EAST TIMOR



CAPITAL : Dili

FLAG : The national flag is rectangular. Two isosceles triangles, the bases of which form the left edge and overlap each other. One triangle is black and its height is equal to one-third of the length overlapped to the yellow triangle, whose height is equal to half the length of the flag. A white five-pointed star, signifying "the light that guides," is centered on the black triangle. The remaining part of the flag is red.

ANTHEM : Pátria! Pátria! (Nation! Nation!) was designated the national anthem until a new anthem is voted on by the National Assembly.

MONETARY UNIT : East Timor has adopted the US dollar ($) of 100 cents. There are coins of 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50 cents and 1 dollar, and notes of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 dollars.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES : The metric system is the legal standard.

HOLIDAYS : New Year's Day, 1 January; Labor Day, 1 May; Assumption Day, 15 August; Constitution Day, 30 August; All Saints Day, 1 November; Santa Cruz Day, 12 November; Independence Day, 28 November; Feast of the Immaculate Conception, 8 December; Christmas, 25 December. Movable holiday is Good Friday.

TIME : 9 PM = noon GMT.


FLORA AND FAUNA

The primary forest area of East Timor has been reduced to around 220,000 acres, or 1% of the territory. Dense forests are found only on the south coast or in mountainous areas. The vegetation consists mostly of secondary forests, savannah, and grasslands. Flora includes ironwood, eucalyptus, black eucalyptus, redwood, sandalwood, cendana, and lontarwood. Fauna include deer, monkeys, cockatoos, horses, cows, and beo kakoaks.

ENVIRONMENT

The main environmental threats come from the widespread use of slash and burn agriculture, which has led to deforestation and soil erosion. As of 2001, there were 24 endangered species of birds in East Timor, including the black kite, shirt-toed eagle, Japanese sparrow eagle, and red-cheeked parrot.

POPULATION

The population of East Timor was estimated at 952,618 in 2002. The population growth rate was 7.26%. In 2002, there were 28 births per 1,000 people and a death rate of 6.5. The life expectancy at birth was an average 65 years (63 years for men and 67 years for women). The fertility rate was 3.88 children born per woman. The population of Dili was estimated at 49,900 in 2002.

MIGRATION

Although "Timor" is the Malay word for "Orient," East Timor's people betray a long procession of migrations from the west, north, and east. The Portuguese arrived on the island in the early 16th century. At the end of 2002, there were approximately 30,000 East Timorese refugees living in settlements in the West Timorese countryside. There were 51 migrants per 1,000 population in 2002.

ETHNIC GROUPS

Historically the ethnic population was largely defined by the Atoni and the more dominant Belu, which was a blend of Malay, Melanesian, and Austronesian peoples who were fluent in the Tetum language. At independence in 2002, the approximate ethnic divisions in the population were as follows: 78% Timorese, 20% Indonesian, and 2% Chinese.

LANGUAGES

In addition to Tetum, there are about 15 other indigenous languages spoken within East Timor. Tetum, Galoli, Mambai, Tokodede are classified as Austronesian languages, while Bunak, Kemak, Makassai, Dagada, Idate, Kairui, Nidiki, and Baikenu are the non-Austronesian tongues. Tetum and Portuguese are official languages. Indonesian and English are also prominent.

INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

East Timor joined the UN in September 2002. The nation is also a member of the IMF and World Bank, and the ADB. The nation is considering membership in ASEAN.

LABOR

The labor force in 1998 was 397,131. Subsistence agriculture accounts for three-fourths of employment. The unemployment rate, including underemployment, stood at approximately 50% in 2002.

MINING

There are small deposits of gold, manganese, and copper throughout the nation, but not enough to be considered for major commercial industries. Marble is present in significant quantities, but it seems uncertain as to whether or not the exploitation of such deposits will have a significant impact on the country's economy in the near future.

BANKING AND SECURITIES

The finance sector is small, with a limited central bank role played by the Banking and Payments Authority (formerly the Central Payments Office). There are two operating branch offices of overseas banks (the ANZ Banking Group and the Banco Nacional Ultramarino) and informal lenders comprise the remainder of the finance sector.

INSURANCE

It is possible to obtain insurance for vehicles in East Timor, although virtually no one does so. Most individuals involved in traffic accidents informally settle them. Third-party motor vehicle insurance is unavailable. Information on life or other forms of insurance was unavailable as of mid-2003.

DEPENDENCIES

East Timor has no dependencies.

Read about the Geography of East Timor.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Cardoso, Luís. The Crossing: A Story of East Timor. London, Eng.: Granta Books, 2000.

Chalk, Peter. Australian Foreign and Defense Policy in the Wake of the 1999/2000 East Timor Intervention. Santa Monica, Calif.: Rand, 2001.

Chomsky, Noam. A New Generation Draws the Line: Kosovo, East Timor, and the Standards of the West. New York: VERSO, 2000.

Cristalis, Irena. Bitter Dawn: East Timor, a People's Story . New York: Zed Books, 2002.

Hainsworth, Paul and Stephen McCloskey (eds). The East Timor Question: The Struggle for Independence from Indonesia, New York: I.B. Tauris, 2000.

Kohen, Arnold. From the Place of the Dead: A Biography of Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo, Winner of the Nobel Prize for Peace, 1996 New York: St. Martin's, 1997.

Lennox, Rowena. Fighting Spirit of East Timor: The Life of Martinho da Costa Lopes. New York: Zed Books, 2000.

Marker, Jamsheed. East Timor: A Memoir of the Negotiations for Independence. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 2003.

McGuinn, Taro. East Timor: Island in Turmoil. Minneapolis, Minn.: Lerner, 1998.

Tanter, Richard, Mark Selden, and Stephen R. Shalom (eds). Bitter Flowers, Sweet Flowers: East Timor, Indonesia, and the World Community. Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield, 2001.

Tiffen, Rodney. Diplomatic Deceits: Government, Media, and East Timor. Sydney, Aus.: UNSW Press, 2001.

User Contributions:

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Mar 31, 2009 @ 4:04 am
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