11 August 2013

Cambodia: This Day in History

Admiral Pierre de La Grandiere later appeared on an Indochine stamp
On this day in 1863, soon to be King, Norodom (his coronation was not until 1864) signed a 'treaty of friendship, commerce and French protection,' with Admiral Pierre de La Grandiere.

The presence of a nearby French gunboat went along way to ensuring signatures were exchanged without fuss.

Seemingly innocuous- at least a first- Norodom agreed with the French that:

  • The Catholic church would be given a number of special privileges.
  •  Buddhism would stay as the state religion of Cambodia.
  • The French could house an army and warships within Cambodia.
  • The French and the Cambodians had the right to freely-trade with each other.
After a number of centuries of being push, bullied, attacked and massacred by both the Siamese and the Vietnamese it's likely that Norodom thought this deal could have been a whole lot worse.

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