The country of East Timor, also known as Timor-Leste or the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, has a national flag that was officially adopted in law and government on May 19, 2002. The flag features a solid red background. A black isosceles triangle is positioned on its mid hoist side with a large white star set in its center. Another thinner yellow triangle sits atop the black triangle with its point positioned towards the opposite side of the flag.

What Do the Flag's Colors and Symbols Mean?

The official flag of East Timor, which was established by the 2002 Constitution of East Timor, includes various symbols relating to the country’s turbulent history. The use of the color red, for example, is representative of the nation’s quest for political liberation. Presumably this refers to the blood spilt and lives lost during this national struggle for independence. The smaller yellow triangle is symbolic of the region’s past as a colony of a foreign government. Its black triangle represents obstacles which must be overcome and the five pointed white star is in reference to a guiding light with the color white representing peace.

Who Designed the Flag?

The design of East Timor’s current flag was decided upon during the first East Timorese National Convention which took place in Portugal in 1998. Although another version of the flag was initially suggested the design which was finally agreed upon was actually the region’s former flag that had been flown after East Timor’s declaration of independence on November 28, 1974.

What Have Historical Versions of the Flag Looked Like?

Like a great many former colonies East Timor has been represented by an array of flag designs throughout its history. One of the earliest, the official flag of Portugal, was flown from 1702 to 1975 when East Timor was known as Portuguese Timor. The current version of East Timor’s flag had been used briefly following the nation’s declaration of independence in 1974. During the time of the Indonesian occupation (1976–1999) the region was known as the province of Timor Timur and flew an orange colored flag with a large white rimmed yellow shield in its center. From 1999 to 2002 when East Timor was under the administration of the United Nations the region flew that organization’s official flag.

This page was last modified on March 14th, 2018