1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Flores (East Indies)
FLORES, an island of the Dutch East Indies, a member of the chain extending east of Java. Its length is 224 m., its greatest breadth 37 m., and its area 5850 sq. m. The existence of slate, chalk, and sandstone, eruptive rock, volcanoes and heights stretching west and east, indicates a similar structure to that of the other islands of the chain. Several volcanoes are active. Among the loftier summits are, on the south coast, Gunong Rokka (7940 ft.) and Keo (6560 ft.); with the lesser but constantly active Gunong Api, forming a peninsula; and at the south-east, Lobetobi (7120 ft.). The thickly wooded interior is little explored. The coasts have deep bays and extensive rounded gulfs, where are situated the principal villages (kampongs). On the north coast are Bari, Reo, Maumer and Geliting; on the east, Larantuka; and on the south, Sikka and Endeh. The rivers, known only at their mouths, seem to be unnavigable. The mean temperature is 77° to 80° F., and the yearly rainfall 43 to 47 in. For administrative purposes the island is divided into West Flores (Mangerai), attached to the government of Celebes, and Middle and East Flores (Larantuka and dependencies), attached to the residency of Timor. The population is estimated at 250,000. The people live by trade, fishing, salt-making, shipbuilding, and the cultivation of rice, maize, and palms in the plain, but there is little industry or commerce. Some edible birds’ nests, rice, sandalwood and cinnamon are exported to Celebes and elsewhere. The inhabitants of the coast-districts are mainly of Malay origin. The aborigines, who occupy the interior, are of Papuan stock. They are tall and well-built, with dark or black skins. The hair is frizzly. They are pure savages; their only religion is a kind of nature-worship. They consider the earth holy and inviolable; thus in severe droughts they only dig the river-beds for water as a last resource. Portugal claimed certain portions of the island until 1859.