Like the country itself, the Cambodia flag has had a turbulent past.
The first Cambodian Flag was brought into existence around 1863. The flag which represented Cambodia under French rule was used up until 1948 and had a royal blue border, red middle and Angkor Wat in the center.
Once the French were ousted the original flag design went too and was replaced by a flag that featured a blue-red-blue horizontal tri-band with an outline of Cambodia’s definitive landmark of Angkor Wat.
The central red strip on the flag is double the width of the blue stripes. This flag represented the Kingdom of Cambodia.
This flag endured until Norodom Sihanouk was overthrown in 1970 by Lon Nol. The flag was replaced by one that had a blue background with three white stars and a red canton at the top left corner with Angkor Wat in the center. The flag was used throughout the country until 1975 when the notorious Khmer Rouge took control of Cambodia.
By April 1975 the Khmer Rouge had taken over Phnom Penh and much of Cambodia, although Sihanouk was in place as a puppet head of state.When Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge were at the helm the flag was changed yet again.
Between 1975 and 1979 the Cambodia flag was a red background with a yellow Angkor Wat at the center. When the Khmer Rouge government was deposed in 1979, a slightly modified flag was introduced that had a slightly different outline of Angkor Wat that had five towers instead of three.
This flag was used under Heng Samrin and Hun Sen who invaded Cambodia together with Vietnamese troops in January 1979. This flag was used until 1989 within Cambodia, but outside of the country the recognized flag remained as the 1948 flag.
In 1989 it was time to kiss goodbye to the red background flag and usher in a completely new flag once more. This time the flag had two horizontal stripes: the top stripe was red and the bottom stripe was blue. At the center was another version of Angkor Wat, but a far more detailed version than had been used previously. This flag was introduced when the country changed from the official title of The People’s Republic of Kampuchea to the State of Cambodia.
In 1993, the Kingdom of Cambodia’s flag was restored to its previous role of waving over the Southeast Asian country and its people. This was the flag that had been recognized by the UN and internationally all along.
The current flag is the only flag in the world that has a building as part of its design. The red stripe represent bravery, strength and valor and the blue stripes represent vigilance, truth, justice, loyalty and perseverance.
So in short…
The Cambodian people along with the Cambodia flag have endured years of instability and upheaval. The perseverance represented by the blue on their flag has seen them survive the harsh years and come out the other side proud and free of terror.