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
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
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
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
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
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