The island formerly known simply as “Timor” declared independence from colonial power Portugal in 1975. It was almost immediately invaded by Indonesia, which then absorbed the island nation. In 1999, the UN oversaw a referendum on independence for East Timor, also known as Timor-Leste. The result was an overwhelming vote in favor of independence from Indonesia.
Anti-independence militia, sponsored by Indonesia, wreaked havoc on the emerging nation for months following the vote, until international peacekeeping forces moved in. East Timor became internationally recognized as independent in 2002. Most of the western half of the island became part of Indonesia.