Timor-Leste (GPS: 8 50 S, 125 55 E) located in Southeastern Asia, northwest of Australia in the Lesser Sunda Islands at the eastern end of the Indonesian archipelago; note – Timor-Leste 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. The country’s area measurements are total: 14,874 sq km; land: 14,874 sq km, water: 0 sq km. This sovereign state is slightly larger than Connecticut. The total irrigated land is 350 sq km (2012).
Timor-Leste’s essential features: 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. The district of Oecussi is an exclave separated from Timor-Leste proper by Indonesia.
It’s significant, and simultaneously, the principal city, Dili’s GPS coordinates are 8 35 S 125 36 E. Dili’s local time is 14 hours ahead of Washington DC during Standard Time. The capital’s time difference: UTC+9.
The Portuguese began to trade with the island of Timor in the early 16th century and colonized it in mid-century. Skirmishing with the Dutch in the region eventually resulted in an 1859 treaty in which Portugal ceded the western portion of the island. Imperial Japan occupied Portuguese Timor from 1942 to 1945, but Portugal resumed colonial authority after the Japanese defeat in World War II. East 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 Timor Timur (East Timor). An unsuccessful pacification campaign followed over the next two decades, during which an estimated 100,000 to 250,000 people died. In an August 1999 UN-supervised popular referendum, an overwhelming majority of Timor-Leste people voted for independence from Indonesia. However, in the next three weeks, anti-independence Timorese militias – organized and supported by the Indonesian military – commenced a large-scale, scorched-earth retribution campaign. The militias killed approximately 1,400 Timorese and forced 300,000 people into western Timor as refugees.
Most of the country’s infrastructure, including homes, irrigation systems, water supply systems, and schools, and nearly all of its electrical grid were destroyed. On 20 September 1999, Australian-led peacekeeping troops deployed to the country and brought the violence to an end. On 20 May 2002, Timor-Leste was internationally recognized as an independent state. In 2006, internal tensions threatened the new nation’s security when a military strike led to violence and a breakdown of law and order. At Dili’s request, an Australian-led International Stabilization Force (ISF) was deployed to Timor-Leste. The UN Security Council established the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT), which included an authorized police presence of over 1,600 personnel. The ISF and UNMIT restored stability, allowing for presidential and parliamentary elections in 2007 in a largely peaceful atmosphere. In February 2008, a rebel group staged an unsuccessful attack against the president and prime minister. The ringleader was killed in the attack, and most of the rebels surrendered in April 2008.
Since the attack, the government has enjoyed one of its most extended periods of post-independence stability, including successful 2012 elections for both the parliament and president and a successful transition of power in February 2015. In late 2012, the UN Security Council ended its peacekeeping mission in Timor-Leste, and both the ISF and UNMIT departed the country. Early parliamentary elections in the spring of 2017 finally produced a majority government after months of impasse. Currently, the government is a coalition of three parties, and the president is a member of the opposition party. In 2018 and 2019, this configuration stymied nominations for vital ministerial positions and slowed progress on specific policy issues.
Timor-Leste’s names conventional long form: the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, traditional short form: Timor-Leste. Note pronounced TEE-mor LESS-tay, local extended state: Republika Demokratika Timor Lorosa’e [Tetum]; Republica Democratica de Timor-Leste [Portuguese], local short form: Timor Lorosa’e [Tetum]; Timor-Leste [Portuguese], former: East Timor, Portuguese Timor, etymology: “timor” derives from the Indonesian and Malay word “timur” meaning “east”; “leste” is the Portuguese word for “east,” so “Timor-Leste” literally means “Eastern-East”; the local [Tetum] name “Timor Lorosa’e” translates as “East Rising Sun.” Timor” derives from the Indonesian and Malay word “timur” meaning “east”; “leste” is the Portuguese word for “east,” so “Timor-Leste” literally means “Eastern-East”; The local [Tetum] name “Timor Lorosa’e” translates as “East Rising Sun.”
Timor-Leste’s terrain is typically mountainous. The country’s mean elevation: N/A, elevation extremes; lowest point: Timor Sea, Savu Sea, and the Banda Sea 0 m, highest point: Foho Tatamailau 2,963 m.
The country’s general climate is tropical: hot, humid: with distinct rainy and dry seasons.
The total number of border countries is 1, Indonesia 253 km are the neighboring nations with the indicated border lengths. Timor-Leste’s coastline is 706 km, while its marital claims are: territorial sea: 12 nautical miles, contiguous zone: 24 nautical miles, exclusive fishing zone: 200 nautical miles. Waterways: N/A. Land use: agricultural land: 25.1%; arable land 10.1%; permanent crops 4.9%; permanent pasture 10.1%; forest: 49.1%; other: 25.8% (2011 estimate).
The population in Timor-Leste 1,321,929 (July 2018 estimate), urban population: 32.8% of total population (2015), major urban area’s population: DILI (capital) 228,000 (2014), while Timor-Leste has N/A. Their spoken languages are Tetum (official language), Portuguese (official language), Indonesian, English. Note: there are about 16 indigenous languages; Tetum, Galole, Mambae, and Kemak are spoken by a significant portion of the population. Main religions in Timor-Leste are Roman Catholic 96.9%, Protestant/Evangelical 2.2%, Muslim 0.3%, other 0.6% (2005). The nation uses a civil law system based on the Portuguese model; note – penal and civil law codes to replace the Indonesian codes were passed by Parliament and promulgated in 2009 and 2011. It is a(n) semi-presidential republic, National holiday(s) Restoration of Independence Day, 20 May (2002); Proclamation of Independence Day, 28 November (1975).
Economic overview for the country: Since independence in 1999, Timor-Leste has faced significant challenges in rebuilding its infrastructure, strengthening the civil administration, and generating jobs for young people entering the workforce. The development of offshore oil and gas resources has significantly supplemented government revenues. However, this technology-intensive industry has done little to create jobs in part because there are no production facilities in Timor-Leste. Gas is currently piped to Australia for processing, but Timor-Leste has expressed interest in developing a domestic processing capability. In June 2005, the National Parliament unanimously approved the creation of the Timor-Leste Petroleum Fund to serve as a repository for all petroleum revenues and to preserve the value of Timor-Leste’s petroleum wealth for future generations.
The Fund held assets of $16 billion, as of mid-2016. Oil accounts for over 90% of government revenues, and the drop in the price of oil in 2014-2016 have led to concerns about the long-term sustainability of government spending. Timor-Leste compensated for the decline in price by exporting more oil. The Ministry of Finance maintains that the Petroleum Fund is sufficient to sustain government operations for the foreseeable future. Annual government budget expenditures increased markedly between 2009 and 2012 but dropped significantly through 2016. Historically, the government failed to spend as much as its budget allowed. The government has focused on necessary infrastructure, including electricity and roads, but limited procurement and infrastructure building experience has hampered these projects. The country’s underlying economic policy challenge remains how best to use oil-and-gas wealth to lift the non-oil economy onto a higher growth path and reduce poverty.
Natural resources of Timor-Leste: gold, petroleum, natural gas, manganese, marble.
Main export partners for Timor-Leste, Southeast Asia, are N/A for oil, coffee, sandalwood, marble. Note the potential for vanilla exports, while the main import partners for the country are: N/A for food, gasoline, kerosene, machinery.
When you visit this country in Southeast Asia, consider the natural hazards in Timor-Leste: Floods and landslides are common, earthquakes, tsunamis, tropical cyclones, while infectious diseases are the degree of risk: very high food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria (2016). Also, note that Timor-Leste faces the following environmental issues: Air pollution and deterioration of air quality, Greenhouse gas emissions, water quality, scarcity, and access, Land and soil degradation, Forest depletion, the widespread use of slash and burn agriculture has led to deforestation and soil erosion, loss of biodiversity.
You may also be interested in the countries next to Timor-Leste around its total: 253 km border, like Indonesia.