Timor island is divided into 2 areas, the west part is Indonesian territory with total area around 13.753 square kilo meters, and east part is the Timor l'Este which has just freed themselves from Indonesia in 1999 after hundreds of years under Portugal colonization and become part of Indonesia in 1976. In general the condition of Timor island is consist of wide savannah and steppas, with great difference of temperature between rainy and dry season. Many mountains and hill from where various rivers runs through savannah and steppas. Indonesia Timor itself consists of various ethnics indicated also by their differentdialects as below.
- Roti and Belu People; Roti people is the resident of Roti island, while Belu inhabit the land of Timor. They have similarity in physical and cultural elements. Their physical characteristics showing the mixture between Malay and Melanesian, only the Rotinese showing preponderant Malay characteristic, while Belu showing more Melanesian characteristic such as curling hairs, dark brown to black skin color, shorter body size. The language the spoke have much in common, although they are not understand each other.
- Helon People; they live around the city of Kupang and have their own language, physical characteristics showing much closer to Melanesian.
- Atoni People; live neighboring to Helon people, and in Kupang they are called "Mountain People" or aborigines, since their Melanesian characteristics is strong, such as short body size, dark brown skin color, curling hairs, and brachepal head. The name Atoni was coming from themselves which means " human ". They also have their own language which is not understood by other ethnics.
- Kemak People and Marae People; There are 2 groups have some similarities in their language and physical characteristics. Their physical characteristics are dark brown to black skin color, dolichepal head and curling hairs, body size is higher than average Timorese. Marae people speak their own language called " Huna "
- Kupang People; In Kupang city live a mixed people between local, Chinese, Arabian, and other parts of Indonesia. So there is a great variation in physical characteristics but showing no group affinity. Their communication is Indonesian language with strongly Timorese intonation.
There is no record for Timor and its culture before 17th century until the area was colonized by Dutch V.O.C. A report about Timor was written by Jl. Kruseman in 1756, and the colonial Verslag 1860. From the writing is known that the number of population was small around 70,000 and the town of Kupang had only 3.000 at that time. It is said also about the epidemic such as frambusia and leprosy which killed so many people before vaccines was introduced to the people in 18th century by government of V.O.C. Progressive population growth is recorded between 1930 through 1952 which shows 345.668 (1930), 440.957 (1949), 522.500 (1952). There were found 4 kingdoms when Dutch colonist arrived on the island such as kingdom of Central North Timor, the kingdom of Central South Timor, the kingdom of Kupang, and Belu kingdom. Belu has the biggest number of population, although it is recorded that many people of Timor by the Dutch with the Chinese traders transport the people to Batavia ( now Jakarta ) for slaves with transit in Bali.
Two kingdoms, Kupang and Belu showing tremendous population growth after Dutch colonization. Before Dutch colonization on the island the situation of settlements were said spreaded over with long distance between one to other units of settlements. Most of the unit consist of 50 to 60 persons of the same family, and built on a difficult location to reach. Their choice to build such a settlement was to give difficulty to attacker, as it was often between different groups were attaching each other. Only on southern Belu the defend was built on number of people, so it was found villages with population more then 300 persons. By Dutchgovernment those spreaded settlements were forced to relocate and united in a complex of villages along the main road, which facilitate the V.O.C military control to the people and give them new way of life.
The original house of Timor is like nest of bee, roof almost touching land, its room is divided into 2, outer room or Sulak, where guests are received, inner room called nanan a place to sleep, cook, work, and sleep for married daughters. Here is also traditional ritual concluded according to their original tradition. Today most of them have followed Christianity. By government the shape of their house was changed into quadrangular constructed parallel with main road to facilitate better air circulation and healthy.
Living and Land
The people live on farming product such as corn, cassava, rice, yam, taro, orange, coffee, bean, onion and tobacco. Yet their technique of cultivating land until lately still not permanent, by cutting forest, burn and cultivate once then leave to open new forest. With the introduction of cows by Dutch in 1912, a large parts of the people growing cows and up today Timor is known as the biggest supplier of cows, beside traditional farming is still continued. Before he coming of Dutch they had known growing buffalos and pigs, but was no economic value, only for need of ritual, and social status. With the growth of cows in Timor the image of the island increase parallel with the fame of sandal woods production which is very expensive wood. Together with the island of Sumbawa, Sumba, and flores are known as sandal wood islands.
The Timorese whatever their group is can be said in general that their kinship is based on patrilineal relation, beside matrilineal relation can be found also at the area of Wehali, Suai and south Belu. This family relation forms certain clan that preserve clan heritages. This heritages are considered sacred and connected to the origin of their clan. For example Atoni people name the heritage " nono " The member of the clan regularly conduct a ritual in honor of the heritage. A Boy will be member of this father's clan if doory has been fully paid to the family of his mother. A child who enter his/her mother's clan is called "Feto" and his/her brothers/sisters are called "Mone" Feto is considered having lower status. Among the Atoni and people at Amarasi still consider woman has lower status. In the past there were like a social layer consist of 3 strata the Usif or noble, the Tob or common people, Ate or the slave. During the era of kingdoms this social layer guided various aspects of life, especially the tradition of marriage. A king can only marry woman from their same clan, but some women from Usif can marry man from Tob whose family has an influence on the society such as head of villages, and Chinese merchants. Beside the layer based on genetic also exist based on place, such as the group of Kwantif is the member that first to build the village, who have big power in their village, the group of Atoin Asaot are those people come later and Atoin anaot are those wanderers. The ideal couple for marriage is between a man with the daughter of his mother's brother, not with daughter of mother's sister. Marriage tradition in Timor still involving costly doory both from family of man and woman.
Traditional organization of people in Timor was divided into some kingdoms such as the kingdom of Kupang, belu, north central Timor, and south central Timor. Each kingdom was divided into some smaller units called " Kafettoran" probably derived from clan system of "Feto" as mentioned above, under Kafettoran there are units of Desa headed by Kepala Desa. After independence the kingdom become Kapupaten and Kafeetoran become Kecamatan. Under Kecamatan is Desa. Still the power between Desas of new Desa system constructed after independence and traditional Desa based on Kwantif, sometime still having difficult co-ordination.
Belief and Religion
The original belief of Timor is homage to the god controlling the sky called Uis Neno, and Goddess of the Earth called Uis Afu. Beside that they also belive on the existence of invisible spirits and ancestors spirit. Invisible spirits control rivers, forests, water sources and others which is a true concept of modern worldin the effort of preserving the nature. Rituals are conducted at their homes. Although Timorese majority Christian, their old tradition is still being practiced.Aceh Land and People
Baduy Unique People
Bali Land and People
Batak Ethnic Land and People
Bugis Land and People
Indonesia Chinese People
Dayak Interland Society
Flores Island People
Javanese Cultural Center
Mentawai Island People
Minahasa Land and People
Nias People Society
Sasak Land and People
Sundanese Land and People
Timor People Society
Toraja Land and People
The West Papuan Tribes
Among various tour packages and tour options in Bali there are some tours which can be said always on the publications and interest a large part of travellers to Bali. Kintamani mountain tour sits at the first number as the most popular sightseeing tour, second is Taman Ayun and Tanah Lot tour, third is Uluwatu temple tour.
- Kintamani tour bring combination of watching barong dance, beautiful temple architecture, beautiful natural views, dance, carving, accessories and painting see description
- Taman Ayun and Tanah Lot temples are two historical heritages from 17th, Taman Ayun palace temple which is always found near palaces of Balinese king starting 18th century see description
- Uluwatu temple located on steep drop cliff on the southernmost tip of Bali island. see description