Ainaro District

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Maubisse village
Maubisse village
Flag of Ainaro
Map of East Timor highlighting Ainaro District
Map of East Timor highlighting Ainaro District
Coordinates: 9°05′S 125°29′E / 9.083°S 125.483°E / -9.083; 125.483Coordinates: 9°05′S 125°29′E / 9.083°S 125.483°E / -9.083; 125.483
Country  East Timor
Capital Ainaro
Subdistricts Ainaro, Hatu Udo, Hatu Builico, Maubisse
 • Total 804 km2 (310 sq mi)
Area rank 9th
Population (2010)
 • Total 59,382
 • Rank 10th
 • Density 74/km2 (190/sq mi)
 • Density rank 6th
 • Total 11,527 (as of 2004)
 • Rank 9th
Time zone UTC+9
ISO 3166 code TL-AN

Ainaro is one of 13 administrative districts of East Timor, in the southwest part of the country. It has a population of 53,629 (census 2004) and an area of 797 km2. Its capital is the city of Ainaro, a small mountain town.

The district is identical to that of the same in Portuguese Timor, with the following exceptions: during the Indonesian occupation, the subdistrict of Turiscai became part of Manufahi from Ainaro, and the subdistrict of Hatu Udo became part of Ainaro in exchange. The suco of Mape-Zumalai became part of Cova-Lima in 2003.

The district borders the districts of Aileu to the north, Manufahi to the south, Cova-Lima to the southwest, Bobonaro to the west, and Ermera to the northwest. The subdistricts of Ainaro now are Ainaro, Hatu Udo, Hatu Builico, and Maubisse.

Ainaro has a great abundance of rivers and fertile terrain for agriculture. It has a coastal area, on the Timor Sea, but also mountainous zones, including the highest point in East Timor, Mount Ramelau (2,960 m), also known as Tatamailau, which lies near the border with Ermera. Historically, Ainaro played an important role during the brutal Indonesian occupation of East Timor, providing shelter for the mountain-based guerrilla resistance army. Former guerrilla leader and current President Xanana Gusmão spent many years directing the resistance from Ainaro.

In addition to the official languages of Tetum and Portuguese, a large number of inhabitants of Ainaro speak the Malayo-Polynesian language Mambai. The inhabitants include catholics, protestants, and muslims living side by side.