30.08.

1999: East Timor – One of the Poorest Catholic Countries in the World

1999: East Timor – One of the Poorest Catholic Countries in the World
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 30 August 1999
  • As much as 96.9% of the East Timor population professes Catholicism. Unfortunately, a significant part of the population also lives in poverty. In a referendum held on this day in 1999, 78.5% of voters refused a union with Indonesia and voted for independence.

On this day in 1999, a referendum on independence took place in East Timor, in which separation from Indonesia was voted. 

East Timor is now a recognized independent state and member of the United Nations.

It is very interesting that East Timor is one of only two Asian countries with a primarily Roman Catholic population (the other is the Philippines). In a referendum held on this day in 1999, 78.5% of voters refused to be in a union with Indonesia.

East Timor is a relatively small country with a surface of only 14,874 square kilometers (about the same as Montenegro, The Bahamas, or Kuwait), and has just over one million inhabitants.

East Timor was once under Portuguese colonial rule, while the western part of the same island was under the Netherlands (as was most of today’s Indonesia). As much as 96.9% of the East Timor population professes Catholicism.

Unfortunately, a significant part of the population lives in poverty. In fact, it seems that East Timor is today the poorest predominantly Catholic country in the world (together with the Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, and Burundi).

The capital of East Timor is Dili, on the northern coast of the island. Interestingly, East Timor drives on the left side of the road, like Indonesia.

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