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Flag of East Timor
Map of East Timor
Introduction 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 subsequently incorporated into Indonesia in July 1976 as the province of Timor Timur. A so-called campaign of pacification followed over the next two decades, during which time an estimated 100,000 to 250,000 individuals lost their lives. On 30 August 1999, in a UN-supervised popular referendum, the people of Timor Timur voted for independence from Indonesia. 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:
contiguous zone: NA NM
extended fishing zone: NA NM
territorial sea: NA NM
exclusive fishing zone: NA NM
continental shelf: NA NM
exclusive economic 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 is the Malay word for "Orient"; the island of Timor is part of the Malay Archipelago and is the largest and easternmost of the Lesser Sunda Islands
People East Timor
952,618 (July 2002 est.)
note: other estimates range as low as 800,000 (2002 est.)
Age structure:
Population growth rate:
7.26% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
28.07 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
6.52 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
51.07 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio:
Infant mortality rate:
51.99 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 64.85 years
male: 62.64 years
female: 67.17 years (2002 est.)
Total fertility rate:
3.88 children born/woman (2002 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 a total of about 16 indigenous languages, of which 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:
17 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Jose Alexander GUSMAO (since 20 May 2002); note - the president plays a largely symbolic role but is able to veto some legislation
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); following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the president
election results: Jose Alexander GUSMAO elected president; percent of vote - Jose Alexander 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: last held 30 August 2001 (next to be held NA August 2006)
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 Pary or PD [Fernando de ARAUJO]; 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 TRABALHISTA [Paulo Freitas DA SILVA]; Timorese Nationalist Party or PNT [Abilio ARAUJO]; Timorese Popular Democratic Association or APODETI [Frederico Almeida Santos COSTA]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
note: UN membership is expected in September
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador-designate Jose Luis GUTERRES
chancery: NA
consulate(s) general: NA
telephone: NA
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Grover Joseph REES
embassy: Avenido do Portugal, Farol, Dili
mailing address: NA
telephone: (670) 390 324 684
FAX: (670) 390 313 206
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. The country faces great challenges in continuing the rebuilding of infrastructure and the strengthening of the infant civil administration. One promising long-term project would be development of oil resources in nearby waters.
purchasing power parity - $415 million (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
18% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $500 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 25%
industry: 17%
services: 57% (2001)
Population below poverty line:
42% (2002 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Labor force:
Labor force - by occupation:
Unemployment rate:
50% (including underemployment)
revenues: $NA
expenditures: $NA
printing, soap manufacturing, handicrafts, woven cloth
Industrial production growth rate:
Electricity - production:
NA kWh
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
other: 0%
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
NA kWh
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh
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:
Imports - partners:
Debt - external:
Economic aid - recipient:
$2.2 billion
US dollar (USD)
Currency code:
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:
total: NA
ships by type: NA
8 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 3 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,427 m: 1 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 1 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 5 5
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 2 (2002)
1 (2002)
Military East Timor
Military branches:
the East Timor Defense Force or FALINTIL-FDTL comprises a light-infantry Army and a small Naval component; note - plans are to develop a force of 1,500 active personnel and 1,500 reserve personnel over the next five years
Military manpower - military age:
18-21 years of age
Military manpower - availability:
Military manpower - fit for military service:
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$4.4 million (FY03)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Transnational Issues East Timor
Disputes - international:
East Timor-Indonesia Boundary Committee meets to survey and delimit land boundary; Indonesia seeks resolution of East Timor refugees in Indonesia; Australia-East Timor-Indonesia are working to resolve maritime boundary and sharing of seabed resources in "Timor Gap"
Illicit drugs:

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003