Postcards From Tanimbar Islands Before the Twentieth Century – The Tanimbar Islands are part of the Banda Sea Islands moist deciduous forests ecoregion. The Tanimbar Islands, also called Timur Laut, are a group of about 65 islands in the Maluku province of Indonesia, including Fordata, Larat, Maru, Molu, Nuswotar, Selaru, Selu, Seira, Wotap, Wuliaru and Yamdena. The Indonesian phrase timur laut means ‘eastern sea’.

It is hard to reconstruct much of Tanimbarese history due to the lack of indigenous records before the twentieth century. Although the islands were claimed by the Dutch in the mid 1600s, Dutch presence in the islands was limited until the early 20th Century.

The Catholic church established a permanent mission in the islands in 1910, and the first conversions occurred soon after. By the late 1930’s when Petrus Drabbe was writing his ethnography of the islands, almost all of the inhabitants of the island were at least nominally Christianised.

During the Second World War, the Japanese occupied the islands, and soon after the war ended, Tanimbar was subsumed into the fledgling Indonesian state. The latter part of the 20th century saw Tanimbar becoming drawn more closely into the structures of the Indonesian state and also saw continued missionary activity.

By the mid-1990s, commercial interests in Tanimbar – mining, fishing, commercial forestry and oil – were beginning to put a strain on the islands’ resources. And then, when sectarian violence broke out in Ambon in the late 1990s, refugees from Central Maluku started to arrive in Tanimbar, putting a further strain on resources.

Tanimbar Islands is paradise. Everything green, blue, tropical, exotic. It’s like a dream!

Images courtesy of

Happy Green Travels!

Follow us on Twitter @TravelJunkieID & like us on Facebook.


One Comment

  1. bagus sejarah ini, apa bilah dibukukan pasti lebih bagus dan bisa menjadi konsumsi publik apalagi bagi anak cucu tanimbar

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.