|There is evidence that people have been living on the island of East Timor for well over 4000 years. This is seen in the cave paintings, stone tools, pottery and stone carvings scattered around the island.
In the 16th century the Portuguese explorers landed on the island and started logging camps along the coast for the abundant forests of Sandalwood.
The lifestyle and traditional beliefs of the traditional islanders was left relatively unchanged until well into the 20th century due to the fact that the Portuguese colonists concentrated on the coastal areas for trade purposes.
The Japanese occupied the island during WW2. During this time the East Timorese fought together with a small number of Australian soldiers. Due to the help of the East Timorese the Japanese were forced out and never succeeded in landing on Australia.
After the war the Portuguese ruled East Timor until 1975 when Indonesia occupied the country.
Indonesia maintained rule over East Timor until 30 August 1999 when the people of East Timor voted for and won independence.
On 20 May 2002 East Timor finally became independent.
Much has been said and written about the new and under developed country of East Timor.
Give it time, consideration and support and it will grow to be a beautiful country worthy of respect like any other.
Let us all be patient and supportive.
The Netherlands and Portugal agree to divide the Island of Timor
Indonesia declares independence from the Dutch
Portuguese Government declares self-rule for its colonies including East Timor
October - 5 Australian journalists killed at Balibo
December - Indonesia invades East Timor
President Suharto signs bill integrating East Timor into Indonesia
The Pope advises that the Vatican refuses to accept East Timor as part of Indonesia
Xanana Gusmao elected President of the National Council of Maubere Resistance (CNRM)
Indonesian troops fire on mourners at Santa Cruz Cemetery
Xanana Gusmao captured and sent to Cipinang Gaol in Jakarta
Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Jose Ramos-Horta and Bishop Carlos Belo
Habibie becomes president of Indonesia
January - President Habibie advises that a ballot will be held in East Timor to decide on Autonomy or independence
August - Autonomy ballot takes place in East Timor
September - results of ballot announced with 78.5% rejecting autonomy with Indonesia.
Militias start rampage
Peacekeepers land in Dili led by Major-General Peter Cosgrove
October - United Nations Assistance for East Timor established to administer the New Nation.
April - Xanana Gusmao elected President of East Timor.
May - Kofi Annan (UN Secretary-General) hands over administration to the President - East Timor is finally independent.