Saturday, July 23, 2011
Longvek or Lovek (Khmer: ; meaning "intersection" or "crossroads") was a city in ancient Cambodia, the capital city of the country after the sacking of Angkor by the Siamese in 1431. Little more than a village today in Kampong Chhnang Province, it lies just north of Oudong. Longvek was chosen by Boromaracha III after the sacking of Angkor by the Siamese as a new capital because of its more readily defensible terrain. As a result there was a time when Cambodia was often referred to as "Lovek" or "Longvek" by foreign travellers.
During the 14th and 15th centuries Cambodia was in a state of eclipse. Following the almost total destruction of Angkor, Longvek was chosen as the new capital of the now minor state of Cambodia. Longvek was located halfway between Phnom Penh and the southern end of the Tonle Sap and it was chosen by King Ang Chan (1516–66) as his official capital. King Ang Chan ordered his palace to be built in Longvek in 1553. Longvek became the nation's capital in the 16th century after the Civil War Between Sdech Kan And Ponhea Chan. After Ponhea Chan's victory, he became the new king of Cambodia. Spanish and Portuguese adventurers and missionaries, like Blas Ruiz de Hernán González from Ciudad Real, first visited the kingdom during this period. Blas became friends with King Satha of Longvek, who was well-disposed towards foreigners, and while in the kingdom got to know Portuguese adventurer Diogo Beloso from Amarante. The Iberians referred to present-day Phnom Penh as "Churdumuco" and to Srei Santhor as "Sistor". Not long thereafter Longvek was invaded by the Siamese ruler of Ayutthaya.
King Naresuan of Siam conquered Longvek in 1593. This conquest marked a downturn in the kingdom's fortunes. In the historical period that followed Cambodia became a pawn in power struggle between its two increasingly powerful neighbours, Siam and Vietnam. In 1618, the capital of Cambodia was once again relocated and was moved to Oudong.