East Timor Independence

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Introduction 3

Ethnological origin, demography and policy . 3

Before and after the arrival of the Europeans 6

Japanese occupation during World War II 7

The Portuguese colonial empire 8

Indonesian invasion 10

Introduction to Indonesia . 12

Independence of Indonesia and Sukarno 13

Formation of East-Timorese political associations 17

The parties . 18

Australian support . 21

USA admits Timorese right to self-determination 23

Indonesia admits independence . 23

Agreement Between the Republic of Indonesia and the Portugese

Republic on the Question of East Timor 24

Conclusion 26


It is not easy to write with feigned calm and dispassion about the events that have been unfolding in East Timor. Horror and shame are compounded by the fact that the crimes are so familiar and could so easily have been halted by the international community a long time ago.

Timor, the Malay word for "Orient", is an island of the Malay Archipelago, the largest and easternmost of the Lesser Sundas, lying between parallels 8 deg. 17' and 10 deg. 22' of south latitude and meridians 123 deg. 25' and 127 deg. 19' of latitude east from Greenwich. It is bathed by the Indian Ocean (Timor Sea) at South, and Pacific Ocean (Banda Sea) at North and has an oblong configuration in the direction of southwest -- northeast. The island is surrounded by the Roti and Saval islands through the Roti Strait, by the Lomblem, Pantar and Ombai islands across the Ombai Strait and by Kissar isle to the northeast. Southwards, Australia dists about 500 km, and 1000 km separates the southwest point of Timor from Java.

The total area of Timor is of 32 350 sq km, measuring the maximums of 470 km in length and 110 km in width. About 480 km wide, and a surface of 450 000 sq km, the Timor Sea which is divided between the two territories, opening west into the Indian Ocean and east into the Arafura Sea, part of the Pacific Ocean.

The territory of the island -- East Timor-- of which Portugal was recognized administrative power by United Nations, occupies an estimated area of almost 19 000 km, and comprises the eastern half of the island, with 265 km in length and 92 km of maximum width and an area of 16 384 km and the enclave of Ocussi-Ambeno that dists 70 km from Batugadi, with 2 461 sq km and a coastline 48 km long. Still part of East Timor is the island of Ataero (or Pulo-Cambing) with 144 sq km, just 23 km northwards of the capital Dili and the tiny isle of Jaco with 8 sq km, being the oriental extreme of East Timor just ahead of Tutuala.

Ethnological origin, demography and policy.

There are 12 ethnic groups in East Timor each of which has its own language: 9 Austronesian language groups - Tetum, Mambai, Tokodede, Kemak, Galoli, Idate, Waima'a, Naueti; and 3 Papuan language groups - Bunak, Makasae, Fatuluku. The Tetum live in two separate geographic areas within East Timor. A simplified version of the Tetum language was utilised in Dili by the Portuguese as a lingua franca. This language has spread throughout East Timor so that Tetum, in its original or simplified form, came to be spoken by about 60% of the population. Though widespread, it is not understood by all.

One of the first references to the natives of East Timor is expressed in the description that in 1514 the Portuguese Rui de Brito sent to king D. Manuel. In our free transcription, he wrote in these terms: Timor is an island beyond Java, has plenty sandalwood, plenty honey, plenty wax, hasn't junks for navigating, is a big island of kaffirs.

The `kaffir' is meant to refer to the black and of troubled hair. Timorese what, not being untrue, was an imprecise observation as the type was to be found only in some regions, specially in Ocussi, and generically in West Timor.

: 4/09/2009