In the half century or so before the arrival of the French, who established a protectorate over Cambodia in 1863, Cambodian ideas about political geography did not include the notion that the country was defined primarily by the lines enclosing it on a map. 1 Maps were rarely used, and no locally drawn map of Cambodia in the early nineteenth century appears to have survived. 2 Instead, to the people who lived there, Cambodia probably meant the sruk where Cambodian was spoken and, more narrowly, those whose leaders (chaovay sruk) had received their official titles and seals of office from a Cambodian king.