What is the current flag of Cambodia, what is its history, and what does it mean? The YPT team is here to answer all your Khmer Flag questions.
The flag of Cambodia is a particularly interesting one for flag lovers as it has had essentially three incarnations in the modern era.
What is the current flag of Cambodia?
The current flag of the Kingdom of Cambodia (the official name of the state) is the Royal Flag. The Royal Flag was initially adopted in 1948 and stayed in place until the coup of Lon Nol in 1970.
The current flag, with a blue border and red central (the stripes are in the ratio 1:2:1), was adopted following Cambodia’s independence in 1948. It also features a visual interpretation of Angkor Wat, something very unique!
How many flags feature a national building on them?
We are glad you asked! There are 5, Cambodia, Afghanistan, San Marino, Portugal and Spain, although Cambodia is by far the most literal interpretation of a building.
What was the flag of Cambodia under Lon Nol and the Khmer Republic?
From 1970-75 the flag of the Lon Nol government (Khmer Republic) consisted of a blue field with a red rectangle in the canton. The red rectangle bears the Angkor Wat silhouette. Three large white stars are aligned horizontally on the upper corner of the blue field, and these stars were meant to symbolize the nation, state, and Buddhism. The flag was later used by rebel groups fighting the Vietnamese backed government of Cambodia.
Flag of the Khmer Rouge
The flag of the Khmer Rouge or, more specifically, Democratic Kampuchea featured a red background, ala communism, but not stars, hammers, or sickles, but instead keeping with a gold Angkor Wat. The flag of the Khmer Rouge was one of the most unique flags of the communist world. The Khmer Rouge continued using the flag when they went into opposition.
Flag of the Peoples Republic of Kampuchea
Following the ouster of the Khmer Rouge and the fall of Democratic Kampuchea, the flag of Cambodia again changed, although you might notice it is quite familiar!. The new design was very similar to the flag of Democratic Kampuchea, but with a much more artistic rendition of Angkor Wat, consisting of 5 silhouettes representing the unity of soldiers, traders, workers, peasants and intellectuals of the country. The red represented the blood of the revolution. Again a flag unique to the communist world.
Flag of the State of Cambodia
The State of Cambodia was formed as the country opened up its economy and moved away from communism. You can read more about the State of Cambodia here.
The flag of the state of Cambodia existed from 1989-93 when the royal design was reintroduced. It is though noteworthy that for a brief period Cambodia was briefly ruled by the UN, under UNTAC. They had their own flag, which could potentially be seen as a flag of Cambodia.
The flag of the State of Cambodia was similar to that of the People’s Republic features a more stylized Angkor Watt, as well as white and blue backgrounds at a 50-50 ratio. The blue being a nod to royalty and King Sihanouk.
Therefore a 60 year old would have lived under around 6 different states, all with their own flag. Cambodia is certainly an interesting place, with the tale of its flag really epitomizing this!
See Cambodia for yourself on our Dark Tourism Tour..