Difference between revisions of "East Timor"
Revision as of 15:47, 27 October 2004
East Timor (Portuguese: Timor Leste) (Tetum: Timor Lorosa'e) is a country in Southeast Asia and is the world's newest independent country. It lies northwest of Australia in the Lesser Sunda Islands at the eastern end of the Indonesian archipelago. East Timor includes the eastern half of the island of Timor, the Oecussi (Ambeno) region on the northwest portion of the island of Timor, and the islands of Pulau Atauro and Pulau Jaco.
East Timor consists of 13 Administrative districts.
The island of Timor is a former Portuguese colony that declared itself independent from Portugal on 28 November 1975. Nine days later, Indonesian forces invaded and occupied the former colony and annexed it as the province of Timor Timur in July 1976.
Indonesia then conducted a campaign of pacification over the next two decades, during which time an estimated 100,000 to 250,000 individuals lost their lives.
After a UN supervised popular referendum on 30 August 1999, where the people of East Timor voted for independence from Indonesia, gangs of independence opponents, apparently supported by the Indonesian military, terrorised the population in a civil war that destroyed much of the country's infrastructure. A UN peacekeeping force, led by Australian forces was sent in to re-establish a civil society and reconstruct the nation.
On 20 May 2002, East Timor was internationally recognized as an independent state and the world's newest democracy.
Tetum and Portuguese are official languages, but Indonesian and English are widely spoken. There are also about 16 indigenous languages, of which Tetum, Galole, Mambae, and Kemak are spoken by significant numbers of people.
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