East Timor is the eastern half of the island of Timor, the islet of Jaco at its eastern tip, Atauro Island off the northern coast, and the enclave of Oecussi-Ambeno (which is in West Timor). It has an area of 14,609 square kilometres, which is slightly larger than Northern Ireland or the state of Connecticut.
Indonesia invaded it in 1975, and occupied it for the next 24 years. The invasion and occupation were immediately resisted through guerrilla warfare, clandestine resistance and international solidarity.
There was a continuum of effort between the armed freedom fighters in the mountains, the clandestine resistance in the towns and villages, and activists overseas. This continuum of effort eventually brought about liberation in September 1999. Given that the East Timorese resistance did not have a land border with a friendly state, had no external supplier of weapons and no liberated area in which to recover between guerrilla operations, their successful resistance is unique in the history of guerrilla warfare and independence struggles. Equally uncommon was an unexpected weapon in the struggle – a remarkable display of strategic non-violent action.
This website is a historical companion to East Timor's war of independence. Most footnotes and other citations are available in The Independence of East Timor, or elsewhere in this website.
I am eager to hear from you if you wish to provide texts, documents, photos, recordings, videos or any other material that can enhance this site. To Indonesian and East Timorese readers: I hope this website contributes to a better relationship among our three countries by allowing the truth to be known and justice to prevail. This is an academic website for non-commercial purposes. Here is a takedown request in case you believe I have inadvertently breached copyright. I do not accept donations. There are many ways to support East Timor; mine is here.
Dr Clinton Fernandes
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Canberra ACT 2600