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Open Access Looking for Adê: A contribution to Timorese historiography

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Looking for Adê: A contribution to Timorese historiography

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In the centuries-old and turbulent history of Portuguese colonialism in East Timor, place names such as Lifao, Mena, Manatuto, Kupang and Dili (after 1769) are redolent of the early record of contact and trading relationships that fuelled the colonial desire for sandalwood, slaves and Christian souls in equal measure. Another name of similar antiquity and significance, also widely reported in the collective Portuguese archive, is the trading entrepôt of Adê (sometimes written as Adem). However, whereas most of these former ports of Portuguese engagement have retained their emplaced identity both within the historical record and as sites of contemporary settlement, the significance of Adê has faded with time. It rarely features in the contemporary Portuguese literature, and much uncertainty now surrounds its physical location beyond a general idea that it lay somewhere along the north coast of the island east of the current capital of Dili. In this brief communication I attempt to shed some light on the whereabouts of this curious and otherwise obscure fragmenta of Timorese historiography.

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