West Timor

West Timor is the principal island in terms of population where the capital of the province, Kupang, is located. Kupang is now being developed to be the gate- way to Nusa Tenggara. There are direct flights from /to Darwin-Australia. West Timor is rich in various cultures, beautiful sceneries, and a wonderful nature. Made up of dry, rocky land, isolated communities, rolling cattle land, a variety of styles of architecture, Timor is basically something that possesses its own original characteristics.

West Timor is a political region that comprises the western half of Tomir Island with the exception of Oecussi-Ambeno district (which is politically part of East Timor) and forms a part of Indonesia province of East Nusa Tenggara, (NTT or Nusa TenggaraTimur). West Timor's capital and chief port is Kupang. The land area of West Timor is 15,850 km. During the colonial period it was known as Dutch Timor and was a centre of Dutch loyalists during the Indonesian War of Independence (1945-1949).

Rote Island, the southernmost island of Indonesia, is just to the southwest of West Timor. Three native languages belonging of Carbonic Stock of the Austronesian group of languages are spoken in West Timor, the others in East Timor. These languages are Ndaonese, Rotinese, and Helong.


European colonization of Timor started in the 16th century. Although Portuguese claimed the island of Timor in 1520, the Dutch (in Dutch East India Company) settled West Timor in 1640, forcing the Portuguese out to East Timor. The subsequent collapse of the company meant that in 1799 the area returned to official Dutch rule. Finally, in 1914 a treaty between Holland and Portugal that was originally signed in 1859 and modified in 1893 finalized border between East and West Timor.

Japan conquered the island as part of World War II in early 1942. August 17, 1945 saw Indonesian Independence declared, just three days after the Japanese surrender. The Dutch returned but faced a war with republican guerrillas, the eventual outcome of which was the proclamation of Republic of Indonesia in 1950, which made West Timor a part of East Nusa Tenggara.


West Timor has approximately 1.6 million inhabitants. The population is mostly of Malay, Papuan or Polynesian extraction, with a tiny ethnic Chinese group. About half of the population belongs to Atoni ethnicity. West Timor's main religions are Catholic (56%), Protestant (35%) and Muslim (8%).

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