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When the communist Khmer rouges armies took power in 1975 in Cambodia, they immediately abolished money (and destroyed banknotes and coins), education, music (except revolutionary songs), religion, healthcare... They evacuated all cities in just a few days and sent everybody by force to the countryside to work on collective farms, build (manually) dams or other constructions... They wanted the country to become a sort of self-sufficient agricultural utopia where there would be no more intellectuals, doctors, teachers, translators, artists... No need for these people, according to them! Many of them were executed in the very first days, and months, of their revolution, and the whole Cambodian population was reduced to slavery.
Famine, diseases, ill treatments and executions killed so many people during this horrific regime that, in total, a quarter of the total population of Cambodia disappeared in these four years of dictatorship.
There was Cambodia before the Khmer rouge regime, and Cambodia after.
This is why all objects, traces and souvenirs of Cambodia before the Khmer rouge regime are so important, and also sometimes so rare.
These 500 Riels banknotes are, in a way, survivors of this massive destruction of Cambodia that took place in the mid-seventies. Four of these banknotes are available, and they are in excellent (if not pristine) condition. They don't seem to have been used, but I have chosen "As new" in the "Condition of the item" table.
On one side, you see a girl, wearing the "Kramar" (traditional cotton scarf) on her head and carrying a pot. On the other side, you have a representation of rice fields, a drawing of one of the demon faces at the entrance of a temple in Angkor, and a reproduction of some of the carved stone reliefs you can also see on one of Angkor's temples.
The inscription in French (Banque Nationale du Cambodge) reminds of the colonial past, when Cambodia was ruled by the French until the fifties, and of the fact that the country had, before the Khmer rouge regime, kept strong links with the French language.
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