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Independence Day of Cambodia

November 9, 2023

Independence Day of Cambodia Things to do in Phnom Penh Independence Monument

Independence Day of Cambodia is held each year on 9 November. It is a public holiday. Cambodia was under French rule for 90 years, and 9 November officially marks the anniversary of the date independence was gained on 9 November, 1953.

Independence Day of Cambodia

The main celebrations take place at Independence Monument in the capital Phnom Penh and see high-ranking officials, including military, government officials, foreign diplomats and monks, gather for a parade. This usually culminates in the king entering the monument, followed by Prime Minister Hun Sen and Assembly Members, to light the ceremonial torch.

History of French Rule

For almost a century, Cambodia remained under French colonial rule. In the 19th century, Cambodia was reduced to a vassal state of the Kingdom of Siam, which had annexed its Western provinces, including Siem Reap. At the same time, the east of the country was under growing threat from the Vietnamese Nguyen Dynasty.

In a bid to regain control, on 11 August 1863, King Norodom signed a treaty for a French protectorate to rule the country. It eventually fell under French colonial rule. The treaty stated that while the Cambodian monarchy could remain, power was placed under a resident general in Phnom Penh. France was to rule Cambodia’s foreign and trade relations, and was tasked with providing military protection.

In 1941, during the Second World War, Japanese forces invaded Indochina and overthrew the French administration, including in Cambodia. The Japanese occupation lasted until 1945 when King Norodom Sihanouk, by formal request of the Japanese, proclaimed an independent Kingdom of Cambodia. This was nominally ratified by the Japanese government.

In 1949, Cambodia’s protectorate status was abolished, and in March 1953, King Sihanouk travelled to France to persuade the powers that be to grant total independence. This was finally given in October of that year, with King Sihanouk lauded as the “Father of Independence” ever since.

Independence Day was first celebrated on 9 November, 1953.


November 9, 2023
Event Category:


Independence Monument
Cnr. Sihanouk Blvd. & Norodom Blvd., Phnom Penh, Cambodia,
Phnom Penh,
+ Google Map
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