Kupang City Komodo Island Flores Island Sumba Island West Timor Rote Island Alor & Lembata Island Savu Island Rai Jua Island Dana Island


Considering its name, actually East Nusa Tenggara archipelago is believed to have been the center of industrial trade and exchange two thousand years ago when Timor island functioned as the source for the original stock of sandalwood trees established in India (or even in China) and there after developed as an important commercial tree. The trees grow in some islands (mostly in Timor Island now and used to be in Sumba) and the quality is still judged superlative.

Now the product is not only used for handicraft, but is also manufactured into sandalwood oil for export commodity for the raw material of perfumes. Centuries ago, ships from all over the world visited these islands in search of spices and sandalwood. The ancient Chinese travel chronicle Hsing Cha Sheng Can mentions that from the 6th to the 9th AD many ships from the Chinese mainland came here to barter ceramics, yarns, and silks for sandalwood. Can Yu Kua wrote in the Chu Fan Shih in 1225, that Timor Island had links with Java as far as the trade of sandalwood was concerned. The evidence of those old trade links with Java is found in Lendo Maja Dance, in Sabu. The evidence of early trading with China provide by the antique Chinese ceramics found in this area.

Pilliot Lamster believes that China had engaged in the sandalwood trade since the early period of Christian era. O. W. Walters similarly believe that China had connections with Timor in the first century of the Christian era. The merchant from India also come to these island to buy sandalwood, bringing horses which they bought in Arabia to be sold to Sumba people. That is ostensibly the reason why there are so many horses in Sumba The Europeans came to East Nusa Tenggara and bought sandalwood oil to treat wound.


In 1520, a Portuguese flotilla led by Alfonso de Abreu and serrao, sailed to Ternate, intending to defeat the Sultan of Ternate and take over his sphere of influence, which stretched from the southern Philippines to Sangihe Talaud, Maluku and Solor Island.

Losing their orientation, they arrived at Solor. They had failed destination, but had discovered East Nusa Tenggara, the source of sandalwood. They set up a trading post in Lamakera, on Solor Island, as a kind transit harbor between Maluku and Malacca.

In 1566, the Portuguese set up a trading post, know as fort Hendricus, where sandalwood was accumulated. During Portuguese period, many names were changed. Nusa Nipa became Flores, and Tanah Wutun, or Tanjung, was renamed Cabo da Flores. Nusa Wuo was changed into Sumba, and Nusa Eda into Rote or Roti, which was presumably the result of a misunderstanding involving a name Rote. Nusa Timu became Tmor. In addition, the Portuguese did their best to convert the people to Roman Catholicism as present on Portuguese ship. By 1597, thousands of people on these islands had been converted to Christianity.

The little town of Kupang knows among students of maritime history. At around the end of the 1 8th century, Kupang was visited by a sloop of the British Ship HMS "Bounty" skippered by Captain Thigh, who has braved the Pacific Ocean after the infamous mutiny. On his arrival at Kupang, Captain Bligh received help of the Dutch, who provided him with a ship to return to England.

In 1592, and inhabitant of Larantuka, of Portuguese origin, whose mother had been ill-treated, asked the Dutch for help to fight the Portuguese. The clutch attacked Fort Hendricus and defeated the Portuguese. The Dutch arrived at East Nusa Tenggara for the first time in the 17th century. In 1613, Apollonius Scotte led a war expedition to

East Nusa Tenggara to fight the Portuguese. War broke out and Solor fell to the Dutch in 1653. Through further victory, the Dutch consolidated their position in Kupang in 1657. Fort Hendricus became the headquarters of Dutch East India Company. Like the Portuguese before them, the Dutch brought their own Lutheran Ministers to the island and became the information center in East Nusa Tenggara.

After that the people live in surroundings of Kupang had converted from Catholicism to Protestantism. The Protestant center was move to Kupang. Meanwhile, the Portuguese moved the seat of their authority to Rote and Sawu islands. More over, many of the other islands were being subjugated and put under Portuguese control. In May to June 1642, the Portuguese were sending their best troops from Larantuka to attack Timor Island. The Portuguese commander; Francisco Fernandez, Ordered his men to kill the entire king in the conquered areas.
In 1739, a new power group, called the black Portuguese or Tropaas, emerged in Timor. Until the middle of the 19th century, it clashes between the areas. The situation continued until 1854, when the Treaty of Timor was signed between the Dutch and Portuguese, dividing Timor into half west to be ruled by the Dutch, and an east by the Portuguese. Larantuka and surrounding areas were ceded to the Dutch, whereas the barren territory of Oekusi was relinquished to the Portuguese.

After Indonesia's independence, it was in the beginning a part of the Provinces of Lesser Sunda Islands, and changed its name to Nusa Tenggara Province not long after that, with the capital in Singaraja, Bali. In 1958 the province of Nusa Tenggara was divided into three provinces; Bali, West Nusa Tenggara, and East Nusa Tenggara Provinces.





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