Formerly a Portuguese colony, East Timor declared itself independent in 1975. In 1976 it was invaded by Indonesia, which annexed and claimed it as their 27th state. The region was the scene of bitter fighting and of alleged mass killings by the Indonesian government and military forces. In a UN-supervised referendum in 1999, the people voted for independence from Indonesia. Violence continued, but on May 20, 2002, East Timor achieved international recognition as an independent state
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