Karte der Insel Timor
map of the island Timor

the island Timor is belonged political at 33.850 km ² the largest of the small Sunda islands and to the Indonesian province Nusa Tenggara Timur in the east of the Indonesian archipelago. The Timor archipelago, including Roti, is the largest archipelago of the eastern smallSunda islands (Nusa Tenggara Timur). Timor has about three million inhabitant.

The island is split, into the Indonesian Westtimor (Timor Barat) with approximately 19,000 km ² and two thirds of the population and the Republic of Osttimor (Timor Timur independent of Indonesia; Portuguese Timor Leste). Onbelongs to the northwest coast of Westtimor lying enclave Oecussi Ambeno politically likewise to Osttimor. Capitals are Kupang in the Indonesian part of Timors and Dili in Osttimor.

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Geographical location

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the island Timor (for instance 125° east and 9° south) is nearly 500 km long, but only 80 km broad and extends in westeastern direction, whereby the west point 150 km lies more south than the east point. Timor is the easternmostthe small Sundainseln (indon.timur, the east). Flores lies some hundred kilometers of WNW, Sulawesi (in former times Celebes) of about 1000 kilometers of sizes. 1000 kilometers east of Timor new Guinea lies, south is beyond the Timorsee Australia.

landscape and economics

Timor are incentral part gebirgig (until 2960 m highly) and of savannah covers; the originally existing rain forest disappeared completely. The large Sandelholzbestände, for the island was once famous, and that was acted until China , India and Arabia, is today strongly dezimiert. Reforestation efforts thatnational governments in west - and Osttimor stand still completely at the beginning. The dry character of the Savannenlandschaft and the unreliability of the monsoon precipitation do not permit expanded cultivation of wet rice. Only in the Mündungsgebieten of the larger rivers, which permit an artificial irrigation, one finds more expanded rice fields (indon. sawah).

Hauptnahrungsmittel in the drier mountain regions is the corn introduced by the Portuguese, which is cultivated in back gardens in the settlements in the Brandrodungsfeldbau. Disappears to drying rice, which must have been in the past a more important basic food, today due to scarcer water resources become. Different sourcesit speaks of the fact that millet for the cultures of the island played an important role once in ritual situations. Different ones vegetable places and small animal husbandry, above all poultry, supplement food production.


history Timors before that 15. Century is hardly well-known. The island was in former times arranged into many small Kingdoms of (Usiftümer), which into neighbouring Suku - units (Indonesian suku, group of peoples) were partitioned.

Timor discovered at the beginning 16. Century the Portuguese sailor António de Abreu on search for the spice islands. Due to the good Sandelholzbestandes of the island andder regen Nachfrage jener Zeit gründeten diePortugiesen, die damals die Vormachtstellung in der Region hatten, an der Westhälfte ein Fort. Over one hundred years later the dutchmen in the Kupang landed, drove them out into the eastern half of the island. After lengthy arguments around the supremacyon Timor two European colonial powers 1851 divided the island politically into two parts, the western part for the Dutchmen and the East part for the Portuguese, with a small Portuguese enclave (Oecussi) at the northwest coast. Also a Grenzvertrag knew the disputes around the island 1859 do not smooth, only 1914 the border finally one specified.

In the Second World War the island was conquered by Japanese. Westtimor became Indonesian, Osttimor remained Portuguese until 1975 /76. Indonesia recognized the declaration of independence Osttimors not on and occupied the east. Only after war and three for many decadesYears administration by the United Nations Osttimor became independent 2002.


Atoin Meto beim Marktbesuch 1991
Atoin Meto with the market attendance 1991

particulars ethnical groups of the island, particularly the Atoin Meto settling in Westtimor, only the Netherlands colonial power became since that 19 by the rising scientific interest.Century in Europe admits.

The different cultures Timors depend economically on food such as corn, rice and sweet potatoes. In the high land regions, which settle for example the Makassae in the east Osttimors dominate corn the cultivation of rice, with the Tetun, which inhabit the levels, are it turned around. The sameapplies to the domestizierten animals: while buffalos and pig on Timor are everywhere bred, the buffalo possesses greater importance than the pig for example for the Makassae. In other regions, with the east Tetun for example, the buffalos of secondary economic importance are contrary to the pig.Other domestic animals are chickens, goats and horses.

The cultural traditions of the Timor cultures are characterised by different social institutions. The social organizations of the individual Timor societies can be structured matrilinear / uxorilokal or patrilinear/patrilokal; individual groups vary between these possibilities of relational organization. While thosesocial organization of the Atoin Meto, and probably also the Baikeno Osttimors, by a symmetrical alliance is characterized, is the asymmetrical alliance for example with the Makasae, Naueti and Fataluku. With the Tetum bilateral and/or kognate descending rules prevail forwards.

Marry and economical-economic alliances,along these organisational structures form, over the social institution of of the so-called “bride price” are steered, with which women and goods, who circulate between the social groups, flow always into a certain direction. Patrilineare and patrilokale organizations indications itself opposite matrilinearen and uxorilokalen by impressive goods transactionsout. In most cultures Timors determines the completeness of the handed over “bride price” the residence of the married couple. None or only an insufficient “bride price” is paid, the married man lives in the Frauengeberlineage; the children remain completely in these Lineage.

The Ethnographie of most Timor Ethnien is only approximateadmits and publishes. By it the cultures of the Kairui, Naueti, Galoli , Baikeno and Idaté are particularly affected. Well is against it the Atoin Meto admits the western Tetum, the Bunaq, the Mambai and the Makasae.

The Atoin Meto probably representsthe original population Timors. By intruders from west Indonesia and Malaysia (Malakka), which by Larantuka (Flores) from Timor reached, it from their settlement areas in Zentraltimor were driven out. The Migranten was the ancestors of the Tetun (Belu), in 14. Century the Benain level in the modern governmental districtWaihale, Timors most fruitful landscape, took.

The Atoin Meto was continued to push aside by the colonization of a superior culture ever after the west, the aristocracy of Waihale (and/or. Wehali) dominated the eastern kingdoms in form of a ritual-political Konförderation, up to the arrival of the Europeans, for several centuries. ThatModel Wehalis following developed i. in Westtimor second Kingdom of, that of the Sonba `.

Despite the Bekehrungseifers of the mission acres since that 16. Century, successes of the Christianisierung are to be registered only since the last 50 years. Since this time the Christianisierung causes a strong cultural change, for thatthe traditional faith conceptions increasingly into the underground displaces. Thus the portion of the catholics in Osttimor of the end of the Portuguese colonial age amounted to 1975 only 30%. Since however the catholic faith functioned as clammy one of the different groups of peoples in the fight against the Indonesian crew, its portion roseon 92% (Christian altogether: 95 %). In no other country of the earth the catholic church achieved such a large increase.


in the Indonesian part of Timors is Bahasa Indonesia the office language, in Osttimor is it the austronesische Tetum and Portuguese.Bahasa Indonesia is however still used in the east of many as Lingua Franca, since in the Indonesian crew time the use was forbidden by Portuguese. According to the article 159 of the condition Osttimors are therefore Bahasa Indonesia and English working languages.

Besides there are 15 in Osttimorfrom the condition recognized national languages. These are the austronesische languages Atauru ((a dialect of the Wetar), Baikeno (a dialect of the Uab Meto in the Exklave Oecussi Ambeno), Bekais, Galoli, Habun, Idalaka, Kawaimina, Lovaia, Mambai, Kemak and Tokodede and the Papua languages Bunak, Fataluku, Makalero and Makasae.

The designation belu (friend) the Atoin Meto characterizes this conglomerate of Ethnien and languages on the eastern side of the former Netherlands-Portuguese border, and refers, in the contrast to the Atoin Meto, to the many commoncultural characteristics of the Osttimor - Ethnien.

In Westtimor the language of the Atoin Meto, the Uab Meto, dominates whose dialect Baikeno is spoken also in the osttimoresischen Oecussi Ambeno. Also one finds Bekais and Bunak (Bunaq) in both parts of the island. In addition become with the Uab the Metoused languages Helong and Rotinesisch spoken. Helong was the original language in Kupang, by Bahassa Indonesia was hired and only in few villages south the city along the east coast of the island Semau is however to a large extent spoken. Rotinesisch, the language of the Roti is inmany dialects split up. One finds speakers of this language in many districts of Westtimor due to the resettlement program, that the Dutchmen in 19. Century accomplished.

see also

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coordinates: 9° 13 ′ 33 " S. Break, 124° 56 ′ 13 " o. L.


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