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4W6RU News 1 July 2023

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East Timor is one of the youngest independent states in the world

Between Indonesia and Australia lies the Malay Archipelago, which includes the island of Timor. According to local legends, Timor was once a huge crocodile, which froze and over time was covered with earth and overgrown with plants. The name of the island translates from Malay as East. Its territory is divided in half - into West Timor and East Timor. The latter is also called Timor Leste ("Lesti" also means "East" in Portuguese). The western part of the island belongs to Indonesia, and the eastern part is now a sovereign and independent state - one of the youngest in the world.

4W6RU Timor Leste
Timor Leste. Author - alsana.

Either inhabited or uninhabited

Evidence of the appearance of the first people on the island of Timor were found in the cave Jerimalay. According to them, the territory was inhabited as early as 60 thousand years ago. However, there were times when the island was completely uninhabited for several millennia.

About four thousand years ago, Timor fell into the migration band. The ancestors of today's Australian Aborigines lived there for some time, as well as Mongoloid tribes who came from the territory of modern Indonesia.

The maritime trade routes passed through it, so the island was repeatedly visited by the Chinese, the Javanese, and the Malay. Visiting merchants traded their goods with the local population for sandalwood, which was abundant in Timor.

Four and a half centuries under Portuguese rule

In the early 16th century, the first Europeans arrived on the island. They were Portuguese sailors, plying the seas in search of the mythical island of Spices. In the middle of the same century Catholic missionary monks landed on the island and founded the village of Lifau. Catholicism is still the dominant religion in East Timor, which is quite atypical for an Asian country.

But it was not until the early 16th century that Portugal officially recognized the eastern half of the island as its colony, sending a governor. For most Portuguese, however, Timor remained a little-known territory, and the government allocated minimal funds for the development of the colony.

1974 was a landmark year not only for the metropolis itself, but also for its colonies. The Carnation Revolution occurred in Portugal, one of the consequences of which was the new government's policy of gradual decolonization.

4W6RU Timor Leste DX NewsTimor Leste. Author - yen_ling.

9 days of independence

As early as 1975, the FERTILIN party, for which the majority of Timorese voted, declared East Timor an independent state. But the other parties announced exactly the next day that the state would be part of Indonesia. The Indonesian army was on the territory of East Timor in just nine days - so began the occupation of the state, for which independence was only a brief moment. Ahead of the future 27th Indonesian province awaited almost 25 years of repression and extermination of the local population, especially the supporters of independence of Timor-Leste.

A parting "gift" from the occupiers

Enlightened Europe fought the Indonesian occupation with traditional methods - the UN issued a series of resolutions and its Secretaries General tried to persuade Indonesia to grant East Timor independence.

Relative success was achieved in 1999. This was not so much because of pressure from the international community, but because of the fall of the dictator Suharto's regime, under whose rule the eastern part of Timor Island had been seized. The Indonesian government graciously allowed a referendum on the independence of Timor-Leste. More than 78% of the population was in favor of liberation from the invaders. Indonesian troops had to leave the territory of East Timor, but they were not going to leave easily.

As parting, the military almost completely destroyed the infrastructure of Timor-Leste. They burned a number of administrative buildings, damaged power poles, roads, and other important facilities. Mass riots broke out in the country. Only the introduction of a peacekeeping contingent was able to somehow stabilize the situation. However, the state is still unable to get away from such a farewell "gift" to Indonesia.

4W6RU Timor Leste Tourist attractions spotTimor Leste. Author - cameroonjb.

Independence: Attempt No. 2

May 2002 was the time when East Timor officially became an independent state. But four years later, the country was in turmoil again, and the international peacekeeping contingent was again involved in putting an end to it. March and May of 2007 were also marked by a series of clashes.

The current Democratic Republic of East Timor is one of the poorest Asian countries. It is still rebuilding the infrastructure that was destroyed nearly 20 years ago. The state has a very unfavorable crime situation - the streets of Timor-Leste are patrolled by members of UN peacekeeping missions. High unemployment, lack of qualified specialists, and poor development of the industrial sector are the main problems the young nation must contend with.

Much hope is pinned on the oil and gas deposits discovered in the Timor Sea. Perhaps it is their extraction that will eventually help the country recover from the turmoil it has undergone and, over time, turn into an economically developed state? The answer to this question will only come in time.

Today the country can be proud of its wonderful nature, architectural sights of the colonial period, which were not destroyed by the occupiers, a unique culture and a unique variety of coffee, which can not be found anywhere else in the world.

The capital of Timor-Leste, Dili, is home to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception,

4W6RU. Where is Timor Leste located. Map.

4W6RU Timor Leste. Sunrise 04-23-2024 at 21:38 GMT sunset at 09:31 GMT
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