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Dili, East Timor
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Dili, East Timor

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Central Maritime Hotel Dili
Avenida Dos Direitos Humanos - Dili, Indonesia P B 230

One Of The World's Unique Destinations, East Timor Is Situated Amongst The Indonesian Archipelaego Of Islands In Between Indonesia And Australia, Comprising Half Of The Main Land Of Timor Or Timor Island. Originally A Luxury Cruise Liner, The Central Maritime Hotel Was Refurbished And Transformed Into A 133-Room, Deluxe Hotel.

Central Maritime Hotel Dili

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The Democratic Republic
of Timor-Leste or East Timor is a country in Southeast Asia. It consists of the eastern half of the island of Timor, the nearby islands of Atauro and Jaco, and Oecussi-Ambeno, an exclave of East Timor situated on the northwestern side of the island, surrounded by Indonesian West Timor. The small country is located about 400 miles northwest of Darwin, Australia.

The name Timor is derived from timur the Malay word for 'east', which became Timor in Portuguese. The Portuguese name Timor-Leste and Tetum name Timor Lorosa'e are sometimes used in English. Lorosa'e means 'rising sun' in Tetum.

East Timor has the lowest per capita GDP (Purchasing Power Parity adjusted) in the world of only $400 (which corresponds to the 192nd, and last, position). However, regarding HDI, it is in 140th place among the world's nations, which corresponds to medium human development.

Colonized by Portugal in the 16th century, East Timor was known as Portuguese Timor for centuries. It was invaded by Indonesia in 1975, which occupied it until 1999. Following the UN-sponsored act of self-determination that year, Indonesia relinquished control of the territory, which achieved full independence on May 20, 2002. With the Philippines, East Timor is one of only two majority Roman Catholic countries in Asia.

Main article: History of East Timor

Timor was originally populated as part of the human migrations that have shaped Australasia more generally. It is believed that survivors from three waves of migration still live in the country. The first is described by anthropologists as people of the Australoid type, who arrived about 40,000 years ago and form the principal indigenous groups of New Guinea and Australia. Around 3000 BC, a second migration brought Melanesians, who later continued eastward and colonized nearly the whole Pacific Ocean, and possibly associated with the development of agriculture on Timor. Finally, proto-Malays arrived from south China and north Indochina. The mountainous nature of the country meant that these groups could remain separate, and explains why there is so much linguistic diversity in East Timor today.

Timor was incorporated into Chinese and Indian trading networks of the 14th Century as an exporter of aromatic sandalwood, slaves, honey and wax. Early explorers report that the island had a number of small chiefdoms or princedoms in the early 16th Century. One of the most significant is the Wehale kingdom in central Timor, with its capital at Laran, West Timor, to which the Tetum, Bunaq and Kemak ethnic groups were aligned.

The Portuguese were the first Europeans to arrive in the area, in the 16th century, and they established an isolated presence on the island of Timor, while the surrounding islands came under Dutch control. The area became a colony in 1702 with the arrival of the first governor from Lisbon. In the 18th century, Holland gained a foothold on the western half of the island, and was formally given West Timor in 1859 with the Treaty of Lisbon. The definitive border was drawn by the Hague in 1916, and it remains the international boundary between the successor states East Timor and Indonesia.

In late 1941 Portuguese Timor was briefly occupied by Dutch and Australian troops, who aimed to thwart a Japanese invasion of the island. The Portuguese Governor protested the invasion, and the Dutch forces returned to the Dutch side of the island. When the Japanese landed and drove the small Australian force out of Dili, the mountainous interior became the scene of a guerrilla campaign, known as Battle of Timor, waged by Allied forces and Timorese volunteers against the Japanese. The struggle resulted in the deaths of between 40,000 and 70,000 Timorese. Following the end of the war, Portuguese control was reinstated.

The process of decolonisation in Portuguese Timor began in 1974, following the change of government in Portugal in the wake of the Carnation Revolution. Owing to political instability and more pressing concerns with decolonisation in Angola and Mozambique, Portugal effectively abandoned East Timor, which unilaterally declared itself independent on November 28, 1975. Nine days later, it was invaded and occupied by Indonesian forces before this could be internationally recognised.

Indonesia alleged that the popular East Timorese FRETILIN party, which received some vocal support from the People's Republic of China, was communist. With the American cause in South Vietnam lost and fearing a Communist domino effect in Southeast Asia, the U.S., along with ally Australia, did not object to the pro-Western Indonesian government's actions, despite Portugal being a NATO founding member.

The Indonesian invasion was launched over the western border on 16 October 1975. The day before the invasion of Dili and subsequent annexation, U.S. President Gerald Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had met President Suharto in Jakarta where Ford made clear that "we will not press you on the issue." Several U.S. administrations up to and including that of Bill Clinton did not ban arms sales to the Indonesian government, though the latter did eventually end U.S. support of Suharto's regime. The territory was declared the 27th province of Indonesia in July 1976 as Timor Timur. However, internationally its legal status was that of a "non-self governing territory under Portuguese administration."

The East Timorese guerrilla forces, known as the Falintil fought a very successful guerrilla campaign against the Indonesian forces from 1975 into 1999. Their casualties were relatively light compared to those they inflicted upon the Indonesian military. However the Indonesians generally took their frustrations out on the civilian population, often torturing and killing on the pretense that they were 'helping the rebels'.

Indonesian rule in East Timor was marked by extreme violence and brutality, two of the worst examples of this being the Dili massacre and the Liquiçá Church Massacre. During the invasion and 24-year occupation, 100,000 to 250,000 people were killed out of an initial population of about 600,000 at the time of the invasion. The attacks on civilian populations were only nominally reported in the western press, especially in the United States, where the atrocities of Pol Pot were given far greater attention. Following a UN-sponsored agreement between Indonesia, Portugal and the US, on August 30, 1999, a United Nations-supervised popular referendum was held, the East Timorese voted for full independence from Indonesia, but violent clashes, instigated primarily by the Indonesian military, see Scorched Earth Operation, and aided by Timorese pro-Indonesia militia's broke out soon afterwards. A peacekeeping force (INTERFET, led by Australia) intervened to restore order. Militias fled across the border into Indonesia, from which they attempted sporadic raids, particularly along the New Zealand Army-held southern half of the main border. As these raids were repelled and international moral opinion forced Indonesia to withdraw tacit support, the militia dispersed. INTERFET was replaced by a UN force.

Independence was recognised by Portugal after a visit of Xanana Gusmão to Lisbon to choose the date. They decided May 20, 2002, and East Timor joined the UN on September 27 of that year.

Main article: Geography of East Timor

Map of East Timor with citiesThe island of Timor is part of the Malay archipelago and the largest and easternmost of the Lesser Sunda Islands. To the north of the mountainous island are the Ombai Strait and Wetar Strait, 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 point of East Timor is Mount Tatamailau at 2,963 m.

The local climate is tropical and generally hot and humid, characterised 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. Dili has the only functioning international airport, though there is an airstrip in Baucau used for domestic flights.

Main article: Demographics of East Timor

The population of East Timor is about one million. It has grown considerably recently, because of a high birth rate, but also because of the return of refugees. The population is especially concentrated in the area around Dili.

The Timorese are called Maubere collectively by some of their political organizations, an originally derogatory name turned into a name of pride by Fretilin. They consist of a number of distinct ethnic groups, most of whom are of mixed Malayo-Polynesian and Melanesian/Papuan descent. The largest Malayo-Polynesian ethnic groups are the Tetun (or Tetum) (100,000), primarily in the north coast and around Dili; the Mambae (80,000), in the central mountains; the Tukudede (63,170), in the area around Maubara and Liquiçá; the Galoli (50,000), between the tribes of Mambae and Makasae; the Kemak (50,000) in north-central Timor island; and the Baikeno (20,000), in the area around Pante Macassar. The main tribes of predominantly Papuan origin include the Bunak (50,000), in the central interior of Timor island; the Fataluku (30,000), at the eastern tip of the island near Lospalos; and the Makasae, toward the eastern end of the island. In addition, like other former Portuguese colonies where interracial marriage was common, there is a smaller population of people of mixed Timorese and Portuguese origin, known in Portuguese as Mestiço. The best-known East Timorese Mestiço internationally is José Ramos Horta, the spokesman for the resistance movement in exile, and now Foreign Minister. Mário Viegas Carrascalão, Indonesia's appointed governor between 1987 and 1992, is also Mestiço.

The population is predominantly Roman Catholic (90%), with sizable Muslim (5%) and Protestant (3%) minorities. Smaller Hindu, Buddhist and animist minorities make up the remainder.

Main article: Languages of East Timor

East Timor's two official languages are Portuguese and Tetum, a local Austronesian language. The official language Tetum, known as Tetum-Dili, grew out of the dialect favored by the colonizers at Dili, and thus has considerable foreign influence, but there are also has a variety of non-official dialects which are widely used and known as Tetum-Terik. Indonesian and English are defined as working languages under the Constitution in the Final and Transitional Provisions, without setting a final date. Although the country has only about 1 million inhabitants, another fifteen indigenous languages are spoken: Bekais, Bunak, Dawan, Fataluku, Galoli, Habun, Idalaka, Kawaimina, Kemak, Lovaia, Makalero, Makasai, Mambai, Tokodede and Wetarese.

Under Indonesian rule, the use of Portuguese was banned, but it was used by the clandestine resistance, especially in communicating with the outside world. The language, along with Tetum, gained importance as a symbol of resistance and freedom and was adopted as one of the two official languages for this reason, and as a link to nations in other parts of the world. It is now being taught and promoted widely with the help of Brazil and Portugal. Some claim it is now spoken by 25% of the population(source??), although its prominence in official and public spheres has been met with some hostility from younger Indonesian-educated people. East Timor is a member of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP), also known as the Lusophone Commonwealth, and a member of the Latin Union.

There remains great controversy over the Timorese government's language policy which, in practice, promotes Portuguese over the national language Tetum. It is also not widely accepted that any more than 5% of the population currently speaks Portuguese with any fluency.[1](2- Timorese Census) Local languages and Tetum still remain the most common means of communication between ordinary Timorese, while a large segment of Timor's demographically young population also speak Bahasa Indonesia.

Main article: Culture of East Timor
The culture of East Timor reflects numerous cultural influences, including Portuguese, Roman Catholic and Malay, on the indigenous Austronesian cultures of Timor. Legend has it that a giant crocodile was transformed into the island of Timor, or Crocodile Island, as it is often called. Like Indonesia, the culture of East Timor has been heavily influenced by Austronesian legends, although the Catholic influence is also strong. This catholicism strengthened in response to the Indonesian domination, which forced the population to adopt a religion as a counter-communism policy.

Illiteracy is still widespread, but there is a strong tradition of poetry. President Xanana Gusmão is, for example, a distinguished poet. As for architecture, some Portuguese-style buildings can be found, although the traditional totem houses of the eastern region, known as uma lulik, also survive. Craftmanship is also widespread, as is the weaving of traditional scarves or tais.

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 over the next two decades, 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.
Southeastern Asia, northwest of Australia in the Lesser Sunda Islands at the eastern end of the Indonesian archipelago; note - East Timor 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
Map references:
Southeast Asia
total: 15,007 sq km
land: NA sq km
water: NA sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly larger than Connecticut
Land boundaries:
total: 228 km
border countries: Indonesia 228 km
706 km
Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: NA NM
extended fishing zone: NA NM
territorial sea: NA NM
exclusive fishing zone: NA NM
continental shelf: NA NM
exclusive economic zone: NA NM
tropical; hot, humid; distinct rainy and dry seasons
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Timor Sea, Savu Sea, and Banda Sea 0 m
highest point: Foho Tatamailau 2,963 m
Natural resources:
gold, petroleum, natural gas, manganese, marble
noun: Timorese
adjective: Timorese
Ethnic groups:
Austronesian (Malayo-Polynesian), Papuan, small Chinese minority
Roman Catholic 90%, Muslim 4%, Protestant 3%, Hindu 0.5%, Buddhist, Animist (1992 est.)
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
US dollar (USD)
Currency code:

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