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
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
STYLES & TITLES:
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)
The daughters, and other female members of the ruling
house, descended in the male line: Donna (personal
RULES OF SUCCESSION:
Selection by the council of Fettors amongst the male
descendants of the Nisnoni family.
ORDERS & DECORATIONS:
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
D. Tick, Pusat Dokumentasi Kerajaan-Kerajaan di Indonesia