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Díli District (East Timor)

Last modified: 2023-06-10 by zachary harden
Keywords: díli | dili | dilli | dily | coat of arms (tree: green) | tree | arrow-bag |
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Traditional weavings on the parliament wall

On the right and the left wall of the East Timor national parliament are hanging traditional weavings, each with the name of one of the districts. Each district has such a weaving on the left and the right, but there are not exactly the same, just similar.
J. Patrick Fischer, 08 August 2002

Left side

Weaving, left image by J. Patrick Fischer, 08 August 2002

Right side

Weaving, right image by J. Patrick Fischer, 08 August 2002

Portuguese era municipal flags

1952-1962 version

Weaving, left image by Jens Pattke, 25 March 2016

Some, not all, Portuguese overseas municipalities received arms and flag in the period 1940-1974, after all metropolitan municipalities got one. In Portuguese Timor overseas province only Díli had a flag and a coat of arms, all other 12 municipalities (currently named districts) being confirmedly flagless.
António Martins, 15 January 2003 and 06 August 2005

The Díli municipal flag was white and green gyronny of eight, with the municipal coat of arms over all: argent, a tree vert between two arrow-bags, sable; golden mural crown with five visible towers (overseas province capital city status), and white scroll with uppercase sans serif "CIDADE DE DÍLI".
Antonio Martins, 23 October 1999


1962-1975 version

Weaving, left image by Jens Pattke, 25 March 2016

The decree (Portaria) n.º 19409 / Octobre,1 1962 ( wrote:

Província de Timor
Cidade de Díli - O escudo de armas a que se refere o artigo único do Diploma Legislativo Ministerial n.º 1, publicado em Díli em 31 de Maio de 1952, passa a ser descrito nos termos seguintes: em campo vermelho uma árvore de sândalo de prata, entre dois troféus atados por fita azul, debruada de prata, e constituídos por quatro alabardas de prata, hasteadas de ouro, e um venábulo com manga de azul realçada a ouro. Listel branco com os dizeres «O Sol logo em nascendo vê primeiro».


To differentiate it from the earlier flag, it says "In a red field... and motto "O Sol logo em nascendo vê primeiro"."
Jens Pattke
, 25 March 2016

This law states that scrolls that read merely the settlement’s name may be omitted (probably means that they be omitted on flags, too), and are mandatory only when they read a motto. This is interesting and show a difference between these colonial coats of arms and the Metrópole (metropolis, as opposed to colonies - it was the contrasting term to Ultramar and included both the Portuguese mainland and the “adjoining islands” of Azores and Madeira; in practice, it’s where white people lived), as the latter never had mottos on their scrolls, at most additional titles to the name of the settlement, Oporto being the most notable case. This is also due to the fact that colonial coats of arms were created later, already in the 1940s (except for a few pre-existing ones), and the heraldists’ sophistication had improved.

Cidade de Díli - O escudo de armas a que se refere o artigo único do Diploma Legislativo Ministerial n.º 1, publicado em Díli em 31 de Maio de 1952, passa a ser descrito nos termos seguintes:

The phrase "passa a ser descrito" means something like "from now on will be described as", which indicates that the mentioned previous law, of 1952.05.31, had it described differently.

My source must have been Durán Rodríguez (1995) and Langhans (1966) (and Langhans 1966 was apparently also the source for Durán Rodríguez, 1995), but why those were showing what’s apparently the 1952-1962 version of the flag and not its replacement I cannot say. The 1999 photo suggests that the 1962-1975 flag existed, not a case that the 1962 law had been ignored - or maybe the 1999 event was using a newly created flag according to the 1962 law, which had however been ignored or forgotten so that the very official book (Langhans 1966) in 1966 shows the previous version instead?

As for my interpretation of the additional elements next to the tree as quivers, instead of war trophies, they come also from Durán’s article (Durán Rodríguez, 1995).
António Martins-Tuválkin, 25 March 2016

The remarkable thing for me is the golden mural crown, which acc. to decree/law from 1930/1991 is exclusively reserved to Lisboa as the capital of whole Portugal incl. overseas provinces. I have no idea about the change of shield background colour.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 27 March 2016

The 1930 law reserved the golden crown for Lisbon (imperial capital) and for each of the overseas province capitals, one of which Dili was. It would be remarkable if it were silver, as the one shown on the 1999 photo [] Jens found at [].

The 1991 law updated the state of affairs after the “empire” was gone in 1975 and Lisbon is the only municipality left with a golden crown. (The 1991 law gives to administrative regions the same crown that the previous law had for the overseas provinces, which is also golden, but since there’s no regions, the matter is moot.)
António Martins-Tuválkin, 27 March 2016