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An introduction to the former portuguese southeast asian colony of east timor

The East Timorese call their land Timor Lorosae "where the sun rises". According to legend, the Timor Islands was a once a giant crocodile that a boy rode into the ocean.

  • Stephanie Coop, Japan Times, December 23, 2006;;
  • Their descendants, the Atoni and Tetum peoples, moved inland as Indonesian Malays migrated to the coast;
  • Most of the country's infrastructure, including homes, irrigation systems, water supply systems, and schools, and nearly 100 percent of the country's electrical grid were destroyed.

The Timorese people say they descended from a man who lived in a cave. The Capital city is Dili. On May 20, 2002 Timor Leste became an independent nation. East Timor declared itself independent from Portugal on 28 November 1975 and was invaded and occupied by Indonesian forces nine days later. An unsuccessful campaign of pacification followed over the next two decades, during which an estimated 100,000 to 250,000 individuals lost their lives.

However, in the next three weeks, anti-independence Timorese militias - organized and supported by the Indonesian military - commenced a large-scale, scorched-earth campaign of retribution. The militias killed approximately 1,400 Timorese and forcibly pushed 300,000 people into western Timor as refugees.

Most of the country's infrastructure, including homes, irrigation systems, water supply systems, and schools, and nearly 100 percent of the country's electrical grid were destroyed.

On 20 September 1999, Australian-led peacekeeping troops deployed to the country and brought the violence to an end. In 2006, internal tensions threatened the new nation's security when a military strike led to violence and a breakdown of law and order. In February 2008, a rebel group staged an unsuccessful attack against the president and prime minister. The ringleader was killed in the attack, and most of the rebels surrendered in April 2008. An introduction to the former portuguese southeast asian colony of east timor the attack, the government has enjoyed one of its longest periods of post-independence stability, including successful 2012 elections for both the parliament and president.

Ancient History Ancient people at least passed through East Timor 30,000 years ago. Shells found in caves have been radio-carbon dated to that time. Pleistocene fishermen and Neolithic farmers took shelter in caves in the east coast of Timor. Some archeologist believed that Timor might have been a steeping on the trip by the first people to travel between Asia and Australia 40,000 years ago. The first Melanesians settlers arrived on Timor more than 7,300 years ago. Their descendants, the Atoni and Tetum peoples, moved inland as Indonesian Malays migrated to the coast.

Some isolated Atoni sultanates retained their autonomy into the 20th century. In caves along the coast and in the jungles are some ancient cave paintings, the oldest of which are between 2,000 and 4,000 years old. In the paintings are images of hunters with spears, dancing red figures, hand stencils, lizards, men on horseback, turtle devouring fish.

There are heart shapes, circles, spokes, suns and geometric designs in yellow, black, green and red. Prior to the 14th century we have very limited knowledge of Timor. The Portuguese archaeologist Antonio de Almeida 1961, 1967 and Antonio Alberto Banha de Andrade 1968 discuss the early prehistory of East Timor, focusing on the stone tool traditions and rock cave paintings.

Another archaeologist, Ian Glover, points to early hunting-gathering populations. Glover 1971 provides an approximate date of 11 500 BC for these people, based on the dating of the flaked stone tools they left behind. Early agriculture is present by around 3000 BC, according to Glover, which he attributes to the arrival of the initial wave of Austronesian populations. Timor has had sophisticated contact with the world for many centuries. The Belu Tetun empire extended its power over much of the island but after the Europeans arrived much of the old empire contracted to its present area of indigenous Tetun speakers.

  • However, in the next three weeks, anti-independence Timorese militias - organized and supported by the Indonesian military - commenced a large-scale, scorched-earth campaign of retribution;
  • Portuguese take the eastern half;
  • Ancient History Ancient people at least passed through East Timor 30,000 years ago;
  • In caves along the coast and in the jungles are some ancient cave paintings, the oldest of which are between 2,000 and 4,000 years old;
  • The Capital city is Dili.

The Chinese were regular visitors long before the Portuguese arrived in Timor. The indigenous lunar calendar is similar to the Chinese, the Timor pony has Asian origins and existed in Timor before the Portuguese. The musical instruments are Asian in design and sound. It has been recorded in Chinese history that the Liurai at Besa Kama the old Belu capital paid a yearly tribute to China before the Portuguese Dominicans were on the scene in 1566.

The attraction to Timor was because of its sandalwood, supposedly the best in the world. It was the sale of sandalwood that gave the Liurais their power and was the cause of their long past internecine wars. The Liurais wanted land - land that grew sandalwood, and with the land came people to harvest it.

Sandalwood gave them the power to expand their empires. This greed of the Liurais caused their subjects to be involved in the danger of war.

In the 16th and 17th centuries the Timorese had a reputation for being very warlike. The people of East Timor have a long long history of rebellion against their Portuguese colonial masters. Over the years the trade was controlled by the Malays, the Makassarese and finally the Europeans.

Due to the significance of sandalwood as a trade good in the history of Timor, Timor Island is mentioned by 14th century Chinese and Javanese documents Rockhill 1915.

Sandalwood is an aromatic, fine-grained evergreen shrub or shrub found in southern India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia and tropical islands in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. There are several species of sandalwood. White sandalwood, a tree that seldom exceeds 20 feet in height and a foot in diameter, is raised on plantations in India.

Sandalwood is prized by Chinese and other Asians for making carved and inlaid boxes, fans, combs and walking sticks. Buddhists use sandalwood powder to make incense burned at family shrines and temple alters. Hindus mix sandalwood with vermillion and use it to make marks on their foreheads.

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Indian princes have traditionally been cremated on sandalwood funeral pyres. Oil obtained from sandalwood chips is used in perfumes, cosmetics and medicines. Timor has world's last remaining natural sandalwood forests. Sumba once had vast tracts of sandalwood forest, but there all gone now: Soap, perfume, essential oils are made sandalwood. Currently, there is a small craft home industry throughout East Timor, producing Catholic rosaries, Muslim prayer beads, intricately carved fans, among other items from sandalwood.

Aside from sandalwood, honey, wax and slaves were also exported. Coastal people were sometimes taken as slaves by pirates and coastal raiders. Farmers who lived inland were relatively untouched by the outside world.

Spice traders from Portugal arrived in East Timor in 1511 and established an outpost there primarily to harvest sandalwood. The Dutch arrived in the southwest of Timor island in 1613. The Portuguese moved to the north and east. East Timor was the only part of Indonesia that was colonized by the Portuguese not the Dutch after the 17th century.

The Portuguese and the Dutch fought over the island in 17th and 18th centuries. Portugal formally took control over East Timor after a Treaty of Lisbon was signed with the Netherlands in 1859.

The interior of western Timor only came under direct Dutch control after 1912. Portuguese take the eastern half.

EARLY HISTORY AND THE PORTUGUESE COLONIZATION OF EAST TIMOR

The Timorese people were caught in the tug-of-war of political-economic struggle between the Dutch and the Portuguese—a struggle that precedes the colonial presence of either power on Timor. Up to 60,000 East Timorese were killed.

By day, de Jesus carried out various kinds of menial labor, and each night was raped by between four to eight Japanese soldiers at a so-called comfort station in Oat village in the western province of Bobonaro. Stephanie Coop, Japan Times, December 23, 2006:: Some of those who refused to comply were executed. Family members either brought food to the comfort stations or the women were sent home to obtain it. There was little likelihood of women trying to escape at such times, she explained.

There was nowhere for the women to go, and at any rate, they were terrified about reprisals against their families if they did try to escape. The verdict was later censored from an NHK documentary on the trial amid allegations by a major daily newspaper that two heavyweight Liberal Democratic Party politicians — Shoichi Nakagawa and Shinzo Abe — paid a less than comfortable visit to the public broadcaster before it was aired.