Norodom Sihanouk

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Norodom Sihanouk was only 19 years old when he became the King of Cambodia. He was the leader of the country for 14 years, with short but frequent stints as Prime Minister in between. The “Guinness Book of World Records” says that this former ruler is the only politician who has held the most political positions. After 14 years on the throne, he gave it up, and his father, Suramarit, became king. After his father died, Norodom took over as Prime Minister once more. After getting rid of the old government, military general Lon Nol ruled for five years. With the help of the Khmer Rouge, Sihanouk took back his kingdom and became the leader of the country. But Pol Pot, the communist leader, only used him as a puppet. After the Vietnamese army got rid of Pol Pot, the Cambodian King had to deal with another political battle. During his time in power, Cambodia was taken over by many different countries and organizations. But because he wanted his country to be independent and because he wanted to stay king, this ruler did everything he could to keep his power. This king was well-liked by Cambodians until he died because of his support for the country’s independence. He is still looked up to today.

Early years and childhood

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

The young boy went to school in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and then to “Lycée Chasseloup Laubat” in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Later, he went to the “Armoured Cavalry Branch Training School” in the Western French commune of Saumur to learn how to be a soldier.

Accession, and Rule

After his grandfather, King Sisowath Monivong died on April 25, 1941, Sihanouk was named King of Cambodia.
On March 9, 1945, the Empire of Japan overthrew the French government in Cambodia and told the young King of the country to declare independence. The ruler, who was only 22, was forced to do so. Nine days later, he was named the first Prime Minister of Cambodia.

The Japanese took over Cambodia on August 14, 1945, and made the foreign minister, Son Ngoc Thanh, the Prime Minister. Thanh only stayed in office for two months, though.
On April 28, 1950, Norodom took over for Yem Sambar as Prime Minister of Cambodia. He did this for a month. After two years, he was re-elected, and this time he stayed in office for longer.

Cambodia got its independence from France on November 9, 1953, and Sihanouk took over as the country’s king.
In 1955, the young king started the political group Sangkum Reastr Niyum and gave up the throne for his father. After getting the most votes in parliamentary elections in September, the first person became Prime Minister of the country.

After his father died in 1960, he took over as head of state. He had been a prime minister on and off since his father’s death. The leader was given the title of Prince, and three years later, he changed the constitution in a way that made him the head of state until he died.

In 1965, he made a deal with the People’s Republic of China and North Vietnam that let military trade between those two countries go through Cambodia. In exchange, China would have to pay a lot of money to Cambodia for rice.

During this time, the king supported communism and thought that the country should follow Mao’s ideas. He also became close with Kim Il-sung, the leader of North Korea. Both of them were against the U.S. foreign policies in Asia.

The “Sangkum Reastr Niyum” party was dissolved in 1970, so Norodom was no longer in charge of it.
Sihanouk was kicked out of power on March 18, 1970, by the National Assembly and military general Lon Nol. They then took over running Cambodia. This happened when the King who had been deposed was on a trip to Moscow, Russia, and he had to run away to Beijing, China.

This leader in exile set up the “National United Front of Kampuchea” in Beijing. This was a group that worked with the “Communist Party of Kampuchea,” which most people know as the “Khmer Rouge.” The goal of the political group was to get rid of Cambodian Prime Minister Lon Nol and his government.

The “Khmer Rouge” were able to take over Phnom Penh and get rid of Lon Nol in 1975. Norodom was named the head of state of Cambodia, even though Communist leader Pol Pot actually ran the government.

The “Khmer Rouge” forced the popular head of state to step down the following year. In 1978, the Vietnamese invaded Cambodia and overthrew the “Khmer Rouge” government. Cambodian politician Heng Samrin, who stood for the “People’s Republic of Kampuchea,” was then put in charge of the country.

Sihanouk did not agree with this decision, and in 1982, he was named President of the “Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea.” The “Armée Nationale Sihanoukiste,” which Norodom himself created, the “Khmer People’s National Liberation Front,” which was led by Son Sann, and the “Khmer Rouge” made up the “government in exile.”

In 1989, the Vietnamese government left Cambodia. Hun Sen became the leader of the “People’s Republic of Kampuchea” party after the Vietnamese government left.

In 1991, the “People’s Republic of Kampuchea” and the “Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea” signed a peace treaty in Paris. This ended Norodom’s time in exile.
Sihanouk was chosen as King of Cambodia again in 1993, but he spent more time in China because of health problems.

In 2004, the King of Cambodia gave up his throne and moved to Pyongyang, North Korea. Chea Sim, a Cambodian politician, was in charge of the country until the next year, when Sihanouk’s son, Sihamoni, became King.

During his life, this well-known king gave many speeches, both in Cambodia and in places like San Francisco, New York, Nottingham, Auckland, and Hamburg.

Works of note

This smart Cambodian leader was known for fighting for Cambodia’s independence from the French, the Japanese, and finally Vietnam. To reach this goal, he started political groups like Sangkum Reastr Niyum and the National United Front of Kampuchea.

Awards & Achievements

In 1956, Norodom was named the “Raja of the Order of Sikatuna” by the Republic of the Philippines.
In the same year, the Spanish government gave this former King of Cambodia the “Grand Cross of the Order of Military Merit,” which is one of their highest honors.

The name “Preah Karuna Preah Bat Samdach Preah Norodom Sihanouk Preahmahaviraksat” was given to this respected leader after his reign ended in 2004. It means “His Majesty King Norodom Sihanouk, the Great Heroic King, Father of Khmer Independence, Territorial Integrity, and National Unity.”

Personal History and Legacies

People knew that this King had more than one wife, but he was only married legally to Princess Samdech Norleak and Paule Monique Izzi in 1955. Monique Izzi’s son Sihamoni is the King of Cambodia right now.

The famous king was also a passionate filmmaker who made movies like “See Angkor and Die,” “The Last Days of Colonel Savath,” and “Cortège Royal.”
He had been sick with B-Cell Lymphoma in his stomach since 2005. He also had high blood pressure and diabetes.

On October 15, 2012, in Beijing, this man who used to be King of Cambodia died of a heart attack. In his home country, his funeral was held at the Royal Palace, and flags were flown at half-staff out of respect.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, paid tribute to this ruler and praised him for his role in his country’s nationalist movement.

After he died, a documentary about his life was shown over and over again on “National Television of Kampuchea.”
News reports said that more than 1,200,000 people had gathered near the Royal Palace to honor the dead King. He was called “Preah Karuna Preah Norodom Sihanouk Preah Borom Ratanakkot” after he died (The King who lies in the Diamond Urn).

The French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, the Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, and the US ambassador to Cambodia, William E. Todd, were among the well-known people who came to his cremation service.
On October 11, 2013, Prime Minister Hun Sen unveiled a statue of the former King in Phnom Penh. As a sign of respect, the 15th of October was then made a public holiday.

Estimated Net worth

How much money the Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni has: The current King of Cambodia is Norodom Sihamoni, who has a net worth of $500,000. Sihamoni was born on May 14, 1953, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

He is a member of the House of Norodom. On October 14, 2004, he became king, and on October 29, 2004, he was crowned.

Trivia

This Cambodian former King’s movie, “La Forêt Enchantée” (The Enchanted Forest), was made in 1966 and was shown at the “Moscow International Film Festival” the following year.