Cities in Asia – Cities in East Timor – Dili City
Dili, town on the north central coast of the island of Timor, one of Timor’s chief ports, and the capital of East Timor. Dili’s climate is warm, with little seasonal variation.
From the early 16th century until 1975 East Timor was a Portuguese colony called Portuguese Timor, and Dili became the territorial capital in 1749. At first the colony was administered jointly with Macao, another Portuguese territory, but after 1896 it was administered independently, with Dili as the seat of a Portuguese governor. During World War II Japanese forces occupied Portuguese Timor, including Dili, from 1942 until 1945. Dili was largely destroyed during the occupation, but it was later rebuilt. Portugal withdrew from East Timor in 1975. Much fighting took place in Dili in the subsequent civil war, which resulted in the proindependence group «Fretilin», winning control of the territory.
In December of 1975 Indonesia invaded, annexing the territory in 1976 as the province of East Timor. Dili was razed again in the violence that followed a 1999 referendum in which East Timorese voted for independence from Indonesia. Dili served as the administrative headquarters for a United Nations peacekeeping mission in September 1999 to oversee the territory’s transition to complete independence. Dili became the national capital of the independent republic of East Timor in 2002.