East Timor Country Facts

East Timor (Timor-Leste) is an island country in Southeast Asia. It is located on the eastern half of the island of Timor in the Timor Sea between Indonesia and Australia. East Timor shares the border with Indonesian West Timor. The Oekussi-Ambeno exclave, which is located in West Java managed by Indonesia, as well as the islands of Atauro and Jaco also belong to East Timor.

The landscape of East Timor is varied thanks to an attractive coastline and mountains in the interior. East Timor consists of 13 provinces. The island nation is strongly influenced by the centuries-old occupation by Portugal. You can find Portuguese forts and colonial architecture all over the country.

Dill, which was already the capital of the Portuguese Timor-Leste, is also the capital of the young state of East Timor. Colonial architecture and a large Portuguese fortress from 1627 can also be found here. During the Indonesian occupation, many buildings were destroyed, which are now being gradually rebuilt. There are beautiful beaches outside the city. The most popular is the Areia Branca, three kilometers east of the city.

The culture of the people of East Timor is also interesting and impressive. This diversity and the different developments of the mixed influences are a unique feature. In addition to Europeans, East Timor also has Asians who, together with Pacific immigrants, have shaped and influenced the culture in East Timor for many years.
The manner in which the inhabitants of East Timor differ greatly from those living in the west of the island of Timor. Because here the way of life has been strongly influenced by Indonesia.

The architecture is a special feature of the country. The steep roofs of the Timorese houses, which were built in the traditional way and were still found in almost every place a few years ago, have become increasingly rare over time. But every now and then you can still see these buildings and are surprised at how different this architecture looks compared to other structures. However, since one has recently regained one’s national self-esteem in Ostimor, some newly erected buildings are being provided with these traditional roofs again.

East Timor Country Facts

Area: 14,874 km²

Population: 1.2 million people (July 2011, COUNTRYAAH.COM). Austronesians (Malayo Polynesians), Papua, small Chinese minority. In the course of the conflict that led to independence, numerous residents (the UN estimates about 500,000) fled to West Timor and other regions of Indonesia, causing large population shifts. A repatriation process is ongoing.

Population density: 79 people per km²

Population growth: 1.981% per year (2011, CIA)

Capital: Dili (approximately 59,000 inhabitants without suburbs, January 2006)

Highest point: Foho Tatamailau, 2,963 m

Lowest point: Timor Sea, Savu Sea and Banda Sea, 0 m

Form of government: East Timor is a republic, the constitution dates from 2002. East Timor declared its independence from Portugal on November 28, 1975, but was annexed by Indonesia 9 days later. East Java has been independent from Indonesia since May 20, 2002.

Administrative division: 13 administrative districts: Aileu, Ainaro, Baucau, Bobonaro (Maliana), Cova-Lima (Suai), Dili, Ermera, Lautem (Los Palos), Liquica, Manatuto, Manufahi (Same), Oecussi (Ambeno) and Viqueque.

Prime Minister: Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão, since August 8, 2007

Head of state: President Taur Matan Ruak, since May 20, 2012

Language: The official languages ​​in East Timor are Tetum (a language with Austronesian roots and strong Portuguese influences) and Portuguese. Bahasa Indonesian and English are also widely spoken. The ethnic groups in East Timor speak about 16 different languages, the most common are Galole, Kemak and Mambae. Most of these languages ​​belong to the Austronesian language group.

Religion: 98% Catholic, 1% Muslim, 1% Protestant (2005)

Local time: CET + 8 h.
In East Timor there is no change between summer and winter time.
The time difference to Central Europe is +8 h in winter and +7 h in summer.

International dialing code: +670

Internet ID:.tl

Mains voltage: 220 V, 50 Hz. In the country, the power supply is poor and there are often power outages.


The East Timor, the country name translated from the Portuguese, is often used in German for the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste.

The Southeast Asian island nation is the first country to achieve its independence in the 21st century. There is only one land border: the western part of the country borders over 228 km to the Indonesian province of Nusa Tenggara Timur. In the north, the island of Wetar is located in the northeast of several islands that belong to the Indonesian province of Maluku. Australia is located south of the Timor Sea.

The territory of East Timor also includes the Oecussi-Ambeno exclave on the northern coast of the Indonesian part of the island, the island of Atauro in the north of the capital Dili and the Jaco on the eastern tip of East Timor.

There are numerous coral banks off the 706 km long coast.

The island of Timor is one of the Lesser Sunda Islands. Sawusee is to the northwest, the Bandasee to the north, the Timorsee to the south. The often rough Timor Sea is called the sea of ​​men by the locals, the calmer Banda Sea is called the Sea of ​​Women. Sea depths of 1,000 m are reached just five km from the northern coast. During the Cold War, American nuclear submarines used the streets of Ombai and Wetar without being discovered. In the south of the island, in the Timor Sea, there is the narrow Timor Trench, which is up to 3,300 m deep.

In an oceanic subduction zone in the Timor region, the Australian continental plate slides under the Eurasian plate. This raises the mountain range on Timor, which runs through the island from the southwest to the northeast. From a geological point of view, East Timor is very young, it was only lifted out of the sea a few million years ago. Due to the ongoing geological activities, earthquakes and seaquakes (tsunamis) occur again and again, the last strong earthquake to date took place on June 6, 2008 with an epicenter in the sea 278 km in the northeast of Dili.

However, there are no active volcanoes on Timor anymore. The highest peaks in East Timor are Tatamailau (2,963 m), Ablai (2,320 m) and Matebian (2,316 m).

In the north of East Timor, the mountains drop steeply to the sea. The mountains are interrupted by coastal terraces and several 400 to 700 m high plateaus. The inland is characterized by the mountains cut up by valleys.

Larger levels are located at Metinaro, Batugade, Dili, Com, Manatuto and on the Lóis River. On the southern coast, coastal plains stretch from the Indonesian border to Viqueque where they narrow and still reach Loré. The Maliana plateau is also on the border with the Indonesian island of West Timor.

The Fuiloro plateau in the Lautém district emerged from the lagoon of a prehistoric atoll and is the most striking high plateau in the country. To the south it falls almost imperceptibly from 700 to 500 m. The Fuiloro plateau is surrounded by three neighboring plateaus: the Nári plateau to the north, the Lospalos plateau to the west, the Rere plateau to the south.

Population in East Timor

This map of population distribution in East Timor was created by the Worldmapper team. Densely populated areas appear bloated, the area of ​​sparsely populated areas is reduced. The shape of the grid has been preserved; an underlying map with the original geographical extent helps interpret the map. The distorted map should help to present abstract statistical information clearly.

Timor-Leste Population by Year (Historical)