Benazir Bhutto | Biography & Facts
Pol Pot, original name Saloth Sar, (born May 19, 1925, Kompong Thom province, Cambodia—died April 15, 1998, near Anlong Veng, along the Cambodia-Thailand border), Khmer political leader who led the Khmer Rouge totalitarian regime (1975–79) in Cambodia that imposed severe hardships on the Cambodian people. His radical communist government forced the mass evacuations of cities, killed or displaced millions of people, and left a legacy of brutality and impoverishment.
The son of a landowning farmer, Saloth Sar was sent at age five or six to live with an elder brother in Phnom Penh, where he was educated in a French curriculum. A mediocre student, he failed the entrance examinations for high school and so instead studied carpentry for a year at a technical school in Phnom Penh. In 1949 he went to Paris on a scholarship to study radio electronics. There he became involved with the French Communist Party and joined a group of young left-wing Cambodian nationalists who later became his fellow leaders in the Khmer Rouge. In France he spent more time on revolutionary activities than on his studies. His scholarship was cut short after he failed examinations, and he returned to Phnom Penh in 1953.
Pol Pot taught at a private school in Phnom Penh from 1956 to 1963, when he left the capital because his communist ties were suspected by the police. By 1963 he had adopted his revolutionary pseudonym, Pol Pot. He spent the next 12 years building up the Communist Party that had been organized in Cambodia in 1960, and he served as the party’s secretary.