This page is part of © FOTW Flags Of The World website

Oecussi Ambeno District (East Timor)

Last modified: 2014-06-14 by ian macdonald
Keywords: oecussi ambeno | coat of arms | oé-cussi | micronation | quatair / ocussi ambeno | madagascar | imaginary | hoax |
Links: FOTW homepage | search | disclaimer and copyright | write us | mirrors

See also:

The status of Ocussi Ambeno

Oecussi Ambeno never had separate administration from East Timor.
Mikhail Revnivtsev, 06 August 2005

Oecusi-Ambeno is part of East Timor and will be a part of independent Timor Lorosae. There’s no question about that.
Jorge Candeias, 25 February 2000

Ocussi Ambeno seems to be a de-facto Indonesian territory, unrecognized internationally but so far uncontested legally by Portugal. It was a Portuguese enclave in the old NEI with a border undefined until 1914, and the source of several military clashes between the two colonial powers. Portugal neglected to re-occupy the territory after WW2 — perhaps unwilling to take the risk of being caught in the conflicts between the Netherlands and the Indonesian nationalists — and the territory drifted into diplomatic oblivion.
Stephen Collier, 07 October 1999

This is false. Soon after WWII Indonesia got independent and East Timor was subject to an agreement between Indonesia and Portugal, by which Indonesia recognized the sovereignty of Portugal over the territory and guaranteed that it didn’t have any territorial ambitions over any part of the territory. The territory was defined as the Portuguese possessions of before the war: the eastern part of the island of Timor, the island of Atauro to the north, the small island of Jaco off the eastern tip of Timor and the enclave of Ocussi Ambeno in the eastern half of Timor. Even after the invasion, Indonesia maintained these territories together and separated from the rest of the country as the province of Timor Timur. The legal status of the territory is, therefore, perfectly clear: it’s a part of East Timor, and has been so since before WWII.
Jorge Candeias, 08 October 1999

The enclave is part of East Timor and will join the newly independent country. The territorial make up of East Timor was never a debate issue, rather only it’s status (either Indonesian province or occupied Portuguese territory under a decolonization and independence process). Indonesian occupation officials (unlike others in similar circumstances) did not change the borderlines fixed in 1912 between Portugal and the Netherlands, and UN-sponsored independence referendum was held in the territory. I find very hard to believe that «Portugal neglected to re-occupy the territory after WW2». Granted that the 1926-1974 Portuguese dictatorship contrasted it’s propaganda imperial tone at home with a rather meek foreign policy regarding it’s colonies (at least until 1961), allowing almost without complaint the occupation of São Jorge da Mina (Benin) and Portuguese India — by these things were widely publicized and exposed after the 1974 revolution. However nothing of the sort was disclosed about Oecussi Ambeno…
Antonio Martins, 08 October 1999

I also find very hard to believe that «Portugal neglected to re-occupy the territory after WW2». First of all because the Grote Oost (Greater East, the islands east of Java and Madura, so including [West] Timor) was the first territory of the Netherlands Indies where the Dutch regained control (well, in fact the Australians had done that for them) after the war was finished. Second, because I don’t think the Dutch would have allowed the “republicans” (supporters of a unitary Republik Indonesia) to have control over the exclave, nor they would have risked a conflict with the Portuguese by occupying it themselves. And last, because West Timor was one of the three areas most anti-republican and loyal to the Dutch (the other being Minahassa, in the upper north of Celebes/Sulawesi, and the South Moluccas). As far as I know, most of the fighting took place on Java, Sumatra and the south of Celebes.
Mark Sensen, 11 October 1999

Traditional weavings on the parliament wall

On the right and the left wall of the East Timor national parliament are hanging traditional weavings, each with the name of one of the districts. Each district has such a weaving on the left and the right, but there are not exactly the same, just similar.
J. Patrick Fischer, 08 August 2002

Left side

Weaving, left image by J. Patrick Fischer, 08 August 2002

Right side

Weaving, right image by J. Patrick Fischer, 08 August 2002

Portuguese era municipal flag

Some, not all, Portuguese overseas municipalities received arms and flag in the period 1940-1974, after all metropolitan municipalities got one. In Portuguese Timor overseas province only Díli had a flag and a coat of arms, all other 12 municipalities (currently named districts) being confirmedly flagless.
António Martins, 15 January 2003 and 06 August 2005

Liurai Don Jose Hermenegildo da Costa flag

liurai flag image located by Francisco Santos, 26 May 2003

Originally at on line, this seems to be a Portuguese colonial or Army flag. Several months ago I contacted the association that runs the site (Associação dos Militares do Oé-Cussi, Former Portuguese Military Serving in Oecussi Association), to get information about this flag, but I got no answer. It seems that this photo was taken in 1999. It is written that the former chieftain of Oecussi, D. José Hermenegildo da Costa, kept the flag with the will to hoist it the day the Indonesians would leave Timor-Leste. However, D. José was deported to Kupang, Indonesia and passed away on November 4, 1999.
Francisco Santos, 26 May 2003

This is the flag of H.R.H. the late (assassinated) Liurai, Don Jose Hermenegildo da Costa, he reigned from before 1972 to Dec. 1999. The flag is similar to the Port. flag, but all in red, with the Portuguese arms overall in the centre, over the top are the words, "DE YUSSIF"(?) at the sides is a wreath of leaves, tied with a ribbon in the base, all in yellow or gold. The inscription is in Portuguese and I think the flag was captured? in 4 Nov, 1999
John McMeekin, 6 September 2011

A "liurai" is a traditional king on Timor island. The Costas are a mixed Portuguese/Timorese family, which have ruled Oecusse for several hundred years. José Hermenegildo da Costa ruled from 1949 to 1999, together with João Hermenegildo da Costa (1948-1990). The current liurai is António da Costa.

Portugal gave flags to liurai as symbol of their loyalty, which were kept as holy items (lulik).
J. Patrick Fischer, 8 September 2011

Generally, Portuguese gave national flags to the Timorese kings (liurai) in a ceremony, together with a military title, according to their status (colonel for example). When Portugal became a republic, governor Alfredo Augusto Soveral Martins lowered the blue-white royal flag and raised the new green-red flag of the republic on 30th October 1910 with 21 gunshots of salute. But the kings got their power out of their holy items (lulik). The blue-white flag, which was given as gift, represented the old powerful Portugal and alienated this power to the Timorese king. The changing of flags resulted into a lost of power in the eyes of the Timorese. This was one of the reason for the biggest uprising in Timor against Portugal ever, which occurred between 1911 and 1912.
J. Patrick Fischer, 12 September 2011

 I'd say this flag started out as a red field with a green hoist layered over it. For some reason most of the green is gone. The wreath and lettering run all around the sphere, and the lettering seems to be written for left-hoist. I take it it's the name of the kingdom, even if it seems to differ from what is written in the title of this message.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 13 September 2011