The Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, commonly known as Timor-Leste, is a state in Southeast Asia. It comprises the eastern half of the island of Timor, the nearby islands of Atauro and Jaco, and Oecusse, an exclave on the northwestern side of the island, within Indonesian West Timor. The small country of 15,410 km²(5,400 sq mi) is located about 640 km (400 mi) northwest of Darwin, Australia.

Timor-Leste was colonized by Portugal in the 16th century, and was known as Portuguese Timor until Portugal’s decolonization of the country. In late 1975, Timor-Leste declared its independence, but later that year was invaded and occupied by Indonesia and was declared Indonesia’s 27th province the following year. In 1999, following the United Nations-sponsored act of self-determination, Indonesia relinquished control of the territory and Timor-Leste became the first new sovereign state of the 21st century on May 20, 2002. Timor-Leste is one of only two predominantly Roman Catholic countries in Asia, the other being the Philippines.

Timor-Leste has a lower-middle-income economy. It continues to suffer the aftereffects of a decades-long independence struggle against Indonesia, which damaged infrastructure and displaced thousands of civilians.

The head of state of Timor-Leste is the President of Timor-Leste, who is elected by popular vote for a five-year term. Although the role is largely symbolic, the president does have veto power over certain types of legislation. Following elections, the president appoints the leader of the majority party or majority coalition as the Prime Minister of Timor-Leste. As head of government, the prime minister presides over the Council of State or cabinet.

Located in southeast Asia,[26] the island of Timor is part of the Maritime Southeast Asia, and is the largest and easternmost of the Lesser Sunda Islands. To the north of the mountainous island are the Ombai Strait, Wetar Strait and the greater Banda Sea, to the South the Timor Sea separates the island from Australia, while to the west lies the Indonesian Province of East Nusa Tenggara. The highest mountain of Timor-Leste is Tatamailau (also known as Mount Ramelau) at 2,963 meters (9,721 ft).

Timor-Leste lies between latitudes 8° and 10°S, and longitudes 124° and 128°E.

The local climate is tropical and generally hot and humid, characterized by distinct rainy and dry seasons. The capital, largest city and main port is Dili, and the second-largest city is the eastern town of Baucau.

Timor-Leste is a member of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP), also known as the Lusophone Commonwealth, and a member of the Latin Union. It is the only independent state in Asia with Portuguese as an official language, although this is also one of the official languages of China’s Special Administrative Region of Macau.

Capital and largest city – Dili

Official language(s)     Tetum and Portuguese1

Working languages     Indonesian and English

Government     Unitary Parliamentary democracy and Democratic republic

Independence from Portugal and Indonesia

Declared – November 28, 1975
Restored – May 20, 2002

Area –     Total     14,874 km2 (5,743 sq mi)

Currency – US$ (USD)

Time zone – UTC+9

Drives on the left

Internet TLD – .tl

Calling code – +670


2013 2014 2015
Population (millions) 1.20 1.20 1.23
Gross Domestic Product (10^9 USD) in PPP 6.51 6.81 7.10
Real Growth Rate (%) 2.80 4.50 4.30
Gross National Income per capita (USD) in PPP 5300.00 5500.00 5800.00
Inflation – annual average (%) 3.30 0.40 0.70
Unemployment rate (%) 11.00 N.A. N.A.
Imports (10^6 USD) 696.20 764.20 N.A.
Exports (10^6 USD) 17.70 15.50 N.A.
Exchange rate to the USD 1.00 1.00 1.00
External debt (10^9 USD) 0.00 0.30 N.A.
External help per capita (USD) N.A. N.A. N.A.
Sources: World Bank