HomeBlogs Flores Island Flores, a long island located between Sumbawa and Timor, is strewn with
volcanoes in a mountain chain dividing it into several regions with
distinctive languages and traditions, scenic beauty, good beaches, and
natural wonders. The name is Portuguese for "flower", as the Portuguese
were the first Europeans to colonize East Nusa Tenggara.
a unique position at the junction of the Australian and Asian submarine
ridges, between the two distinct fauna regions marked by the Wallace
Line, here is one of the world's most dynamic marine environments with
nearly every species of coral and tropical fish represented.
Predominantly Catholic, there are several examples of its Portuguese
cultural heritage like the Easter Procession held in Larantuka, and the
royal regalia of the former king in Maumere.
Flores Island, 6,627
sq mi (17,164 sq km), of Indonesia, is one of the Lesser Sunda Islands.
Flores is heavily wooded, rugged, and mountainous, rising to 7,872 ft
(2,399 m). The inhabitants are predominantly Christian, mainly Roman
Catholic; those in the west are chiefly Malayans, and those in the east
are Papuans. Corn and coconuts are grown. Ende (1990 pop. 48,966) is the
chief town and port.
Among the prehistoric inhabitants of the
island were small-proportioned humans (classified as Homo floresiensis
in 2004) that may have evolved from Homo erectus and lived on Flores as
recently as 13,000 years ago. Some scientists, however, believe that
remains are those of micro cephalic modern humans who also suffered from
dwarfism. Much later under the rule of Sulawesi princes, Flores came
under Dutch influence c.1618. The Dutch gradually gained control of the
island, although Portugal held the eastern end until 1851 and the
natives were not completely subjugated until 1907.
Flores is one
of the Lesser Sunda Islands, an Island arc with an estimated area of
14,300-km_ extending east from Java island of Indonesia. The largest
town is Maumere. Flores is located east of Sumbawa and Komodo and west
of Lembata and Alor archipelago. To the southeast is Timor. To the
south, across the Sumba strait, is Sumba and to the north, beyond Flores
Sea, is Sulawesi.
Administration Flores is
part of the East Nusa Tenggara province. The island is split into five
regencies (local government districts); from west to east these are:
Manggarai, Ngada, Ende, Sikka and Flores Timur.
Geography Flores has several active and dormant volcanoes, including Egon, Ilimuda, Leroboleng, and Lewotobi.
Flora and fauna The
west coast of Flores is one of the few places, aside from the island of
Komodo itself, where the Komodo dragon can be found in the wild. The
Flores giant rat is also endemic to the Island. In September 2004, at
Liang Bua Cave in western Flores, Paleoanthropologist discovered
skeletons of a previously unknown hominid species. Homo floresiensis,
affectionately termed hobbits after the small characters in the Lord of
the Rings, appear to be miniaturized versions of Homo erectus standing
about one meter tall. They may have existed until as recently as 11.000
BC. Local reports of elf people, the Ebu Gogo, or the Orang Pendek of
Sumatra, have caused speculation that Flores man may have survived into
the historical period, or even to the present. The discovery has been
published in the October 28, 2004, issue of Nature magazine. Flores was
also a habitat of the extinct Stegodon dwarf elephant until
approximately 18,000 years ago.
are many languages spoken on the island of Flores, all of them
belonging to the Austronesian family. In the centre of the island in the
districts of Ngada and Ende there is what is variously called the
Central Flores Dialect Chain or the Central Flores Linkage. Within this
area there are slight lingistic differences in almost every village. At
least six separate languages are identifiable. These are from west to
east: Ngada, Nage, Keo, Ende, Lio and Palu'e, which is spoken on the
island with the same name of the north coast of Flores. Locals would
probably also add So'a and Bajawa to this list, which anthropologists
have labeled dialects of Ngadha. Portuguese traders and missionaries
came to Flores in the 16th century, mainly to Larantuka and Sikka. Their
influence is still discernible in Sikka's language and culture.
is almost all Catholic and represents one of the "religious borders"
created by the Catholic expansion in the Pacific and the spread of Islam
from the west across Indonesia. In other places in Indonesia, such as
in Maluku and Sulawesi, the divide is more rigid and has been the source
of bloody sectarian clashes.