Proclaiming East Timor: Historical Reflections on Political Declarations

  • Douglas Kammen National University of Singapore
Keywords: East Timor, independence, colonialism, monarchy, republic


East Timor celebrated its independence in 2002, but behind the euphoria
the subject of the celebration was hotly contested. While most foreign observers treated this as the achievement of independence, according to the Constitution and the first government 20 May 2002 marked the restoration of independence that was first proclaimed by Francisco Xavier do Amaral in November 1975. Given the significance that declarations of independence hold, this article traces the history of political declarations in East Timor over the course of three centuries. It examines a curious pair of declarations in 1702-1703, the many declarations of vassalage in the nineteenth century, the declaration of the Portuguese Republic in 1910, the competing political declarations in 1975, and a curious declaration of a breakaway republic in 2005.