2Whatever Happened To The Denizens Of Angkor Wat?

French explorer Henri Mouhot discovered this forgotten temple complex in the Cambodian jungle (near what’s now Siem Reap) in 1860. The few locals knew nothing about it. Historians have determined that between AD 800 and 1401, this was once a great empire. Why was it left to fall to ruin sometime in the 1400s?

The temple was only a part of a large city. It was populated by the Khmer, the Hindu natives. The main temple was decorated with pictures of fighting and various legends written in ancient Sanskrit. Satellite images indicate the majority of the city is now under the jungle.

The city fell quickly due in part to battles with the Thai and Vietnamese. By 1450, the city was abandoned. Did the Khmer accidentally denude their only food source? Did a change in faith, from Hinduism to Buddhism, create a lack of unity and divide them? To this day, no one knows.

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