Flores

Flores flôr´ĕs [key], island, 6,627 sq mi (17,164 sq km), E Indonesia, one of the Lesser Sunda Islands. Flores is heavily wooded, rugged, and mountainous, rising to 7,872 ft (2,399 m); there are active volcanoes. The inhabitants are predominantly Christian, mainly Roman Catholic; those in the west are chiefly Malays, and those in the east are Papuans. Corn and coconuts are grown. Ende (1990 pop. 48,966) is the chief town and port. The Flores Sea is north of the island and S of Sulawesi.

Among the prehistoric inhabitants of the island were small-proportioned hominins who the discovering archaeologists classified as Homo floresiensis in 2004. Although originally believed to have lived on Flores as recently as 17,000 years ago, the remains and artifacts were later dated to 50,000 years ago and earlier. A subsequent discovery of a similarly sized hominin was dated to 700,000 years ago. Much later under the rule of the princes of Sulawesi, Flores came under Dutch influence c.1618. The Dutch gradually gained control of the island, although Portugal held the eastern end until 1851 and the natives were not completely subjugated until 1907.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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