Modern Indian History-Events and Personalities

Places in news: East Timor


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: East Timor

Mains level: NA

Asia’s youngest nation, East Timor, also known as Timor Leste, holds the second and final round of its presidential election.

About East Timor

  • The territory was colonized by Portugal in the 18th century and remained under is control until 1975.
  • When the Portuguese withdrew, troops from Indonesia invaded and annexed East Timor as its 27th province.
  • A long and bloody struggle for independence ensued, during which at least 100,000 people died.
  • The East Timorese voted for independence in a 1999 U.N.-supervised referendum, but that unleashed even more violence until peace-keeping forces were allowed to enter.
  • The country was officially recognized by the United Nations in 2002.
  • East Timor has applied to be a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). It currently holds observer status.

Its geography

  • East Timor comprises the eastern half of Timor Island, the western half of which is part of Indonesia.
  • It spans a 15,000 square km (5,792 square mile) land area – slightly smaller than Israel – and it’s 1.3 million people are predominantly Roman Catholic.

Politics and economy

  • In nearly 20 years since independence, East Timor’s presidential and parliamentary elections have been dominated by many of the same faces.
  • Its revolutionary have run for and held various positions of power and continue to feature prominently in the running of the country.
  • East Timor depends on revenues from its offshore oil and gas reserves which account for 90% of its gross domestic product.
  • Its main revenue stream, the Bayu Undan gas field, is set to dry up by 2023 and the country is now planning to collaborate with companies like Australia’s Santos to turn it into carbon capture facilities.


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