Long before the Portuguese Vasco de Gama, both the Chinese and the Arabs knew Timor as an “inexhaustible source of precious woods, porcelain, lead and other” natural resources that indigenous people could benefit from.
The traditional community of Timor consisted of 5 major social groups or classes: Liurari (the chiefs and kings), date (nobility, warriors – the less important ones), ema-reino (free plebeians), ata (slaves) and finally lutum (nomad cattle herders)).
According to Countryaah, the capital of Timor-Leste is Dili. The population resisted colonialization, and it came to armed uprisings in 1719, 1895 and 1959, all of which, however, were demolished. In 1859 the island was divided between Portugal and the Netherlands. Following a 1904 agreement, the eastern part of the island came to belong to the Portuguese. Yet, the Maubers’ resistance allowed the people to survive 5 centuries of colonialism. The forests with the noble woods were not as resistant. In particular, during the colonialization, the white sandal tree was subjected to heavy deforestation, which constituted an early ecological disaster. Already from this early stage the production of coffee became the basis for the economy.
1970-75 Independence struggle
Much later than in the Portuguese colonies in Africa, supporters of independence joined in 1970. They formed a broad front consisting of nationalist political organizations as well as several social movements and decided to fight for national liberation.
In April 1974, the so-called carnation revolution took place in Portugal. The struggle against the colonial power at that time was already well developed and had considerable popular support. The collapse of the colonial rule in Portugal also fundamentally changed the political situation in East Timor. legalizing the patriotic movement. In September, the Liberation Movement was formed for an independent East Timor (FRETILIN).
The new Portuguese government promised independence to the country, but the local colony administration supported the creation of the Timor Democratic Union (UDT), which advocated the preservation of the colonial status quo and a “federation with Portugal”. At the same time, the Consulate of Indonesia in the capital Dili funded a group of East Timorese who formed the Timorese People’s Democratic Association (Apodeti), which advocated the incorporation of East Timor into Indonesia.
Thus, a period of conflict between the neo-colonialist Portuguese interests, the followers of Indonesian annexation and the supporters of independence began. In August 1975, the UDT conducted a coup attempt, after which FRETILIN called for a total armed revolt. The Portuguese colony administration left the country, and with FRETILIN in full control of the area, on November 28, 1975, the movement declared the country independent under the name of the Democratic Republic of East Timor. However, it was not officially recognized by Portugal, which had widespread political and diplomatic consequences that still characterize the situation today.