East Timor’s road to independence – achieved on 20 May 2002 – was long and traumatic.
The people of the first new nation of the century suffered some of the worst atrocities of modern times in their struggle for self-determination.
When their Portuguese colonial masters withdrew in 1975, Indonesia claimed the territory for itself and ruthlessly suppressed the independence movement.
Eventually the UN took over the administration and supervised the territory’s transition to independence.
- Democratic Republic of East Timor
- Capital: Dili
- Population 1.2 million
- Area 14,609 sq km (5,641 sq miles)
- Major languages Tetum and Portuguese (official), Indonesian and English (working languages)
- Major religion Christianity
- Life expectancy 62 years (men), 64 years (women)
- Currency US dollar