TIMOR, lat. 8° 21' to 10° 23' S., and long. 123° 30' to 127° 15' E. It is the largest and most southerly of the Molucca Islands. It is formed of high undulating mountains in the interior, though near the sea it is of moderate elevation. The Portuguese settlenient of Dieli or Diely is in lat. 8° 34' S., and long. 125° 40' E., and on the north side of the island.
Timor means the east, and was probably im I posed on this island by the Malays, to whose lan guage it belongs,' because this was the extreme limit of their ordinary commercial voyages to the S.E. The two languages of Timor are the Mana toto and the Timori ; the first spoken at the N.E. end of the island, and the last used by many of the tribes as a common medium of intercourse. No alphabet has ever been invented in Timor.
Timor seems to form the N.E. end of the great range of volcanic islands, which extend N.E. and S.W. from Timor to Sumatra. It has only one active volcano, Timor Peak, near the centre of the island, which was blown up during an eruption in 1638, and has since been quiescent.
There are Malays and Chinese, but the native Timorese preponderate, and have nothing in common with the Malays, but are closely allied to the true Papuans of the Aru Islands and New Guinea. They are of the Papuan type ; all have pronounced features, large, somewhat aquiline noses, and frizzly hair. The women talk to each other and to the men with loud voices, and with a self-assertion quite different from Malay women. The mountaineers of Timor are a people of Papuan type, have rather slender forms, bushy frizzled hair, and the skin of IL dusky brown colour. They have the long, somewhat aquiline nose, with the overhanging apex, which is so characteristic of the Papuan, and so absolutely unknown among races of Malayan origin on tho coast. There has been an admixture of Malay, perhaps of Hindu as well as of Portuguese, and the coast occupants have wavy and friuled hair, a lower stature, with less prominent features, and the houses aro built from the ground. The houses of the Papuan mountaineers aro raised on posts. The dead of the Papuan Timorese arc laid on a stage G or 8 feet above the ground, sometimes open, some times covered, and are retained there till money for a feast can be obtained, when they arc burned.
The S.E. coast near Mount Alfas is occupied by the Papuan race with frizzled hair in tufts on the head. 3fr. Earl says that some of the people on the table-land back of Dieli have opaque yellow complexions, with hair of a reddish or dark auburn colour, and that the hair of others is straight, fine, and of a reddish hue ; and that every intermediate variety of hue and complexion between this and the black or deep choco/ate colour and the short tufted hair of the mountain Papuan is found in Timor, and it is possible that tho races aro there 'nixing, as its position is next to Papua.
The Pomali,' exactly resembling the Taboo of the Pacific, is in full operation here, and a few palm leaves stuck outside of a garden will preserve it from any thief. In the Malayan 3liscellanies, published under the auspices of Sir Stamford Raffles at Bencoolen in 1820, lists of two lan guages of Timor and of the languages of the two small islands at its western end, Rotti and Savu, are given, amounting each to 95 words.
From Timor to New Guinea there runs a long chain of islets, forming as it were a wall of barrier to the S.E. portion of the Archipelago. In these islets thb inhabitants speak many lan guages. 13y far the most ample and authentic account of them has been given by 3Ir. G. IV. Earl, who says that in the S.E. parts of the Indian Archipelago, where opportunities of social inter course between the various petty tribes are of rare occurrence, every island, every detached group of villages, has its own peculiar dialect, which is often unintelligible even to the tribes in its immediate neighbourhood. In some of the larger islands, Timor for exrunple, these tribes are so numerous, and the country occupied by many of them so extensive, that it becomes impossible to form even an approximate estimate of their number. Of one language, the prevailing one among eeveral languages of the island of Kisa, (me of the Saxawati group in the chain of islets already mentioned, Mr. Earl furnished a vocabulary of 330 words. The Kisa is an unwritten tongue, but its vowels are the same) as those of the 31alay and Javanese. —Earl, p. 180 ; Bikmore, p. 127.