The name "Cambodia" derives from the French Cambodge, which comes from the Khmer word Kâmpuchea, meaning "born of Kambu." During the socialist regimes of Democratic Kampuchea (DK) (1975–1979) and the People's Republic of Kampuchea (PRK) (1979–1989), the country was known internationally as Kampuchea, but more recent governments have returned to using Cambodia, and the official name in English is now the Kingdom of Cambodia.
Khmer as a noun or adjective can refer to the Cambodian language, people, or culture and thus suggests an ethnic and linguistic identity more than a political entity.
There continues to be migration of Khmer Kraom to Cambodia, including young men who come as Buddhist monks; many Khmer Kraom have a strong sense of identity with the nation.
Their role in Cambodia is complex in that while they are glorified as a symbol of lost territory, they are sometimes distrusted as being Vietnamese.
In the 1980s, the government promoted the memory of the atrocities of 1975–1979 DK period, also known as the Pol Pot regime, including holidays to commemorate bitterness (20 May) and national liberation (7 January).