Photo of the Day
Available Photo Albums
More About PhotoGlobe
Arctis, Antarctis and Oceans
Australia and Oceania
Central America and Caribbean
Middle East
North America
South America
South East Asia
Ashmore and Cartier Islands
Christmas Island
Cocos (Keeling) Islands
East Timor
Hong Kong
Paracel Islands
Spratly Islands

East Timor


The Portuguese colony of Timor declared itself independent from Portugal on 28 November 1975 and was invaded and occupied by Indonesian forces nine days later. It was incorporated into Indonesia in July 1976 as the province of East Timor. A campaign of pacification followed over the next two decades, during which an estimated 100,000 to 250,000 individuals lost their lives. On 30 August 1999, in a UN-supervised popular referendum, the people of East Timor voted for independence from Indonesia. During 1999-2001, anti-independence militias - supported by Indonesia - conducted indiscriminate violence. On 20 May 2002, East Timor was internationally recognized as an independent state and the world's newest democracy.
Geography East Timor
Southeastern Asia, northwest of Australia in the Lesser Sunda Islands at the eastern end of the Indonesian archipelago; note - East Timor includes the eastern half of the island of Timor, the Oecussi (Ambeno) region on the northwest portion of the island of Timor, and the islands of Pulau Atauro and Pulau Jaco
Geographic coordinates:
8 50 S, 125 55 E
Map references:
Southeast Asia
total: 15,007 sq km
land: NA sq km
water: NA sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly larger than Connecticut
Land boundaries:
total: 228 km
border countries: Indonesia 228 km
706 km
Maritime claims - as described in UNCLOS 1982 (see Notes and Definitions):
territorial sea: NA NM
extended fishing zone: NA NM
exclusive economic zone: NA NM
continental shelf: NA NM
exclusive fishing zone: NA NM
tropical; hot, humid; distinct rainy and dry seasons
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Timor Sea, Savu Sea, and Banda Sea 0 m
highest point: Foho Tatamailau 2,963 m
Natural resources:
gold, petroleum, natural gas, manganese, marble
Land use:
arable land: NA%
other: NA%
permanent crops: NA%
Irrigated land:
1,065 sq km (est.)
Natural hazards:
floods and landslides are common; earthquakes, tsunamis, tropical cyclones
Environment - current issues:
widespread use of slash and burn agriculture has led to deforestation and soil erosion
Environment - international agreements:
Geography - note:
Timor comes from the Malay word for "East;" the island of Timor is part of the Malay Archipelago and is the largest and easternmost of the Lesser Sunda Islands
People East Timor
note: other estimates range as low as 800,000 (July 2004 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 37.8% (male 196,007; female 189,584)
15-64 years: 59.2% (male 308,254; female 295,584)
65 years and over: 2.9% (male 14,663; female 15,160) (2004 est.)
Median age:
total: 20 years
male: 20.1 years
female: 19.9 years (2004 est.)
Population growth rate:
2.11% (2004 est.)
Birth rate:
27.46 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Death rate:
6.36 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Net migration rate:
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.97 male(s)/female
total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2004 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 48.86 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 42.05 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
male: 55.34 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 65.56 years
male: 63.31 years
female: 67.92 years (2004 est.)
Total fertility rate:
3.7 children born/woman (2004 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
noun: Timorese
adjective: Timorese
Ethnic groups:
Austronesian (Malayo-Polynesian), Papuan, small Chinese minority
Roman Catholic 90%, Muslim 4%, Protestant 3%, Hindu 0.5%, Buddhist, Animist (1992 est.)
Tetum (official), Portuguese (official), Indonesian, English
note: there are about 16 indigenous languages; Tetum, Galole, Mambae, and Kemak are spoken by significant numbers of people
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 48% (2001)
male: NA%
female: NA%
Government East Timor
Country name:
conventional long form: Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste
conventional short form: East Timor
local short form: Timor Lorosa'e [Tetum]; Timor-Leste [Portuguese]
former: Portuguese Timor
local long form: Republika Demokratika Timor Lorosa'e [Tetum]; Republica Democratica de Timor-Leste [Portuguese]
Government type:
Administrative divisions:
13 administrative districts; Aileu, Ainaro, Baucau, Bobonaro (Maliana), Cova-Lima (Suai), Dili, Ermera, Lautem (Los Palos), Liquica, Manatuto, Manufahi (Same), Oecussi (Ambeno), Viqueque
28 November 1975 (date of proclamation of independence from Portugal); note - 20 May 2002 is the official date of international recognition of East Timor's independence from Indonesia
National holiday:
Independence Day, 28 November (1975)
22 March 2002 (based on the Portuguese model)
Legal system:
UN-drafted legal system based on Indonesian law (2002)
17 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Kay Rala Xanana GUSMAO (since 20 May 2002); note - the president plays a largely symbolic role but is able to veto some legislation; he formally used the name Jose Alexander GUSMAO
head of government: Prime Minister Mari Bin Amude ALKATIRI (since 20 May 2002)
cabinet: Council of State
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 14 April 2002 (next to be held NA April 2007); after the first legislative elections, the leader of the majority party was appointed prime minister by the president, suggesting a precedent for the future
election results: Kay Rala Xanana GUSMAO elected president; percent of vote - Kay Rala Xanana GUSMAO 82.7%, Francisco Xavier do AMARAL 17.3%
Legislative branch:
unicameral National Parliament (number of seats can vary, minimum requirement of 52 and a maximum of 65 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms); note - for its first term of office, the National Parliament is comprised of 88 members on an exceptional basis
elections: (next to be held August 2006); direct elections for national parliament were never held; elected delegates to the national convention named themselves legislators instead of having elections; hence the exceptional numbers for this term of the national parliament.
election results: percent of vote by party - FRETILIN 57.37%, PD 8.72%, PSD 8.18%, ASDT 7.84%, UDT 2.36%, PNT 2.21%, KOTA 2.13%, PPT 2.01%, PDC 1.98%, PST 1.78%, independents/other 5.42%; seats by party - FRETILIN 55, PD 7, PSD 6, ASDT 6, PDC 2, UDT 2, KOTA 2, PNT 2, PPT 2, UDC/PDC 1, PST 1, PL 1, independent 1
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court of Justice, one judge appointed by the National Parliament and the rest appointed by the Superior Council for the Judiciary
Political parties and leaders:
Associacao Social-Democrata Timorense or ASDT [Francisco Xavier do AMARAL]; Christian Democratic Party of Timor or PDC [Antonio XIMENES]; Christian Democratic Union of Timor or UDC [Vicente da Silva GUTERRES]; Democratic Party or PD [Fernando de ARAUJO]; Liberal Party or PL [leader NA]; Maubere Democratic Party or PDM [leader NA]; People's Party of Timor or PPT [Jacob XAVIER]; Revolutionary Front of Independent East Timor or FRETILIN [Lu OLO]; Social Democrat Party of East Timor or PSD [Mario CARRASCALAO]; Socialist Party of Timor or PST [leader NA]; Sons of the Mountain Warriors (also known as Association of Timorese Heroes) or KOTA [Clementino dos Reis AMARAL]; Timor Democratic Union or UDT [Joao CARRASCALAO]; Timor Labor Party or PTT [Paulo Freitas DA SILVA]; Timorese Nationalist Party or PNT [Abilio ARAUJO]; Timorese Popular Democratic Association or APODETI [Frederico Almeida-Santos DA COSTA]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
the Popular Council for the Defense of the Democratic Republic of East Timor or CPD-RDTL is the largest political pressure group; it rejects the current government and claims to be the rightful government; it is led by Cristiano DA COSTA, a.k.a. Aitahan MATAK; Kolimau 2000 is another opposition group; leader is Dr. BRUNO (NFI) according to Indonesian press
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Jose Luis GUTERRES
consulate(s) general: New York (the ambassador resides in New York) (2003)
FAX: 202 965-1517
telephone: 202 965-1515
chancery: 3415 Massachusetts Avenue, Washington, DC 20007
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Grover Joseph REES
embassy: Vila 10, Avenida de Portugal, Farol, Dili
mailing address: Department of State, 8250 Dili Place, Washington, DC 20521-8250
telephone: (670) 332-4684, 331-3205/3160/3472
FAX: (670) 331-3206
Flag description:
red, with a black isosceles triangle (based on the hoist side) superimposed on a slightly longer yellow arrowhead that extends to the center of the flag; there is a white star in the center of the black triangle
Economy East Timor
Economy - overview:
In late 1999, about 70% of the economic infrastructure of East Timor was laid waste by Indonesian troops and anti-independence militias, and 260,000 people fled westward. Over the next three years, however, a massive international program, manned by 5,000 peacekeepers (8,000 at peak) and 1,300 police officers, led to substantial reconstruction in both urban and rural areas. By mid-2002, all but about 50,000 of the refugees had returned. Growth was held back in 2003 by extensive drought and the gradual winding down of the international presence. The country faces great challenges in continuing the rebuilding of infrastructure, strengthening the infant civil administration, and generating jobs for young people entering the workforce. One promising long-term project is the planned development of oil and gas resources in nearby waters, but the government faces a substantial financing gap over the next several years before these revenues start flowing into state coffers.
purchasing power parity - $440 million (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
-3% (2003 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $500 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 25.4%
industry: 17.2%
services: 57.4% (2001)
Population below poverty line:
42% (2003 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
38 (2002 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
8% NA% (2003 est.)
Labor force:
Labor force - by occupation:
Unemployment rate:
50% (including underemployment) (1992 est.)
revenues: $36 million
expenditures: $97 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (2003 est.)
printing, soap manufacturing, handicrafts, woven cloth
Industrial production growth rate:
Electricity - production:
NA kWh (2001)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
NA kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2001)
Agriculture - products:
coffee, rice, maize, cassava, sweet potatoes, soybeans, cabbage, mangoes, bananas, vanilla
$8 million (2001 est.)
Exports - commodities:
coffee, sandalwood, marble; note - the potential for oil and vanilla exports
Exports - partners:
$237 million (2001 est.)
Imports - commodities:
mainly food (2001)
Imports - partners:
Debt - external:
Economic aid - recipient:
$2.2 billion (1999-2002 est.)
US dollar (USD)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
the US dollar is the legal tender
Fiscal year:
1 July - 30 June
Communications East Timor
Telephones - main lines in use:
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Telephone system:
Radio broadcast stations:
AM NA, FM NA, shortwave NA
Television broadcast stations:
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
Internet users:
Transportation East Timor
0 km
total: 3,800 km
paved: 428 km
unpaved: 3,372 km (1995)
Ports and harbors:
Merchant marine:
8 (2003 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,427 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2003 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 2 (2003 est.)
1 (2003 est.)
Military East Timor
Military branches:
East Timor Defense Force (Forcas de Defesa de Timor-L'este, FDTL): Army, Navy
Military manpower - military age:
18 years of age (2004 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
NA (2004 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
NA (2004 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
NA (2004 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$4.4 million (FY03)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Transnational Issues East Timor
Disputes - international:
East Timor-Indonesia Boundary Committee continues to meet, survey, and delimit the land boundary, but several sections of the boundary especially around the Oekussi enclave remain unresolved; Indonesia and East Timor contest the sovereignty of the uninhabited coral island of Palau Batek/Fatu Sinai, which may delay decision on the northern maritime boundaries; numbers of East Timor refugees in Indonesia refuse repatriation; the 1999 maritime delimitation established partial maritime boundaries with Australia over part of the Timor Gap but temporary resource-sharing agreements over an unreconciled area grant Australia a 90% share of exploited gas reserves and hamper creation of a southern maritime boundary with Indonesia
Illicit drugs: