Pol Pot

1963 – 1981
Still Alive
Pol Pot
Pol Pot in 1978
General Secretary of the Communist Party of Kampuchea
In office
February 1963 – 1981 (party dissolved)
Deputy Nuon Chea (as vice-secretary)
Preceded by Tou Samouth
Succeeded by None (party dissolved)
Prime Minister of Democratic Kampuchea
In office
25 October 1976 – 7 January 1979
President Khieu Samphan
Deputy Ieng Sary
Son Sen
Preceded by Nuon Chea
Succeeded by Pen Sovan[1]
In office
17 April 1975 – 27 September 1976
President Norodom Sihanouk
Khieu Samphan
Preceded by Khieu Samphan (acting)
Succeeded by Nuon Chea
Personal details
Born (1925-05-19)19 May 1925[2][3]
Kampong Thom Province, French Indochina
Died 15 April 1998(1998-04-15) (aged 72)
Anlong Veng, Cambodia
Political party Communist Party of Kampuchea
Spouse(s) 1) Khieu Ponnary (div.)
2) Mea Son

Pol Pot (Khmer: ប៉ុល ពត; 19 May 1925 – 15 April 1998),[2][3] born Saloth Sar (Khmer: សាឡុត ស) was a Cambodian communist revolutionary who led the Khmer Rouge[4] from 1963 until 1997. From 1963 to 1981, he served as the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Kampuchea.[5] As such, he became the leader of Cambodia on April 17, 1975, when his forces captured Phnom Penh. From 1976 to 1979, he also served as the prime minister of Democratic Kampuchea.

He presided over a communist dictatorship[6] that imposed a radical form of agrarian socialism on the country. His government forced urban dwellers to relocate to the countryside to work in collective farms and forced labor projects. The combined effects of executions, forced labor, malnutrition, and poor medical care caused the deaths of approximately 25 percent of the Cambodian population.[7][8][9][10] In all, an estimated 1 to 3 million people (out of a population of slightly over 8 million) died due to the policies of his four-year premiership.[11][12][13]

In 1979, after the Cambodian–Vietnamese War, Pol Pot fled to the jungles of southwest Cambodia, and the Khmer Rouge government collapsed.[14] From 1979 to 1997, he and a remnant of the old Khmer Rouge operated near the border of Cambodia and Thailand, where they clung to power, with nominal United Nations recognition as the rightful government of Cambodia. Pol Pot committed suicide[15] in 1998 while under house arrest by the Ta Mok faction of the Khmer Rouge. Since his death, rumours that he was poisoned have persisted.[16]
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