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Timor-Leste History Timeline

East Timor timeline
1500 - 1900

  • (1556) Dominican friars established village of Lifau
  • (1600s) Portuguese invaded Timor, established trading post
  • (1702) Timor officially became a Portuguese colony, named Portuguese Timor
  • (1749) Following a battle between the Portuguese and Dutch, Timor was split, Portuguese took eastern half
  • (1767) Capital relocated to Dili
  • (1859) Border between Portuguese Timor and Dutch East Indies formally determined
1900s
  • (1910) Rebellion began in Timor
  • (1912) Portuguese troops from its colonies in Mozambique and Macau quashed rebellion, 3,000 died
  • (1913) Portuguese and Dutch agreed to formal division of Timor
  • (1941) Portuguese Timor occupied by Australian, Dutch forces
  • (1942) Japanese invaded Timor, fought with the Australian troops, 60,000 Timorese were killed
  • (1942) Allied Forces bombed city of Kupang, Timor
  • (1945) Indonesia (formerly Dutch East Indies), claimed West Timor, East Timor remained under Portuguese control
  • (1974) Decolonization of Portuguese Timor began following government changes in Portugal after the Carnation Revolution
  • (1975) Portuguese rule collapsed, East Timor proclaimed independence
  • (1975) Indonesia invaded East Timor, annexed the territory as its 27th province
  • (1975) 200,000 people died during Indonesian rule from repression and famine
  • (1981) Xanana Gusmao became leader of Armed Forces of National Liberation of East Timor
  • (1991) Santa Cruz massacre was the shooting of more than 100 East Timorese pro-independence demonstrators in Santa Cruz cemetery in Dili
  • (1992) Xanama Gusmao captured by a Indonesian troops, convicted of subversion, jailed in Cipinang prison
  • (1998) Indonesian President Suharto resigned, Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie became new president, said he was willing to give East Timor a special status within Indonesia
  • (1999) United Nations supported talks between Indonesia and Portugal to allow East Timor to vote on their future in a referendum
  • (1999) 78% of East Timor voters favored independence
  • (1999) Anti-independence militia, aided by Indonesian military, went on rampage, over 1,000 killed. Thousands of East Timorese forced from their homes, villages were burned to the ground, infrastructure was destroyed
  • (1999) Australian-led international intervention forces brought end to violence
  • (1999) Independence leader Xanana Gusmao freed from jail
  • (1999) Indonesian Parliament declared the 1976 annexation of East Timor void
  • (1999) Indonesian troops left East Timor
2000s
  • (2000) United Nations evacuated staff from West Timor after murders of three agency workers
  • (2001) Australia and East Timor signed memorandum of understanding over future revenues from oil and gas fields in Timor Sea
  • (2001) East Timor held first parliamentary elections
  • (2002) East Timor gained independence
  • (2002) Xanama Gusmao elected first president of East Timor

2000s continued

  • (2002) East Timor became member of United Nations
  • (2006) Hundreds of former soldiers struck for discriminatory working conditions, burned cars, shops in Dili
  • (2006) Troops and international peacekeepers from Australia and New Zealand arrived in East Timor to help restore order
  • (2006) Prime Minister Alkatiri resigned over his handling of the violence caused by the striking soldiers, Jose Ramos-Horta named as his replacement
  • (2007) Jose Ramos-Horta elected president
  • (2007) Xanama Gusmao named prime minister, violent protests occurred
  • (2008) Renegade soldiers shot President Jose Ramos-Horta in stomach during raid on his residence, rebel leader, Alfredo Reinado was killed
  • (2008) Police fired tear gas on students protesting plans to buy new cars for lawmakers with state funds
  • (2008) After spending two months in Australia for medical treatment for wounds, President Jose Ramos-Horta returned to East Timor
  • (2010) Aderito Soares sworn in as first anti-corruption commissioner, investigations of repeated corruption against officials began
  • (2010) Court convicted rebels for the attempted assassination of President Ramos-Horta, sentenced to jail for 16 years
  • (2010) President Ramos-Horta pardoned rebels who had attempted his assassination
  • (2011) East Timor applied for membership in South East Asian group, ASEAN
  • (2012) Taur Matan Ruak elected president
  • (2012) Australia ended six-year stabilization mission, pulled hundreds of soldiers
  • (2012) UN ended peacekeeping mission
  • (2013) East Timor insisted spies from Australian Secret Intelligence Service bugged cabinet room, ministerial offices in Dill regarding dispute over reserves in the Timor Sea
  • (2013) East Timorese government initiated case in the International Court of Justice over raids by Australian Secret Intelligence Service
  • (2014) International Court of Justice ordered Australia to cease spying on East Timor and to return all documents and data
  • (2014) Australian government warned East Timor there will be tough consequences over the decision to launch international arbitration proceedings over maritime boundary with Australia

Timor-Leste Photographs

map of East Timor

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