The Khmer Empire dominated most of South East Asia. Their civilisation spanned from AD 802 – AD 1431, and they built one of the most beautiful ancient cities – Angkor.
In the late 8th century, a man called Jayavarman II from the island Java, led military campaigns throughout the area and conquered them to eventually rule a wider state, which eventually became the Khmer Empire. He declared himself chakravartin – Universal Ruler – in 802, and the empire was born.
The Khmer people were stealthy builders and created the magical city of Angkor, which covers an area of a thousand kilometres squared. It was one of the biggest ancient cities, and was the capital of the Khmer Empire. It was originally called Yashodharapura, meaning Glory-bearing city.
They built massive reservoirs, temples and monuments along with canals and roadways. The main religion during the empire’s reign was Hinduism and first, and then Buddhism towards the later part of the empire.
The greatest king was Jayavarman VII, who ruled from 1181 – 1215. He rescued Angkor from invading Chams, and conquered their kingdom, to lengthen his ruling territory. Under his rule, the city built even more temples and monuments, a hundred hospitals, more hospitals and created the Angor Thom complex – a city within Angkor.
As for the people, they were generally festive, and enjoyed wrestling, cock fights (not awesome), horse racing, music and dance.
The Khmer Empire eventually collapsed due to the Thai immigration, which saw more cities building up in the area. The Thai Kingdom of Ayutthaya eventually took Angkor in AD 1431.