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East Timor
Timor Timur (Indonesian)
Timor Lorosa'e (Tetum)
Motto: Houri Otas, Houri Wain, Oan Timor Asswa'in (Tetum)
"From the past and from today, we are Timorese warriors"
Location of East Timor Province
Location of East Timor Province
StatusProvince of Indonesia (de facto)[1]
Overseas province of Portugal (de jure)
and largest city
Official languagesIndonesian, Portuguese
Recognised regional languagesBalinese, Fataluku, Javanese, Tetum, Sundanese, Uab Meto, other indigenous languages
GovernmentOverseas province within a unitary semi-presidential constitutional republic, under military occupation (de jure)[1]

Military occupation (de facto)
President of Indonesia 
• 1976–1998
• 1998–1999
B. J. Habibie
• 1976–1978 (first)
Arnaldo dos Reis Araújo
• 1992–1999 (last)
José Abílio Osório Soares
Vice Governor 
• 1976–1981 (first)
Francisco Xavier Lopes da Cruz
• 1998–1999 (last)
Musiran Darmosuwito
LegislatureEast Timor Regional Representative Council (DPRD Timor Timur)
Historical eraNew Order
17 July 1976
12 November 1991
30 August 1999
25 October 1999
• Total
15,007 km2 (5,794 sq mi)
• Water (%)
• 1980
• 1990
CurrencyIndonesian rupiah (Rp) (IDR)
Time zoneUTC+8 (Central Indonesia Time)
Date formatdd-mm-yyyy
Driving sideleft[2]
Calling code+62 377 (Viqueque)
+62 378 (Pante Makasar)
+62 379 (Suai)
+62 390 (Dili)
+62 394 (Maliana)
+62 396 (Lospalos)
+62 398 (Ermera)
+62 399 (Baucau)
ISO 3166 codeID-TT
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Provisional Government of East Timor
United Nations Administered East Timor
Today part ofEast Timor
  1. ^ East Timor was legalized by Indonesian law as the 27th province, but seen by the UN and several countries (including Portugal) as a "military occupation" (see Indonesian occupation of East Timor). Thus, it was de jure a Portuguese territory under Indonesian occupation from the standpoint of international law, but operated de facto as an Indonesian province (and considered by Indonesia's own laws as a de jure province as well).
  2. ^ Used RHT along with Portugal from 1928–1976, back to LHT since 1976.

East Timor (Indonesian: Timor Timur) was a de facto province of Indonesia that existed between 1976 and 1999 during the Indonesian occupation of East Timor. Its territory corresponded to the previous Portuguese Timor and to the present-day independent country of Timor-Leste.

From 1702 to 1975, East Timor was an overseas territory of Portugal, called "Portuguese Timor". In 1974, Portugal initiated a gradual decolonisation process of its remaining overseas territories, including Portuguese Timor. During the process, a civil conflict between the different Timorese parties erupted. In 1975, Indonesia invaded East Timor and in 1976, it formally annexed the territory, declaring it as its 27th province and renaming it "Timor Timur". The United Nations, however, did not recognise the annexation, continuing to consider Portugal as the legitimate administering power of East Timor. Following the end of Indonesian occupation in 1999, as well as a United Nations administered transition period, East Timor became formally independent of Portugal in 2002 and adopted the official name of Timor-Leste.


Main article: Indonesian occupation of East Timor

Timorese women with the Indonesian national flag

From 1702 to 1975, East Timor was an overseas territory of Portugal, lately being officially the Portuguese overseas province of Timor, usually referred as "Portuguese Timor". Following the "Carnation Revolution" of 1974, the new Government of Portugal initiated a gradual decolonization process of its overseas territories, including Portuguese Timor. During the process, a civil conflict between the several Timorese political parties erupted, with the left-wing Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (Fretilin) prevailing and being able to control the capital Dili, obliging the Portuguese governor and his staff to move his seat to the Atauro Island.

On the 28 November 1975, Fretilin unilaterally declared the independence of the then Portuguese Timor, calling it República Democrática de Timor-Leste (Portuguese for "Democratic Republic of East Timor"). Portugal did not however recognize that independence, with the Portuguese governor continuing to be present and formally administering the province from Atauro, although having a limited de facto authority over the remaining territory of East Timor.

Nine days later, Indonesia began the invasion of the majority of the territory of East Timor. Following the invasion, the Portuguese governor and his staff left Atauro aboard two Portuguese warships. As a statement of Portuguese sovereignty, Portugal maintained those warships patrolling the waters around East Timor until May 1976.

On 17 July 1976, Indonesia formally annexed East Timor as its 27th province and changed its official name to Timor Timur, the Indonesian translation of "East Timor". The use of the Portuguese language was then forbidden, as it was seen as a relic of colonisation.

The annexation was recognized by a few countries, the most relevant being the United States and Australia, but was not recognized by Portugal, the majority of other countries[citation needed] and the United Nations. The United Nations continued to recognise Portugal as the legitimate administering power of East Timor.

The Indonesians left in 1999 and East Timor came under the administration of the United Nations.

After the re-establishment of the independence of Timor-Leste in 2002, the East Timorese government requested that the name Timor-Leste be used in place of "East Timor". This is to avoid the Indonesian term and its reminder of the Indonesian occupation.[citation needed]


As with all provinces of Indonesia, executive authority was vested in a Governor and Vice-Governor elected by the Regional Representative Council (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat Daerah, DPRD) every five years. Legislative authority was vested in the DPRD, both in province and regency level.


For a more comprehensive list, see List of colonial governors of Portuguese Timor.

Below are governors of East Timor Province from 1976 to 1999:

Governors of Timor Timur during Indonesian occupation
No. Portrait Officeholders Tenure Notes Head of state
From Until
130 Arnaldo dos Reis Araújo
3 August 1976 19 September 1978
President of Indonesia
(27 March 1968 – 21 May 1998)

B. J. Habibie
President of Indonesia
(21 May 1998 – 20 October 1999)
131 Guilherme Maria Gonçalves
19 September 1978 17 September 1981
132 Mário Viegas Carrascalão
18 September 1981 18 September 1992
133 José Abílio Osório Soares
18 September 1992 19 October 1999

Regional Representative Council

Composition of the Regional Representative Council between 1980 and 1999:

Regional Representative Council of Timor Timur
Year PPP Golkar PDI ABRI Total
1980 0 25 0 0 25
1981 0 24 0 0 24
1982 0 32 0 4 36
1987 0 34 2 9 45
1988 0 34 2 9 45
1989 0 33 2 9 44
1990 0 34 2 9 45
1991 0 34 2 9 45
1992 2 29 5 9 45
1997 1 30 5 9 45

Administrative divisions

Map of East Timor Province c. 1990s

The province was divided into thirteen regencies (kabupaten) and one administrative city (kota administratif). These are listed below along with their districts (kecamatan), per December 1981:[1][2]


See also


  1. ^ Peraturan Pemerintah Republik Indonesia Nomor 19 Tahun 1976 tentang Pemerintahan Propinsi Daerah Tingkat I Timor Timur dan Kabupaten-Kabupaten Daerah Tingkat II di Timor Timur (in Indonesian). 30 July 1976. Retrieved 30 June 2022. Archived 30 June 2022 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Peraturan Pemerintah Republik Indonesia Nomor 41 Tahun 1981 tentang Pembentukan Kota Administratif Dili (in Indonesian). 19 November 1981. Retrieved 30 June 2022. Archived 30 June 2022 at the Wayback Machine

8°33′S 125°34′E / 8.55°S 125.56°E / -8.55; 125.56