Timeline of East Timor's independence

East Timor is celebrating the 20th anniversary of it's independence.
East Timor is celebrating the 20th anniversary of it's independence.

EAST-TIMOR BEFORE AND AFTER INDEPENDENCE

PORTUGESE COLONIAL PERIOD (1769 - 1975)

* Colonisation begins in East Timor in 1769 with the founding of Dili and continues into the 19th & 20th century.

* In 1974, all Portugese colonial staff are withdrawn from East Timor after the Carnation Revolution in Portugal.

INDONESIAN OCCUPATION (1975 - 1999)

* In 1974, The Indonesian military conduct covert operations in the country supporting political groups up until invasion at the end of 1975.

* The Balibo five are murdered by the Indonesian military while covering the events leading to invasion.

* In 1975, under pressure from the Indonesian military, fledgling political groups sign the Balibo Declaration, making East Timor part of Indonesia.

* Dili Massacre in 1991, sparking international outrage.

* From 1991, international pressure on Indonesia to leave East Timor grows.

EAST TIMOR VOTE FOR INDEPENDENCE AND AUSTRALIAN MISSION (1998 - 1999)

* In 1998, after Indonesian president Suharto resigns, a UN vote for independence is held -- violence led by pro-Indonesian militias follows.

* In 1999, then Australian PM John Howard gains UN approval to lead an international peacekeeping force to the country, after violence spurs international outcry.

* The Australian-led mission ends in 2000, with just one combat fatality being recorded, but a small group of Australian forces stay until 2007.

DEMOCRACY COMES TO EAST TIMOR (2001 - )

* The first free elections in East Timor are held on 30th August, 2001.

* In 2001, Australia and East Timor sign a memorandum of understanding over revenues from oil and gas exploration in the Timor Sea.

* By 2002, the constitution is agreed to and hundreds of thousands of refugees return to the country.

* In the build up to the 2007 election, violence erupts in the country, ending in a coup attempt and international troops being sent to restore order.

* Following elections in 2007, President of East Timor, Jose Ramos Horta, survives an assassination attempt.

* In 2011, East Timor applies to join the South East Asian Regional group (ASEAN).

WITNESS K AND DIPLOMATIC ROW (2012 - )

* Witness K comes forward In 2012, revealing Australia's spying on East Timor's cabinet meetings to gain advantage over oil and gas negotiations in the East Timor sea.

* In 2013, lawyer Bernard Collaery's offices are raided by ASIO and Witness K's passport is also seized.

* In 2017, Australia and East Timor make breakthrough agreement on the gas and oil agreement in East Timor sea.

* In 2018, the East Timor government drops their case against Australia at the Hague.

* In August 2019, on the verge of the 20th anniversary of Timor-Leste's independence, Witness K pleads guilty to the case brought against him.

Australian Associated Press