Book Of The Week

History of Timor-Leste

The Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, a former Portuguese colony occupied by Indonesia from 1975 to 1999, became 2002 the first new sovereign state of the 21st century in 2002.

Its modern nationhood belies its ancient history. Archaeological data found on the island can be traced back at least 42,000 years, beyond most ancient European artefacts. The book provides an overview of the country’s history from the first traces of human habitation through Timor-Leste’s hard-won independence in May 2002.

Structured chronologically, the account begins with the earliest legends and moves quickly through the defining events that created and shaped the modern nation of Timor-Leste. The text is richly illustrated with over two hundred maps, engravings, and photographs. A detailed historical time line follows the text.

Frédéric B. Durand is a professor at the University of Toulouse II – Jean Jaurès and a member of the Interdisciplinary Laboratory for Solidarities, Societies and Territories (LISST-UMR 5193). He has published more than twenty books on the region, including East Timor, a Country at the Crossroads of Asia and the Pacific: A Geo-Historical Atlas (2006) and, in French, a history of Christianity in East and West Timor (2004) and a study of the economic and political perspectives of the country (2008).

On the book, Mgr. Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, said that  “On behalf of the Timorese people, I wish to express my great appreciation and admiration to professor Durand for this important contribution to our historical record.”

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