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Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh (nŏm pĕn, pənŏm´) or Phnum Penh (pənŏŏm´), city (1994 est. pop. 527,000), capital of Cambodia, SW Cambodia, at the confluence of the Mekong and Tônlé Sap rivers. Phnom Penh was founded in the 14th cent. and was made the Khmer capital after the abandonment (1434) of Angkor. It became the capital of Cambodia in 1867. The city was occupied by the Japanese in World War II. The cultural and commercial center as well as political capital of Cambodia, it was severely stressed and battered by the civil war in the 1970s. The onset (1970) of fighting between government forces and the Khmer Rouge drove refugees from the war-torn countryside to Phnom Penh. Its population swelled from c.500,000 in 1970 to c.2 million in early 1975, when it was evacuated after falling to the Khmer Rouge. By the time the Khmer Rouge were overthrown in 1979, the city had become virtually a ghost town, with no more than 50,000 residents and its universities and cultural institutions no longer in operation. It gradually revived through the 1980s; Phnom Penh Univ. reopened in 1988. The transportation center of Cambodia, Phnom Penh is the focus of four highways radiating out to the provinces. It is the terminus of the country's only two railroads—one extending to the Thai border and another to the deepwater port of Kompong Som on the Gulf of Thailand. There is an international airport in nearby Pochentong.

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Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh (Phnum Pénh) Capital of Cambodia, in the s of the country, a port at the confluence of the rivers Mekong and Tonle Sap. Founded in the 14th century, the city was the capital of the Khmers after 1434. In 1865, it became the capital of Cambodia. Occupied by the Japanese during World War 2, it was extensively damaged during the Cambodian civil war. After the Khmer Rouge took power in 1975, the population was drastically reduced when many of its inhabitants were forcibly removed to work in the countryside. Industries: rice milling, brewing, distilling. Pop. (1998) 999,804.

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Phnom Penh

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