Timorese People

Timorese people are fiercely proud of their independence and very aware of how hard they have had to fight for it. They are also quite stoic in the face of adversity, something honed through decades of tragedy.

The population of East Timor is over 1,100,000


The population of East Timor is over 1,100,000. They consist of a number of distinct ethnic groups, most of whom are of mixed Malayo-Polynesian and Melanesian/Papuandescent. The largest Malayo-Polynesian ethnic groups are the Tetun, primarily in the north coast and around Dili; the Mambai, in the central mountains; the Tukudede, in the area around Maubara and Liquiçá; the Galoli, between the tribes of Mambae and Makasae; the Kemak in north-central Timor island; and the Baikeno, in the area around Pante Macassar.

The main tribes of predominantly Papuan origin include the Bunak, in the central interior of Timor island; the Fataluku, at the eastern tip of the island near Lospalos; and the Makasae, toward the eastern end of the island. As a result of interracial marriagewhich was common during the Portuguese era, there is a population of people of mixed East Timorese and Portuguese origin, known in Portuguese as mestiços.

There is a small Chinese minority, most of whom are Hakka. Many Chinese left in the mid-1970s.


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