Timor has been settled for many thousands of years, and certainly received migrants over its history, but nothing is known of the genesis of the Atoni people. They have been distinguished linguistically from their neighbors since the arrival of Portuguese and Dutch observers in the seventeenth century. Atoni were probably involved in the sandalwood trade for the past one or two millennia, mediated by Malays, Makassarese, and later Europeans. They were raided for slaves by outsiders. Though a swiddening people relatively isolated in their mountain homes, Atoni developed princedoms before European contact in the late sixteenth century. Timor was contested between Dutch and Portuguese in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and they were to divide the island between them, taking west and east respectively. The Dutch remained in Kupang, however, and the Atoni interior only came under direct Netherlands-Indies government administration after 1912.