Timor, one of the islands of the Indonesian archipelago. It lies in the Lesser Sunda group between the Savu and Timor seas, about 650 miles (1,050 km) east of Java. Timor is some 300 miles (480 km) long and up to 60 miles (97 km) wide; its area is approximately 13,100 square miles (33,900 km2). Timor is largely mountainous, with some peaks reaching elevations of more than 9,500 feet (2,900 m). The climate is tropical.
The islanders live mainly by farming and fishing. Rice and corn are the chief crops. Most of the island's inhabitants are Timorese—of mixed Malayan and Papuan stock. Kupang and Dili are provincial capitals and the chief cities and ports.
The Portuguese reached Timor in the early 16th century. In 1613 the Dutch claimed the island. The conflicting Portuguese and Dutch claims were settled by a treaty in 1859 that divided the island into East Timor (Portuguese) and West Timor (Dutch). During World War II the Japanese occupied the island from early 1942 until 1945. The Dutch portion became part of Indonesia when independence was gained in 1949. In 1975 the Portuguese abandoned their portion to rebels seeking independence, but the following year Indonesia annexed the region. The rebels continued fighting until in 1999 Indonesia allowed for a referendum on independence, which was approved by a large majority of East Timorese. Indonesia withdrew its troops in November and the United Nations established a transitional administration. East Timor was formally recognized as an independent state on May 20, 2002.