History of Battambang Province in LOKMAJAS Regime

            Battambang Province: In the history, Battambang had been under control of Thailand and France. Although, there were directly occupation of Khmer Kings in all generations and king tran or some well-known Khmer heroes in that time. In according to book “Battambang in LOKMJAS regime”, Battambang was under the power of SIAM (Thai) over 10 years from 1795 to 1907. At that time, Khmer was occupied by the family of Khmer king tran “CHEAV VAYBEN” which latter was changed to “TROKOL APEY VONG”. This family had controlled Battambang for over 10 years, and this rank was kept for their subsequent families. In 1863, Cambodia had also been under control of France, While, Thailand was occupying Battambang. Battambang, at that time, had only four districts: Battambang district, MoungRussey district, Mongkolborey district and Sre antak district.  Battambang, the same book wrote, has been a lowlands area, which was rich of nutrious, stretching from the southeast to the northwest. At the southwest, there were tall mountain lines, being called Cardamom mountain line, which was well known by Cardamom, to be bought to use medicine. Residents in that area earned Cardamom as daily occupation, called “PUKSUYKRUVANH”. Sangke River is a major river, flowed across the Battambang city, it is sourced from PHNOM TEORKPREL, which is a tall mountain in Pailin Province, called SROKLER and there are many small water sources flowing into this river. Battambang has many historic destinations in relation with LOKMAJAS regime and pre- LOKMAJAS regime, According to some documents. Family of JAVAYPEN or APEYVONG had occupied Battambang for over 10 years since Mr. THOUN NHONH until his son THOUN CHUM. At that time, Battambang residents called the both that LOKMAJAS, but not to be confused the locals called Mr. THOUN NHONH that LOKMAJAS PREAK KOUT, because his corpse was kept in urn before being cremated, While Mr. KathaThounChum was called LOKMAJASMACHEM thanks to he used to live in MACHAMBOREY of Thailand. The book “Battambang in LOKMAJAS regime” added that in old generation, there was not much population in Battambang, most of land is the forest area, at that time Lokmajas always went to hunt animal in Orsrolaov and Rengkesey areas which were the large grass field  ( Now, Sangke district ). The past generation, people had majority gathered to live in on along the Sangke River, but there were minority lived in on Moungrussey River and Moungkolborey River, for residents living far away from these rivers lived in Kompongpreak and Koskrolor villages. In 1884, Mr. Bre yang, France scholar, who come Cambodia, had concluded that the population in Battambang at that time was about 100,000, but this conclusion was not conducted by census. In documents wrote that Battambang residents, in lokmajas regime, were divided into three castes: aristocratic caste, ordinary people caste, and enslaved caste. In that time, Chinese and Vietnamese were regarded as foreigner, while Siam and Kola were regarded as fellow national, but Siam, who had bad idea, had cheated Khmer that Laos and Moun was brother and there were single source.  The book wrote that Chinese had resided in Battambang for long time and had built temple on street 1 and at the east of Iron Bridge since Lokmajas regime. Since then, Chinese people have been businessmen, that time Chinese always imported grocery from outside to sell in Battambang and they lived in the city in contrast to Vietnamese, who liked living on along Sangke River, were fisher and crafts. Some Chinese earned until becoming the rich and being given high rank by lokmajas and required to clothe like Khmer is scarf skirt, jacket, to wear sekong like Khmer officials, but they not agree to cut their stupid that it was their habits until Battambang residents had jeered that “Koumbory chen kben Khmer”, saying like this caused the Chinese rich not stance and had cut their stupid, but Khmer had created a word to jeer Chinese that “Chen dach kompory”. If mentioned about the welfare, the same document wrote that in Lokmajas regime the population in Battambang lived in miserably, being challenged with natural disasters, diseases, and many people had died in a year mostly the child. Lokmajas was criticized not to create the hospital in order to rescue people; the people totally depended on Khmer medicines and enchantments. But Lokmajas was very interested in the preparation of infrastructures along Sangke River that was a big gathering place in Battambang province. The history revealed that in 1907 Battambang was only a small city, consisted of one way parallel with River and locals had constructed houses untidy along the way. Battambang city was divided into two districts, at that time: Sangkat moukkoumpeng, Sangkatsvaypor. But in Lokmajas era, the preparation to have market for selling and buying and business activities in province seemed weak, the residents displayed goods directly on land but small shop used to sell porridge and meal, at Chinese’s houses, there were grocery sold but no noodle, no coffee, no ice but there was an ice factory for only lokmajas. Thanks to the shortage of roads that time, the Battambang people lived very carefully not depend much on external equipment, Battambang residents could create equipment for agriculture all kinds, they could build home by using only resources in local. But that generation Lokmajas had arranged to be constructed houses to have Khmer style manner, to have Khmer model, to have correctly name. Lokmajas had instructed people to construct home in accordance with the rule stipulated from the ancient time. The houses had never been constructed different to rule. Stone buildings were needed to have high technic such as building temple, state buildings, schools etc. that time cement was not often used, they used masonry with pencil, sugarcane and resin, which be mixed together to build the strong buildings (Sandstone). In lokmajas era, they built temples, and concrete buildings in Battambang city, especially along Sangke River, those buildings are Pagodas, stone buildings, old provincial hall and house made of luxury wood…etc. Lokmajas’ buildings were under control of France colonial almost all have been legacy until now. Some buildings aged over 300 years such as Watsoumrorngknong at EK Phnom district. For old provincial hall, old stone bridge, stone buildings in Battambang city currently, ancient houses at Watkor village and many temples aged for over 100 years. These building are made from luxury woods and sandstone which mixed from the above three materials and they are still displayed strong ship up to now. Over 800 buildings that are the legacy of Lokmajas era and have been standing strongly in ancient city at the present time have been regarded as world heritage building, which authorities are protecting very carefully. National and international tourists called old aged city as ancient city or heritage city which is attracting increasingly tourists. Not only the source of fulcrum Battambang but also has been regarded a province rich of rice (rice warehouse) in the Kingdom of Cambodia and a province having potentiality in agriculture and industry. The tourism sector in historic province is the biggest destination for development of Royal Government, regarded as industry no smoke. Battambang located in the northwest of Cambodia that currently has the size of 11.48 m2 bordering to Pailin and Thailand to the west, to Pursat and Sab River to the east, to Banteaymeanchey and Siem reab to the north, to Pursat to the south. This province consists of 13 districts and on city and 92 communes, 10 Sangkat, 799 villages. Battambang has population of 258.682 families, population about 1.025.050 in which 602.994 as women. Battambang has over 36 tourism sites, according to report of Battambang Provincial Tourism Department. Those tourism sites have been divided into four parts: historical resorts, three natural resorts, cycling natural resort, cultural resort such as ancient houses, ancient buildings. Nowadays, these tourism destinations are attracting tourists, while provincial authorities and specialized departments have been working actively in preparation, innovation, and development increasingly. Moreover, the Royal Government of Cambodia is planning to request UNECO to include ancient buildings as the world heritage property.

This article is written by Yi Yong, extracted from the article of Koh Santepheap dailly