General issues: Portuguese colony 1884-1951, Portuguese province 1951-1975, United Nations administration 1999-2002, Democratic republic of Timor-Leste 2002-Present
Country name on general issues: Timor, Timor Lorosae UNTEAT, Timor-Leste
Currency: 1 Milreis = 100 Reis, 1 Palaca = 100 Avos 1884-1960, 1 Escudo = 100 Centavos 1960-1975, 1 Dollar = 100 Cent 1999-Present
Population: 150 000 in 1902, 1 178 000 in 2013
Political history Timor
Timor is an island located in the Malay or Indonesian archipelago in southeastern Asia. The eastern half of the island is, since the 18th century, a Portuguese colony. The western half is part of the Netherlands Indies, later Indonesia. The Dutch and the Portuguese define the borders in 1860, borders that are ratified in 1914.
Portugal being neutral in WWII, Timor – like Macau – might have escaped occupation by Japan. Portuguese Timor was, however, dragged into the war – possibly because in 1941 Australian and Dutch forces had landed on the island to protect it from a Japanese attack. The Japanese occupied the island in 1942-1943. After the Japanese capitulation in 1945, Portuguese rule is restored and in 1951 Timor becomes a Portuguese province. In 1975, the strive for independence leads to the proclamation of an independent Timor by the independence movement Fretelin‘Frente Revolucionária de Timor-Leste Independente’ 0r ‘Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor’. . However, Indonesia claims Portuguese Timor – the western part of Timor being part of Indonesia – and invades Portuguese Timor in the same year. Indonesia annexes Timor in 1976.
Fretelin continues its fight for independence, and as the conflict escalates an Australian led international force – INTERFRETInternational Force for East-Timor – invades the country in 1999 to deescalate the conflict. The administration of East-Timor is subsequently transferred to the United Nations Administration in East-Timor, UNTAET. In 2002, East-Timor becomes independent as the democratic republic of Timor-Leste. In 2006, the United Nations intervene in Timor-Leste, again with a peacekeeping mission that will be in the country until 2012.
Timor-Leste faces major challenges to rebuild the economy, though it does have oil and gas resources to fund the development of the economy.
Postal history Timor
The first stamps used in Portuguese Timor are Portuguese stamps without overprint, followed in 1884 by those of Macau. In the same year the first stamps issued are for Portuguese Timor, these being issues from Macau overprinted ‘Timor’. Definitives follow in 1886. The issues are mainly of the standard designs for the Portuguese possessions until 1948. From 1948, local motifs are predominant. From the period of the Japanese occupation, no civilian mail is known. From 1975 until 1999, stamps of Indonesia are used. The United Nations administration issued two stamps in 2000: one for domestic and one for international mail. The independent Timor-Leste has issued a very limited number of stamps since 2002.