Khmer or Khmer- The Khmer Empire in Angkor (Kingdom of Cambodia) –

How many times have we seen photos of those wonderful temples covered by natureblackened by moisture and forgotten by the passage of time. Cambodiaan enigmatic country still full of great mysteries, evidence of civilizations that prospered in a fertile but hard land. The Khmer Empire, who they were, how they were able to build those colossal buildings, what system of government they had, how they could survive in such a harsh place. Angkor, Sdok Kak Thom or Indrapura, cities that were abandoned, but why? In this article we are going to answer these questions, as well as discover a culture that may be almost unknown to many of us.

How the Khmer Empire was created at Angkor

To know the Khmer Empire or the Angkor Empire, we have to situate ourselves geographically, in order to be able to realize the dimension that it came to occupy, countries like Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, parts of Burma and Malaysiaconstituted this unique empire, so unknown as enigmatic.

Now that we know its location and extension, we must start the history of the Khmer Empire, at the beginning, going back to the first century, in Southeast Asia. In the 1st century, the entire region was divided into small autonomous and independent tribes. Each of these tribes They were led by a chief, a figure responsible for the designs of his people, they governed, exercised military power and dispensed justice.

It was not until the 7th century that these small tribes began to organize themselves into larger groups, giving rise to two new kingdoms.

Really, there is not much data on the creation of these two kingdoms, and a large number of unknowns arise that neither history nor archeology have yet been able to answer, so we will stick to the data that has already been verified.

Practically just released this new system of government based on two kingdoms, the life of these towns, would take a new and unexpected turn. During the 7th century, Indonesian invades Southeast Asia, which is why both the Chenlá and Funán kingdoms decide to join forces to fight together against the invader.

This fact was the trigger for political and definitive unity of both kingdoms, after the expulsion of the invaders and recover their independence in the year 802, thanks to the leadership of Jayavarman IIwho can be considered as founder of the Khmer dynasty.

Khmer or Khmer: The Khmer Empire at Angkor

Jayavarman II had grown up in the Silaendra cutting in Javaliving his childhood and adolescence under the influences of the court, to such an extent that when he proclaimed independence from the Khmer Empire, he quickly wanted to put into practice all the knowledge he had acquired.

After his proclamation as king of all monarchs and absolute lord of the kingdom, with the power granted by Shiva, Jayavarman II, based his entire empire on a single religion, the Hindu and around it temples were erected throughout the length and breadth of the empire.

The Khmer Empire had a clear Indian Cultural Influence, transferring that religious influence to its architecture, its customs, its beliefs and its way of seeing life. They adopted Brahmanism instead of the prevailing system in India, such as the Caste system.

Jayavarman II, founded four important cities, Hariharalaya, Amarendrapura, Mahendrapura and Indrapura, making the latter its capital. The king dies in the year 850 in the city of Hariharalaya, rising to the throne his son Jayavarman III, who reigned until his death.

The Empire of Indravarman I

Indravarman I, succeeded Jayavarman III, who changed the capital from Indrapura to Hariharalaya. Abundant inscriptions have been found from this period, just as in this period we can place the temple of Preah Ko, as a temple for the worship of the spirits that guard the kingdom. Bakhong temple and Devaraja temple.

He built an impressive reservoir, called Indratataka, taking advantage of the course of the Roulos River. The reservoir, whose length was 3,800 m and its width was 800 m, allowed the supply of water to both the city and the crops.

Indravarman managed to expand the borders of the kingdom to Ubon and Phnom Bayang, thus reconquering the entire area of ​​the Mun River valley.

In the year 889, Indravarman I died causing a bloody succession fight, which ended with the victory of Yasovarman I, changing the lineage of the dynasty for that of the Mahipativarman.

The Empire of Yasovarman I

The reign of Yasovarman I was characterized by a peaceful reign with practically no shocks until his death in the year 910.

Yasovarman I managed to build large civil works and take cities to a colossal level in terms of dimensions. He built a new reservoir much larger than the previous one built by Indravarman I. Taking advantage of the waters of the siem reap rivera reservoir 7,000 m long and 1,800 m wide was built.

He built the new city yashodharapura, a city of colossal size, 4 km long, which he endowed with magnificent temples. The complex consisted in the center with an elevation from which the royal temple, called the Phnom Bakheng, started, around this other temples of smaller dimensions such as those of Phnom Krom either Phonom Bok.

The Empire of Jayavarman IV

On the death of Yasovarman I, he was succeeded by his son Harshavarman I, but his reign soon turned into a power struggle. Jayavarman IVthe king’s uncle rebelled against the power of his nephew, taking possession of the territories northwest of Angkor, crowning himself in the city of Koh Ker.

The kingdom was divided into two parts and with two capitals, during the time in which Harshavarman I lived, the disputes followed one another, at the death of King Harshavarman I in the year 925 and after a brief reign of his brother Ishanavarman II, Died in 928, just 3 years after taking the throne, Jaybarman IV it was like sole and legitimate king of the Khmer Empire.

But the division of the empire that Harshavarman I provoked also had some consequences and it was an effective control only and exclusively over the city of Koh Ker and its area of ​​influence. Jayavarman IV, died in the year 941.

Other reigns

Different kings succeeded each other as Harshavarman II, Rajendravarman II who gained control over the Angkor region, still reluctant to unification, and built the temple-mountain dedicated to the ancestors of mebon, in order to restore and strengthen the old traditions. Other temples followed them like the one in Pre-Rump or the temple Preah Viheardedicated to Shiva.

ruled with authority attempting to wipe out the small untitled kingdoms that flourished throughout the empire, he reduced them to mere provinces, causing discontent. Continuous looting of kingdoms like the Champamaking gold images and works of incalculable value disappear. The reign of Rajendravarman II ended in the year 976, when the monarch passed away.

His son and successor JayavarmanV, ascended the throne while still a child, so he had the help of Yajnavaraha, who guided and advised him in his early years, they had such affinity that in the year 976, Jayavarman V, built a temple in his honor, the temple of Banteay Srei.

The new king strove to keep his borders safe, managed to defeat the Chams, forcing them to pay a tribute for their constant looting and as spoils of war.

advocated for the woman in the power, giving it an important place, he was also a great lover of culture, attempting to propel it throughout his empire. Upon his death in the year 1001 and since he had no heir to the throne, his grandson will succeed him Udayadityavarman I, who only reigned for one year.

Suryvarman II

his successor Jayavirahvarman reigned only 4 years, until 1006, but in his short reign he built a wall in the capital for his defense, after the constant threats of Suryvarman, son of the prince of the kingdom of Tambralinga, in present-day Thailand.

Suryvarman, would rise to the throne in the year 1006, with the name of Suryvarman II and with him will come the heyday of the Khmer empire. His reign has left us the temple of Angkor Wat, the largest religious structure in the world.

had to deal with attempts Udayadityavarman and Jayavirahvarman, in taking power, establishing a solid, strong and unique government over Cambodia, which would end 200 years of disputes.

As for the religion, Suryvarman II knew how to make a profound religious reformation, where the cults of Shiva and Vishnu could be mixed, both gods belonged to the category of Hindu supreme gods, although they always showed a predilection for Vishnumaking Vishnuism the official religion against Buddhism, prevailing in past times.

Reason for which Angkor Watdedicated to Vishnu, had a leading role in politics, religion and government during the reign of Suryvarman, despite all his efforts, he never managed to see it finished.

Decline of the Khmer Empire at Angkor

The Khmer or Khmer Empire, to this day, has not provided us with much data, little by little new data is discovered to complete the puzzle. Another of our great doubts is the reason why the Khmer Empire fell into decline, after long centuries of prosperity.

There are many theories, but few verified data. That is why we are going to expose all the theories that are being considered. According to some theories, the reason for the decline was due to a harsh period of successive famines that weakened their economy making them vulnerable to foreign invasions.

Others believe that as a result of successive famines, a devastating plague epidemic ended the empire. What is certain is that, analyzing the situation around the empire, we will see that in Asia, the dreaded Mongols They began their expansion into China.

the siamese, were a tribe that lived in a part of the China region, with the incursion of the Mongols, they were forced to flee to the south, even entering Khmer territory. The number of foreigners grew gradually, until a time came when occupied important places within the administration of the Empire.

Over time they even absorbed the empire itself, creating their own kingdom that will occupy much of the Khmer Empire. in 1431the country was invaded, looted the beautiful city of Angkor and they put an end to what had been a great and powerful empire. The royal family was forced to move away and settle in Phnom Penh.

Shortly after the city of Angkor, was left uninhabited, to the point of falling into oblivion. Its last inhabitants were Buddhist monks who never left him. Little by little, the jungle began to claim its buildings, its temples, all hints of the existence of a civilization, condemning it to oblivion.

In the year 1861the French naturalist Henri Mouhot, While carrying out a series of studies to catalog new species in the Cambodian jungle, he discovered the impressive sacred city of Angkor. With the publication of his book «Journey to the kingdoms of Siam, Cambodia and Laos», the city of Angkor was placed on the maps, making this place a place for the most intrepid adventurers and rescuing, in this…