Obverse: Head of King Norodom I left. Legend: NORODM I ROI DU CAMBODGE / 1860
Reverse: Bi-lingual (cambodian/french) inscriptions around central coat-of-arms of the Kingdom.
Norodom (Khmer: ព្រះបាទនរោត្តម; or Ang Voddey) (February 1834 – 24 April 1904) ruled as king of Cambodia from 1860 to 1904. He was the eldest son of King Ang Duong, who ruled on the behalf of Siam, and half-brother of Prince Si Votha as well as the half-brother of King Sisowath. Norodom was considered to be the first modern Khmer king. He was credited with saving Cambodia from disappearing altogether. In 1863, to prevent the two powerful neighbours, Vietnam and Siam, from swallowing Cambodia altogether he was invited by France to make Cambodia its protectorate. However, he sent many letters to Siam claiming French Admiral de la Grandière had forced him into signing a false treaty. Many Cambodians believed that this brilliant act and his shrewdness did actually save Cambodia from disappearing.
When he was born, Cambodia was under Siamese rule, the royal family, being related to the Siamese. Nonetheless, The royal capital of Cambodia was in Oudong (named for the first King of Ayutthaya), but the main center of the area was the capital of Siam in Bangkok. Prince Norodom was sent by his father to study in Bangkok, where he studied Siamese (Thai), Politics, Military, Buddhist scriptures and the ancient Pali language.
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