native name =
native name link =
South East Asia
Lesser Sunda Islands
total islands =
major islands =
area = 13,540 km²cite book |last=Monk |first=K.A. |coauthors=Fretes, Y., Reksodiharjo-Lilley, G. |title=The Ecology of Nusa Tenggara and Maluku |publisher=Periplus Editions Ltd. |date=1996 |page=page 7|location=Hong Kong |id=ISBN 962-593-076-0]
rank = 60th
highest mount =
elevation = 2,370 m
country = Indonesia
country admin divisions title = Province
country admin divisions =
East Nusa Tenggara
country largest city =
country largest city population =
population = 1,600,000
population as of = 2003
density = 112/km²
ethnic groups =
Flores is one of the
Lesser Sunda Islands, an island arcwith an estimated area of 14,300 km² extending east from the Java island of Indonesia. The population is estimated to be around 1.5 million [ [http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/01/0129_030129_komodo_2.html "Trapping Komodo Dragons for Conservation"] National Geographic - 28 Jan 2003] , and the largest town is Maumere.
Flores is located east of
Sumbawaand Komodo and west of Lembataand the Alor Archipelago. To the southeast is Timor. To the south, across the Sumba strait, is Sumbaand to the north, beyond the Flores Sea, is Sulawesi.
Flores is part of the
East Nusa Tenggaraprovince. The island is split into seven regencies (local government districts); from west to east these are: West Manggarai, Central Manggarai, Ngada, Nagekeo, Ende, Sikkaand Flores Timur.
Flora and fauna
The west coast of Flores is one of the few places, aside from the island of Komodo itself, where the
Komodo dragoncan be found in the wild. The Flores Giant Ratis also endemic to the Island.
In September 2003, at
Liang Bua Cavein western Flores, paleoanthropologists discovered skeletons of a previously unknown hominid species. " Homo floresiensis", affectionately termed " hobbits" after the small characters in the Lord of the Rings, appear to be miniaturized versions of " Homo erectus" standing about one metretall. They may have existed until as recently as 11,000 BC. Local reports of elf-like people, the Ebu Gogo, or the Orang Pendekof Sumatra, have caused speculation that Flores man may have survived into the historical period, or even to the present. The discovery has been published in the October 28, 2004, issue of "Nature" magazine and the April 2005 issue of the National GeographicMagazine. [ [http://www.nature.com/news/specials/flores/index.html Flores Special] , "Nature"] Flores was also a habitat of the extinct Stegodondwarf elephant until approximately 18,000 years ago. It also was the habitat of species of giant rodents. It is speculated by scientists that limited resources drove the few species that lived upon the island to gigantismand dwarfism. [ [http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/08/060821-hobbits.html "Hobbits" Were Pygmy Ancestors, Not New Species, Study Says] National Geographic - 21 Aug 2006]
There are many languages spoken on the island of Flores, all of them belonging to the Austronesian family. In the centre of the island in the districts of
Ngada, Nagekeo, and Ende there is what is variously called the Central Flores Dialect Chain or the Central Flores Linkage. Within this area there are slight linguistic differences in almost every village. At least six separate languages are identifiable. These are from west to east: Ngadha, Nage, Keo, Ende, Lio and Palu'e, which is spoken on the island with the same name of the north coast of Flores. Locals would probably also add So'aand Bajawato this list, which anthropologists have labeled dialects of Ngadha.
Portuguese traders and missionaries came to Flores in the 16th century, mainly to
Larantukaand Sikka. Their influence is still discernible in Sikka's language and culture. In fact, the island's name, Flores, means "flowers" in Portuguese.
Flores is almost entirely Catholic and represents one of the "religious borders" created by the Catholic expansion in the Pacific and the spread of Islam from the west across Indonesia. In other places in Indonesia, such as in the Malukus and Sulawesi, the divide is more rigid and has been the source of bloody sectarian clashes.
The most famous tourist attraction in Flores is
Kelimutu; three coloured lakes in the district of Ende and close to the town of Moni. These crater lakes are in the caldera of a volcano, and fed by a volcanic gas source, resulting in highly acid water. The coloured lakes change colours on an irregular basis, depending on the oxidation state of the lake (see Pasternack, [http://pasternack.ucdavis.edu/kelimutu.htm Keli Mutu Volcanic Lakes] ), from bright red through green and blue. The latest colours (late 2004) were said to be turquoise, brown and black.
There is good
snorkellingand divingon several locations along the north coast of Flores, most notably Maumereand Riung. However, due to the destructive practice of local fishermen using bombs to fish, and locals selling shells to tourists, combined with the after effects of a devastating tsunami in 1992, the reefs have slowly been destroyed.
Labuanbajo (on the western tip of Flores) is a town often used by tourists, from where they can visit Komodo and
Rinca. Labuanbajo also attracts scuba divers, as whale sharksinhabit the waters around Labuanbajo.
Tourists can visit Luba and Bena villages to see traditional houses in Flores.
Larantuka, on the isle's eastern end, is known for its Holy Weekfestivals.
In addition to tourism, the main economic activities on Flores are agriculture, fishing and seaweed production. The primary food crops being grown on Flores are
rice, maize sweet potatoand cassava, while the main cash crops are coffee, coconut, candle nutand cashew. [Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry: [http://www.kadin-indonesia.or.id/en/doc/reg_info/reg_info_EastNusaTenggara.pdf] , Retrieved on 2008-08-08] Flores is one of the newest origins for Indonesian coffee. Previously, most Arabica coffee ( Coffea arabica) from Flores was blended with other origins. Now, demand is growing for this coffee because of its heavy body and sweet chocolate, floral and woody notes. [Specialty Coffee Association of Indonesia: [http://www.sca-indo.org/arabica-regions/index.cfm?rid=5] , Retrieved on 2008-08-08]
* Nage tribe
* [http://www.nature.com/news/specials/flores/index.html Flores Man special at Nature.com]
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