Dili is the capital, largest city, chief port and commercial centre of East Timor. Dili lies on the northern coast of Timor island, the easternmost of the Lesser Sunda Islands. Most buildings were damaged or destroyed in the violence of 1999 but the city still has many buildings from the Portuguese era. Legacies of Jakarta's occupation are the Church of the Immaculate Conception, seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Díli, purportedly the largest cathedral in Southeast Asia, and the 'Integration Monument', commemorating the Indonesian annexation of the territory in 1976. The Cristo Rei of Dili is a 27m (88.6 ft) tall statue of Jesus situated on top of a globe at the end of a peninsula in Dili. It is one of the main tourist attractions in East Timor, and is claimed to be the second tallest statue of its kind. Near to Dili you can also visit the old hilltowns of Maubisse and Aileu.
Dili was settled about 1520 by the Portuguese, who made it the capital of Portuguese Timor in 1769. During World War II, Portugal and its colonies remained neutral, but Australian and Dutch forces briefly occupied the island in 1941 before the Japanes occupied Dili before spreading out across the rest of the colony. In 1945, control of the island was officially returned to Portugal by the Japanese. East Timor unilaterally declared independence from Portugal in 1975 but nine days later Indonesian forces invaded Dili and annexed East Timor. A guerrilla war ensued from 1975 to 1999 between Indonesian and pro-independence forces, during which tens of thousands of East Timorese and some foreign civilians were killed. In 1999, East Timor was placed under UN supervision and on 20 May 2002, Dili became the capital of the newly independent Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste.
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