Timor Leste

 

The Portuguese began to trade with the island of Timor in the early 16th century and colonized it in mid-century. Skirmishing with the Dutch in the region eventually resulted in an 1859 treaty in which Portugal ceded the western portion of the island. Imperial Japan occupied Portuguese Timor from 1942 to 1945, but Portugal resumed colonial authority after the Japanese defeat in World War II. East Timor declared itself independent from Portugal on 28 November 1975 and was invaded and occupied by Indonesian forces nine days later. It was incorporated into Indonesia in July 1976 as the province of Timor Timur (East Timor). An unsuccessful campaign of pacification followed over the next two decades, during which an estimated 100,000 to 250,000 individuals lost their lives. On 30 August 1999, in a UN-supervised popular referendum, an overwhelming majority of the people of Timor-Leste voted for independence from Indonesia.

 

Geography:
Location: South-eastern Asia, northwest of Australia in the Lesser Sunda Islands at the eastern end of the Indonesian archipelago; note – Timor-Leste includes the eastern half of the island of Timor, the Oecussi (Ambeno) region on the northwest portion of the island of Timor, and the islands of Pulau Atauro and Pulau Jaco
Geographic coordinates: 8 50 S, 125 55 E
People:
Population: 1,143,667

note: other estimates range as low as 800,000 (July 2012 est.)

Age structure: 0-14 years: 33.8% (male 202,431/female 195,895)

15-64 years: 62.5% (male 374,659/female 361,983)

65 years and over: 3.6% (male 20,160/female 22,706) (2011 est.)

Government:
Country name: conventional long form: Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste

conventional short form: Timor-Leste

local long form: Republika Demokratika Timor Lorosa’e [Tetum]; Republica Democratica de Timor-Leste [Portuguese]

local short form: Timor Lorosa’e [Tetum]; Timor-Leste [Portuguese]

former: East Timor, Portuguese Timor

Government type: republic
Communications:
Telephones – main lines in use:  2,400 (2009)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 600,600 (2009)
Transportation:
Airports: 6 (2012)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 2

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2012)

Military:
Military branches: Timor-Leste Defence Force (Forcas de Defesa de Timor-L’este, Falintil (FDTL)): Army, Navy (Armada) (2010)
Military service age and obligation: 18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2008)

Economy:

In late 1999, about 70% of the economic infrastructure of Timor-Leste was laid waste by Indonesian troops and anti-independence militias. Three hundred thousand people fled westward. Over the next three years a massive international program, manned by 5,000 peacekeepers (8,000 at peak) and 1,300 police officers, led to substantial reconstruction in both urban and rural areas. By the end of 2005, refugees had returned or had settled in Indonesia. The country continues to face great challenges in rebuilding its infrastructure, strengthening the civil administration, and generating jobs for young people entering the work force.

 

The development of oil and gas resources in offshore waters has begun to supplement government revenues ahead of schedule and above expectations – the result of high petroleum prices. The technology-intensive industry, however, has done little to create jobs for the unemployed because there are no production facilities in Timor. Gas is piped to Australia. In June 2005 the National Parliament unanimously approved the creation of a Petroleum Fund to serve as a repository for all petroleum revenues and preserve the value of Timor-Leste’s petroleum wealth for future generations.

Transnational Issues:

Timor-Leste-Indonesia Boundary Committee has resolved all but a small portion of the land boundary, but discussions on maritime boundaries are stalemated over sovereignty of the uninhabited coral island of Pulau Batek/Fatu Sinai in the north and alignment with Australian claims in the south; many refugees who left Timor-Leste in 2003 still reside in Indonesia and refuse repatriation; Australia and Timor-Leste agreed in 2005 to defer the disputed portion of the boundary for 50 years and to split hydrocarbon revenues evenly outside the Joint Petroleum Development Area covered by the 2002 Timor Sea Treaty.

Map: