(PORTUGUESE TIMOR) 1596 – 1975
Timor Portugués es el antiguo nombre (1596–1975) de Timor Oriental cuando estaba bajo administración portuguesa. Durante ese período, Portugal compartió la isla de Timor con las Indias Orientales Holandesas, y desde 1949 con Indonesia.
A pesar de que Portugal fue neutral durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial, en diciembre de 1941, Timor Portugués fue ocupado por fuerzas australianas y holandesas, quienes esperaban una invasión por parte del Imperio japonés. Cuando los japoneses ocuparon Timor, en febrero de 1942, los Aliados (conjuntamente con voluntarios timorenses) se les enfrentaron en una guerrilla durante la llamada “batalla de Timor“. El enfrentamiento dio como resultado la muerte de un número indeterminado de timorenses (entre 40 000 y 70 000) y de 81 portugueses.
Tras 1949, las Indias Orientales Holandesas se independizaron bajo el nombre de Indonesia. En 1975, Timor Portugués declaró unilateralmente su independencia y cambió su nombre a Timor Oriental. Esta acción fue seguida de una invasión y anexión por parte de Indonesia.
The first Europeans to arrive in the region were the Portuguese in 1515. Dominican friars established a presence on the island in 1556, and the territory was declared a Portuguese colony in 1702. Following the beginning of a Lisbon-instigated decolonisation process in 1975, East Timor was invaded by Indonesia. However, the invasion and subsequent annexation was not recognized by the United Nations (UN), and as such Portuguese Timor existed de jureuntil a UN administration took over in 1999.
In 1702, Lisbon sent its first governor successfully, António Coelho Guerreiro, to Lifau, which became capital of all Portuguese dependencies on Lesser Sunda Islands. Former capitals were Solor and Larantuka. Portuguese control over the territory was tenuous particularly in the mountainous interior. Dominican friars, the occasional Dutch raid, and the Timorese themselves competed with Portuguese merchants. The control of colonial administrators was largely restricted to the Dili area, and they had to rely on traditional tribal chieftains for control and influence.
The capital was moved to Dili in 1769, due to attacks from the Topasses, who became rulers of several local kingdoms (Liurai). At the same time, the Dutch were colonising the west of the island and the surrounding archipelago that is now Indonesia. The border between Portuguese Timor and the Dutch East Indies was formally decided in 1859 with the Treaty of Lisbon. In 1913, the Portuguese and Dutch formally agreed to split the island between them. The definitive border was drawn by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in 1916, and it remains the international boundary between the modern states of East Timor and Indonesia.
For the Portuguese, East Timor remained little more than a neglected trading post until the late nineteenth century. Investment in infrastructure, health, and education was minimal. Sandalwood remained the main export crop with coffee exports becoming significant in the mid-nineteenth century. In places where Portuguese rule was asserted, it tended to be brutal and exploitative.
Following a 1974 coup (the “Carnation Revolution“), the new Government of Portugal favoured a gradual decolonisation process for Portuguese territories in Asia and Africa. When East Timorese political parties were first legalised in April 1974, three major players emerged. The Timorese Democratic Union (UDT), was dedicated to preserving East Timor as a protectorate of Portugal and in September announced its support for independence. Fretilin endorsed “the universal doctrines of socialism”, as well as “the right to independence”, and later declared itself “the only legitimate representative of the people”. A third party, APODETI emerged advocating East Timor’s integration with Indonesia expressing concerns that an independent East Timor would be economically weak and vulnerable.
On 17 July 1976, Indonesia formally annexed East Timor, declaring it as its 27th province and renaming it Timor Timur. The United Nations, however, did not recognise the annexation, continuing to consider Portugal as the legitimate administering power of East Timor.
Following the end of Indonesian occupation in 1999, and a United Nations administered transition period, East Timor became formally independent in 2002.
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