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Timor(tē`môr) [Malay,=east], island (1990 est. pop. 3,900,000), c.13,200 sq mi/34,200 sq km, largest and easternmost of the Lesser Sundas, in the Malay Archipelago. Timor is divided politically between Indonesia and East Timor (Timor-Leste). The island is long, narrow, and almost wholly mountainous. Rice, coconuts, and coffee are grown, and stretches of grassland support cattle. There are oil and gas fields off East Timor's southern coast. The inhabitants are of predominantly Malay and Papuan descent.
The Portuguese were the first Europeans to establish themselves in Timor; their claim to the island was disputed by the Dutch, who arrived in 1613. By a treaty of 1859, modified in 1893 and finally made effective in 1914, the border between the Dutch and Portuguese territories was settled. In World War II, Timor was occupied (early 1942) by the Japanese. With the creation of the Republic of Indonesia in 1950, Dutch Timor became Indonesian territory and is now part of Nusa Tenggara Timur province.
In 1975, Portuguese Timor declared itself independent as East TimorEast Timor
, Tetum Timor Lorosae, republic, officially Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste (2002 est. pop. 800,000), 5,950 sq mi (15,410 sq km), in the Lesser Sundas, Malay Archipelago, off the SE Asia mainland.
..... Click the link for more information. . Indonesia invaded, however, and annexed the region. Sporadic guerrilla warfare continued into 1999, when Indonesia agreed to permit a referendum in which voters chose independence. Pro-Indonesian militias and the army subsequently engaged in a campaign of terror and brutality, but under international pressure Indonesia asked for UN peacekeepers, and, following a period of transitional UN administration, East Timor became independent in 2002.
an island in the Malay Archipelago. Approximately 34,000 sq km in area, Timor is the largest of the Lesser Sunda Islands. It has a mostly mountainous terrain, with elevations to 2,950 m; there are also a few mud geysers. The island has a monsoonal subequatorial climate; coastal temperatures range between 25°C and 27°C year round. Annual precipitation is approximately 1,500 mm, with the dry season occurring from May to November. The vegetation is dominated by tall-grass savannas; certain parts of the island are also covered by rain forests. There are coffee and coconut plantations; rice and maize are also cultivated. The principal cities are Kupang and Dili.
The majority of Timor’s inhabitants speak Indonesian languages, including the Atoni, Tetumy, Mambai, and Tukudede; some of the aborigines—for example, the Mare (or Bunaki), Makasai, and Dagoda—speak languages that are closely related to the Papuan languages. The population includes a small number of Portuguese and Chinese. The aborigines are divided into those who profess Roman Catholicism and those who adhere to traditional local cults and beliefs.
Timor, according to the earliest historical information, was inhabited in the 14th century by tribes that had become vassals of the Javanese state of Majapahit. As the primitive communal system began to disintegrate, however, some tribes formed themselves into states, the largest of which was Surviang, in the western part of the island. In the 16th century, Timor fell into the path of Portuguese colonial expansion; it was seized in 1511 by a military expedition sent by A. de Albuquerque. The Dutch arrived on Timor in 1613.
By the end of the 18th century, the island had been effectively divided between the two colonial powers: the southwestern part went to the Dutch, and the northeastern part, together with a narrow strip of land on the western part of the island, went to the Portuguese. Nevertheless, Timor’s indigenous population stubbornly resisted the colonizers and at various times erupted into open rebellion, notably, in 1719, 1726, 1769, and 1912. In 1896 a part of the Portuguese half of the island administered from Macao was declared an independent administrative unit, Timor. As a consequence of colonial acts of genocide and clashes between the Dutch and Portuguese, the population of the island was reduced and its economic and cultural development arrested for many years. During World War II, Timor was occupied by the Japanese.
With the founding of the Republic of Indonesia in 1945, the former Dutch Timor was made a part of Indonesia. After the overthrow of the fascist regime in Portugal, on Apr. 25, 1974, and during negotiations over the future of the eastern part of Timor, the antagonism between the political parties that had been formed in the Portuguese part of the island became pronounced. The Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (Fretilin), which had been organized as an underground movement in 1970, openly advocated declaring eastern Timor a sovereign state. The Democratic People’s Union (Apodeti), on the other hand, which had been founded in May 1974 and which was supported by several small political groups, began campaigning for union with Indonesia. On Dec. 7, 1975, supporters of the pro-Indonesian party, assisted by Indonesian troops, seized Dili. In December 1975 the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council urged Indonesia to withdraw its troops immediately from eastern Timor. Indonesia, however, kept its forces in the occupied territory, contending they were volunteers.