The Portuguese first arrived on the shores of what is now Timor-Leste in 1515. In 1556 Dominican friars established a mission on the island and in 1702 the (half) island nation was claimed by Portugal and became a Portuguese colony – the Portuguese and Dutch fought a number of battles over the island and in 1879 finally agreed to divide the island between them.
The western half of the island is part of modern-day Indonesia and is known as West Timor or Indonesian Timor. The capital of Indonesian Timor is Kupang; the Bounty’s captain, William Bight, made his way here after the mutiny on the Bounty led by Fletcher Christian. The Bounty ended up at Pitcairn Island, the story of the Bounty and Pitcairn Island have a distinctly Advent connection.
The island of Timor was occupied by the Japanese during the Second World War but returned to Portuguese control after the war. In 1975 the Portuguese colonial empire collapsed, and Portuguese Timor declared independence in November; in December, Indonesia had invaded and annexed the former Portuguese colony. Following a 24 year campaign against Timor freedom fighters, and international pressure brought on as a result of the Santa Cruz massacre of peaceful freedom protesters, Indonesia allowed the Timorese people a referendum – a vote for independence or to remain part of Indonesia. The vote was overwhelmingly in favour of independence. The events in the wake of the vote were violence & destruction as the Indonesian army withdrew under a scorched earth policy, destroying everything in their path. The UN sent peacekeepers to the country and after a short period of UN administration, this half-island nation once again was free to determine its own future. The half-island nation of Timor-Leste was born on May 20, 2002.
Can you guess when Luke was born? I do not believe in coincidences, but I do believe in Providence!