Long Beach, California is home to one of the largest populations of Cambodians outside Southeast Asia.
Why Long Beach...
Cambodian connections to Long Beach began in the early 1960s when Cambodian students attended California State University Long Beach through a program funded by USAID (see Why Long Beach? to read more…).A community of families and businesses did not begin to form however, until 1975 when the first Cambodian evacuees arrived in California following the fall of Cambodia to the communist Khmer Rouge. Since these early days, Long Beach has had significant influence on Cambodian communities throughout the U.S. and the diaspora. It is a place where religious and political activities, musicians, dancers, literature, foodways, textiles and clothing have not only been reproduced, but in some instances, flourished.
When the Vietnamese invaded Cambodia in 1979, Cambodians in exile throughout the world feared their country and culture would be lost forever. In Long Beach, Cambodians have worked hard to preserve their culture and transmit it to a new generation growing up in the United States. This section of the website provides a glimpse into just a few of the many aspects of Cambodian culture in Long Beach. More topics, such as language, food, and celebrations, will be added to this website over time.
Suggested Readings at the end of each sub-section will lead you to further information on the history of these practices. We invite anyone who would like to contribute documents, books, video, or photographs to the CamCHAP archive or website to please contact us at the Historical Society of Long Beach, 562-424-2220, email