The ruling family of Kupang are descendants of Baki Nisnoni, a younger brother of the ruler of Sonbai, who had been sent to assist his Dutch allies in subduing a local rebellion in the area. A direct descendant of the old Maromak Oan of Waiwiku-Waihale (supreme ruler of Timor), his princely status and semi-divine descent secured him a pre-eminent position amongst the local magnates. He was granted certain lands and honours and recognised as Liurai of Sonbai Kecil. Baki Nisnoni's descendant, Baki Bena Sonbai became regent for Alfons Adrianus of Sonbai in 1785. However, he continued to retain certain ruling powers after his charge came of age. Gradually the Dutch came to recognise two states, Sonbai Besar (Greater Sonbai) under the successors of Alfons Adrianus in the interior, and Sonbai Kecil (Lesser Sonbai) under those of Baki Nisnoni in Kupang.

The state of Kupang became a federation in 1917, composed of the lesser principalities of Sonbai Kecil, Amabi, Amaabi-Oifetto, Foenay, TaEbenu and Helong. Raja Don Daud Hanoch Tanof, Fetor of TaEbenu, as senior ruler became Raja of the united principality in 1917. After his death without male issue, the Liurai of Sonbai Kecil was selected as Raja in July 1918. Don Nicolaas Isu Nisnoni abdicated in 1945, when his eldest son was selected in his stead. Although Don Alfonsus Nisnoni's selection was disputed by the Bislissin family, the Rajas of the Helong, he secured full recognition for the second time in 1948. He was instrumental in local politics after the Indonesian republic established its independence. He served as Vice-Chairman of the Timor Island Federation and later entered business life. His eldest son and successor, Don Leopold Nisnoni, lived and worked in Holland for several years. After serving in the provincial administrative service, he followed his father into business. He became head of the family on the death of Don Alfonsus in 1992, Vice-Chairman of the Council of Timorese Rajas and will be formally installed in October 2002.

The ruling prince: Don (personal name) Nisnoni, Raja of Kupang.
The wife of the ruling prince: Donna (personal name).
The sons, and other male members of the ruling house, descended in the male line: Don (personal name) Nisnoni.
The daughters, and other female members of the ruling house, descended in the male line: Donna (personal name) Nisnoni.

Selection by the council of Fettors amongst the male descendants of the Nisnoni family.


See Indonesia main page.

Fredrik Nisnoni, Silsilah Keluarga Nisnoni Diambil dari Isu Sonbai Nisnoni, Kupang, 1987.
L. N. Nisnoni, unpublished manuscript genealogy of the descendants of Isu Nisnoni and Johanna Loude, ca. 1993.
H. Stanford Smith, The Minor Non-European Dynasties. Material not included in Vol. 1 of Manuel d'histoire, etc. by A.M.H.J. Stokvis. Manuscript, 1951.

Hans Hägerdal, Department of Humanities, University of Växjö, Sweden.
D. Tick, Pusat Dokumentasi Kerajaan-Kerajaan di Indonesia "Pusaka".
Copyright© Christopher Buyers
Copyright© Christopher Buyers
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Copyright©Christopher Buyers, February 2002 - September 2008