East Timor, officially the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste or Timor-Leste (from Malay Timor, "east", and Portuguese leste, "east"), is a country in Southeast Asia comprising the eastern half of the island of Timor, the nearby islands of Atauro and Jaco, and Oecussi-Ambeno, an exclave on the northwestern side of the island, within Indonesian West Timor. The small country of 5,376 square miles (14,609 square kilometres) is located about 400 miles (640 km) northwest of Darwin, Australia.
The name "Timor" derives from timor or timur, the word for "east" in Indonesian and Malay which became "timor" in Portuguese. The Portuguese name Timor-Leste (pron. IPA: [ti'moɾ 'lɛʃtɨ]) and the unofficial Tetum name Timór Lorosa'e are sometimes used in English. Lorosa'e (the word for "east" in Tetum) literally means "rising sun".
Colonized by Portugal in the sixteenth century, East Timor was known as Portuguese Timor for centuries. It was invaded and occupied by Indonesia in 1975 and declared the country's 27th province the following year. Following the 1999 UN-sponsored act of self-determination that year, Indonesia relinquished control of the territory and East Timor became the first new sovereign state of the twenty-first century on May 20, 2002. Alongside the Philippines, East Timor is one of only two predominantly Roman Catholic countries in Asia, and the only Portuguese-speaking sovereign state in Asia (although Portuguese is also official in the Chinese special administrative region of Macau).
At $800, East Timor has one of the lowest per capita GDP (Purchasing Power Parity adjusted) in the world. Its Human Development Index (HDI), however, corresponds to a medium degree of human development and places East Timor 142nd among the world's nations.Early history
Timor was originally populated as part of the human migrations that have shaped Australasia more generally. It is believed that descendents from at least three waves of migration still live in the country. The first were related to the principal indigenous groups of New Guinea and Australia, and arrived before 40,000 years ago. Around 3000 BC, a second migration brought Austronesians, who later continued eastward and colonized Island Oceania, and are possibly associated with the development of agriculture on Timor. Finally, proto-Malays arrived from south China and north Indochina. The mountainous nature of the country meant that these groups could remain separate, and explains why there is so much linguistic diversity in East Timor today.
Timor was incorporated into Chinese and Indian trading networks of the fourteenth century as an exporter of aromatic sandalwood, slaves, honey and wax. Early European explorers report that the island had a number of small chiefdoms or princedoms in the early sixteenth century. One of the most significant is the Wehale kingdom in central Timor, with its capital at Laran, West Timor, to which the Tetum, Bunaq and Kemak ethnic groups were aligned.
 Portuguese Colonization
The Portuguese were the first Europeans to colonize South-East Asia when they arrived in the sixteenth century. They established outposts in Timor as well as in several of the surrounding islands. However, during the House of Habsburg's rule over Portugal (1580-1640), all the surrounding outposts were lost and eventually came under Dutch control by the mid seventeenth century. The area became a colony in 1702 with the arrival of the first governor from Lisbon. In the eighteenth century, the Netherlands gained a foothold on the Western half of the island, and was formally given West Timor in 1859 through the Treaty of Lisbon. The definitive border was established by the Hague Treaty of 1916, and it remains the international boundary between the successor states East Timor and Indonesia.
In late 1941, Portuguese Timor was briefly occupied by Dutch and Australian troops in an attempt to pre-empt a Japanese invasion of the island. The Portuguese Governor protested the invasion, and the Dutch forces returned to the Dutch side of the island. When the Japanese landed and drove the small Australian force out of Dili, the mountainous interior became the scene of a guerrilla campaign, known as the Battle of Timor, waged by Allied forces and Timorese volunteers against the Japanese. The struggle resulted in the deaths of between 40,000 and 70,000 Timorese. Following the end of the war, Portuguese control was reinstated.
The process of decolonisation in Portuguese Timor began in 1974, following the change of government in Portugal in the wake of the Carnation Revolution. Owing to political instability and more pressing concerns over the decolonisation of Angola and Mozambique, Portugal effectively abandoned East Timor and it unilaterally declared itself independent on November 28, 1975. Nine days later, it was invaded and occupied by Indonesian forces before the declaration could be internationally recognised.Indonesian occupation
Indonesia alleged that the East Timorese FRETILIN party, which received some vocal support from the People's Republic of China, was communist. Fearing a Communist domino effect in Southeast Asia – and in the wake of its failed South Vietnam campaign– the United States, along with its ally Australia, supported the pro-Western Indonesian government's actions despite Portugal being a founding member of NATO.
An Indonesian invasion was launched over the western border on 7 December 1975. Two days before the invasion of Dili and subsequent annexation, U.S. President Gerald Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger met President Suharto in Jakarta where Ford made it clear that "We will understand and will not press you on the issue. We understand the problem and the intentions you have." Kissinger added: "It is important that whatever you do succeeds quickly [because] the use of US-made arms could create problems." U.S. arms sales to Indonesia continued under subsequent U.S administrations including that of Bill Clinton, although it did eventually discontinue U.S. support of Suharto's regime. As "Timor Timur", the territory was declared the twenty-seventh province of Indonesia in July 1976. Its nominal status in the UN remained that of a "non-self-governing territory under Portuguese administration."
The East Timorese guerrilla force, Falintil, fought a campaign against the Indonesian forces from 1975 to 1999, some members being trained in Portugal by Portuguese special forces.Indonesian rule in East Timor was often marked by extreme violence and brutality, such as the Dili massacre and the Liquiçá Church Massacre. From 1975 until 1993, attacks on civilian populations were only nominally reported in the Western press. Death tolls reported during the occupation varied from 60,000 to 200,000. A detailed statistical report prepared for the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor cited a lower range of 102,800 conflict-related deaths in the period 1974-1999, namely, approximately 18,600 killings and 84,200 'excess' deaths from hunger and illness. Since each data source used under-reports actual deaths, this is considered a minimum. Amnesty International estimated deaths at 200,000.ndependence
Following a UN-sponsored agreement between Indonesia, Portugal and the United States and a surprise decision by the Indonesian President B. J. Habibie, a UN-supervised popular referendum was held on August 30, 1999. The East Timorese voted for full independence from Indonesia, but violent clashes, instigated primarily by the Indonesian military (see Scorched Earth Operation) and aided by Timorese pro-Indonesia militias, led by Eurico Guterres, broke out soon afterwards. A peacekeeping force (INTERFET, led by Australia) intervened to restore order.
Militias fled across the border into Indonesia, from which they attempted sporadic armed raids, particularly along the southern half of the main border held by the New Zealand Army. As these raids were repelled and international moral opinion forced Indonesia to withdraw tacit support, the militias dispersed. INTERFET was replaced by a UN force of International Police, the mission became known as UNTAET, and the UNTAET Crime Scene Detachment was formed to investigate alleged atrocities. The result of these actions caused Osama Bin Laden to place a fatwa on Australia and Australian interests.
Following a visit by Xanana Gusmão to Lisbon, Portugal agreed to recognise East Timor's independence on May 20, 2002. On September 27, East Timor joined the United Nations.