Restoration of Independence Day in East Timor ― Date, History, and Details

Restoration of Independence Day in East Timor

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History of Restoration of Independence Day in East Timor and How to Celebrate/ Observe It

East Timor, officially the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, is a country in Maritime Southeast Asia. It comprises the eastern half of the island of Timor, the nearby islands of Atauro and Jaco, and Oecusse, an exclave on the northwestern side of the island surrounded by Indonesian West Timor. The country’s size is about 15,410 km2.

East Timor was colonized by Portugal in the 16th century, and was known as Portuguese Timor until 28 November 1975, when the Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (FRETILIN) declared the territory’s independence. Nine days later, it was invaded and occupied by Indonesia in what was to become known as the Indonesian invasion of East Timor. The Indonesian occupation of East Timor was characterised by a highly violent decades-long conflict between separatist groups (notably FRETILIN) and the Indonesian military, which saw the death of an estimated 100,000 to 250,000 people, mostly civilians. In 1999, following the United Nations-sponsored act of self-determination, Indonesia relinquished control of the territory, and East Timor became the first new sovereign state of the 21st century on 20 May 2002.

East Timor is one of only two predominantly Roman Catholic countries in Asia, the other being the Philippines. It is also the least populous country in Asia.

On 30 August 1999, in a UN-sponsored referendum, an overwhelming majority of East Timorese voters chose independence from Indonesia. However, nine days later, the country was invaded by Indonesian forces, who were opposed to independence. The Indonesian military conducted a campaign of violence that resulted in the deaths of an estimated 1,400 to 2,200 Timorese civilians.

In October 1999, an international force led by Australia intervened to restore order and protect the population. On 20 May 2002, East Timor became an independent nation.

The main holiday in East Timor is Restoration of Independence Day on 20 May, which marks the country’s independence from Indonesia in 2002.