Return to homeAction Network: http://www.etan.org Timor is an island about twice the size of
Massachusetts. East Timorese are Roman Catholic and speak Tetum and
Portuguese because of the 400 year colonial rule by Portugal. The
islanders are a mix of Asian and Melanesian with ties to Polynesia
and the Malaysian archipelago. The capital of East Timor is Dili.
East Timor is 13,500 sq. km (5,600 sq. mls).
(SFC, 10/12/96, p.A13)(SFC, 3/3/98, p.A6) 1512 The
Portuguese took over control of East Timor.
(SFC, 3/3/98, p.A6)
1695 Portugal established
colonial rule in the eastern half of Timor Island. The western side
was incorporated into the Dutch East Indies.
(SFC, 5/18/02, p.A15)
1789 Jun 14, Captain William
Bligh of the HMS Bounty arrived in Timor in a small boat.
1791 Aug 29, The Pandora under
Capt. Edward Edwards sank in Endeavour Strait (later Torres Strait)
between Australia and New Guinea. 33 crewmen and 4 prisoners died.
They managed to use small boats and arrived in Timor on Sep 16.
(ON, 3/04, p.9)
1941 Dec 17, Australian and
Dutch troops landed in Dili, East Timor.
1942 Feb 19, Japanese troops
landed on Timor. Australian commandos battled the Japanese with
support from local people. Japanese reprisals killed 60,000
civilians, 13% of the population.
(SFC, 5/17/02, p.A15)(MC, 2/19/02)
1942 May 18, Allied forces
bombed the harbor city of Kupang (Koepang), Timor.
1945 Aug 17, Indonesian
nationalists declared independence from the Netherlands.
(SFC, 10/12/96, p.A13)(AP, 8/17/99)
1945 Indonesia, formed from the
former Dutch East Indies, claimed West Timor. East Timor remained
under Portuguese control.
(SFC, 3/3/98, p.A6)(SFEC, 8/29/99, p.A19)
1949 Dec 27, Queen Juliana of
the Netherlands granted sovereignty to the United States Indonesia
after more than 300 years of Dutch rule. The Netherlands retained
control of Irian Jaya, inhabited by Melanesians, until 1963.
(EWH, 1968, p.1168)(SFC, 9/8/99, p.A17)(AP,
1949 The Dutch East Indies
gained independence. The western half of Timor island was
incorporated into the new nation of Indonesia when Holland
transferred sovereignty. Aceh's leaders agreed to join the new
(SFC, 10/12/96, p.A13)(SFC, 9/8/99, p.A17)(SFC,
5/18/02, p.A15)(SFCM, 11/2/03, p.8)
1974 The process of
decolonization in Portuguese Timor began, following the change of
government in Portugal in the wake of the Carnation Revolution.
Owing to political instability (SFC, 3/3/98,
1974 The Revolutionary Front
for an Independent East Timor (Fretilin) was established. In 2002
Helen M. Hill authored “Stirrings of Nationalism in East Timor:
(SFC, 9/6/01, p.E4)(www.yale.edu/gsp/east_timor/)
1975 Oct 16, In East Timor five
Australian journalists were killed when Indonesian troops overran
the border town of Balibo. A 6th died weeks later when Jakarta
launched a full-scale assault on Dili. In 2009 the film “Balibo," by
Australian director Rob Connolly, depicted the killings.
1975 Oct, US National Security
Advisor Henry Kissinger told his staff: "I'm assuming you're really
going to keep your mouth shut on the subject," in response to
reports that Indonesia had begun its attack on East Timor. This
statement was only made public in 2005.
1975 Nov 28, The Portuguese
colonial rule collapsed and East Timor proclaimed independence, but
10 days later it was invaded by Indonesia.
(G&M, 1/31/96, p.A-9)(SFC, 7/21/96, Z1,
p.8)(SFC, 10/16/96, p.A18)
1975 Dec 4, Ramos Horta helped
form an independent East Timor government but was forced to flee 3
days before Indonesia invaded.
(SFEC, 6/27/99, p.A22)
1975 Dec 6, US President Ford
and Secretary of State Kissinger met with Indonesian President
Suharto and explicitly approved Indonesia’s invasion of East Timor.
This information was only made public in 2005.
1975 Dec 7, Indonesia invaded
East Timor nine days after the Timorese political party Fretilin
claimed independence. Some 600,000 were left dead after a prolonged
(SFC, 7/21/96, Z1, p.8)(SFEC, 8/29/99,
1975-1999 A 2005 Australian report prepared for
the UN said Indonesia killed up to 180,000 East Timorese through
massacres, torture and starvation during its 24-year occupation.
1976 Jul 15, Indonesia passed a
law providing for annexation of East Timor, which the President of
Indonesia signed on 17 July. East Timor became the 27th province of
the Republic of Indonesia. The act was not recognized by the UN.
1978 Dec 31, Nicolau Lobato
(b.1946), East Timor guerrilla commander, was killed. Jose Alexandre
Gusmao was made the de facto Falintil leader.
1978-2002 The Indonesian military systematically
forced dozens of East Timorese women to become sex slaves for
officers during its 24-year occupation of the half-island.
1981 In East Timor Jose
Alexandre Gusmao was made the official Falintil leader.
(SFC, 9/8/99, p.A14)
1991 Nov 12, Indonesian troops
under Lt. Gen’l. Sintong Panjaitan killed numerous people in the
Santa Cruz Cemetery of Dili, East Timor. The massacre of over 270
civilians, gathered at the funeral of a young man killed 2 weeks
earlier, by Indonesian troops was witnessed by reporter Allan Nairn.
Nairn was arrested, beaten and banned from the country.
(SFC,11/26/97, p.C2)(SFC, 3/17/98, p.B10)(SFC,
1992 Nov, Xanana Gusmao, East
Timor rebel leader, was arrested at a "safe house" outside Dili for
fighting Indonesian forces. He was sentenced to life in prison in
1993 following a trial in which he was represented by a member of
the Indonesian security service. The sentence was later commuted to
20 years and he was moved to house arrest in 1999.
(SFC, 2/10/99, p.C2)(SFC, 9/8/99, p.A14)
1993 Konis Santana (d.1998)
took over leadership of the guerrilla Fretilin Party after the
arrest and jailing of Xanana Gusmao.
(SFC, 3/31/98, p.B3)
1995 Indonesian military
commanders controlled the local coffee industry until this time.
(SFEC, 8/29/99, p.A19)
1996 Oct 11, The Nobel Peace
Prize was awarded to Roman Catholic Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes
Belo of East Timor and Jose Ramos-Horta, in exile in Australia, for
their work to end oppression and violence in East Timor.
(SFC, 10/12/96, p.A1)(AP, 10/11/97)
1996 Oct 16, The Australian
Senate called for self-determination in East Timor and supported
independence from Jakarta. The government had earlier recognized the
incorporation of East Timor into Indonesia.
(SFC, 10/17/96, A11)
1996 The island of Timor
numbered some 900,000 residents.
(SFC, 10/12/96, p.A13)(SFC, 3/3/98, p.A6)
1998 May, With Indonesian
president Suharto‘s departure, various independence movements gained
momentum around Indonesia including East Timor.
1998 Jun 20, In East Timor a
young Timorese was shot dead by a soldier as he gathered wood.
Officers apologized and the soldier was charged.
(SFEC, 6/28/98, p.A20)
1998 Jun 27, In East Timor
Manuel Soares (21) was shot dead in Manatuto when troops opened fire
to quell a clash between Pro-Indonesia and pro-independence
supporters. Three EU envoys arrived on a fact-finding mission.
(SFEC, 6/28/98, p.A20)
1998 Aug 14, Indonesia and the
UN signed an agreement to allow human rights observers access to
(SFC, 8/15/98, p.A16)
1998 Sep 14, Hundreds looted a
government-owned rice warehouse on East Timor.
(WSJ, 9/16/98, p.A19)
1998 Nov 20, UN sponsored
autonomy negotiations on East Timor were suspended after 44 people
were reported killed under a military crackdown by the Indonesian
government. The Red Cross later denied the reports of a massacre.
(WSJ, 11/23/98, p.A1)(WSJ, 11/27/98, p.A1)
1998 Matthew Jardine (pseudonym
for Joe Nevins) authored the book: "East Timor: Genocide in
(SFC, 3/3/98, p.A6)
1999 Jan 3, In Ainaro, East
Timor, 3 men died from an assault by militiamen.
(SFC, 2/8/99, p.A12)
1999 Jan 27, In Indonesia
legislators announced that independence for East Timor would be
considered. Also Chief Xanana Gusmao was to be released from prison
but kept in confinement.
(SFC, 1/28/99, p.C3)
1999 Jan, Militiamen in East
Timor killed 3 people including a pregnant woman and a teenage
student. Some 5,500 people fled their homes following the murders.
(SFC, 2/8/99, p.A12)
1999 Apr 5, Two people were
killed during clashes in Liquisa, East Timor. Jose Alexandre Gusmao,
under house arrest in Jakarta, called for guerrilla attacks against
(SFC, 4/6/99, p.A10)
1999 Apr 6, In East Timor
gunmen fired shots and lobbed grenades into a church where 1500
residents had taken refuge. Some 40 people were reported killed in
Liquica and 5 people were shot to death at the home of a parish
priest. Military officials denied the massacre and a bishop later
said the number killed might be less than 40. At least 25 people
were killed by members of the Red and White Iron (Besi Merah Putih)
militia group. In Dec. victims from the massacre at Liquica were
brought up from Lake Maubara.
(SFC, 4/7/99, p.C12)(WSJ, 4/8/99, p.A1)(SFC,
4/9/99, p.D2)(WSJ, 8/24/99, p.A10)(SFC, 12/21/99, p.A17)
1999 Apr 12, In East Timor 4
people were killed in fighting between factions for and against
independence from Indonesia.
(WSJ, 4/13/99, p.A1)
1999 Apr 18, In East Timor
weekend violence left as many as 30 people dead, as pro-Indonesia
militia rampaged through Dili.
(WSJ, 4/19/99, p.A1)
1999 Apr 21, In East Timor the
warring factions signed an agreement to end violence.
(SFC, 4/22/99, p.D3)
1999 Apr 23, The foreign
ministers of Indonesia and Portugal completed an agreement for the
people of East Timor to vote on their future.
(SFC, 4/24/99, p.A14)
1999 Apr 25, Pro-Indonesian
militias were reported to have killed over 150 people in East Timor.
(WSJ, 4/26/99, p.A1)
1999 May 3, In Indonesia the
cabinet approved an autonomy package for East Timor to be voted on
(WSJ, 5/4/99, p.A1)
1999 May 5, Indonesia and
Portugal signed accords to enable the people of East Timor to vote
on independence Aug 8.
(SFC, 5/6/99, p.A15)
1999 May 9, Violence in Dili,
East Timor, between separatists and anti-independence militia began
and left 4 people dead over the next 2 days.
(SFC, 5/11/99, p.A12)
1999 Jun 17, In East Timor
rival factions agreed to cease intimidation and violence prior to
the August referendum between independence and autonomy.
(WSJ, 6/18/99, p.A1)
1999 Jun 22, UN Sec. Gen'l.
Kofi Annan announced a 2 week delay on the Aug 8 vote in East Timor
due to security and logistics.
(SFC, 6/23/99, p.A14)
1999 Jul 4, In East Timor
anti-independence fighters fired for the first time on a convoy of
foreign workers and wounded as many as 3.
(SFC, 7/5/99, p.A12)
1999 Jul 21, It was reported
that 40 to 60 thousand people had been driven from their homes in
East Timor by some 13 anti-independence militia groups such as the
Red and White Iron.
(SFC, 7/21/99, p.A11)
1999 Jul 28, East Timor
elections scheduled for Aug 8, and delayed to Aug 21, were again
delayed to August 30.
(SFC, 7/29/99, p.A16)
1999 Aug 18, Ramos Horta of
Indonesia, 1996 Nobel Prize winner, warned the government that
computer hackers would wreak electronic mayhem on the country if
voting in the East Timor referendum is hampered.
(SFC, 8/19/99, p.D10)
1999 Aug 26, In East Timor
anti-independence militiamen left 6 people dead in Dili.
(SFC, 8/27/99, p.A1)
1999 Aug 27, In East Timor some
800 militiamen attacked the village of Mimo and 3 people were
(SFC, 8/28/99, p.A10)
1999 Aug 28, It was reported
that the Indonesian army had lost over 10,000 soldiers in East Timor
over 24 years of sporadic warfare. An estimated 2,000 Indonesian
troops died fighting guerrillas since 1975.
(SFEC, 8/29/99, p.A19)(SFC, 8/31/99, p.A12)
1999 Aug 30, In East Timor
UN-sponsored elections were held on autonomy vs. independence. 98.6%
of the 451,000 registered voters cast their ballots. Roughly 78% of
the electorate voted to sever links to Indonesia and establish an
independent state. Pro-Indonesia militiamen reacted by going on a
violent rampage that ended when international forces were sent in.
U.N. peacekeeping forces arrived in the following weeks.
(SFC, 8/30/99, p.A1)(SFC, 8/31/99, p.A12)(AP,
1999 Sep 1, In East Timor
pro-Indonesia militia shot and hacked to death Jorges Francisco
Bonaparte (19), a pro-independence activist, a few yards from the
gate of the UN compound in Dili.
(SFC, 9/2/99, p.A14)
1999 Sep 1, In East Timor
pro-independence campaigner Guido Alves Correia in Dili was
murdered. In 2004 Beny Ludji, an Indonesian citizen who was formerly
a commander of the pro-Jakarta Aitarak militia, was sentenced to
eight years in prison for the murder. Jose Gusmao, one of Ludji's
men, was sentenced to 30 months.
1999 Sep 2, In East Timor
pro-Indonesia militiamen killed 2 UN workers as the Indonesian
government dispatched 500 riot police to maintain peace.
(SFC, 9/3/99, p.A8)
1999 Sep 3, The East Timor
election results were reported with 78.5% in favor of independence.
(SFC, 9/4/99, p.A1)
1999 Sep 4, In East Timor
pro-Indonesia militia took control of much of the country in
defiance of the election results and a dozen people were reported
killed in Dili.
(SFEC, 9/5/99, p.A11)
1999 Sep 5, In East Timor
anti-independence militias went on a rampage and 100 people were
reported slaughtered in a church and hundreds of other beheaded as
tens of thousands tried to flee. 18 suspects were indicted for the
slaughter in 2001. In Indonesia 7 senior officials were charged in
2002 including former East Timor Gov. Abilio Soares.
(SFC, 9/6/99, p.A1)(SFC, 2/22/02, p.A14)
1999 Sep 6, In East Timor
martial law was declared by Indonesia as militias began executing
independence leaders. A UN peace-keeping force was being formed to
cope with the violence. A mass slaying of up to 200 civilians took
place in Suai. 3 Roman Catholic priests were among the dead. In 2004
Martenus Bere, Indonesian former militia leader, was indicted for
his role in the Suai Church massacre.
(SFC, 9/7/99, p.A1)(SFC, 11/27/99, p.A14)(AFP,
1999 Sep 7, The US threatened
the withdrawal of financial aid to Indonesia if violence in East
Timor was not curtailed.
(SFC, 9/8/99, p.A1)
1999 Sep 8, In East Timor the
UN delayed a pull out over concern for some 2,000 people gathered in
its compound in Dili. Officials estimated that some 200,000 people
had fled East Timor.
(SFC, 9/9/99, p.A1)(WSJ, 9/9/99, p.A1)
1999 Sep 8, A pro-independence
activist was killed in Maliana, East Timor. In 2001 Joao Fernandes,
a member of the Merah Putih (Red and White) militia, was found
guilty and sentenced to 12 years in prison. This was the 1st
successful prosecution for the numerous East Timor slayings.
(SFC, 1/26/01, p.A16)
1999 Sep 9, Pres. Clinton moved
to cut military ties with Indonesia and the IMF suspended its
lending program due to the violence in East Timor.
(SFC, 9/10/99, p.A1)
1999 Sep 11, Pres. Clinton
backed by the UN General Assembly demanded that Indonesia invite an
int'l. force to restore order in East Timor.
(SFEC, 9/12/99, p.A1)
1999 Sep 12, In Indonesia Pres.
Habibie said he will allow armed foreign peacekeepers into East
Timor. Reports had reached Jakarta that troops had attacked 30,000
people in the seminary town of Dare.
(SFC, 9/13/99, p.A1,10)
1999 Sep 13, Indonesia agreed
to an int'l. commission to investigate possible atrocities in East
Timor and to create no obstacles to the deployment of a foreign
(SFC, 9/14/99, p.A1)
1999 Sep 14, In East Timor
Indonesian soldiers looted the abandoned UN compound in Dili.
(SFC, 9/15/99, p.A14)
1999 Sep 15, The UN authorized
an int'l. peacekeeping force in East Timor led by Australia with
some 8,000 troops from a number of nations.
(SFC, 9/15/99, p.A15)(WSJ, 9/16/99, p.A1)
1999 Sep 18, Indonesian troops
prepared to leave East Timor as a multinational force steamed in.
(SFEC, 9/19/99, p.A17)
1999 Sep 20, In East Timor the
first wave of int'l. peacekeepers, known as Interfet, landed and
established control over Dili.
(SFC, 9/20/99, p.A1)(SFC, 9/21/99, p.A10)(SFEC,
1999 Sep 22, In East Timor
armed men killed a Dutch journalist and assaulted 2 others as
Australian peacekeepers fanned out from Dili and collected weapons
from pro-Jakarta militia.
(WSJ, 9/23/99, p.A1)
1999 Sep 25, In East Timor 9 to
16 people were reported killed in rural areas while on a mission to
aid refugees. Militia members killed 8 people in a van near Baucau
City. 11 men were indicted for the murders.
(SFC, 9/28/99, p.A12)(SFC, 11/17/01, p.A15)
1999 Sep 29, The 1st evidence
of atrocities in East Timor was discovered in the charred remains of
9 bodies in the back of a burned out pickup truck.
(SFC, 9/30/99, p.A18)
1999 Sep 30, Some 30 Falintil
guerrillas under Cornelio Goma came down from the mountains to Dili,
East Timor, and turned over weapons left by Indonesian troops, but
not their own weapons. Goma offered his 500 troops for joint patrols
with the int'l. peacekeepers.
(SFC, 10/1/99, p.D4)
1999 Oct 1, Joao da Silva
Tavares, a militia leader in West Timor, said he planned to lead
12,000 fighters back to 6 western districts of East Timor.
(SFC, 10/2/99, p.C1)
1999 Oct 5, Kofi Annan
presented a UN plan to take full control of East Timor and guide the
territory to nationhood over 2-3 years.
(SFC, 10/6/99, p.A10)
1999 Oct 6, In East Timor
Australian peacekeepers killed 2 anti-independence militia-men near
the West Timor border.
(SFC, 10/7/99, p.C2)
1999 Oct 19, In East Timor
refugees were returning at the rate of 500 per hour and 17,000 were
expected by the end of the day.
(SFC, 10/20/99, p.A10)
1999 Oct 19, In Indonesia the
People's Consultative Assembly relinquished the national claim to
(SFC, 10/20/99, p.A1)
1999 Oct 21, In East Timor Jose
Alexandre "Xanana" Gusmao, the exiled guerrilla leader, returned to
(SFC, 10/22/99, p.B2)
1999 Oct 25, The UN Security
Council voted to send 8,950 peacekeepers, 1,640 police officers and
200 military observers to oversee the East Timor transition to
(SFC, 10/26/99, p.A10)
1999 Oct 31, In East Timor the
last 900 Indonesian soldiers departed. Indonesian forces had burned
about 80% of East Timor’s government buildings and infrastructure
following the vote for independence.
(SFEC, 10/31/99, p.A1)(WSJ, 6/10/04, p.A1)
1999 Dec 13, In West Timor,
Indonesia, Joao Tavarres, supreme militia commander, ordered his
forces to immediately dissolve and surrender their weapons.
(SFC, 1/11/00, p.A12)
1999 Australia started pumping
from the Laminaria-Corallina oil field in the Timor Sea.
(Econ, 6/5/04, p.40)
1999 Australia withdrew from
the Int’l. Court of Justice’s jurisdiction on maritime boundary
questions shortly before East Timor’s independence.
(Econ, 6/5/04, p.40)
1999 A 2006 report by East
Timor's Truth and Reconciliation Commission found that Australia
actively lobbied to delay East Timor's independence vote in 1999 and
prevent its separation from Indonesia.
2000 Jan 22, UN investigators
found the bodies of 8 people in a mass grave in East Timor. This
brought the total number of bodies recovered since Sep to about 200.
(SFC, 1/12/00, p.A11)
2000 Jan 31, In Indonesia a
government commission issued a report that accused the military and
militia surrogates of mass killing, torture, deportation and rape in
(SFC, 2/1/00, p.A10)
2000 Feb 19, It was reported
that some 200 people had died in East Timor, mostly women and
children, in the last week due to illnesses attributed to sanitation
problems caused by recent flooding.
(SFC, 2/19/00, p.C1)
2000 Feb 24, In East Timor
Australian peacekeepers handed control of the region over to a UN
(WSJ, 2/24/00, p.A1)
2000 May 18, In East Timor
floodwaters from monsoon rains drowned at least 50 people in refugee
(SFC, 5/19/00, p.D4)
2000 Jul 24, A New Zealand
soldier was killed during a clash with opponents for independence,
the 1st UN peacekeeper killed in East Timor.
(SFC, 7/25/00, p.A14)
2000 Aug 22, In West Timor
pro-Indonesia militiamen severely beat 3 UN relief workers. UN
relief work in West Timor was suspended the next day.
(SFC, 8/24/00, p.A13)
2000 Sep 1, In Indonesia
prosecutors named 19 people, including 3 generals as possible
suspects in the killings and destruction in East Timor in Sept.
(SFC, 9/2/00, p.A12)
2000 Sep 6, In West Timor
thousands of armed militia rampaged through a UN office in Atambua
and killed at least 3 UN workers and burned their bodies. UN relief
workers were flown out the next day and 90,000 refugees faced
shortages of food and medicine. The militia attack followed the
death of Olivio Mendosa Moruk, an East Timorese militia leader.
(SFC, 9/7/00, p.A1)(SFC, 9/8/00, p.A12)(SFC,
2000 Sep 15, In Australia 4
athletes from East Timor took part in the 2000 Olympics.
(WSJ, 9/18/00, p.A1)
2000 Sep 19, The UN granted its
peacekeepers in East Timor the right to shoot at armed attackers
(SFC, 9/20/00, p.A14)
2000 Oct 19, Jose Ramos-Horta,
Nobel Peace laureate, was sworn in as the East Timor foreign
(SFC, 10/20/00, p.D8)
2001 Feb 1, In East Timor the
former guerrilla force was transformed into the core of a new
(SFC, 2/2/01, p.D4)
2001 Mar 29, In East Timor
Xanana Gusmao said he would not compete in the nation’s 1st
presidential election. Gusmao quit the interim legislature
(SFC, 3/30/01, p.A18)
2001 Jul 4, Australia’s interim
cabinet approved East Timor’s demands for 90% of the revenues from
oil and gas reserves in the Timor Sea.
(SFC, 7/5/01, p.A8)
2001 Aug 30, In East Timor
elections were held for an 88-member assembly to write a
constitution. Voter turnout was estimated at 93% and the
Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor was expected to
win. Fretilin secured 55 0f 88 seats.
(WSJ, 8/31/01, p.A1)(WSJ, 8/31/01, p.A5)(SFC,
8/31/01, p.A18)(SFC, 9/6/01, p.E4)
2002 Feb 9, East Timor approved
a draft for a new constitution. Full independence was scheduled for
(SSFC, 2/10/02, p.A14)
2002 Mar 14, In Jakarta the
human-rights trial to probe the 1999 violence in East Timor began
with 3 generals among the 18 suspects accused of crimes against
(SFC, 3/14/02, p.A8)
2002 Apr 14, In East Timor
elections former guerrilla leader Xanana Gusmao led over Francisco
Xavier do Amaral by a large margin. Xanana Gusmão was elected the
first president of East Timor and he served from May 2002 until May
2002 Apr 17, The UN officially
declared former guerrilla leader Xanana Gusmao as winner in East
Timor’s 1st presidential elections.
(SFC, 5/18/02, p.A15)
2002 May 20, East Timor, with a
population at about 800,000, celebrated independence. A legal battle
loomed with Australia over the disputed Greater Sunrise natural gas
field in the Timor Sea. The filed lay 95 miles south of East Timor
and 250 miles north of Australia.
(SFC, 5/20/02, p.A6)(WSJ, 5/20/02, p.A19)(WSJ,
2002 May 20, East Timor was
renamed Timor-Leste upon independence.
2002 Jul 2, East Timor
President Xanana Gusmao and his Indonesian counterpart Megawati
Sukarnoputri opened a new chapter in ties between the world's newest
nation and its former foe, establishing formal diplomatic links and
pledging to work together.
2002 Aug 14, An Indonesian
court sentenced a former East Timor governor to three years in jail
over violence linked to the territory's 1999 independence vote.
2002 Aug 15, An Indonesian
court acquitted a former East Timor police chief and five other
security officers of crimes against humanity over East Timor's
bloody independence vote in 1999.
2002 Sep 27, East Timor, the
first country to be born in the 21st century, gained a seat at the
United Nations, swelling the membership roll to 191.
2002 Dec 4, Security forces
fired on student protesters in the East Timorese capital, killing
two people and prompting angry mobs to loot shops and set fire to
several buildings, including the prime minister's house.
2002 The first Timor Sea Treaty
was signed with Australia giving East Timor 90% of the revenue from
a Joint Petroleum Development Area (JPDA).
(Econ, 6/8/13, p.44)
2003 Jan 31, A Russian cargo
plane crashed while landing in fog near an airport on East Timor's
north coast, killing all six people aboard.
2003 Feb 4, The UN indicted 32
people, including 15 Indonesian soldiers, on allegations they
tortured and killed East Timorese during the country's bloody split
from Indonesia in 1999.
2003 Apr 5, In East Timor Jose
Cardosa Fereira, senior militia leader, was found guilty of murder,
rape and torture of civilians in East Timor who supported the
territory's 1999 independence from Indonesia. He was sentenced to 12
2003 Sep 16, The UN turned over
responsibility for security in East Timor's second largest city to
the country's fledgling police force.
2003 East Timor promulgated its
first big land law. This passed ownership of property previously
controlled by the Portuguese and the Indonesians to the new state.
Details of the exact tracts of land to be transferred remained an
unsettled questioned even to 2012.
(Econ, 5/5/12, p.44)
2004 Apr 19, The annual
environmental Goldman Prizes were awarded in SF. Winners included
Demetrio De Carvalho of East Timor for his environmental efforts.
(SFC, 4/19/04, p.B5)
2004 Jul 29, Four Indonesian
security officers convicted over atrocities during East Timor's 1999
violence-marred independence vote were acquitted.
2004 Nov 5, Abilio Jose Soares,
the only Indonesian official to be punished for violence that killed
up to 2,000 East Timorese in 1999, has been released from jail,
following a court decision that overturned his conviction. Soares
was the former governor of East Timor.
2004 Nov 25, Eight former
pro-Jakarta militiamen were convicted in East Timor for crimes
against humanity committed in the mayhem surrounding a 1999
UN-backed vote that led to the country's separation from Indonesia.
2004 Oil production at the Bayu
Undan oil field in the Timor Sea was expected to begin. Australia
claimed a 50% stake due to an arrangement made with Indonesia prior
to East Timor’s independence.
(SFC, 10/20/00, p.D3)
2005 Mar 9, Indonesia and East
Timor agreed to set up a commission to deal with atrocities
surrounding East Timor's 1999 vote for independence, despite
criticism led by the UN.
2005 Apr 8, Indonesia's Pres.
Yudhoyono was greeted in East Timor on a visit to bolster
reconciliation between Jakarta and the territory it once occupied
with brutal force.
2005 May 13, East Timor
finished talks in Sydney, Australia, that managed to overcome 2 main
sticking points on their maritime border and revenue from the
Greater Sunrise gasfield. They agreed to defer the boundary issue
for 50 years along with a 50% revenue split.
(Econ, 5/21/05, p.46)
2005 Jun 13, Australia handed
East Timor the base at Moleana, a tiny town near the border with
Indonesia, signaling the end of a six-year mission that heralded a
controversial new era of regional intervention in East Timor.
2005 Jun 29, A UN team of
experts called for an international tribunal to prosecute
Indonesia’s security forces and militia during its bloodstained exit
from East Timor in 1999.
2005 Aug 4, In Bali a truth
commission set up by Indonesia and East Timor began work, seeking to
deflect growing calls for an international tribunal to probe the
tiny territory's bloody independence vote in 1999.
2005 Oct 31, A UN-sanctioned
panel investigating human rights violations during Indonesia's
bloody 24-year occupation of East Timor presented its findings to
the country's president.
2005 Dec 1, Australia and East
Timor finalized a revenue-sharing pact covering the $5 billion
Sunrise natural-gas project.
(WSJ, 12/2/05, p.A8)
2005 Dec 27, East Timor's
president formally opened a consulate in Indonesia's neighbouring
West Timor province in an effort to strengthen relations between the
2006 Jan 12, Australia and East
Timor agreed to equally share revenue from the Greater Sunrise
natural gas project in the Timor Sea.
(WSJ, 1/13/06, p.A8)
2006 Feb 21, Portugal's
President Jorge Sampaio was granted honorary citizenship of East
Timor as he began a three-day official trip to the former Portuguese
2006 Feb, About 500 East
Timorese soldiers deserted in protest against alleged discrimination
and over-zealous surveillance. The fledgling East Timorese army has
about 1500 regular soldiers and 1500 reservists.
2006 Mar 16, Timor-Leste’s PM
Mari Alkatiri sacked almost half the country’s 1,400-strong army for
going on strike effective as of March 1.
(Econ, 6/3/06, p.38)(http://tinyurl.com/egj85)
2006 Apr 28, In East Timor
hundreds of former soldiers burned cars and shops in Dili, sparking
violent clashes with police that left at least two people dead and
27 injured. The soldiers, who were dismissed last month for striking
against "discriminatory" working conditions, have held near-daily
rallies in Dili this week demanding that their grievances be heard.
2006 May 23, Fighting between
disgruntled former soldiers and the military left at least two
people dead in East Timor, as Australia and New Zealand offered to
provide troops to the tiny nation to help restore calm.
2006 May 24, International
peacekeepers and troops from Australia and New Zealand were headed
to East Timor to help restore order after gunbattles between
disgruntled ex-soldiers and the military killed two people and
2006 May 25, In East Timor
fierce gunbattles raged in Dili as international troops started
arriving in the tiny nation to help quell a rebellion by disgruntled
ex-soldiers. Soldiers fired on unarmed police killing 10 and
wounding 27. At least 10 people died in other attacks.
(AP, 5/25/06)(SFC, 5/26/06, p.A15)(Econ, 6/3/06,
2006 May 25, PM John Howard
increased Australia’s contingent to Timor-Leste to some 1,300
troops. 500 Malaysians and troops from New Zealand and Portugal were
(Econ, 6/3/06, p.15)
2006 May 26, Hundreds of
foreign troops struggled to keep East Timor from tipping into civil
war amid widening violence, including a mob attack that killed six
relatives of a government minister and set his house ablaze.
2006 May 27, East Timor's
capital descended into chaos as rival gangs set houses on fire and
attacked each other with machetes and spears, defying international
peacekeepers patrolling in armed vehicles and combat helicopters.
The prime minister said a coup attempt was underway.
2006 May 28, In East Timor
rival gangs torched homes and battled each other with machetes in
Dili, scattering and regrouping as Australian troops in armored
vehicles rumbled toward the sound of gunfire.
2006 May 30, In East Timor
machete-wielding mobs torched homes and ransacked buildings in Dili
as desperate residents scuffled over scarce food and the president
said he was taking over "sole responsibility" for the country's
2006 Jun 1, East Timor
President Xanana Gusmao made an emotional plea for peace after weeks
of violence, as the rebel leader pressed him to oust the unpopular
2006 Jun 2, In Timor-Leste
lawlessness raged in parts Dili as mobs looted government
warehouses, stealing computers, office chairs and file cabinets.
Foreign troops deployed to restore order were nowhere to be seen.
2006 Jun 4, In East Timor gangs
burned half a dozen buildings near the airport in Dili as residents
pleaded for a permanent police presence in their neighborhoods to
stop the violence.
2006 Jun 6, Some 2,000
protesters calling for the ouster of East Timor's PM Mari Alkatiri
cruised around Parliament in a convoy of horn-blaring trucks and
motorcycles, hours after mobs set fire to buildings and looted a
warehouse filled with farm supplies.
2006 Jun 11, Foreign Minister
Jose Ramos-Horta said the East Timorese government has asked the UN
to form an "independent special inquiry commission" into violence
that has left 21 dead.
2006 Jun 13, UN chief Kofi
Annan asked UN human rights chief Louise Arbour to help set up an
independent enquiry commission to probe a recent wave of ethnic
violence in East Timor.
2006 Jun 16, East Timor rebel
soldiers surrendered the first of their weapons to Australian
peacekeepers, beginning a process deemed vital to ending months of
2006 Jun 20, East Timor
prosecutors ordered the arrest of Rogerio Lobato, the former
interior minister, for supplying weapons to a hit squad tasked with
eliminating the prime minister's political opponents. International
troops tightened security across the capital as hundreds of
protesters gathered to demand PM Mari Alkatiri's ouster.
2006 Jun 21, East Timorese PM
Mari Alkatiri likely will resign, his spokesman said, as the
country's president and members of the beleaguered leader's own
party joined a chorus of people saying he no longer had their trust.
2006 Jun 22, East Timor's
president threatened to resign after the ruling party defied his
orders to oust the prime minister.
2006 Jun 23, East Timor's
president backed off a threat to resign, telling thousands of
flag-waving supporters he would not abandon them as the country
searched for a solution to weeks of political turmoil and bloody
2006 Jun 24, In Timor-Leste
thousands of protesters demanded the ouster of PM Mari Alkatiri,
blaming him for provoking violence and political chaos.
2006 Jun 26, East Timor's
embattled PM Alkatiri resigned, setting off celebrations in the
violence-scarred capital and raising hopes for an end to weeks of
political turmoil and unrest.
2006 Jun 28, Stone-throwing
youths attacked refugee camps and torched homes in East Timor,
raising tensions as thousands of supporters of ex-premier Mari
Alkatiri waited outside the capital Dili.
2006 Jul 1, Sources said East
Timor's outgoing foreign minister Jose Ramos-Horta will head the
government until a new premier is appointed in coming days.
2006 Jul 8, Jose Ramos-Horta,
Nobel peace laureate, was named East Timor's new prime minister.
2006 Jul 10, Nobel laureate
Jose Ramos-Horta was sworn in as PM of East Timor in a move aimed at
ending months of political uncertainty and street violence.
2006 Jul 14, East Timor's
President Xanana Gusmao swore in a new government as his tiny nation
looked for a return to political order after several weeks of
2006 Jul 22, East Timor's newly
installed PM Jose Ramos-Horta offered a weapons amnesty to prevent a
repeat of communal clashes which left 21 dead two months ago.
2006 Aug 2, The Australian
government said it had started reducing troop numbers in East Timor
as security in the tiny nation was steadily improving.
2006 Aug 19, In East Timor
rampaging youths set houses on fire in Dili, a reminder that
stability has not yet returned to Asia's newest nation following
months of violence.
2006 Aug 25, The UN established
a new mission in East Timor but left Australian-led troops in place
following a dispute over whether they should remain independent or
be part of a UN force.
2006 Aug 30, Nearly 60 inmates
escaped from an East Timor jail, including scores of people arrested
in recent violence that wracked the tiny nation and militiamen who
opposed the country's break from Indonesian rule.
2006 Sep 13, International
police deployed to East Timor in the wake of unrest in May formally
handed over their authority to the UN at a ceremony in the capital.
A battle between rival gangs armed with machetes killed one fighter
and injured five others in Dili.
(AFP, 9/13/06)(AP, 9/14/06)
2006 Oct 17, A UN report
recommended that recommended that East Timor’s former interior
minister Rogerio Lobato, military chief Taur Matan Ruak, and several
others be prosecuted for illegal distribution of weapons and be held
accountable for unrest that gripped capital Dili this year. The
79-page report also called for a further investigation into former
PM Mari Alkatiri to determine whether he should face criminal
2006 Oct 26, In East Timor
witnesses and residents said 2 men were shot to death in overnight
gang battles in Dili.
2006 Dec 3, In East Timor a man
was hacked to death and 17 others were injured in overnight gang
fighting in Dili.
2007 Jan 12, East Timor and
France signed non-aggression treaties with ASEAN member countries on
the sidelines of the annual ASEAN summit in the Philippine resort
city of Cebu. Both countries looked to strengthen ties with a bloc
representing a sixth of the world's people.
2007 Jan 18, East Timor and the
UN launched an appeal for $16.6 million to help resettle and
reintegrate about 100,000 people displaced by violence which wracked
the country last year.
2007 Feb 17, About 40 prisoners
escaped from a jail in East Timor, adding to security concerns as it
prepares for elections following political turmoil and violence last
2007 Feb 22, The UN Security
Council voted unanimously to extend the UN mission in East Timor for
a year and beef up the international police force ahead of upcoming
2007 Feb 23, An Australian
soldier opened fire on a group of East Timorese attacking him with
steel arrows, killing one of the youths and critically wounding two.
2007 Feb 25, PM Jose
Ramos-Horta of East Timor told a cheering crowd in his hometown that
he will run in April's presidential elections, vowing to help return
peace and stability to the troubled nation.
2007 Mar 4, In East Timor
International security forces backed by helicopters raided a rebel
hide-out and killed four suspected insurgents, though their leader
Alfredo Reinado escaped.
2007 Mar 7, In Timor-Leste a
three-judge panel found Rogerio Lobato, a former interior minister,
guilty of fueling violence a year ago that ultimately led to the
downfall of the government and sentenced him to 7 1/2 years in
2007 Mar 29, Indonesia reopened
its border with East Timor because the fugitive rebel who caused its
closure is no longer considered a threat.
2007 Apr 9, East Timor held
elections. A Nobel laureate squared off with two rivals in
presidential elections that could test East Timor's fragile calm a
year after one of the world's youngest and poorest nations reached
the brink of civil war.
2007 Apr 11, Three candidates
battled for a spot in East Timor's presidential runoff after none
got enough votes to win outright.
2007 May 9, East Timor voted
for a new president, choosing between a Nobel Prize winner and an
ex-freedom fighter in polls critical to maintaining peace a year
after the nation was pushed to the brink of civil war.
2007 May 10, Nobel Peace Prize
winner Jose Ramos-Horta pledged to unite troubled East Timor after
the former resistance leader was elected president of one of the
world's poorest nations.
2007 May 14, Gangs torched
houses and fought in East Timor, injuring around 14 people, as
violence broke out following the nation's presidential elections.
2007 May 20, Jose Ramos-Horta
was sworn in as East Timor's president as violence erupted in the
capital between rival groups, leaving one person dead.
2007 Jun 30, East Timor
parliamentary elections got under way. The ruling Fretilin party
narrowly defeated its rivals in elections, prompting the President
Jose Ramos-Horta to call for a national unity coalition to avoid a
collapse of the government.
(AP, 6/30/07)(AP, 7/5/07)
2007 Jul 17, It was reported
that the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization and WFP estimated
that the cereal deficit for East Timor this year and next will reach
86,364 tons. With commercial imports anticipated at 71,000 tons, the
shortfall needs to be filled through food assistance.
2007 Jul 26, East Timor's
President Jose Ramos-Horta asked visiting Australian PM John Howard
to keep Australian peacekeepers in the young nation until the end of
2007 Aug 6, Independence hero
Xanana Gusmao was named East Timor's new prime minister, triggering
fresh violence in the capital.
2007 Aug 7, Mobs torched
government buildings and foreign aid offices, as street violence
triggered by the appointment of East Timor's new PM spread to
Baucau, the 2nd-largest city. The former ruling Fretilin party won
21 seats in the 65-member Parliament, well short of a majority, but
insisted it had the right to form the next government. Gusmao's
party won 18, but formed a coalition that now comprises 37 seats.
2007 Aug 10, In East Timor
dozens of attackers raided the Salesian Don Bosco convent and raped
several female students, including one around 8 years old.
2007 Aug 23, Hundreds of
rampaging youths torched dozens of houses and clashed across East
Timor, leaving at least two people dead, in violence sparked by the
appointment of independence hero Xanana Gusmao as prime minister.
2007 Oct 3, Police in East
Timor arrested Vicente "Railos" da Conciecao, the suspected head of
a hit squad. He was linked with Rogerio Lobato, a former interior
minister convicted of giving weapons to civilians during a wave of
violence last year.
2007 Dec 14, Australian PM
Kevin Rudd and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon jetted into East
Timor to lend support to the nation's efforts to stabilize and
rebuild after violence last year. Rudd pledged to support the
nation's ongoing security needs during the five-hour stop.
(AP, 12/14/07)(AFP, 12/14/07)
2008 Feb 11, Rebel soldiers
shot and critically wounded East Timor's Pres. Jose Ramos-Horta, and
opened fire on PM Xanana Gusmao, in a failed coup attempt in the
recently independent nation. Rebel leader Alfredo Reinado and one of
his men were killed in the attack on the home of Ramos-Horta, while
one of the president's guards also died. In 2010 Angelita Pires
(43), an Australian woman, was cleared of the attempted
assassination. Prosecutors had stated that she had persuaded her
lover, rebel leader Alfredo Reinado, to mount the attack. 23 others
were sentenced to jail terms ranging from nine to 16 years. 4 others
(AP, 2/11/08)(AP, 3/3/10)
2008 Feb 12, East Timor
declared a state of emergency. Australian troops and a warship
arrived to boost security after rebel attacks on the country's two
top leaders left the president in "extremely serious" condition with
2008 Mar 2, Amaro da Costa, a
senior East Timorese rebel soldier, surrendered. He was accused of
being involved in last month's attacks on the country's president
and prime minister.
2008 Apr 4, Indonesia's Supreme
Court overturned the conviction of a notorious militia leader
accused in attacks that left about 1,000 people dead following East
Timor's 1999 independence vote. With Eurico Guterres' upcoming
release, all 18 suspects originally indicted will have been
acquitted or set free.
2008 Apr 29, Gastao Salsinha,
the leader of a group of East Timor rebels accused of trying to
assassinate President Jose Ramos-Horta, surrendered with 12 of his
men, raising hopes that the troubled young nation can find some rare
2008 Jul 7, Police in East
Timor's capital fired tear gas to disperse students protesting a
plan by lawmakers to buy themselves new cars with state funds.
2008 Jul 11, Brazilian
President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva promised to support East Timor
during talks in Dili with Timorese leaders including President Jose
2008 Jul 15, Indonesia's
president acknowledged that his country carried out gross human
rights abuses during East Timor's 1999 break for independence, but
stopped short of offering a full apology and said no one would be
2008 Oct 22, Defense Minister
Joel Fitzgibbon said Australia will reduce its troop deployment to
East Timor because of the improved security situation.
2009 May 15, In Indonesia 6
Asia-Pacific countries, meeting at the World Oceans Conference,
agreed on a management plan to protect one of the world's largest
networks of coral reefs, promising to reduce pollution, eliminate
overfishing and improve the livelihoods of impoverished coastal
communities. The Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries
and Food Security covered an area defined as the Coral Triangle,
which spans Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea,
the Solomon Islands and East Timor.
2009 Jun 25, The government of
East Timor said it plans to establish a national park to protect a
bounty of dolphins and whales, some of them endangered species,
recently discovered mingling and feeding off its coast.
2009 Sep 9, Australia announced
that it has launched a war crimes investigation into the 1975
killing of five Australian-based journalists during an attack by
Indonesian forces in East Timor.
2009 Dec 1, Indonesia banned
the film “Balibo," an Australian-made film on the alleged murder of
six Australian-based journalists by Indonesian troops during the
1975 invasion of East Timor.
2009 Geoffrey Robinson authored
“If You Leave Us Here, We Will Die": How Genocide Was Stopped in
(Econ, 2/27/10, p.89)
2010 Jan 22, In East Timor
police launched a full-scale anti-ninja operation and later extended
it for six months with support from the armed forces.
2010 Feb 5, In East Timor 20
members of dissident political group CPD-RDTL and underground
political organization Bua-Malus were arrested on suspicion of
involvement in "ninja" activities.
2010 Feb, In East Timor
construction workers uncovered human bones while digging the
foundation of a five-star hotel. Experts later said the 9
blindfolded and buried bodies were likely East Timorese freedom
fighters executed and put in a mass grave early in the Indonesian
2010 Jul 5, Australia's new
leader launched a plan to make East Timor a hub for processing
asylum seekers fleeing war and persecution across Asia while a
debate rages in her country over illegal migration.
2010 Jul 7, East Timor's Pres.
Jose Ramos Horta said he supports in principle an Australian plan to
turn his country into a regional center for processing asylum
seekers but does not want his tiny, impoverished nation to become an
2010 Sep 8, In East Timor Mario
Viejas Carrascalao (73), a deputy prime minister, announced his
resignation in a letter published in the national newspaper, Tempo
Semanal. In a blow to his "personal dignity," he said PM Gusmao had
screamed at him at a public meeting and called him dumb. Carrascalao
outlined a long list of problems facing East Timor, accusing the
government of failing to address and sometimes participating in
corruption and nepotism, and increasing their own well-being while
ordinary citizens continued to live in abject poverty.
2010 Oct 13, Australia and
Indonesia agreed to further discuss plans for a refugee centre in
East Timor to stem the flow of asylum seekers through Southeast Asia
on their way to Australia.
2011 Mar 27, United Nations
police returned full control of East Timor to the national force,
more than four years after bloody clashes threatened to push the
country into civil war.
2011 East Timor’s first
shopping center, The Timor Plaza, opened in Dili.
(Econ, 3/10/12, p.52)
2012 Mar 17, East Timor voted
for a new president. Incumbent Jose Ramos Horta, a Nobel Peace Prize
laureate (1996), faced off against 11 other candidates. Francisco
"Lu Olo" Guterres, of the traditionally strong leftist Fretilin
party, won with 29% of the vote, followed by former military chief
Jose Maria Vasconcelos, aka Taur Matan Ruak, with 25%. A runoff was
scheduled for mid-April.
(AP, 3/17/12)(AP, 3/19/12)(Econ, 3/24/12, p.42)
2012 Apr 16, In East Timor 2
former guerrilla leaders vied for the presidency. Jose Maria
Vasconcelos, known by his nom de guerre, Taur Matan Ruak, received
61% of the vote defeating Francisco "Lu Olo" Guterres.
(AP, 4/16/12)(AP, 4/17/12)
2012 May 19, In East Timor
former guerrilla leader and ex-army chief Taur Matan Ruak was sworn
in as the new president as the young democracy, devastated by
decades of conflict, celebrated 10 years of independence.
2012 Jun, In East Timor
construction workers discovered the remains of 52 people in a garden
outside the beachfront palace in June, which houses the office of PM
Xanana Gusmao. More bodies found in July put the number at 72. Clues
indicated the dead may have been Chinese, who were in East Timor
before Indonesian occupation.
2012 Jul 7, East Timor's voters
went to the polls in parliamentary elections seen as a key test for
the young and fragile democracy and likely to determine if UN
peacekeepers can leave by the end of the year. Preliminary results
showed resistance hero Xanana Gusmao to be set for a new term as
premier after his party won most seats in parliamentary polls, but
will have to form a coalition.
(AFP, 7/7/12)(AFP, 7/8/12)
2012 The population of East
Timor was about 1.1 million.
(Econ, 6/30/12, p.42)
2013 Sep 23, East Timor police
said there will be zero tolerance against those who continue to
practice martial arts after the government banned all clubs
following deadly gang violence. Fighting among rival clubs has left
at least 12 Timorese dead and over 200 injured in the past two
(SFC, 9/24/13, p.A2)
2014 Mar 3, The United Nations'
highest court banned Australia from making any use of documents it
seized from a lawyer working for East Timor in an arbitration case
over a multibillion-dollar oil and gas deal between the two nations.