- Sun Tzu
The Funan Kingdom was a pre-angkorian civilization located in the Mekong delta of south Cambodia and south Vietnam. The development of new trade routes between China and Indian on the first century AD encouraged the appearence of settlers in the area and according to Chinese records, one of the first settlements was Funan. archaeological evidence found at Oc-Eo (in Vietnam) such as roman coins, indian jewelry and Buddhist religious objects, shows that the Kingdom of Funan was a powerful trading state.Other archaeological discoveries such as a large canal system linking various settlelments within the Kingdom reveals a highly organized society with a high population density and advanced technology.
The origins of the inhabitants of the Funan Kingdom are much disputed. The most accepted theory relates that they were a tribe that spoke a tongue of the Mon Khmer family languages, thus creating a linguistic link with the Cambodians. Also, Chinese records relate the origin of the Funan people using the same origin myth that has been used in Khmer folklore to explain the origins of the Khmers: A foreign indian prince arrives by sea to an island where the Naga Kings live and meets the daughter of the naga king. He marries her with the blessing of her father, who drinks the sea around the island and builds a capital for them.
The Funan Kingdom was strongly influenced by Indian culture and had adopted many elements of the Indian tradition such as the use of the sanscrit language in the high courts, the Buddhist and Hindu religions, astronomy, legal system and literature. The Kingdom reached its power peak under the reign of King Fan Shih-man in the early third century, occupying present Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Myanamar and part of Malaysia. However, by the 6th century A.D the stability of Funan was put in jeopardy by civil wars and the Kingdom of Chenla gained control ofver Funan, starting another phase of Cambodian history.
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