Geography of East Timor


Terrain shapes and climate

According to COUNTRYAAH, East Timor’s interior is highland, broken up by north-south lows. Between them are small plateaus and extinguished volcanoes. In restricted areas, the soil is of volcanic origin and therefore relatively fertile, but mostly the soil is lean.

The climate is tropical with high and even temperature throughout the year on the coast. In the highlands there are cooler conditions. The monsoon rains are most intense during December and February. A second rainy season occurs on the south coast during April and June. Dry air from Australia during the rest of the year gives a pronounced dry time, especially during the years when the El Niño weather phenomenon occurs. The fierce rains create downpours in the hilly landscape and cause serious soil degradation in areas where agriculture is intense and where vegetation was destroyed during the civil war in 1999.

East Timor Wildlife


Dili, Díli, the capital of East Timor, 193,600 residents (2010). For 200 years Dili was a busy center for the small colony with its own culture, characterized by the Catholic Church, but has now lost its importance and uniqueness. The city’s development was characterized by local opposition to Indonesia following the country’s annexation of the area in 1975.

In 1999, the city was designated as the capital and base of the UN-backed administration of the new Republic of East Timor. Before the Indonesian militia’s retreat, part of the city was destroyed. Many refugees from the 1975-99 liberation war have returned. In 2006, parts of the city were destroyed during riots and fighting between army factions. The conflict led to international intervention.