Linguistically linked ethnic groups occupying Cambodia, southern Vietnam, and adjacent parts of Thailand, who developed an extensive but relatively short‐lived empire around the turn of the 1st millennium ad, dominating their traditional areas and also Thailand and southern Laos. Their beginnings can be traced back to the 3rd millennium bc when rice cultivators moved down the Mekong into Cambodia. By 1500 bc they had developed bronze casting, and from 500 bc iron was being used. During the later 1st millennium bc the population grew, chiefdoms developed, and steps were taken to cope better with the environment. As the Khmer Empire grew, water controls spread in the form of ditches around settlements and channels linking the fields to allow water distribution in the dry season and drainage in the wet season. The capital is at Angkor, which during this period became a very wealthy city. Destroyed by the Thais about ad 1400.
Subjects: Archaeology — Linguistics.