The Maubara fort, a relic of eighteenth-century local autonomy and Dutch-Portuguese rivalry on Timor

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Abstract

The European rivals for colonial domination on the island of Timor in the eighteenth century relied on alliances with the many Timorese principalities for influence outside their own small settlements; the Dutch at Kupang and the Portuguese at Lifau. The central Timorese principality of Maubara sought an alliance with the Dutch in 1755, resulting in the building there of a Dutch fort a few years later. The Dutch had hoped that this alliance would facilitate extension of their authority in the eastern districts. However, the Portuguese moved their capital to Dili in 1769 and Maubara was soon surrounded by Portuguese allies. The Dutch continued to supply Maubara with sporadic support, but finally surrendered it to the Portuguese in 1861. This article examines the Dutch claim to Maubara, the circumstances surrounding the erection of the fort, and the reasons for its later abandonment to the Portuguese.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263–287
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Southeast Asian Studies
Volume50
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2019

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