Preah Chao Krung Kampuchea
|King of Cambodia|
|Spouse||Princess Norodom Norleak Tevi|
|64 sons and daughters|
|House||House of Sisowath|
|Mother||Neak Moneang Van|
|Born||27 December 1875
Phnom Penh, French Cambodia
|Died||24 April 1941
Phnom Penh, French Indochina
Sisowath Monivong's full title was 'Preah Bat Samdach Preah Serei Monivarman Krom Luang Chao Chakarbangsa Sisowath Monivong Nai Preah Reacheanachak Kampuchea.'
Sisowath Monivong was the sixth child and the second son of King Sisowath. His mother was Neak Moneang Van, later titled Samdeach Preah Voreachini, the fifth child-bearing wife of Sisowath. He was born in Phnom Penh in 1875. At this time his uncle King Norodom ruled Odong, the capital of Cambodia. Norodom was a puppet king for the French colonial protectorate. In 1884, after the French conquered Laos and occupied Vietnam, Cambodia became a direct colonial possession. Siam was defeated but not occupied. The royal family then moved from Odong to the new capital of Phnom Penh, where Sisowath Monivong resided.
In 1904, both of Sisowath Monivong's uncles died, and Sisowath Monivong became the Crown Prince of Cambodia as a result. In 1906 he travelled with his father King Sisowath to France. There he was admitted to the Military School of Saint-Maixent. He graduated two years later with the rank Sous Lieutenant in the Foreign Legion. He was then posted to Brive and later to Paris. In 1909, he returned to Cambodia. In 1910 he was promoted to Lieutenant, in 1916 to Captain, and finally to Chief of Battalion in 1922, the same year he was released from military service. During the First World War, he actively recruited volunteer military personnel and workers. These services were recognized with the Cross of Commander of the Foreign Legion and the Cambodian title of Samdech Preah Keofea. He was then appointed Secretary-General of the Council of Ministers and President of the Council of the Royal Family.
Monivong had many consorts, at least six of whom were granted official recognition, having borne children to him. One of these was a woman named Meak, a member of the Royal Ballet, who was given the title Khun Preah Moneang Bopha Norleak Meak. Meak bore Monivong's son, Prince Sisowath Kusarak, in 1926. Around 1934-1935, two of her young cousins came to live with her, a common Cambodian custom. The youngest, 6–7 years of age, had been given the name Saloth Sar at birth, but would later adopt the name Pol Pot. He stayed in Meak's household until 1942.
In 1927, Sisowath Monivong's father died, and so at the age of 52 Sisowath Monivong ascended to the throne. Like his father and his uncle, Monivong was simply a figurehead for the French administration. The real power was in the hands of the French Resident General.
It was during Monivong's rule that Cambodia became open to outside communist influences. In 1930, the Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh founded the Indochina Communist Party which subsequently obtained popularity in Cambodia. The Cambodian communists' primary objective was to overthrow the French.
In 1940, when France fell to Nazi Germany, the "Vichy France" regime took power in the unoccupied parts of France in its overseas colonies, including Cambodia. In the late 1940s, a powerless Monivong noticed that Japan was making inroads in Vietnam. Japan then invaded and occupied Cambodia in early 1941. The Japanese allowed Cambodian Vichy French officials to administer, but only under Japanese protection. The Cambodian king was beholden to the Vichy French, who were in turn beholden to the Japanese. In western Cambodia, Thailand, now an ally of the Japanese, occupied territory. As the Japanese and Thai oppression of Cambodians became evident, Sisowath Monivong retired to Kampot in late 1941, and died there the same year. He died taking the posthumous title of Preah Karuna Preah Sisowath Monivong Preah Khatiyakot.
His son Sisowath Monireth was the heir to the throne, but the French authorities chose Sisowath Kosamak's nineteen-year-old son Norodom Sihanouk to succeed him instead, believing that he would be more pliable than Monireth.
House of SisowathBorn: 27 December 1875 Died: 24 April 1941
|King of Cambodia
1927 – 1941
- Jeldres, Julio A., 2003, The Royal House Of Cambodia, Monument Books, Phnom Penh
- Chandler, David P., 1992, Brother Number One: A political biography of Pol Pot, Silkworm Books, Thailand: 8