22 Tantalising Facts about Timor-Leste
Looking to boost your local knowledge? Take a look at these 22 interesting facts about Timor-Leste!
- Timor-Leste, formerly known as East Timor, is a beautiful country in southeast Asia.
- It forms part of the island of Timor and is bordered only by Indonesia to the west. It also has a coastline along the Timor Sea to the south and the Wetar Strait to the north.
- To explore this wonderful country for yourself, head for the coordinates of 8.5667° S, 125.5667° E.
- The terrain here is mostly mountainous and surrounded by stunning sandy beaches and crystal clear water.
- The total land area of Timor-Leste is 5,640 square miles (14,609 square kilometres)…
- …that’s almost twice the size of the Greek island of Crete.
- Timor-Leste’s population was 1,231,116 in 2015…
- …that’s also around twice the population of Crete!
- Residents here are known as Timorese.
- The capital is Dili; it covers an area of 18.6 square miles (48.3 square kilometres) and had a population of 228,000 in 2014.
- The Timorese enjoy a tropical climate with hot and humid weather and distinct dry and rainy seasons from May to November and December to April, respectively.
- Timor-Leste boasts a wide range of wildlife including water buffalo, monkeys, deer, pigs, horses, crocodiles, cattle, goats, chickens, ducks, rats and bats.
- The official languages of Timor-Leste are Portuguese and Tetum, although Indonesian and English are also spoken here.
- Apparently, ‘Timor’ comes from the Malay word ‘timur’, meaning east; that means that when the country was formerly known as East Timor, it was actually called ‘East East’ when translated!
- United States Dollar is the official currency here.
- Timor-Leste has gained independence twice – firstly from Portugal in 1975 and then from Indonesia in 1999.
- The average life span here is 68 years.
- Fishhooks and beads made from shells which been found on the island have been radiocarbon dated to around 30,000 years ago! What an incredible find!
- Local legend has it that the island of Timor was formed from the body of an ageing crocodile as compensation to a little boy who helped him while he was unwell, and natives of the island are thought to be descendants of the little boy!
- Timor-Leste grows coffee, corn, sweet potatoes, rice, soybeans, bananas, mangoes, vanilla, maize and cassava.
- Its industry consists of printing, handicrafts, soap manufacturing and woven cloth.
- The main exports include coffee, sandalwood, marble and oil.