Khmer collapse

Brian Sandor And Aurelie Moutran


Angkor declined over four centuries as a result of repeated military defeats and climate change.

Overview of the Khmer empire

At its height in the 11th and 12th centuries, the Khmer empire, a monarchy who neighbored China and Vietnam, included most of Cambodia, central Thailand, southern Viet Nam and parts of Laos. The Khmer empire was isolated resulting in not a lot of outside contact. Since they believed that everyone is the same, they didn't have any social classes besides being king/monarch. The main religions were Hinduism and Buddhism and coexisted without too many conflicts. Khmer also had complicated plumbing/water transportation as well as technology to build large temples, such as Angkor Watt.

Military Defeats

Khmer's collapse was helped along greatly by many losses in battles/wars. One such example was when the Thai peoples took over their capital of Angkor Watt. They also were attacked by the Mongols for a period of time in the 13th century.

Climate Change

Khmer had a great waterway system, but the dry season lead to gradual deterioration of the complex irrigation system that had ensured rice surpluses as well as other foods eaten by Khmer.


After the king Jayavarman VII's death, the Khmer empire slowly declined: weakened by a climate change which lead to a deterioration of their irrigation system and by neighboring people's repetitive attacks, the Khmer empire finally fell to the Thai people in 1431 CE.


Easybib link:

Davis, Paul. "Khmer Empire." World Geography: Understanding a Changing World. ABC-CLIO, 2014. Web. 12 Mar. 2014.

Book citation:

Groslier, Bernard-Philippe. "An Uncertain Legacy: The Khmer Paradox." Khmer: Lost Empire of Cambodia. Ed. Thierry Zéphir. London: Thames and Hudson, 1998. N. pag. Print.

"Cambodia History: Rise and Fall of Khmer (Angkor) Civilization."Cambodia History: Rise and Fall of Khmer (Angkor) Civilization. Web. 12 Mar. 2014.

Overton, Leonard C. "The Decline of Angkor." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica. Web. 12 Mar. 2014.

Hendrickson, Mitch. "Historic Routes To Angkor: Development Of The Khmer Road System (Ninth To Thirteenth Centuries AD) In Mainland Southeast Asia."Antiquity 84.324 (2010): 480-496. Academic Search Premier. Web. 14 Mar. 2014.