Khmer People are a Southeast Asian ethnic group indigenous to Cambodia, accounting for more than 97% of the country’s 15.9 million people.
The rest of the 5-10 percent include Chinese-Khmers, Khmer Islam or Chams, ethnic hill-tribe people, referred to as the Khmer Loeu, and Vietnamese. About 10 percent of the population lives in Phnom Penh, the capital, making Cambodia largely a country of rural dwellers, farmers, and artisans.
The ethnic groups that constitute Cambodian society possess a number of economic and demographic commonalties- for example. Chinese merchants lived mainly in urban centers and play middlemen in many economic cycles, but they also preserve differences in their social and cultural institutions. They were concentrated mostly in central and in southeastern Cambodia, the major differences among these groups lie in social organization, language, and religion.
The majority of the inhabitants of Cambodia are settled in fairly permanent villages near the major bodies of water in the Tonle Sap Basin-Mekong Lowlands region. The Khmer Loeu live in widely scattered villages that are abandoned when the cultivated land in the vicinity is exhausted. The permanently settled Khmer and Cham villages usually located on or near the banks of a river or other bodies of water. Cham villages usually are made up almost entirely of Cham, but Khmer villages, especially in central and in southeastern of Cambodia, typically include sizable Chinese communities.
The Khmer Loeu
The Khmer Loeu are the non-Khmer highland tribes in Cambodia. The Khmer Loeu are found namely in the northeastern provinces of Rattanakiri, Stung Treng, Mondulkiri and Crate. Most Khmer Loeu live in scattered temporary villages that have only a few hundred inhabitants. These villages usually are governed by a council of local elders or by a village headman.
The Khmer Loeu cultivate a wide variety of plants, but the man crop is dry or upland rice growth by the slash-and-burn method. Hunting, fishing, and gathering supplement the cultivated vegetable foods in the Khmer Loeu diet.
Houses vary from huge multi-family long houses to small single-family structures. They may be built close to the ground or on stilts. The major Khmer Loeu groups in Cambodia are the Kuy, Phnong, Brao, Jarai, and Rade. All but about 160,000 Kuy lived in the northern Cambodia provinces of Kampong Thom, Preah Vihear, and Stoeng as well as in adjacent Thailand.
The Cham people in Cambodia descend from refugees of the Kingdom of Champa, which once ruled much of Vietnam between Gao Ha in the north and Bien Hao in the south.
The Cambodian Chams are divided into two groups, the orthodox and the traditional- base on their religious practices. The orthodox group, which make up about one-third of the total number of Chams in the country, were located mainly in Phnom Penh – Oudong area and in the provinces of Takeo and Kapot.
The traditional Chams were scattered through the entire midsection of the united states in the provinces of Battambang, Kompong Thom, Kompong Cham, and Pursat. The Chams of both organizations typically reside in villages inhabited just by additional Chams; the villages could be along the shores of watercourses, or they might be inland. The inhabitants of the river villages take part in fishing and developing vegetables. They trade seafood to local Khmer for rice.
The ladies in these villages make money by weaving. The Chams who live inland support themselves by numerous means, according to the villages. Some villages focus on metalworking; others raise fresh fruit trees or vegetables. The Chams also frequently provide as butchers of cattle for his or her Khmer Buddhist neighbors and so are, in some areas, thought to be skillful drinking water buffalo and ram breeders.
The Chinese in Cambodia formed Cambodia’s largest ethnic minority. 60 % of the Chinese had been urban dwellers engaged primarily in commerce; the additional 40 percent had been rural residents operating as shopkeepers, as purchasers and processors of rice, palm sugar, fresh fruit, and seafood, and as cash lenders.
It’s estimated that 90 percent of the Chinese in Cambodia were in commerce and that 92 percent of these involved with commerce in Cambodia were Chinese. In rural Cambodia, the Chinese had been moneylenders, plus they wielded considerable financial power over the ethnic Khmer peasants through usury.
The Chinese in Cambodia represented five main linguistic groups, the biggest which was the Teochiu (accounting about 60 percent), accompanied by the Cantonese (accounting about 20 percent), the Hokkien (accounting about 7 percent), and the Hakka and the Hainanese (each accounting for 4 percent). Those owned by the particular Chinese linguistic organizations in Cambodia tended to gravitate to particular occupations.
The Teochiu, who constitute about 90 percent of the rural Chinese population, ran village stores, control rural credit and rice advertising facilities, and grew vegetables. In cities, they were frequently engaged in this kind of enterprise as the import-export business, the sale of pharmaceuticals, and road peddling. The Cantonese, who were nearly all Chinese groupings before Teochiu migrations started in the past due 1930s, live generally in the town. Typically, the Cantonese participates in transport and in constriction, generally as mechanics or carpenters.
The Hokkien community was involved import-export and in banking, and it included a few of the countryfs richest Chinese. The Hainanese began as pepper growers in Kompot Province, where they ongoing to dominate that business. Many shifted to Phnom Penh, where, in the past due 1960s, they reportedly got the digital monopoly on the resort and restaurant business. In addition, they often managed tailor shops. In Phnom Penh, the recently arrived Hakka had been typically folk dentists, retailers of traditional Chinese medications, and shoemakers.
The Vietnamese community is scattered throughout southeastern and central Cambodia. These were concentrated in Phnom Penh, and in Kandal, Prey Veng, and Kampong Cham provinces. No close cultural or spiritual ties can be found between Cambodia and Vietnam.
The Vietnamese fall within the Chinese culture sphere, rather within the Indian, where in fact the Thai and Khmer belong. The Vietnamese change from the Khmer in a setting of the outfit, in kinship firm, and in lots of other ways- including the Vietnamese are Mahayana Buddhists some of the Cambodians are Theravada Buddhists. Although Vietnamese resided in urban centers such as for example Phnom Penh, a considerable amount lived along the low Mekong and Bassac rivers as well as on the shores of the Tonle Sap, where they involved in fishing.