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Dili Holidays Overview
Dili is the capital of East Timor which is also known as Timor-Leste.This South East Asian country occupies the eastern half of the island of Timor and includes the neighboring islands of Atauro, Jaco, and Oecussi-Ambeno, which is an exclave located on the northwestern side of the island within Indonesian West Timor.Dili which is the largest city in East Timor lies on the northern coast of Timor island.
East Timor was colonized by the Portuguese in 1520. They then made it the capital of Portuguese Timor in 1769. The Portuguese occupied the eastern part of Timor Island while the Dutch under Dutch East India Company occupied the western part of the Island. During World War II, the Japanese occupied East Timor but in 1975 when the Portuguese government relinquished its colonies, East Timor unilateraly achieved its independence on November 28, 1975. However this independence was all too brief as the country was soon invaded by Indonesian forces on December 7, 1975.
Indonesia annexed East Timor on July 17, 1976 and stated that it was the 27th province of Indonesia. This province was then renamed as Timor Timur and Dili was made its capital. At first there was little local resistance to the movement as a result the international community largely ignored the incident.
The Timorese independence movement called FRETILIN (Frente Revolucionario de Este Timor Independente), which was created to battle the Portuguese now was compelled to combat a more powerful adversary and a guerilla war soon ensued during which nearly 100,000 East Timorese and even some international civilians were killed. Media coverage of the Dili Massacre (also known as the Santa Cruz massacre) in November 1991during which foreign journalists were attacked catapulted the East Timor freedom struggle to the forefront and the world rallied around the besieged nation.
In 1997, the Asian economic crisis and the removal of Indonesian President Suharto aided East Timor’s cause and on June 1999, President Habibie of Indonesia announced the holding of referendum in East Timor which would offer independence to the nation or autonomy within Indonesia. The majority of the Timorese voted for independence during the referendum which was held in August 1999 and this again sparked an orgy of violence which was largely perpetuated by the Indonesian army.
In October 1999, East Timor was placed under UN supervision and on May 20th 2002 Dili was made the capital of the independent Democratic Republic of Timor. However the country continued to face much turmoil as it faced riots in 2006 and bomb explosions in 2007. On 11th February 2008, the President of East Timor, Ramos-Horta was seriously injured following an armed attack on his home, soon after a state of emergency was imposed in East Timor. The situation in East Timor continues to be precarious and travelers who wish to visit this beleaguered nation should check the situation before venturing out to East Timor as many countries currently have travel advisories warning against travel to East Timor.
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holidays - Top Events
The major annual events in the events calendar of this young nation center around its bloody history. Its main public holidays commemorate the most significant days of its independence struggle.
Some of these important days are:-
May 20th –this day marks the end of 23 years of Indonesian Rule and three years of provisional UN administration.
August 30th – Popular Consultation Day this day celebrates the referendum which was held on 30th August 1999 to determine the future of East Timor.
November 12th- Santa Cruz day, this day commemorates one of the bloodiest days in the history of East Timor. This day is observed as the Memorial Day for the 1991 massacre in the cemetery of the Santa Cruz church.
November 28th – This day commemorates the declaration of East Timor’s independence from Portugal
December 7th- National Heroes' Day Anniversary of Indonesian invasion of East Timor in 1975
holidays - How to Get There
Airnorth Airlines provides a direct connection between the Australian city of Darwin and Dili. The flight time of this journey is generally 1hour and 45 minutes.
Australia’s embassy in East Timor is located in Dili.