We are celebrating Popular Consultation Day on August 30. It is annually observed on the same date by the people of East Timor. The day commemorates the referendum that took place in 1999 that was conducted in the presence of the U.N. to let the people of East Timor choose between greater autonomy in Indonesia or separation from Indonesia to form a separate nation. The People chose separation by an overwhelming margin, and violence and conflicts erupted shortly after. But a new nation was born as per the aspirations of its citizens. Let us join their celebration.
History of Popular Consultation Day
Diving through the crystal clear depths, watching behemoth-sized whales playing on the surface of the water, and admiring stunning mountains and beautiful white-sand beaches; all are specialties of East Timor. East Timor is an island country in Southeast Asia, located near Indonesia and sharing a maritime border with Australia. The history of the region starts around 42,000 years ago with the earliest migrations from present-day Australia, China, Malaysia, and India. The modern history of the country can be categorized into three sections: the Portuguese era, the Indonesian era, and finally, the independent era.
Before colonization, Timor was a part of Indian and Chinese trading networks. Traders visit Timor looking for aromatic sandalwood, honey, and wax. However, these resources drew the attention of Europeans as well, and they reached the island and established their outposts by 1769. The Portuguese rulers used the country as a trading post for the export of sandalwood and coffee. Portuguese rule ended following the Portuguese revolution of 1974.
The Portuguese rule was followed by the Indonesian invasion. The political unrest created after the Portuguese decline and the growing influence of communist ideas in the region disturbed Indonesia, which did not like the idea of a communist state inside the Indonesian archipelago. The Indonesian occupation continued until 1999. It was a period marked by conflicts, political unrest, violence, and brutality. The new Indonesian president, B.J. Habibie, agreed to the referendum to let the people of Timor make their own decision. They were given a choice between staying in Indonesia with greater autonomy or separating the nation to form East Timor. A new nation was created.
Popular Consultation Day timeline
The Portuguese establish their first colony in Timor.
After the Portuguese revolution, Portugal effectively abandons its colony in Timor.
The Indonesian military invades East Timor in December.
East Timor is now an independent nation as a result of the U.N.-supervised popular referendum in August.
Popular Consultation Day FAQs
Why did Indonesia give up East Timor?
The referendum of 1999 was conducted by the Indonesian President, B.J. Habibie, in collaboration with the U.N., resulting in the independence of East Timor. The people of East Timor were given a choice between independence and a special position within Indonesia. The people chose independence, which resulted in the formation of East Timor.
What did B.J. Habibie do?
BJ Habibie was the third president of Indonesia. He was an engineer who became a politician and was responsible for many important amendments. One of the most important decisions he ever made might be the one that resulted in the freedom of East Timor.
Is East Timor in Asia or Oceania?
East Timor is a nation in Southeast Asia.
Popular Consultation Day Activities
Popular Consultation Day is essentially Independence Day for East Timor. Send an Independence Day wish to the people of East Timor through social media.
Visit East Timor
For travelers and nature lovers, East Timor is a paradise. Use this day to visit the country.
Upload the East Timor flag
The East Timor flag represents the repression and struggles they faced. Upload the flag on your social networks to honor their freedom.
5 Facts About East Timor That You Should Know
The name meaning
The word Timor means ‘East’ in Indonesian and Malay and hence the literal translation of the name is “east east.”
First independent nation
East Timor was the first nation to become independent in this century.
No UNESCO World Heritage Sites
East Timor is one of the 27 countries that have no UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
With only around 74,000 tourists every year, East Timor is one of the least visited countries in the world.
East Timor ranks 186 out of 191 countries when measured by the prevalence of obesity among adults.
Why We Love Popular Consultation Day
East Timor needs attention
Centuries of foreign occupation have damaged the infrastructure and resources of East Timor. This resulted in the country becoming one of the poorest countries in the world. This day can help them attract global attention within their borders.
A day to appreciate their struggles
East Timor was under foreign rule for a long time. We love to appreciate their struggles for freedom, and this is a perfect day for that.
Independence is their right
Independence is the right of every nation. We love that they are celebrating their independence.
Popular Consultation Day dates