7 Interesting Facts about Timor-Leste

Timor-Leste is the newest country of the 21st century. Located in Southeast Asia, the country doesn’t have any UNESCO World Heritage sites, but it does have some of the most biodiverse waters in the world. So, from flags to fish, population to power struggles, here are the some of the most interesting facts about Timor-Leste.

7 Interesting Facts about Timor-Leste

1. Timor-Leste is also known as East Timor

Timor-Leste aka East Timor is an island nation in Southeast Asia. It is located in the eastern Lesser Sunda Islands in the Malay Archipelago. The Malay Archipelago includes many other countries, for instance, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and Singapore. Timor-Leste occupies the eastern half of the island of Timor. It is surrounded by many bodies of water, for instance, the Timor Sea borders Timor-Leste to the southeast, the Wetar Strait borders it to the north, the Ombai Strait to the northwest, and western Timor to the southwest.

2. Dili is the capital of Timor-Leste

The population of Timor-Leste, officially the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, is, as of 2022, 1,368,021. This is equivalent to 0.02 per cent of the total world population. Out of 235 countries (and dependencies) by population, it ranks at 156. Dili is the capital and largest city.

interesting facts about Timor-Leste

3. Timor-Leste has a young population

Timor-Leste has a very youthful age structure – approximately 40 per cent of the population is below the age of 15 and 60 per cent is under the age of 25. The country’s median age is 19.6. By way of comparison, for instance, the median age of the population of Monaco, the world’s most elderly country, is 55.4. In South Sudan, more than 62 per cent of the population is under the age of 25. Niger is the country with the lowest population median age at just 14.8 years.

interesting facts about Timor-Leste

4. Timor-Leste was the first new nation of the 21st century

Portugal colonised Timor-Leste in the sixteenth century and it was called Portuguese Timor. The Portuguese remained in power almost entirely until 1975 when Timor-Leste declared independence. However, just nine days later Indonesia invited Timor-Leste and declared it its 27th province. Timor-Leste finally gained independence from Indonesia in 2002 and when it do, it became the first new country of the 21st century.

5. Timor-Leste is incredibly biodiverse

The waters around Timor-Leste are some of the world’s most biodiverse. Located within the Coral Triangle, a marine area in the western Pacific Ocean, these waters are home to an incredibly high number of corals, for instance, there are nearly 600 different species of reef-building corals alone. The waters also sustain six of the world’s seven marine turtle species and more than 2,000 species of reef fish.

6. Timor-Leste has no UNESCO World Heritage sites

Timor-Leste is one of 27 countries that does not have any UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The 27 countries are the Bahamas, Bhutan, Brunei, Burundi, Comoros, Cook Islands, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eswatini, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Kuwait, Liberia, Maldives, Monaco, Niue, Rwanda, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Timor-Leste, Tonga, and Trinidad and Tobago. It also doesn’t have any properties on the Tentative List of sites intended to be submitted for nomination.

7. The flag of Timor-Leste is full of symbolism

Officials adopted the national flag of Timor-Leste on May 20, 2002, when East Timor achieved full sovereignty. It features a red field with a black triangle at the hoist overlapping a yellow triangle and a white, five-pointed star. It is full of symbolism, for instance, the black symbolises more than four centuries of colonial repression. The yellow symbolises the struggle for independence, and the red colour symbolises the suffering of the East Timorese people. The white star represents hope for the future.

Flag of Timor Leste on Flag Pole in Blue Sky. Timor Leste Flag for advertising, celebration, achievement, festival, election. The symbol of the state on wavy cotton fabric.
Melanie May

Melanie is an intrepid solo traveller, endlessly curious about people, places and food. She is a fan of slow travel and loves exploring the world by mouth, discovering a culture through its food. Having backpacked her way around the world she turned her wanderlust into a career and is now a full-time travel writer.

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