I’d like to tell you about the country known as East Timor. Maybe someone already heard something about this country? No? Then, as all of us are studying political science, I think it would be interesting to learn something about it, especially because this is the youngest country in the world. The full name of East Timor is The Democratic Republic of Timor – Leste. It is situated on the island in Southeast Asia. East Timor’s territory consists of the eastern half of the island of Timor, which lies at the eastern end of the Indonesian archipelago, to the north of Australia. It also includes the nearby islands of Atauro, Jaco and the enclave of Oecussi-Ambendo (“enclave” means a part of territory of one state surrounded by territory of another). Country of East Timor is very beautiful but it is also very poor and it has tragic history. In 20th century it experienced several horrible slaughters, but till May, 2002 it managed to proclaim its independence.
Pre-colonial history (before Timor became a Portuguese colony)
From the 16th century, East Timor was a Portuguese colony known as Portuguese Timor. The rest of the island of Timor, and the other islands that were later to become Indonesia were colonized by the Dutch (now Holland) between the 17th and 19th centuries, and were known as the Dutch East Indies. Portugal largely used the colony mainly as a place where to send people whom the government in Lisbon saw as a “problems” – these included political prisoners as well as ordinary criminals.
During World War II, Australian and Dutch troops occupied Portuguese Timor, to stop advancing Japanese forces. This happened against Portugal’s will, and despite it’s declaration of neutrality. Japan easily beat back Allied forces and occupied the island. Helped by the local people, several hundred Australian soldiers carried out a guerilla war (partizānu karš) against the Japanese occupation. After the war Portuguese Timor was handed back to Portugal, but Portugal didn’t pay much attention to its colony and very little investment was made in infrastructure, healthcare and education. The colony was declared an “Overseas Province” of the Portuguese Republic in 1955. O.K.