“The decline of the Khmer Empire was largely due to its faulted water system.” To what extent do you agree with the statement above?
The decline of the Khmer Empire was due largely to its faulted water system. However, many other factors were the causes of the decline of this Civilization. For example, the influx of another culture, a land depleted of natural resources, Natural disasters and attacks from many other Civilizations all lead together to the decline of the Khmer Civilization.
First, the faulted water system. The Khmers were long thought of to have an excellent water management system. However, scientists have found out that the burst of strong rainfall would have been too much for the drains in this Civilization; too much rainfall in a short period of time would have resulted in major flooding. Though the people in this Civilization built their houses on stilts to protect them from this, the stilts would have rotted and the houses, tumbled to the ...view middle of the document...
The Khmer Civilization was surrounded by formidable empires like Ayutthaya to the West, Champa to the East and China to the North. These Civilizations all attacked the Khmer Civilization, weakening it and draining it of its natural resources. Indeed, Ayutthaya’s attack came after the second mega drought (Natural problems; discussed later) the Khmer Empire faced. They were fighting with a malnourished army due to this lack of food they had, and also had their own internal problems like frequent fights for the King’s throne to handle. These attacks were eventually termed as the main cause of the Khmer Empire’s fall.
The Khmer Empire had many Natural disasters to cope with. They were facing frequent flooding and many mega droughts. These all affected their water supply. With a shortage of water, there would be a shortage of crops, and a shortage of food. This meant lesser food for almost all Citizens of this empire, and this would probably lead to unhappiness amongst the people, yet another internal problem.
A new culture, known as Theravada Buddhism, came into the Khmer empire’s culture with their new king, Srindavarman. This culture taught people to believe in sins, believe that Buddha should not be worshipped as God, that liberation is the only thing we should work for, that ahimsa (non-violence; अहिंसा in Devanagari script, Hindi) is the true religion, etc… This obviously contradicted with what the King would have wanted his people to believe; obviously, the King believed; Jayavarman and all his descendants (except for Srindavarman) all taught their people to believe in Buddhism; they would have wanted their people to work for the empire, not for personal benefits. Because of this clash of religions, people were not happy with their King’s rule. There was a lot of internal strife. People tore down statues of Buddha after Jayavarman VII’s reign. This, coupled with many other factors like War (explained earlier), destroyed the Khmer Civilization.
In conclusion, I would like to say that this statement is partially correct. However, many other factors also had a part to play in the fall of the Khmer reign, and they too should be taken into consideration.