The flag of Timor-Leste was first adopted in 1975, when the country first declared its freedom its independence from Portugal. However, their Independence was not long lasting. They were occupied by Indonesia a mere nine days later. Indonesia ruled over the country until 1999, at which time the United Nations began administering to the country. In 2002, the country was once again declared free and the original flag from 1975 was again adopted on May 19, 2002.
While under Portugal’s rule, the flag was green and red in the background, with the red side being slightly larger than the green. The national coat of arms is centered where the red and green meet. The coat of arms features an armillary sphere below the Portuguese shield. When Indonesia occupied the country, it was renamed East Timor. The flag was peach in background color with the East Timor coat of arms in the center. Under the United Nations administration from 1999 to 2002, the United Nations flag was utilized. This flag was powder blue in color. In the center, is a globe as if looking at it from the North Pole. The latitude and longitude lines run through it and the globe is surrounded by two olive branches representing peace.
Once Timor-Leste was finally free again, they re-adopted their original flag. The Timor-Leste flag consists of four colors-red, black, white, and yellow. Red represents the country’s long struggle for independence from other nations. Black is representative of previous obscurity from others. Representing peace the white forms a five point star. The yellow stands for the traces of colonialism in the country.
The design of the flag is also symbolic. The background of the flag is red. To the left side there are two isosceles triangles, with their bases forming the entire left edge. The inner triangle is colored black and outer yellow. In the center of the black triangle is the five-pointed white star. The yellow triangle extends to the halfway point of the flag. Since the black contains the white star it represents how the light will lead the way out of obscurity. The yellow triangle represents never forgetting the colonial times that led to the struggle for independence.