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Open Access Usi Lan Ai: the raja who died by fire. The death of Raja Bil Nope in Netherlands Timor, 1910

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Usi Lan Ai: the raja who died by fire. The death of Raja Bil Nope in Netherlands Timor, 1910

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In the early twentieth century the Dutch in the Netherlands Indies began a concerted effort to confirm their authority throughout the archipelago. This policy had dire consequences for some indigenous rulers in Netherlands Timor, whose kingdoms were virtually destroyed. Other rulers felt that by allying themselves with the Dutch they could strengthen their position and rid themselves of rivals. This was the case with the ruler of Amanuban, Raja Bil Nope, who invited the Dutch into his kingdom in 1906. By 1910, however, Bil Nope was totally disenchanted with the Dutch administration and rose in revolt. Nope and a small band of followers later died during a siege of his palace. There are a number of unexplained matters concerning the revolt and death of Bil Nope and the paper concludes with some conjecture that the whole affair was subject to a cover-up by the Dutch authorities.

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