Lautém Municipality

Lautém (Portuguese: Município Lautém, Tetum: Munisípiu Lautein) is one of the municipalities (formerly districts) of East Timor, at the eastern end of the country. It has a population of 64,135 (census 2010) and an area of 1,813 km². Its capital is Lospalos, which lies 248 km east of the national capital, Dili.

Valu Beach, Tutuala
Official map
Map of East Timor highlighting the Municipality
   Lautém in     East Timor
Coordinates: 8°31′S 127°2′E / 8.517°S 127.033°E / -8.517; 127.033Coordinates: 8°31′S 127°2′E / 8.517°S 127.033°E / -8.517; 127.033
Country East Timor
Administrative posts
 • Total1,816.7 km2 (701.4 sq mi)
 • Rank3rd
 (2015 census)
 • Total65,240
 • Rank7th
 • Density36/km2 (93/sq mi)
  • Rank12th
Households (2015 census)
 • Total12,050
 • Rank7th
Time zoneUTC+09:00 (TLT)
ISO 3166 codeTL-LA
HDI (2017)0.607[1]
medium · 7th
WebsiteLautém Municipality


The word Lautém is a Portuguese approximation of the local Fataluku language word Lauteinu.[2] That word, in turn, is a portmanteau of the Fataluku words lau ('cloth') und tein ('sacred'), ie 'sacred cloth'.[2][3] The mythical ancestors of today's municipal population were known as Lauteinu or Lauteira.[4]


To the west the municipality borders the municipalities of Baucau and Viqueque. To the north lies the Banda Sea, and to the south the Timor Sea. The municipality also includes the easternmost point of the island, Cape Cutcha in the administrative post of Tutuala, and the small island Jaco.

The borders of the municipality of Lautém are identical to those of the council of the same name in Portuguese Timor. At that time, many of the localities had Portuguese names, such as Vila Nova de Malaca (today Lautém), Nova Nazaré (Com), Nova Sagres (Tutuala) and Nova Âncora (Laivai).

Lautém has beautiful sand beaches and a wild, mountainous, and raw rugged unspoilt landscape. Many of the endemic birds of East Timor live here. Near the city of Lautém there are cave drawings. Numerous stone sarcophagi and animistic shrines are found throughout the district.

Lautém municipality is known for its birding (birds of East Timor). Its municipal flag has the head of a yellow-crested cockatoo.

Administrative posts and sucos of Lautém
Cities and rivers in Lautém

Administrative postsEdit

The municipality's administrative posts (formerly sub-districts) are:[5]


In addition to the official languages of Portuguese and Tetum, in the municipality there are 30,000 speakers of the Papuan language Fataluku, mainly in the east of the district, many of whom do not speak a second language.



  1. ^ "Sub-national HDI - Area Database - Global Data Lab". Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  2. ^ a b Hull, Geoffrey (June 2006). "The placenames of East Timor" (PDF). Placenames Australia: Newsletter of the Australian National Placenames Survey: 6–7. Archived (PDF) from the original on 13 July 2018. Retrieved 25 April 2022.
  3. ^ "English and Fataluku word list". Retrieved 25 April 2022.
  4. ^ "Perfil: 2. Toponímia" [Profile: 2. Toponymy]. Lautém Municipality (in Tetum). Retrieved 18 July 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ Gunn, Geoffrey C (2011). Historical Dictionary of East Timor. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press. p. 118. ISBN 9780810867543.


External linksEdit

  Media related to Lautém (Municipality) at Wikimedia Commons