The provincial capital of East Nusa Tenggara in
western Timor has proximately 522.944 inhabitants, making it the
largest urban center in the province. It is the center of government,
business, trade, and education. 'The only sandalwood oil factory
in Indonesia is located in this town. The city is located in West
Timor, at 10011'S 123035'E, and has a population of about 450,000.
As the capital of East Nusa Tenggara, the transport
and administrative links from Kupang with isolated islands are extensive.
The location was an important port and trading point during the
Portuguese and Dutch colonial eras. There are ruins and remnant
signs of the colonial presence in the city. The city was an important
landing and refueling place for early long distance airplane flights
between Europe and Australia in the early twentieth century. It
was an important location during the conflict in East Timor, for
the Indonesian military, as well as the militias. The camps around
Kupang were also of significant impact on the city.
Kupang was the final destination of Captain William
Bligh (actually he was a lieutenant in the British Royal Navy) who
was set adrift in an open boat during the Mutiny on the Bounty.
The Mutiny on the Bounty (1789) took place about
30 nautical miles (56 km) from Tofua. Lt William Bligh navigated
the overcrowded 23-foot (7 m) open launch on an epic 41-day voyage
first to Tofua and then Kupang City is equipped only with a sextant
and a pocket watch -- no charts or compass. He recorded the distance
as 3,618 nautical miles (6710 km). He passed through the difficult
Torres Strait along the way and landed on June 14. The only casualty
of his voyage was a crewman named James Norton who was stoned to
death by the natives of Tofua, the first island they tried to land
on. First Mate Fletcher Christian who fell in love with a Tahitian
native and eventually settled on Pitcairn Island South East of Tahiti,
had led the Mutiny.