East Timor

Ian Zanger

Landforms of the Region

Tatamailau, Ramelau range

Noel Besi, Loes, Laklo, Lois Rivers

Lake Iralalaro

Coastal plains

Nara and Lospalos Plateaus


Equatorial Climate

Two seasons - hot northwest monsoon of November through May, and the cooler southeast monsoon of April through December

Average 70° F

73% Humidity

47-59 inches of rain per year

More rain in the south

Endemic Plants and Animals

Timorese Horseshoe Bat - Found only in the Quoto Lou Caves.

Timor Longneck Turtle

Two types of orchids, scientific names Habenaria ankylocentron and Pterostylis timorensis

Natural Resources

Few natural resources

Oil, Natural Gas, and Lumber


The first inhabitants are thought to be descendants of the Australoid and Melanesian peoples

Portuguese colonized in the 16th century

Occupied by imperial Japan in WW2

Portugal reassumed rule after the surrender of the Japanese

Declared independence from Portugal on November 28 1975, but were invaded by Indonesia 9 days later

Recognised as an independent nation on May 20 2002 after much bloodshed

People and Languages

The first inhabitants are thought to be descendants of the Australoid and Melanesian peoples

Tetum, Mambae, Tukudede, Galoli ethnic groups

Official languages are Portuguese and Tetum

Land Use

Most families rely on subsistence farming

Offshore gas and oil reserves

Only 36.7% of houses have electricity


96.9% of the population is Catholic, 2.2% is Protestant or Evangelical, 0.3% is Muslim, while 0.5% practice some other or no religion


Adult literacy rate is 58.3%

10-30% of primary school aged children do not attend school

4 colleges

800 schools

Traditions, Customs, and Food

Traditional poetry, architecture, totem houses

Customs such as skulls in cemeteries, corn in the mountains

Food has South Asian and Portuguese influences

Tapai- Fermented rice dish

Bibinka- A grilled and layered coconut cake

Batar daan- A popular dish of corn, mung beans, and pumpkin

Current Issues

Hungry Season is November to February, where weather causes many families to rely on their own food production

Nearly half the population is extremely poor