The Colonial History of East Timor

작성일 : 2015-06-13 22:18 수정일 : 2016-12-27 00:14 작성자 : 임현진 (



East Timor is a country in Southeast Asia and comprises the eastern half of the island of Timor. Timor experienced a tragic division into East and West Timor under the rule of Portugal. However, during the World War 2, Timor was once again colonized by Japan. Thousands of innocent Timorse habitants were ruthlessly killed and the women were forcefully mobilized as comfort women by the Japanese military during the colonization.


These facts parallel our history of the Japanese colonial era, arousing Koreans’ heartfelt sympathy toward Timor. In fact, Korea’s traditional flowers, garden balsam and garden zinna, are blossoming in East Timor until these days after the seeds of the flowers were allegedly spread by Koreans drafted during the Japanese colonization.


In 1975, merely ten days after East Timor was liberated from Portugal, it was once more occupied by Indonesia. At the day of invasion, East Timorses were mercilessly slaughtered and their corpses were later thrown in Areia Branca Beach whose another name, “the sea of blood” originated from the genocide. Over the period of four years of Indonesian rule, more than 200,000 people were killed, the figure recorded as the most horrendous genocide after the WW2. As can be seen, Indonesia’s occupation of East Timor was marked by violence and brutality.


However, as after a storm comes a calm, 98.5 percent of the East Timorses were able to cast their valuable vote for the independence of their nation under democracy and finally proclaimed independence in 2002.


If one gets to watch a documentary about East Timor, the scenes of typical underdeveloped countries will be easily viewed. This seems to be dating back to the day of chaos when Korea just gained independence from the Japanese Empire.

As the official independent nation and the honorable member of the international society, I hope to see this country overcome all the miseries and follow suit after South Korea’s ‘Miracle on the Han River’


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