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Self proclaimed Dem. Rep. of East Timor (1975)

República Democrática de Timor-Leste

Last modified: 2014-06-14 by ian macdonald
Keywords: star: 5 points (white) | arrowhead | triangle (black): hoist | leitão (natalino) |
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East Timor flag image by António Martins, 21 December 1999
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Description of the Flag

In 1978, Vexilologie 27 [vex] has presented some details on the East Timorese national flag (i.e. that of 1975). As a source, FB XVI:4 [tfb] is mentioned. According to this article, the 1975 is exactly the same as the present day, including the flag ratio 1:2. As an author of the flag is mentioned Natalino Leitão, and description of the flag is reported as in Article No. 20 of the (former) constitution.
Jan Zrzavy, 26 May 2002

In fact this flag, although used locally and abroad as the east Timorese flag, is the flag of the “Democratic Republic of Timor” unilaterally proclaimed by Fretilin in 1975, but unrecognized by the other (also anti-Indonesian) parties, namely by U.D.T..
António Martins, 08 August 1999

The red flag with black triangle and yellow arrowhead has de facto been used as one everywhere I look (from non-vex sources, mainly media and reference books).
David Kendall, 09 June 2001

That’s because it was the flag of the only time East Timor was (self proclaimed) independent. And this is exactly the fact the makes it more difficult that this flag becomes the flag of the new state: it’s too connected with the FRETILIN and to one of the worst periods of the Timorese history.
Jorge Candeias, 10 June 2001

From an article in the Flag Bulletin (Vol. XX: No.1) “Flags of East Timor” by David Rogers [rog8X]:

Members of the FRETILIN Central Committee had worked all the previous night [before independence was proclaimed on 28 November 1975] on the preparation of the flag, the design of which is credited to Natalino Leitão. … The design is officially described in the Constitution (which was published the next day [after independence was proclaimed] after another night’s furious work) as follows:
The flag is rectangular, formed by two isosceles triangles whose bases are superimposed, the black, of a height equal to one-third of the length, superimposed on the yellow, whose height is equal to half the length of the flag, with a white star in the center of the black triangle; and the remainder of the flag is red.
The proportions are not specified, but in practice are 2:3, the black triangle therefore being right-angled. The black represents the four centuries of colonial oppression, the arrowhead recalls the struggle for independence, and the red reflects the blood shed by the East Timorese people. The white star symbolizes hope for the future.
There is a footnote attached to the last statement that says: "Explained by Mr. Sinnott." An earlier footnote about the illustration attached to the article states "Design provided by Mr. J.M. Sinnott of the Australia-East Timor Association (Victoria) in March 1979. This article would not have been possible without his help."
Dave Martucci, 22 June 1998

It is important to distinguish the Fretilin flag (with red / yellow stripes and black "Texan" canton with white star) and the national flag of Fretilin-sponsored Dem. Rep. of East Timor (red with black hoist triangle with white star and short "arrow head").
António Martins, 17 August 1999