Comprising the eastern half of the Indonesian island of Timor in the lesser Sunda islands, the Republic of East Timor also includes two islands (Jaco and Atauro) as well as Oecussi, an enclave in West Timor.
In 1975, shortly after declaring its independence from Portugal, East Timor (known then as Tim-Tim) was invaded and annexed by Indonesia and became the 27th province of that nation until 2002 when, in a UN sponsored referendum, it voted for independence from its neighbor. Its population of some slightly over a million souls, is primarily Roman Catholic composed of a number of different ethnic groups most of which are of mixed Malayo-Polenisian and Melanesian / Papuan descent. The official languages are Portuguese and Tetum but English and Indonesian also have official status as “work languages”.
Timor Leste is the only Asian member of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP), but Portuguese also enjoys the status of an official language in Macau (an island off the coast of China).