20 Facts About East Timor

1. East Timor was colonised by Portugal in the sixteenth century and was known as Portuguese Timor until 28 November 1975, when the Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor declared the territory's independence.

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2. In 2011, East Timor announced its intention to become the eleventh member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

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3. Early Portuguese presence on East Timor was very limited, with trade being directed through Portuguese settlements on other islands.

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4. Effective European occupation of a small part of present-day East Timor began in 1769 when the city of Dili was founded and the colony of Portuguese Timor declared.

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5. The main waves of deportations to East Timor were in 1896, 1927, and 1931.

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6. On 25 October 1999, the administration of East Timor was taken over by the UN through the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor.

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7. On 20 May 2002, the Constitution of the Democratic Republic of East Timor came into force and East Timor was recognised as independent by the UN.

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8. On 27 September 2002, East Timor was renamed Timor-Leste, using the Portuguese language, and was admitted as a member state by the UN.

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9. Political system of East Timor is semi-presidential, based upon the Portuguese system.

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10. East Timor is divided into fourteen municipalities, which in turn are subdivided into 64 administrative posts, 442 sucos, and 2,225 aldeias (hamlets).

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11. East Timor is thus an observer to the Pacific Islands Forum and the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

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12. East Timor is home to the Timor and Wetar deciduous forests ecoregion.

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13. Economy of East Timor is a market economy, which used to depend upon exports of a few commodities such as coffee, marble, petroleum, and sandalwood.

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14. East Timor recorded a population of 1,183,643 in its 2015 census.

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15. Culture of East Timor reflects numerous influences, including Portuguese, Roman Catholic, and Indonesian, on Timor's indigenous Austronesian and Melanesian cultures.

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16. East Timor became a state party to the UNESCO World Heritage Convention on 31 January 2017.

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17. East Timor is currently finalising its dossiers needed for nominations in the UNESCO World Heritage List, UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists, UNESCO Creative Cities Network, UNESCO Global Geoparks Network, and UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Network.

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18. In 2009 and 2010, East Timor was the setting for the Australian film Balibo and the South Korean film A Barefoot Dream.

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19. Sports organizations joined by East Timor include the International Olympic Committee, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the Badminton World Federation (BWF), the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF), the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), and East Timor's national football team joined FIFA.

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20. East Timor won three medals in Arnis at the 2005 Southeast Asian Games.

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