9th November

Day of the Skulls (Bolivia: skulls of family members watch over the house three years after burial; on this day they are given offerings and taken to Mass)

Inventors Day (Germany, Austria, Switzerland)

Cambodia Independence Day

Cambodia was a collection of little kingdoms heavily influenced by India until the Khmer Empire grew in the 9th century. Its capital was Angkor, the world’s largest pre-industrial capital.

Sri Lankan monks introduced Buddhism in the 13th century. Angkor was abandoned in 1432 after being sacked by the Siamese Ayutthaya Kingdom. The Khmer kings became vassals of the Siamese and Vietnamese, who continuously fought over it until the Cambodian king Norodom I asked the French for protection in 1863.

Cambodia became part of French Indochina, except for when Japan invaded in WWII.

Cambodia gained independence in 1953. When the French were handing out independence, the Mekong Delta went to the Vietnamese, even though 1 million ethnic Khmers live there.

Cambodia remained neutral in the Cold War, but King Sihanouk let Communists find sanctuary during the Vietnam War going on right next door.

In 1970 King Sihanouk was ousted and Cambodia became anti-Communist. So North Vietnam attacked Cambodia, and the king’s old supporters joined in and the country dissolved into civil war. Meanwhile the US and South Vietnam bombed Cambodia, you know, to help.

Cambodian Communism was called the Khmer Rouge, under the leader Pol Pot.

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In 1975 the Khmer Republic surrendered to the Communists, and Cambodia was renamed the Democratic Kampuchea. The cities were evacuated and everyone was forced to march to work on farms. About a quarter of the population were killed, and areas of the country are now known as the Killing Fields.

In 1978 Vietnam invaded because the Khmer Rouge had been trying to take back the Mekong Delta. In 1991 the UN took over to try and sort everything out.

In 1993 Sihanouk was restored as king, and the UN set up free elections with the government in charge of power. In 1997 the co-Prime Minister Hun Sen had all the non-communist MPs assassinated, but otherwise things have worked ok.

Allama Muhammad Iqbal Day (Pakistan – birthday of national poet)

Germany’s Schicksaltag (Day of Fate because historically important things happened on this day)

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