Bibliography and Library: Online Resources

During the Portuguese colonial administration of East Timor, a considerable number of articles, reports, and books were produced and published about the indigenous peoples and cultures. The research team has been surveying these publications – the majority of which have been published in Portuguese – in order to reach an overview of the Portuguese ‘colonial knowledge’ regarding Timor. These publications touch on disciplines and topics as varied as history, linguistics, biological anthropology, social and cultural anthropology, and allow one to glimpse not just the lives of the East Timorese people in earlier periods, but also the imageries and activities of the European colonizing communities.
As part of this survey in progress, we are providing through this website a bibliography of publications on the history and anthropology of Timor Leste, during the Portuguese colonial period. In addition to this resource, we provide a list of online publications through our Online Library.
To download a draft version of this bibliography please go to Resources/Bibliography or click here.

Please note that this bibliography is a work-in-progress and is in draft form. You are welcome to use it and cite it, but please reference it appropriately – for instance in the following form:

Ricardo Roque (coord.), ‘History and Anthropology of “Portuguese Timor”, 1850-1975. A Bibliography’, online version of 30th November 2011, available at (downloaded on [date of access])


Image: Postcard: “Bambual”. Ed. Missão, c. 1927. Courtesy: João Loureiro.


admin On Janeiro - 1 - 2012


Anthropology, History, Resources


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Exploring Colonial Anthropologies

  • The presence of the Portuguese in Timor, a small island at the end of the Lesser Sunda Islands chain, dates from the mid-sixteenth century. For the next 250 years, Portuguese Catholic missionaries, soldiers, traders, officials, governors, scientists, and military became regular company of the Timorese populations. First based in Lifau (Oecusse), and since 1769 based in Dilly, the Portuguese claimed sovereignty and exercised colonial government over the Eastern half of the island. Today’s nation Republic of Timor-Leste, went by the name of ‘Portuguese Timor’, a colonial province of Portugal, until the Indonesian occupation in 1975. Throughout this long colonial period a great and rich variety of published and unpublished documents was produced by colonial agents.

    From manuscript letters to administrative reports, travelogues, journal articles, or book-length texts, the Portuguese colonial archives offer an abundant field of important material about the past and present of the bodies, languages, and cultures of Timor-Leste peoples. It is this varied and complex colonial material on the history and anthropology of Timor that this research project aims at revealing, exploring, and critically analyze.

    In engaging with these archives, we are concerned not just with how they illuminate former anthropological understandings and colonial encounters between Indigenous and Europeans; we also aim at exploring how they shape current understandings and might help the creation of a post-colonial moment for the history and anthropology of Timor-Leste.

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