Monday, January 24, 2011

History of Battambang

During the pre-Angkor and Angkor eras, the areas to the north and to the north west of the Tonle Sap Lake were known as the territories of Amogha Boreak and Bhima Boreak. During the Angkor period, the territory of Amogha Boreak was significantly prosperous because the land was so fertile that rice crops, fruit and vegetables produced excellent yields. Many Khmer people settled there as indicated by the existence of so many ancient temples in the area. With the exception of the temples of Wat Banan, Ek Phnom, Baseth, Stung, Banteay Tey, Banteay Chmar, etc.,other monuments, which were built by dignitaries and subjects at the time as places of worship to God and other deities of Buddhism and Hinduism, almost completely disappeared.

Between the 15th century and the 18th century the area was invaded by the Siamese army, forcing landowners off their land and splitting up their families.

From the late 18th century until early in the 20th century, the Siamese ruled Battambang and placed it under the rule of the Lord Chaofa Ben family, which was later known as the Akpheyyavong Family. This lasted for 6 generations and ended in 1907. While under Thai rule, the province was a changwat of Thailand called Phra Tabong.

The French Siamese Treaty of March 23, 1907, obliged the Siamese to return territories that they had occupied for more than a century. These included Battambang, Siem Reap and Angkor, in exchange for Trat province and the area of Dach Se (Lao territory) in the upper catchment area of the Mekong River. On December 6, 1907, His Majesty Preah Bat Sisowath issued a royal declaration splitting Battambang into 3 provinces: Battambang, Siem Reap and Serei Sophorn. In 1925, Battambang was divided again into two provinces: Battambang and Siem Reap, with Battambang having two districts: Battambang and Serei Sophorn. By 1940, Battambang consisted of 7 districts: Battambang, Sangke, Maung Russey, Monkol Borei, Toeuk Cho, Serei Sophorn, and Bei Thbaung.

In May 1953, the Poi Pet administration was founded and ordered under the district of Serei Sophorn which was divided into two districts: Serei Sophorn and Banteay Chmar. In March 1965, the administration of Poi Pet, was elevated to the status of a district named O Chrov. In July 1965, part of the territory of Maung Russey was separated to become the administration of Kors Kralor. In March 1966, another new district Thmar Pouk was founded and the district of Banteay Chmar was cut off from the province of Battambang for incorporation into Oddor Meanchey province, another newly founded province. In the early years of the Khmer Rouge, two new districts were established: Banan and Kors Lor. During the 3 years and 9 months of the Killing Fields, Battambang saw its people evacuated by Pol Pot's men from the city and towns and relocated to remote and mountainous areas. The province of Battambang, once known as the rice bowl of the country, was turned into a site of torture, killings, and starvation.

The province of Battambang was completely liberated from the genocidal regime on January 13, 1979. At that time, the People’s Committee of commune-Sangkat was founded through the first-ever elections in 1983. Between 1979 and 1986, Battambang had 9 districts and one provincial town.

In 1986, three new districts were created: Banan, Bovel, and Ek Phnom. Until that point, Battambang had 12 districts and 1 provincial town. In 1988, however 5 districts were separated and incorporated into the newly founded province of Banteay Meanchey.

In 1998, following the integration of the remaining territory of the former Democratic Kampuchea, the province of Battambang saw part of its territory separated for the municipality of Pailin, while 4 new districts were established: Samlot, Kamreang, Phnom Proeuk and Sampov Loun. In 2000, part of the district of Maung Russey was split off to become the district of Koas Krala.[3]


Known as the Rice Bowl of Cambodia the province has a strong agricultural economy with a great production of rice. In the 2006 rainy season 2,440.14 km² of rice, were cultivated for production and the average rice yielded 2.2 tons per hectare, with the total output standing at 536,830.80 tons. With the amount reserved for consumption, seeds, animal food, and waste during harvest, there were about 300,000 tons left for sale. The Department of Agriculture in Cambodia has provided quality rice seed varieties like the Romduol and Senpidor strains for farmers to grow on their rice fields as a demonstration and have allocated significant funds towards experimentation in many of the provinces districts.

In addition to rice, subsidiary crops were also planted on 98,342 hectares, including some 420 km² of corn, 400 km² of red corn, 180 km² of cassava, 2.42 km2 of sweet potatoes and many other crops including green beans and chillies. There was a total of 501.78 km² of industrial crops with ground nuts, soybean, jute, sugarcane produced. The Province also produces notable quantities of pineapple, sesame, grapefruit, oil palm and saffron.

Rice cropping plays an important role in the provincial economy

Besides arable farming, local people mainly indulge in livestock breeding, rice seed production, the production of animal fodder, etc. while few operate animal breeding farms. Strategies laid out by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery, have intended to aid the transition from the tradition of growing long-term rice varieties to using medium- and short-term varieties and practicing nature-based intensive rice farming.

Battambang Province has 12 fishing lots and commercial fishing exceeded 7,000 tons in 2006 of which 990 tons of rice field fish were caught by local families. The province has 37 fishing communities, each with over 300 members.

During this monsoon season, snakeheads and snakehead murrels are a common target of fishing with a significant increase in stock in recent years due to the Ministry of Agriculture imposing restrictions on illegal fishing to ensure sustainability.

Country Cambodia
Settled Pre-Angkor
Siamese control 18th century
French control March 23, 1907
Capital Battambang
- Mayor & Governor H.E. Pream Chan
- Vice Governors H.E. El Say, H.E. Sang Soktoum, H.E. Srey Sobin
- Total 11,702 km2 (4,518.2 sq mi)
Elevation 11.89 m (39 ft)
Population (2008)[1]
- Total 1,036,523
- Density 88.6/km2 (229.4/sq mi)
Demonym Bamttambangian
Time zone UTC+07
Dialing code +855 (023)
Districts 13
Communes 96
Villages 741