World Travelling Guide
World Travelling Guide



Accommodation in Southern Africa and South Africa including accommodation in Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo Province, North West Province, Free State, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga

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East Timor (Timor Timur) Travelling Guide
East Timor (Timor Timur) Travelling Guide

General background: The Portuguese colony of Timor declared itself independent from Portugal on 28 November 1975 and was invaded and occupied by Indonesian forces nine days later. It was subsequently incorporated into Indonesia in July 1976 as the province of Timor Timur. A so-called campaign of pacification followed, during which time an estimated 100,000 to 250,000 individuals lost their lives. On 30 August 1999, in a UN-supervised popular referendum, the people of Timor Timur voted for independence from Indonesia. On 20 May 2002, East Timor was internationally recognized as an independent state and the world's newest democracy.

Area comparative: Slightly larger than Connecticut

Climate: Tropical; hot, humid; distinct rainy and dry seasons

Terrain: Mountainous

Population: 952,618 (July 2002 est.)

Ethnic groups: Austronesian (Malayo-Polynesian), Papuan, small Chinese minority

Religions: Roman Catholic 90%, Muslim 4%, Protestant 3%, Hindu 0.5%, Buddhist, Animist (1992 est.)

Language: Tetum (official), Portuguese (official), Indonesian, English
note: there are a total of about 16 indigenous languages, of which Tetum, Galole, Mambae, and Kemak are spoken by significant numbers of people.

Government type: Republic

Capital: Dili

Legal system: N/A

Economic overview: In late 1999, about 70% of the economic infrastructure of East Timor was laid waste by Indonesian troops and anti-independence militias, and 260,000 people fled westward. Over the next three years, however, 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 mid-2002, all but about 50,000 of the refugees had returned. The country faces great challenges in continuing the rebuilding of infrastructure and the strengthening of the infant civil administration. One promising long-term project would be development of oil resources in nearby waters.

Communication/Telephone system: N/A

Places of interest:

Travel tips: Though the situation has improved as of late, militia activity has potential to recur in the western regions of the country. Visitors should stay away from the border areas between East and West Timor. Overland travel into East Timor is not advised.