East Timor is Asia's youngest country. It became
independent in May 2002 after a quarter of a century of
Indonesian occupation. The country lies in the middle of
the Indonesian island world and is made up of the
eastern half of the island of Timor, which otherwise
belongs to Indonesia. Nowadays East Timor has good
relations with the old occupation power. The country's
economy is based on coffee exports and oil and natural
Brief profiles of East Timor, including geography, history, politics, economics as well as common acronyms about this country.
Geography and climate
East Timor occupies the eastern half of the
island of Timor in the Southeast Asian island world,
while the western part of Timor is Indonesian territory.
The land is on the surface slightly larger than Blekinge
and Skåne together. In East Timor there is a tropical
Also the islands east, north and west of Timor belong
to Indonesia. A few tens of miles south of East Timor
lies Australia's northwest coast. East Timor also
includes the small exclave Oekussi Ambeno on the north
coast of West Timor as well as the islands of Ataúro and
Jaco outside Timor.
The topography is dominated by a mountain range that
runs in an east-west direction and whose highest peak is
Foho Tata Mailau, which rises 2 963 meters above sea
level. The mountain range includes some extinguished
volcanoes that have given fertile soils in their
quarters, but the soil in general is usually thin.
From the mountains a multitude of rivers flow, which
during intense rainy periods overflow as they reach the
lowlands along the coasts. Savannah dominates nature,
and plant and wildlife resemble that in Australia.
In East Timor, rainy and dry periods alternate. The
dry periods dominate. The south coast has a rainy season
between December and June with a short break in March.
Up to 3,000 mm of rain falls annually. In the north, it
rains between December and February and in the driest
areas the rainfall is about 300 mm annually.
In the mountain areas, the rain can be intense and
floods occur. However, drought is a major problem and
every three or four years East Timor usually suffers
from severe drought.
FACTS - GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE
14 919 km2 (2018) 1
Swedish +8 hours
Adjacent country (s)
Indonesia, sea border with Australia
Capital with number of residents
Dili 222,300 (census 2015)
Other major cities
Ermera 36 300, Baucau 17 500, Maliana 12 200 (census
Foho Tata Mailau (2,963 m asl)
According to Surubel
Average Precipitation / year
300-3,000 mm (varies in different parts of the
Average / day
26 °C on the coast, lower in the mountains
1st Source: Europa World Plus
The UN concludes its efforts
On New Year's Eve, the UN will end its peacekeeping efforts. UN personnel
have been gradually leaving the country since October, when East Timor's own
forces formally assumed responsibility for maintaining the order.
Australia-led force is taken home
The Australian-led peace and security force of 460 Australian and New Zealand
soldiers is taken home. The force now ceases operations and the last soldiers
leave East Timor in April 2013.
US Secretary of State visiting
As the first US Secretary of State since East Timor's independence in 2002,
Hillary Clinton visits the country during a tour of the region. Clinton meets
with Prime Minister Gusmão and President Ruak, and emphasizes his support for
the country. The visit is seen as a support for East Timor's quest to become a
member of the Southeast Asian cooperation organization Asean.
The UN force should be taken home
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon will visit East Timor for two days and for
talks with President Taur Matan Ruak, among others. In a speech to the newly
elected parliament, Ban Ki-Moon says that the UN believes that East Timor is now
ready to take responsibility for its own security and that the UN force should
be taken home.
The coalition government is presented
Prime Minister Gusmão presents his new coalition government. Foreign Minister
becomes José Luís Guterres, while Cirilo José Cristóvão receives ministerial
responsibility for defense and security matters. Emília Pires remains in the
post of finance minister.
Protests against coalition government
Negotiations for a new coalition government begin. Protest protests erupt in
Dili and surrounding areas in the middle of the month when CNRT states it will
form a government coalition with DP and Frenti-Mudanҫa, and that Fretilin will
not be included in the government. The protests become violent and a man is
killed. But the East Timorese police are being praised by the UN for its way of
quickly calming down the situation.
CNRT becomes the largest party
The choice is made under calm conditions. Governing CNRT now becomes the
largest party with close to 37 percent of the vote, giving 30 of the 65 seats.
The country's former largest party, the old Independence Party Fretilin,
receives almost 30 percent of the vote (25 seats). The Democratic Party, which
has been a member of the last government, receives just over 10 percent of the
vote (8 seats). The small party Frenti-Mudanҫa gets the
remaining 2 seats. Frenti-Mudanҫa is a breakaway party from Fretilin and is led
by Deputy Prime Minister José Luis Guterres. The turnout is just under 75
percent. The UN commends the election arrangements, which increases the
likelihood that the international force will be taken home later in the year.
The Oil Fund's biggest choice
The big question ahead of the July 7 parliamentary elections is how to best
utilize the oil fund (see Natural Resources and Energy), which has grown to the
equivalent of US $ 10.5 billion. In addition, the UN has announced that the
international peacekeeping force should be withdrawn towards the end of the
year, if the elections take place under peaceful conditions.
Justice ministers receive prison sentences
Minister of Justice Maria Lúcia Lobato is sentenced to five years in prison
for corruption, abuse of power and counterfeiting.
Ten years of independence
On May 20, East Timor celebrates the 10th anniversary of the country's
independence. On the same day, Taur Matan Ruak assumes the office of President.
Among the dignitaries on site in Dili are Indonesian President Susilo Bambang
Tuar Matan Ruak becomes president
Taur Matan Ruak wins by a wide margin in the second and decisive round of the
presidential election. He wins with just over 61 percent of the vote over
Guterres, which gets close to 39 percent. The turnout is 73 percent.
Quiet election day
The day of the presidential election will be calm. A large group of
international election observers are in place. "Lu Olo" Guterres gets 29 percent
of the vote, Taur Matan Ruak 26 percent and Ramos Horta 17 percent. President
Ramos-Horta acknowledges defeat and congratulates Guterres and Ruak, who will
meet in a second round of elections on April 16. The turnout is 78 percent.
The electoral movement begins
The electoral movement before the presidential election begins. CNRT and
Fretilin agree to jointly strive for the electoral movement not to become
violent, which is largely successful. (29/2)
Presidential elections will be held in March
President Ramos Horta announces presidential elections until March 17, 2012
and announces that parliamentary elections will be held in June (it will be
postponed until July). At the end of the month, Ramos Horta announces that he is
running for re-election. Among the 13 presidential candidates are also
Parliament's President Fernando “Lasama” de Araújo, his representative Fretilin
leader Francisco Guterres “Lu Olo” and former Defense Chief Taur Matan Ruak, who
during the occupation was the commander of Falintil. Lasama is the leader of the
Democratic Party, which is popular with the young generation of
East Timorese. Taur Matan Ruak, who is running for independence, is supported by
the CNRT government and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão, while "Lu Olo" Guterres is
supported by Fretilin.
Ramos Horta becomes UN envoy in Guinea-Bissau
Former President Ramos Horta is appointed UN Special Envoy to Guinea-Bissau,
a country that, like East Timor, used to be a Portuguese colony. Ramos Horta
will take up the post on January 31.