Country of the World East Timor

About the country East Timor, its location, size, population, leaders and rulers.



Size: 5,762 sq. mi. (14,925 sq. km.).

Population: 723,000.

The Democratic Republic of East Timor, until recently a Portuguese colony, occupies the eastern half of the island of Timor, in Indonesia's Lesser Sunda islands, plus the enclave of Ocussi on the northern coast of west Timor. Three major groups emerged from the first attempts to organize a Timorese independence movement. The most conservative favored continued union with Portugal; the smallest advocated integration into Indonesia; and the most popular, FRETILIN (Revolutionary Front for the Independence of East Timor), called for outright independence and social reform programs. The right-wing group, with the backing of the colonial police, attempted a coup in 1975, but FRETILIN rallied the Portuguese-trained militia to its side and took control.

On Dec. 7, 1975, U.S.-armed Indonesian troops launched a full-scale invasion of East Timor, The Indonesians killed thousands of Timorese, but have only been successful in capturing only major towns. FRETILIN's government and guerrilla force remain active in rural areas, controlling 85% of the territory with 80% of the population. However, Indonesia's naval and air blockade of East Timor has cut off most outside communications with FRETILIN.

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