Portuguese Timor

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Portuguese Timor in the borders from 1916

Portuguese Timor was the name of the Portuguese colony between 1586 and 1975 (de jure to 2002) , which is now an independent country as East Timor ( Timor-Leste ).


The Portuguese 6th Cavalry Squadron in Atabae (1970)
Postage stamp from Portuguese Timor

The Portuguese António de Abreu first reached the island of Timor at the beginning of the 16th century. The first Dominicans came to Timor as missionaries as early as 1515 . In the area of ​​the former kingdoms of Oecussi and Ambeno (today the East Timorese special administrative region Oe-Cusse Ambeno ), the Portuguese settled on Timor for the first time. 1556 Dominicans founded to secure the Sandelholzhandels place Lifau ( Lifao ), six kilometers west of today's Pante Macassar . In 1586 a large part of the island of Timor was finally declared a colony. From 1640 theDutch to take possession of parts of Timor. From 1702 Timor had its own governor, who first resided in Lifau and later in Dili and was responsible for several islands in the region. The respective captain general had previously taken on these tasks. The colony remained under the sovereignty of the Viceroy of Goa . In 1844 Portuguese Timor was placed under the sovereignty of Macau , but in 1883 Macau and Portuguese Timor were again merged with the Estado da Índia and administered from Goa. In 1916 the final border between the two colonial powers Portugal and the Netherlands was set on Timor.

The colony was a constant source of unrest. Between 1860 and 1912 there were several major uprisings against the Portuguese colonial power. From 1895 Boaventura , the Liurai of Manufahi, united several Timorese rulers in the resistance against the Portuguese and led them against the Portuguese several times within 16 years. He was finally defeated only during the Manufahi rebellion in 1911/12 with Portuguese troops from Mozambique and sometimes even from Angola . East Timorese sources estimate that over 3,000 people were killed and many thousands more captured and incarcerated.

Although Portugal was neutral during World War II, Australian and Dutch troops occupied the country in December 1941 , expecting an attack by the Japanese . After the Japanese invasion in February 1942, the Allies and the local population fought the occupiers in a guerrilla war (" Battle of Timor ") in which between 40,000 and 70,000 people died.

The last major uprising took place in Viqueque in 1959 . But the Portuguese also put down the Viqueque rebellion with extreme brutality. About 1,000 people were killed. In early 1961, the left-wing "Combat Office for the Liberation of Timor" (Bureau de Luta pela Libertação de Timor) under Maoclao attempted an uprising with financial support from Indonesia . On April 9, 1961, they proclaimed a republic in the border town of Batugade and set up a Timorese government with twelve ministers. The Portuguese quickly put down the uprising and the fighters fled to Indonesia.

After the Carnation Revolution in Portugal in 1974, Portuguese Timor was to be prepared for independence, but the civil war in East Timor in 1975 initially led to chaotic conditions. Indonesia also began to occupy the border areas, so that the dominant East Timorese party FRETILIN was forced to unilaterally proclaim independence on November 28, 1975 . Just nine days later, Indonesia began the open invasion ( Operation Seroja ) and annexed it under the name of " Timor Timur " in violation of international law . Up to 183,000 people died due to the occupation.

When the population voted for independence in a 1999 referendum , there were serious attacks on the residents. The United Nations intervened and took East Timor under its administration.

Internationally, the Indonesian annexation was never recognized, which is why East Timor was considered a "dependent territory under Portuguese administration". Portuguese Timor therefore officially existed until May 20, 2002, when East Timor was finally granted independence by the United Nations.


The governor's seat in Dili, late 1960s

António Coelho Guerreiro was the first Portuguese governor to take office in the colony in 1702 . Two predecessors had been prevented from doing so by the Topasse . For a long time they were the real rulers in Portuguese Timor, despite the nominal submission to the Portuguese crown. The Liurais , the Timorese kings, also ruled largely independently over their respective territories. It was not until the 19th century that Portugal continued to assert itself against the local forces. After the defeat of Boaventura in 1912, Governor Filomeno da Câmara de Melo Cabral bypassed the power of the Liurais by using the sucos as the first colonial administrative level, bypassing the traditional rulers. In addition, one level above the civil administration was divided between the 15 military commanderships and the Liurais were subordinate to the military commanders. Timorese from the lower aristocracy of the Dato, who could speak and read Portuguese and belong to the Christian faith, were appointed as Chefe de Suco . They served as mediators between the population and the colonial government and were given administrative tasks. Social, ritual and political issues within the Timorese continued to be dealt with by the Liurais.

At the beginning, Portuguese Timor was directly subordinate to the Portuguese Viceroy of Portuguese India in Goa . On September 20, 1844, Macau was separated from the sovereignty of Goa and Portuguese Timor was placed under the colony in China . On October 30, 1850, Portuguese Timor and the Portuguese possessions on the neighboring islands became an independent autonomous province that was directly subordinate to Lisbon. The reason for this is said to have been the appointment of José Joaquim Lopes de Lima (1851 to 1852) as governor of the colony. He was previously the provisional governor general of Goa (Governador Geral Interino) , an appointment as simple district governor (Governador Subalterno) would have been equivalent to demotion. Another reason was the distance to Macau, which made quick decisions impossible. The colony was placed under the direct control of the central government, a government and finance council was founded in Dili and two Timorese were accepted into the colonial government. At the end of Lima’s term of office, however, Portuguese Timor fell back under the suzerainty of Macau on September 15, 1851 and, from September 25, 1856, together with Macau, under the suzerainty of Goa.

On September 17, 1863, Portuguese Timor became an autonomous province again, Macau was again subordinated on November 26, 1866 and finally an independent colony on October 15, 1896. After the Second World War it was converted into a Portuguese overseas province , and in 1972 into an autonomous region.

flag and emblem

In 1935, all Portuguese colonies were given their own coat of arms , the design of which was uniformly regulated. The three-part shield shows in the first field on silver five blue shields each with five silver coins ( quinas ), which form a cross; the central element from the coat of arms of Portugal . In the third field there are green waves on silver. The second field was varied for the individual colonies. Portuguese Timor carried the coat of arms of the Dominicans , who played a major role during the occupation of Timor by Portugal: The field was silver / black eight times confessed with a silver-black lily cross , in addition there was a Quina in the center of the cross . The coat of arms remained valid until the independence of East Timor was first proclaimed in 1975.

In 1967 there were proposals for individual flags for the individual Portuguese colonies, in which the coat of arms of the colony was added to the flag of Portugal in the lower right corner. However, the proposals were never implemented.

On May 31, 1952, Dili received its own coat of arms, which corresponded in structure to the Portuguese tradition. A silver sandalwood tree rests on a red coat of arms between two bundles of four silver halberds and a golden lance, tied with a blue ribbon. The golden, brick crown with five towers above the coat of arms shows Dili as the capital of the colony. In the slogan under the sign was the motto “ Who sees the rising sun first” ( Portuguese O Sol logo em nascendo vê primeiro ) The motto refers to the geographical location of Timor as the easternmost Portuguese colony. Sandalwood was once the island's most important export good and the halberd bundle is said to have been found on the settlement's old coat of arms in the 18th century. The coat of arms was also carried on a white and green eight-fold flag.

See also

Web links

Commons : Portuguese Timor  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. "Part 3: The History of the Conflict" ( Memento of July 7, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 1.4 MB) from the "Chega!" Report of the CAVR (English)
  2. ^ Government of Timor-Leste: Administrative Division (English)
  3. Monika Schlicher: Portugal in East Timor. A critical study of the Portuguese colonial history in East Timor from 1850 to 1912. , pp. 272 ​​ff., Abera Network Asia-Pacific, 4, Abera, Hamburg 1996, ISBN 3-931567-08-7 . (At the same time: Heidelberg, Univ., Diss., 1994).
  4. ^ António Martins: East Timor: flag proposal of 1967 ( Memento of April 8, 2014 in the Internet Archive )
  5. ^ Ministério do Ultramar - Gabinete do Ministro: Portaria n.º 19409. October 1, 1962, accessed on July 20, 2014.