cambodian citizens, for his nationalist cause, and is revered even now

// Famous Former Ruler of Cambodia

Childhood & Early Life

Norodom Sihanouk was born to King Norodom Suramarit and his wife, Queen Sisowath Kossamak in Cambodia on October 31, 1922.

The young boy was educated at a school in the city of Phnom Penh, and then at 'Lycée Chasseloup Laubat' at Ho Chi Minh City. He later pursued his military training from the ‘Armoured Cavalry Branch Training School’ in the Saumur commune of Western France.

Accession & Reign

On April 25, 1941, Sihanouk was declared the King of Cambodia, after King Sisowath Monivong, his grandfather, died.

The Empire of Japan overthrew the French administration in Cambodia on March 9, 1945, and urged the young King of the nation to declare independence. The twenty-two year old ruler was forced to do so, and was appointed the first Prime Minister of Cambodia nine days later.

On August 14, 1945, the foreign minister Son Ngoc Thanh was made the Prime Minister of Cambodia, by the Japanese invaders, but Thanh remained in office only for two months.

Norodom took over Yem Sambaur as Prime Minister of Cambodia, on April 28, 1950, acting in the capacity for a month. Two years later, he was re-elected, this time remaining in office for a longer period of time.

On November 9, 1953, Cambodia gained independence from France, and Sihanouk's effective administration as the king, started.

In 1955, the young king formed the political organization 'Sangkum Reastr Niyum', and gave up his throne for his father. In September, the former became Prime Minister of the nation, after winning a majority of votes at the parliamentary elections.

With intermittent spells as the prime minister, he was declared the head-of-state in the 1960 general elections, after his father passed away. The ruler was given the title of Prince, and three years later, he modified the constitution in a way that made him the head-of-state till his death.

In 1965, he signed a treaty with the People's Republic of China as well as with North Vietnam, allowing military transactions between Vietnam and China to take place through Cambodia. In return, the Chinese would have to buy rice from Cambodia at high prices.

During this time, the king advocated communism and suggested that the nation follow the ideals of Maoism. He also built a close relationship with Kim Il-sung, the leader of North Korea, both condemning the foreign policies followed by the U.S. in Asia.

In 1970, the 'Sangkum Reastr Niyum' party was disbanded, and thus Norodom ceased to be its leader.

On March 18, 1970, the National Assembly along with military general Lon Nol ousted Sihanouk, and took over the administration of Cambodia. This happened when the deposed King was on a trip to Moscow, Russia, and he was forced to escape to Beijing in China.

In Beijing, this leader in exile established the 'National United Front of Kampuchea', an organization that collaborated with the 'Communist Party of Kampuchea', commonly known as 'Khmer Rouge'. The aim of the political organization was to bring an end to the administration of Cambodian Prime Minister Lon Nol.

In 1975, the 'Khmer Rouge' was able to capture Phnom Penh, and depose Lon Nol. While, Communist leader Pol Pot took actual control of the administration, Norodom was officially named the head-of-state of Cambodia.

The next year, the popular head-of-state was forced by the 'Khmer Rouge' to retire. In 1978, the 'Khmer Rouge' administration was ousted by the Vietnamese invasion, and Cambodian politician Heng Samrin, representing the 'People's Republic of Kampuchea', was made the head-of-state.

Sihanouk opposed this move and by 1982 he was appointed the President of the 'Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea'. The government-in-exile comprised of 'Armée Nationale Sihanoukiste', formed by Norodom himself, 'Khmer People's National Liberation Front', belonging to political leader Son Sann, and the 'Khmer Rouge'.

In 1989, the Vietnamese government left Cambodia, making political leader Hun Sen the representative of the 'People's Republic of Kampuchea ' party.

By 1991, the 'People's Republic of Kampuchea' and the 'Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea' signed a peace treaty in Paris, and Norodom's exile ended with the agreement.

Sihanouk was once more chosen as the King of Cambodia in 1993, but owing to health ailments, he spent more time in China.

In 2004, the King of Cambodia moved to Pyongyang in North Korea and gave up his throne. Cambodian politician Chea Sim acted as head-of-state till Sihamoni, Sihanouk's son, was appointed the King, the following year.

This popular king had delivered several speeches during his lifetime, in Cambodia as well as in foreign states like San Francisco, New York, Nottingham, Auckland and Hamburg.

Major Works

This brilliant ruler of Cambodia was known for his fight for Cambodian independence, first from the French, then from the Japanese and eventually from Vietnam. He had formed several political organizations like 'Sangkum Reastr Niyum' and the 'National United Front of Kampuchea', to achieve this goal.

Awards & Achievements

In 1956, the Republic of Philippines declared Norodom the 'Raja of the Order of Sikatuna'.

The same year, the Spanish government awarded this former King of Cambodia with one of their highest honours, the 'Grand Cross of the Order of Military Merit'.

After his reign came to an end in 2004, this revered ruler was given the title of ‘Preah Karuna Preah Bat Sâmdach Preah Norodom Sihanouk Preahmâhaviraksat’. It means 'His Majesty King Norodom Sihanouk the Great Heroic King King-Father of Khmer independence, territorial integrity and national unity'.

Personal Life & Legacy

This King was known to have had several wives, but he had legally married Princess Samdech Norleak and Paule Monique Izzi, both in 1955. His son Sihamoni, by Monique Izzi, is currently the King of Cambodia.

The famous ruler was a passionate filmmaker, having made movies like 'See Angkor and Die', 'The Last Days of Colonel Savath', and famous documentaries like 'Cortège Royal'.

Since 2005, he had been sick with B-Cell Lymphoma in his stomach, and also suffered from hypertension as well as diabetes.

This former King of Cambodia succumbed to a heart attack on October 15, 2012, in Beijing. His funeral was held at the Royal Palace in his homeland, and state flags were flown at half-staff as a mark of respect.

Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary General of United Nations, commemorated this ruler, lauding him for his contribution to his country's nationalist movement.

After his death, the 'National Television of Kampuchea' constantly aired a documentary based on his life.

According to news reports, more than 1,200,000 citizens had gathered near the Royal Palace to pay tribute to the deceased King. Posthumously, he was given the title of 'Preah Karuna Preah Norodom Sihanouk Preah Borom Ratanakkot' (The King who lies in the Diamond Urn).

Distinguished personalities who attended his cremation service were French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung of Vietnam, and US ambassador to Cambodia William E. Todd, amongst others.

On October 11, 2013, a statue of the former King was unveiled in Phnom Penh by Prime Minister Hun Sen. Subsequently October 15 was declared a public holiday, as a symbol of respect.

Trivia

This Cambodian former King's movie 'La Forêt Enchantée' ('The Enchanted Forest'), made in 1966, was one of the entries at the following year's 'Moscow International Film Festival'

// Famous Kings

Norodom Sihanouk biography timelines

  • // 31st Oct 1922
    Norodom Sihanouk was born to King Norodom Suramarit and his wife, Queen Sisowath Kossamak in Cambodia on October 31, 1922.
  • // 25th Apr 1941
    On April 25, 1941, Sihanouk was declared the King of Cambodia, after King Sisowath Monivong, his grandfather, died.
  • // 9th Mar 1945
    The Empire of Japan overthrew the French administration in Cambodia on March 9, 1945, and urged the young King of the nation to declare independence. The twenty-two year old ruler was forced to do so, and was appointed the first Prime Minister of Cambodia nine days later.
  • // 14th Aug 1945
    On August 14, 1945, the foreign minister Son Ngoc Thanh was made the Prime Minister of Cambodia, by the Japanese invaders, but Thanh remained in office only for two months.
  • // 28th Apr 1950
    Norodom took over Yem Sambaur as Prime Minister of Cambodia, on April 28, 1950, acting in the capacity for a month. Two years later, he was re-elected, this time remaining in office for a longer period of time.
  • // 9th Nov 1953
    On November 9, 1953, Cambodia gained independence from France, and Sihanouk's effective administration as the king, started.
  • // 1955
    In 1955, the young king formed the political organization 'Sangkum Reastr Niyum', and gave up his throne for his father. In September, the former became Prime Minister of the nation, after winning a majority of votes at the parliamentary elections.
  • // 1955
    This King was known to have had several wives, but he had legally married Princess Samdech Norleak and Paule Monique Izzi, both in 1955. His son Sihamoni, by Monique Izzi, is currently the King of Cambodia.
  • // 1956
    In 1956, the Republic of Philippines declared Norodom the 'Raja of the Order of Sikatuna'.
  • // 1960
    With intermittent spells as the prime minister, he was declared the head-of-state in the 1960 general elections, after his father passed away. The ruler was given the title of Prince, and three years later, he modified the constitution in a way that made him the head-of-state till his death.
  • // 1965
    In 1965, he signed a treaty with the People's Republic of China as well as with North Vietnam, allowing military transactions between Vietnam and China to take place through Cambodia. In return, the Chinese would have to buy rice from Cambodia at high prices.
  • // 1966
    This Cambodian former King's movie 'La Forêt Enchantée' ('The Enchanted Forest'), made in 1966, was one of the entries at the following year's 'Moscow International Film Festival'
  • // 1970
    In 1970, the 'Sangkum Reastr Niyum' party was disbanded, and thus Norodom ceased to be its leader.
  • // 18th Mar 1970
    On March 18, 1970, the National Assembly along with military general Lon Nol ousted Sihanouk, and took over the administration of Cambodia. This happened when the deposed King was on a trip to Moscow, Russia, and he was forced to escape to Beijing in China.
  • // 1975
    In 1975, the 'Khmer Rouge' was able to capture Phnom Penh, and depose Lon Nol. While, Communist leader Pol Pot took actual control of the administration, Norodom was officially named the head-of-state of Cambodia.
  • // 1978
    The next year, the popular head-of-state was forced by the 'Khmer Rouge' to retire. In 1978, the 'Khmer Rouge' administration was ousted by the Vietnamese invasion, and Cambodian politician Heng Samrin, representing the 'People's Republic of Kampuchea', was made the head-of-state.
  • // 1982
    Sihanouk opposed this move and by 1982 he was appointed the President of the 'Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea'. The government-in-exile comprised of 'Armée Nationale Sihanoukiste', formed by Norodom himself, 'Khmer People's National Liberation Front', belonging to political leader Son Sann, and the 'Khmer Rouge'.
  • // 1989
    In 1989, the Vietnamese government left Cambodia, making political leader Hun Sen the representative of the 'People's Republic of Kampuchea ' party.
  • // 1991
    By 1991, the 'People's Republic of Kampuchea' and the 'Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea' signed a peace treaty in Paris, and Norodom's exile ended with the agreement.
  • // 1993
    Sihanouk was once more chosen as the King of Cambodia in 1993, but owing to health ailments, he spent more time in China.
  • // 2004
    In 2004, the King of Cambodia moved to Pyongyang in North Korea and gave up his throne. Cambodian politician Chea Sim acted as head-of-state till Sihamoni, Sihanouk's son, was appointed the King, the following year.
  • // 2004
    After his reign came to an end in 2004, this revered ruler was given the title of ‘Preah Karuna Preah Bat Sâmdach Preah Norodom Sihanouk Preahmâhaviraksat’. It means 'His Majesty King Norodom Sihanouk the Great Heroic King King-Father of Khmer independence, territorial integrity and national unity'.
  • // 2005
    Since 2005, he had been sick with B-Cell Lymphoma in his stomach, and also suffered from hypertension as well as diabetes.
  • // 15th Oct 2012
    This former King of Cambodia succumbed to a heart attack on October 15, 2012, in Beijing. His funeral was held at the Royal Palace in his homeland, and state flags were flown at half-staff as a mark of respect.
  • // 11th Oct 2013
    On October 11, 2013, a statue of the former King was unveiled in Phnom Penh by Prime Minister Hun Sen. Subsequently October 15 was declared a public holiday, as a symbol of respect.

// Famous Historical Personalities

Norodom Sihanouk's FAQ

  • What is Norodom Sihanouk birthday?

    Norodom Sihanouk was born at 1922-10-31

  • When was Norodom Sihanouk died?

    Norodom Sihanouk was died at 2012-10-15

  • Where was Norodom Sihanouk died?

    Norodom Sihanouk was died in Beijing

  • Which age was Norodom Sihanouk died?

    Norodom Sihanouk was died at age 89

  • Where is Norodom Sihanouk's birth place?

    Norodom Sihanouk was born in Royal Palace, Phnom Penh

  • What is Norodom Sihanouk nationalities?

    Norodom Sihanouk's nationalities is Cambodian

  • What is Norodom Sihanouk hobbies?

    Norodom Sihanouk's hobbies is Film making

  • Who is Norodom Sihanouk spouses?

    Norodom Sihanouk's spouses is Mam Manivan Phanivong, Norodom Monineath, Norodom Thavet Norleak, Phat Kanhol, Sisowath Monikessan, Sisowath Pongsanmoni

  • Who is Norodom Sihanouk childrens?

    Norodom Sihanouk's childrens is Norodom Ranariddh, Norodom Sihamoni

  • Which company or organization was founded by Norodom Sihanouk?

    Norodom Sihanouk was the founder/co-founder of Funcinpec Party, Royal University of Agriculture, Cambodia

  • What is Norodom Sihanouk's religion?

    Norodom Sihanouk's religion is Buddhism, Theravada

  • Who is Norodom Sihanouk's father?

    Norodom Sihanouk's father is Norodom Suramarit

  • Who is Norodom Sihanouk's mother?

    Norodom Sihanouk's mother is Sisowath Kossamak

  • What is Norodom Sihanouk's sun sign?

    Norodom Sihanouk is Scorpio

  • How famous is Norodom Sihanouk?

    Norodom Sihanouk is famouse as Former Ruler of Cambodia