Acção Colonizadora


We here offer a bibliography of published works that bear on the history and anthropology of Timor Leste during the Portuguese colonial period. Although we also include some British and French works, we have privileged Portuguese-language publications in order to represent the diversity, tensions, and potential of Portuguese colonial knowledge about Timor in the period between c. 1850 and 1975.
In collecting these works we try to cover, as exhaustively as possible, the eclectic landscape of Portuguese historical and anthropological publications about East Timor. We have considered history and anthropology broadly, and selected only those publications that, in our view, may include potentially useful information for students of history, anthropology, and/or the history of human sciences of East Timor during that period. Thus the list includes academic and non-academic works of historical, ethnographical, archaeological, linguistic, or bioanthropological character, from a variety of authors and literary genres, and expressing many different political and epistemological agendas.
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 http://www.historyanthropologytimor.org/ (downloaded on [date of access])


Some publications listed in this bibliography are easily accessible online and may be downloaded. Please see the links provided on our Online Library [create link para online library], also available in this website.

We welcome any suggestion that might help us improve this resource! Please contact us.


Below we will find links to general bibliographies about East Timor, compiled by other scholars and available online at different internet sites.

Kevin Sherlock’s bibliography

  • Kevin Sherlock has compiled one of the most comprehensive bibliographies concerning Timor-Leste, now available online at Timor Archives Blog.
  • For notes regarding Kevin Sherlock’s bibliography, see here.

Andrea K. Molnar’s bibliography

Robert Lawless’s bibliography

Bibliography of works on Timor Leste, National Library of Australia

Acção colonizadora” c. 1840. Source: Álbum Fontoura. Online: http://purl.pt/12334/1/span>

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  • Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia
  • Instituto de Ciências Sociais da Universidade de Lisboa
  • Associated research projects

  • Associated research projects

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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