A temple, a mission, and a war: Jesuit missionaries and local culture in East Flores in the nineteenth century

Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde. 2009;165(1):32-61


Journal Homepage

Journal Title: Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde

ISSN: 0006-2294 (Print); 2213-4379 (Online)

Publisher: BRILL

Society/Institution: Vereniging KITLV (NL)

LCC Subject Category: History (General) and history of Europe: History of Oceania (South Seas) | Language and Literature: Languages and literature of Eastern Asia, Africa, Oceania

Country of publisher: Netherlands

Language of fulltext: English, Dutch; Flemish

Full-text formats available: PDF, HTML



R.H. Barnes


Double blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 20 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

After temporarily acquiring Portuguese ‘possessions’ in Flores and islands immediately to the east in 1851, the Netherlands East Indies took full possession in 1859. An important condition guaranteed religious freedom to Catholics in the transferred territories. Dutch authorities took this concession seriously and requested that Dutch Catholic missionaries be sent to Larantuka, Flores. Eventually the Jesuits assumed responsibility. The Dutch Catholic priests objected to many aspects of local ceremonial practice and in particular to the local temples. Their efforts to abolish these temples and practices involved them in local disputes and eventually in a war. This article examines the complexities of the resulting events and in particular the tensions among the priests, colonial authorities and local leadership.