East Timor

Flag of Timor-Este or East Timor

Flag of Timor-Leste or East Timor

Water Buffalo and Rice Terraces in Timor-Leste

Water Buffalo and Rice Terraces in Timor-Leste

Country Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste (formerly East Timor)
Continent Two and a half islands Southeastern Asia, northwest of Australia in the Lesser Sunda Islands at the eastern end of the Indonesian archipelago
Capital Dili
Population About 1.3 million
Language Tetum (official), Portuguese (official), Indonesian, English plus 15 other indigenous languages
Religion Roman Catholic 97%, Other 3%
Terrain Mountainous with tropical climate
Sports Football (soccer) is the most important sport. Many Timorese football players are well-known.
Animals Indonesia and Timor-Leste make up the Wallacea Biodiversity Hotstpot.

Wallacea has climate and terrain to allow great diversity of animals and plants.

Animals as diverse as marsupials and water buffalo (see photo) can be sustained in Wallacea.

Facts of Interest The name is pronounced TEE-mor LESS-tay

UN and Australian peacekeeping troupes helped end Timor-Leste’s long struggle (more than 20 years) for independence from Indonesia and again from 2007-2012 when internal struggles threatened the country’s stability.

Since 2012, Timor-Leste has had votes, set up a parliament, and has remained stable.

Both Timor and Leste mean “east”, the first word Indonesian and the second is from the Portuguese.

“Timorese” are the people from Timor-Leste.

Though public opinion had leaned toward making Catholicism the national religion, the presiding bishop, Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo (a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, 1996), encouraged members of the Constituent Assembly not to make such a designation.

Concerns Timor-Leste struggles with how to manage their wealth from oil and gas to help bolster the other sectors and reduce poverty.

42% of the population have incomes below the poverty level.

Domestic abuse and violence is a problem exacerbated by the failure of officials to investigate or prosecute. East Timorese women under Indonesian occupation were systematically raped, tortured, and imprisoned as sex slaves, and the process of recovery from that period was ongoing.

Endemic diseases include malaria, leprosy, lymphatic filiariasis, and tuberculosis

Mission Many world-wide resources are going to Timor-Leste as part of the Wallacea Biodiversity Hotspot to improve forestation, save coral reefs, study fish and birds, etc.

Australia provides significant aid to Timor-Leste

MercyCorps has programs in Timor-Leste for energy, farming, fish ponds, and other programs.

Sources CIA.gov, Top End Sports (topendsports.com), Encyclopedia.com, mercycorps.org, Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (cepf.net)