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keskiviikko 11. maaliskuuta 2015

East-Timor, Cool Facts #22

1. Symbolism in the flag 

The current flag is the same as in 1975 when East Timor was independent for 9 days. It was taken as the national symbol when East Timor finally got independence permanently in 2002.

Yellow: Wealth
Black: The forces of darkness that must be overcome
Red: The fight for freedom
White: Peace

2. Dominican Brothers from Portugal 

Little is known about East Timor before 1500s, but the first Europeans there were Portuguese dominican brothers who arrived there in 1512. The Portuguese established a Christian mission on the island in 1556. These actions have affected the country over centuries, Portuguese is spoken by one third of the population and Christianity is the majority religion with nearly 99% of the population practicing it. 

3. American backed genocide in East Timor 1975-1999

It started after the Portuguese Revolution when Portugal abandoned its all colonies in 1974, including East Timor. That started the civil war which ended in 1975 when FRETILIN party declared East Timor independent. That lasted for nearly 10 days before Indonesia occupied East Timor. USA supported and armed Indonesia because there was a threat that East Timor would become a communist state. In 1976 Indonesia declared East Timor its 27th province. During the occupation more than 200,000 people were killed out of the population of 600,000 people in the massacres carried out by Indonesian troops. The governments of USA and UK accepted this and helped in many ways in the genocide. In the referendum of 1999 78% voted for the independence, this started massacres by the opposition and the UN had to calm down things. Finally in 2002 under the protection of UN, East Timor became independent.

4. Most Oil-Dependent Country of the World

The most oil-dependent country of the world, that's what the IMF has said about East Timor. The Petroleum Fund pays nearly the whole annual budget of the government. All the oil and gas reserves are offshore reserves.

The second biggest export product is coffee, which generates about 10 million $ a year. Actually Starbucks purchases a lot of coffee from East Timor. Coffee and sandalwood were also the reasons why the Portuguese and Dutch wanted to stay in East Timor. They destroyed forests to export sandalwood and to establish coffee plantations.

During the Indonesian occupation East Timor wasn't developed and it can be still seen in the lack of infrastructure, incomplete regulatory system and in the human capital shortages. The population isn't educated enough to have a strong private sector. The fact that the agricultural sector employs 80% of the population sums it up that East Timor needs to develop its society and industries with their oil profits.

5. Timor Lorosa'e

East Timor has two official languages, Portuguese and Tetum. Here is the name of the country in these two languages and their meanings:

Timór Lorosa'e (Tetum): Lorosa'e means literally "rising sun" but in this case "east"
Timor Leste (Portuguese): Leste is east in Portuguese

Timor is a word that derives from "timur" which is "east" in Indonesian and Malay.

Tetum and Portuguese were important unifying elements during the Indonesian rule when Portuguese was banned and only Indonesian was allowed to be spoken in the government, schools and business.

Endangered languages:                     Most common mother tongues:

Adabe                                                   Tetum Prasa (36,6%)
Habu                                                     Mambai (12,5%)
Kairui-Midiki                                       Makasai (9,7%)
Maku'a                                                  Tetum Terik (6,0%)
Naueti                                                   Baikenu (5,9%)


1512 Portuguese dominican brothers (monks) arrived at the island
1656 The Dutch arrive at the island
1702 Official Portuguese colony status, name Portuguese Timor
1749 After a battle, the island is split into Dutch and Portuguese parts, in 1859 the border is formally determined between Portugal and the Netherlands.
1800s Timorese people are forced into labour in the plantations
1895-1912 Revolts end in an uprising which is suppressed violently by Portugal
II World War, The Netherlands occupy East-Timor then Japan and also Australia, after the war Portuguese power is reinstated
1974 Portugal waives its all colonies including East-Timor. Civil War begins
1975 Fretilin party wins the civil war and declares the country independent
1975 After 9 days of independence Indonesia occupies East-Timor
1999 Referendum about the independence, the result is followed by violence
2002 Independence under the protection of UN, Xanana Gusmao as the first president

Maailman liput maat ja historia - Kimmo Kiljunen

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