Young Pioneer Tours

Former Countries – The Samdech Euv Autonomous Zone – Cambodia

At Young Pioneer Tours we love a former country, particularly if it was very brief, strange and you can still visit there. We present the Samdech Euv Autonomous Zone.

So, what the Samdech Euv Autonomous Zone? Essentially it was a secessionist state in eastern Cambodia born from the controversial 1993 elections.

Prelude to to the 1993 Elections in Cambodia

The later half of the 20th century was a weird one for Cambodia as it went from being a Kingdom, to the Khmer Republic, Democratic Kampuchea, the People’s Republic of Kampuchea and finally the State of Cambodia.

This was to lead to the 1993 elections which largely saw the royalist party FUNCINPEC fight out against the former communist Cambodian People’s Party.

In the midst of this you had a man called Norodom Chakrapong, a Prince and former member of FUNCINPEC who decided to defect to the CPP in what was huge coup for the latter. This was particularly true since just a few years before they had been quite literally at war with each other.

The 1993 Elections

Much could be written (and indeed has been) about the 1993 elections, but some would argue it was won by the royalists, but that the CPP who controlled the media, army and police refused to accept this.

In the midst of this Norodom Chakrapong declared three eastern province bordering Vietnam independent, which were soon joined by four other making seven in total. The United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) were also told to leave and briefly there was violence.

In order to settle the dispute the CPP under Hun Sen and FUNCINPEC under Norodom Ranariddh were to share power, while the Samdech Euv Autonomous Zone would be reintegrated in Cambodia.

Some have opined that this was a ploy to keep the CPP in power rather than a serious struggle for independence, but regardless the Samdech Euv Autonomous Zone was “independent” for around a week.

Interestingly this had Cambodia almost split into four states, with the Kingdom of Cambodia/State of Cambodia, the UNTAC administration, as well as the rebel Khmer Rouge state catchily known as The Provisional Government of National Union and National Salvation of Cambodia (PGNUNSC) – making 3-4 Cambodias, depending on how you count things.

Regardless though this state did exist, even briefly and indeed can still be visited today.

You can check out our Cambodia tours here.

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