EAST TIMORESE Facts & Figures

Size: 5,743 square miles

Population: 1,066,582

Capital:  Dili

Currency: US Dollar

Weather / Climate:

Located in southeast Asia, the island of Timor is part of Maritime Southeast Asia. The local climate is tropical and generally hot and humid, characterised by distinct rainy and dry seasons. The capital, largest city and main port is Dili. The eastern part of East-Timor has been proposed as the first conservation area in Timor as it contains the last remaining tropical dry forested area within the country and it hosts a number of unique plant and animal species. The northern coast is characterised by coral reefs.

Taken from wikipedia


The languages of East Timor include both Austronesian and Papuan languages. (See Timor–Flores languages and West Trans–New Guinea languages.) The lingua franca and national language of East Timor is Tetum, an Austronesian language influenced by Portuguese, with which it has equal status as an official language. The language of the Ocussi exclave is Uab Meto. Fataluku, a Papuan language widely used in the eastern part of the country (often more so than Tetum) has official recognition under the constitution, as do other indigenous languages, including: Bekais, Bunak, Dawan, Fataluku, Galoli, Habun, Idalaka, Kawaimina, Kemak, Lovaia, Makalero, Mambai, Tokodede and Wetarese.

The rise of lingua francas in the linguistically diverse East Timor, and the domination of several clans over others, have led to the extinction of many smaller languages. However, some of these are still in use as ritual languages or cants. Research done in the mid-2000s by the Dutch/Timorese linguist Aone van Engelenhoven, for example, revealed that the Makuva language, formerly spoken by the Makuva tribe but believed to have been extinct since the 1950s, was still used occasionally.[1] In 2007, Van Engelenhoven discovered the existence of another language that was essentially extinct, called Rusenu.[2]

Under Portuguese rule, all education was through the medium of Portuguese, although it coexisted with Tetum and other languages. Portuguese particularly influenced the dialect of Tetum spoken in the capital, Dili, known as Tetun Prasa, as opposed to the more traditional version spoken in rural areas, known as Tetun Terik. Tetun Prasa is the version more widely used, and is now taught in schools.

Under Indonesian rule, Indonesian was the official language. Along with English, it has the status of a 'working language' under the Constitution.

For many older East Timorese, the Indonesian language has negative connotations with the Suharto regime,[3] but many younger people have expressed suspicion or hostility to the reinstatement of Portuguese, which they see as a 'colonial language' in much the same way that Indonesians saw Dutch.[4] However, whereas the Dutch culture and language had little influence on those of Indonesia, the East Timorese and Portuguese cultures became intertwined, particularly through intermarriage, as did the languages. Portuguese was also a working language of the resistance against Indonesia.

Young East Timorese have also felt at a disadvantage by the use of Portuguese, and accuse the country's leaders of favouring people who have only recently returned from overseas,[5] but even those older East Timorese who speak Portuguese, having been in the resistance, have not found jobs despite their proficiency in the language.[6]

Many foreign observers, especially from Australia and Southeast Asia have also been critical about the reinstatement of Portuguese, to which they would prefer English or Indonesian.[7] In spite of this, many Australian linguists have been closely involved with the official language policy, including the promotion of Portuguese.

Portugal and other Portuguese language countries such as Brazil have supported the teaching of Portuguese in East Timor. Some people in East Timor have complained that teachers from Portugal and Brazil are poorly equipped to teach in the country, as they do not know local languages, or understand the local culture.[8]

Nevertheless, the late Sérgio Vieira de Mello, who headed the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor, was a Brazilian who not only established a close working relationship with Xanana Gusmão (The country's first President) as a fellow Portuguese-speaker, but was respected by many East Timorese because of his efforts to learn Tetum.[9]

Taken from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Languages_of_East_Timor


The population of East Timor is about one million. It has grown considerably recently, because of a high birth rate, but also because of the return of refugees.[citation needed] The population is especially concentrated in the area around Dili.

The Timorese are called Maubere collectively by some of their political organizations, an originally derogatory name turned into a name of pride by Fretilin. They consist of a number of distinct ethnic groups, most of whom are of mixed Malayo-Polynesian and Melanesian/Papuan descent. The largest Malayo-Polynesian ethnic groups are the Tetum[41] (or Tetun) (100,000), primarily in the north coast and around Dili; the Mambae (80,000), in the central mountains; the Tukudede (63,170), in the area around Maubara and Liquiçá; the Galoli (50,000), between the tribes of Mambae and Makasae; the Kemak (50,000) in north-central Timor island; and the Baikeno (20,000), in the area around Pante Macassar. The main tribes of predominantly Papuan origin include the Bunak (50,000), in the central interior of Timor island; the Fataluku (30,000), at the eastern tip of the island near Lospalos; and the Makasae, toward the eastern end of the island. In addition, like other former Portuguese colonies where interracial marriage was common, there is a smaller population of people of mixed Timorese and Portuguese origin, known in Portuguese as mestiços. The East Timorese mestiço best-known internationally is José Ramos-Horta, the spokesman for the resistance movement in exile, and now President of East Timor. Mário Viegas Carrascalão, Indonesia's appointed governor between 1987 and 1992, is also a mestiço. East Timor also has a small Chinese minority, most of whom are Hakka. Most left after the Indonesian invasion, with most moving to Australia although many Sino-Timorese have returned, including Pedro Lay, the Minister for Infrastructure.


952,618 (July 2002 est.)

note: other estimates range as low as 800,000 (2002 est.)

Population growth rate

3.91% (2006 est.)

Net migration rate

51.07 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 64.85 years

male: 62.64 years

female: 67.17 years (2002 est.)


noun: Timorese

adjective: Timorese

Ethnic groups

Austronesian (Malayo-Polynesian), Papuan, small Chinese and European Portuguese descent.

Taken from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_East_Timor ; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_timor#Demographics


The Cuisine of East Timor consists of regional popular foods found in East Timor (Timor-Leste), located in the Southeast Asian Malay Archipelago. Pork, fish, basil, tamarind, legumes, corn, rice, root vegetables, and tropical fruit are important ingredients for Timorese dishes. East Timorese cuisine has traditional influences from Southeast Asian foods and significant influences from Portuguese dishes because of its colonization by Portugal until 1975. Additionally, flavors and ingredients from other former Portuguese colonies can be found due to the presence of Portuguese soldiers from other colonies in East Timor.

Also in Dili, foreign cuisines are available and include Chinese, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese, and Thai.

East Timorese Dishes

Hungry-Season in Timor-Leste

“Hungry Season” is November to February and is due to the unpredictable climate. Many households depend on their own production of food because of the erratic climate conditions, such as droughts.

Akar is eaten by the poor and is a widely available food source. It is dried palm tree bark, beaten into a powder, mixed with water to form a jelly and then cooked over fire.


  • Bibinka- A grilled and layered coconut cake


The coffee of East Timor is organic and a major cash crop for the island nation.


Taken from wikipedia

Places to go in EAST TIMOR



Doing business in EAST TIMOR

Prior to and during colonization, Timor was best known for its sandalwood.

In late 1999, about 70% of the economic infrastructure of East Timor was destroyed by Indonesian troops and anti-independence militias, and 260,000 people fled westward. From 2002 to 2005, an international program led by the UN, manned by civilian advisers, 5,000 peacekeepers (8,000 at peak) and 1,300 police officers, substantially reconstructed the infrastructure. By mid-2002, all but about 50,000 of the refugees had returned.

One promising long-term project is the joint development with Australia of petroleum and natural gas resources in the waters southeast of Timor. The Portuguese colonial administration granted concessions to Oceanic Exploration Corporation to develop the deposits. However, this was curtailed by the Indonesian invasion in 1976. The resources were divided between Indonesia and Australia with the Timor Gap Treaty in 1989.[29] The treaty established guidelines for joint exploitation of seabed resources in the area of the "gap" left by then-Portuguese Timor in the maritime boundary agreed between the two countries in 1972.[30] Revenues from the "joint" area were to be divided 50%–50%. Woodside Petroleum and ConocoPhillips began development of some resources in the Timor Gap on behalf of the two governments in 1992.

East Timorinherited no permanent maritime boundaries when it attained independence, repudiating the Timor Gap Treaty as illegal. A provisional agreement (the Timor Sea Treaty, signed when East Timor became independent on 20 May 2002) defined a Joint Petroleum Development Area (JPDA), and awarded 90% of revenues from existing projects in that area to East Timor and 10% to Australia.[31] The first significant new development in the JPDA since Timorese independence is the largest petroleum resource in the Timor Sea, the Greater Sunrise gas field. Its exploitation was the subject of separate agreements in 2003 and 2005. Only 20% of the field lies within the JPDA and the rest in waters not subject to the treaty (though claimed by both countries). The initial, temporary agreement gave 82% of revenues to Australia and only 18% to East Timor.[32]

The government of East Timor has sought to negotiate a definite boundary with Australia at the halfway line between the countries, in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The government of Australia preferred to establish the boundary at the end of the wide Australian continental shelf, as agreed with Indonesia in 1972 and 1991. Normally a dispute such as this would be referred to the International Court of Justice or the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea for an impartial decision,[33] but the Australian government had withdrawn itself from these international jurisdictions (solely on matters relating to maritime boundaries) shortly before Timorese independence.[34][35] Nevertheless, under public and diplomatic pressure, the Australian government offered instead a last-minute concession on Greater Sunrise gas field royalties alone.[36] On July 7, 2005, an agreement was signed under which both countries would set aside the dispute over the maritime boundary, and East Timor would receive 50% of the revenues (estimated at A$26 billion or about US$20 billion over the lifetime of the project)[37] from the Greater Sunrise development. Other developments within waters claimed by East Timor but outside the JPDA (Laminaria-Corallina and Buffalo) continue to be exploited unilaterally by Australia, however.[38]

In 2007, a bad harvest led to deaths in several parts of Timor-Leste. In November 2007, eleven subdistricts still needed food supplied by international aid.[39]

East Timoralso has a large and potentially lucrative coffee industry, which sells organic coffee to numerous Fair Trade retailers and on the open market.

Currently three foreign banks have a branch in Dili: Australia's ANZ, Portugal's Banco Nacional Ultramarino, and Indonesia's Bank Mandiri.

There are no patent laws in East Timor.

Taken from wikipedia

EAST TIMOR: useful links





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