The Portuguese Church in Oecussi, Timor Leste

Many people will not know where is Timor Leste – and where is Oecussi?

Oecussi is an enclave of Timor Leste (East Timor) located within the territory of West Timor, which is part of Indonesia as shown on this map. And the only access without crossing Indonesian territory is by ferry or small plane from Dili.

There is a statue on the beach near the mouth of the Tono River which commemorates the first arrival of Portuguese explorers at this site in 1515. After which a settlement was established to trade machetes and iron goods, including firearms, for the valuable sandalwood found growing in the interior.

The Portuguese disembarked here in 1515
The Portuguese Priests in Oecusse from 1515 – 1704

A statue in the town of Pante Macassar celebrates the Portuguese arrival in Timor. The first permanent Catholic presence in Timor occurred in 1641 when the Dominican priest Father Jacinto sailed from Larantuka and converted the Queen of Mena and the nearby Kings of Ambeno and Amanuban to Christianity.

The Portuguese Church in Pante Macassar is solidly built, needs some maintenance on the outside, but is clean and tidy inside.

The Sunday service was conducted by a young Dominican priest who the next day officiated at the blessing of some sandalwood plants that were part of a re-forestation program.

About ianburnet

Author of the book, Spice Islands. Which tells the History, Romance and Adventure of the spice trade from the Moluccas in Eastern Indonesia over a period of 2000 years. Author of the book, East Indies.Which tells the history of the struggle between the Portuguese Crown, the Dutch East India Company and the English East India Company for supremacy in the Eastern Seas. Author of the book 'Archipelago - A Journey Across Indonesia'. Author of the book 'Where Australia Collides with Asia' Author of the book 'The Tasman Map'. Author of the book 'Eastern Voyages'.
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5 Responses to The Portuguese Church in Oecussi, Timor Leste

  1. Denis Smith says:

    Thanks Ian, most interesting about a bit of history i know nothing about.
    Denis Smith

  2. Randy Rutledge says:

    Thanks for this interesting tidbit Ian. Oecussi was already on my bucket list. I want to go even more now.

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