Endenese - Orientation

Identification. The most popular word in the literature for the people around the central part of Flores has been the "Endenese" or (in Indonesian) "Orang Ende." The people who can be referred to as "Endenese" may be divided into two groups in terms of culture and religion. One is the coastal Endenese, who have been under the influence of Islam. Their culture is an amalgam of traditional features and foreign elements. The other is the mountain Endenese. It is with these people that this cultural summary mainly deals.

Location. The Endenese live in the central part of the island of Flores in eastern Indonesia. The administrative division in which they reside, Kabupaten Endeh (or Ende Regency), is located between 8° and 9° S and between 121° and 122° E. Flores is one of the three biggest islands in Nusa Tenggara Timur (the eastern Southeast Archipelago), Sumba and Timor being the other two. Roughly speaking, the mountain area that runs along an east-west axis through the island divides central Flores into two parts: the north coast and the south coast, a division that is also pertinent to the cultural geography of the people. Flores is located in one of the typical monsoon regions. The wet west monsoon (with northwest wind) begins around December or January and ends in March or April. The dry east monsoon (southeast wind) begins in May or June and ends in October or November. The west monsoon brings rain, which, however, rarely amounts to more than 200 centimeters annually in the central part of Flores. The dry season is also marked by relatively few clouds, yet in the transitional period from the west to the east monsoon (i.e., between May and July) there are abundant clouds ( kubhu kuu ). The western part of Flores (Manggarai, Ngada) is the wettest, and the north coast tends to be drier than the south coast. The average annual rainfall in Endeh (on the south coast) in the years from 1879 to 1928 was 113.8 centimeters (ninety-one rainy days) and the average rainfall in Maumere (on the north coast) in the same years was only 95.4 centimeters (sixty-seven rainy days).

Demography. In view of the small area they occupy, the coastal Endenese are relatively numerous, with an approximate population of 43,000. A rough estimate of the mountain Endenese population would be 20,000.

Linguistic Affiliation. The language of central Flores belongs to the Bima-Sumba Group of Western Austronesian.

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