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2018 Series Venue - Oecusse

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Oecusse (Tetum: Oekusi-Ambenu, also variously Oecussi, Ocussi, Oekussi, Oekusi, Okusi, Oé-Cusse), formerly Ambeno and Oecussi-Ambeno, is a district of East Timor. It is a coastal exclave in the western part of the island of Timor, separated from the rest of East Timor by West Timor, which is part of the province of Nusa Tenggara Timur, Indonesia, and which surrounds Oecusse in all directions except the north, where it borders the Savu Sea. The capital of the district is Pante Macassar, also called Oecussi Town, or formerly, in Portuguese Timor, Vila Taveiro. Originally Ambeno was the name of the district and Oecussi (< Oe Kusi) its capital.

Oecusse and Ambeno are the names of the two original kingdoms, of which Ambeno existed before the colonial period.

Oecusse was among the first parts of the island of Timor on which the Portuguese established themselves, and is thus usually considered the cradle of East Timor. In about 1556, the Dominican friar António Taveiro, operating from a base on Solor, started missionary work on the north coast of Timor. Shortly after this, in 1569, the village of "Alifao" (Lifau) is mentioned on a European map. It was situated five kilometres to the west of modern Pante Macassar. For the Portuguese traders in sandalwood, Lifau was a convenient place to land since it was situated to the south of their base in the Solor Archipelago. The area was dominated by the Ambeno kingdom, which was sometimes referred as the kingdom of Lifau. In 1641 the Dominican priests baptised the royal families of the Ambeno, Mena and Amanuban kingdoms, which meant that Portuguese influence increased in parts of western Timor. Migration of Topasses, a Eurasian population, rose in the 1650s from Larantuka on Flores. After 1664 they were governed by officers belonging to the Hornay and Da Costa families, and were able to dominate most of Timor. The Topass leaders used Lifau as their main stronghold on Timor, but still resided much of their time in Larantuka. In the second half of the seventeenth century they made great profits through the sandalwood trade, attracting merchants from Siam, Batavia, Macao, and Goa in India. The precious wood was brought to Lifau and sold to external traders under Topass supervision.