Pantar Island

Pantar Island

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Pantar (Indonesian: Pulau Pantar) is the second largest island in the Indonesian Alor Archipelago, after Alor. To the east is the island of Alor and other small islands in the archipelago; to the west is the Alor Strait, which separates it from the Solor Archipelago. To the south is the Ombai Strait, and 72 km away, the island of Timor. To the north is the Banda Sea. The island is about 50 km north-to-south, and varies from 11 to 29 km in east-west width. It has an area of 728 km². The main towns on the island are Baranusa and Kabir. Administratively, the island is part of the Alor Regency.

The island consists of two distinct geographic zones. The eastern zone is dominated by a range of verdant hills which drop steeply to the coast of the Alor Strait. The western zone is relatively flat, consisting of a plain which gently slopes to the west from the 900 m active volcano, Mt. Sirung. The western zone is characteristically drier and much less densely populated than the eastern zone. Owing to its relatively low elevation, the entire island is drier than neighboring Alor. The dry season is long, interspersed with heavy rainfall during the rainy season, which peaks during January and February.

The economy is dominated by subsistence agriculture and fishing. The most common crops are rice, corn, and cassava. Crops are harvested annually in April and stored for consumption throughout the dry season. Excess production is sometimes traded for fish or to help support school children studying in the district capital of Kalabahi. Recently, commercial production of seaweed has been promoted along the north coast. A limited craft industry focused on ikat weaving is centered in Baranusa. Tourism remains underdeveloped, though a small dive resort was recently established on the northeast coast.

Access to the island is by water only; there is no airstrip on Pantar. Small wooden power boats ply the route between Alor and Pantar daily, serving numerous communities. The state-run ferry serves Baranusa weekly between Kalabahi (Alor) and Larantuka (Flores).

Languages

At least 9 different languages are spoken on Pantar. These include at least six non-Austronesian languages belonging to the Alor–Pantar family (Western Pantar, Deing, Sar, Blagar, Nedebang, Kaera) as well as the Austronesian language Alorese. A small community of Bajau speakers is located north of Kabir. Local varieties of Malay and more standardized Indonesian are used as languages of wider communication.

Tribes

Pantar IslandBelagar, Lamma, Nedebang, Tereweng, Tewa

Belagar-17.000
East Pantar, north Pura, south Ternate islands. Alternate names: Belagar, Tarang. Dialects: Apuri, Limarahing, Bakalang, Pura. The Retta variety on south Pura is thought to be a separate language by speakers of Alor [aol
Lamma-10.000
southwest and west Pantar. Alternate names: Lamma’, Lemma, Mauta. Dialects: Kalondama, Tubal (Tube, Mauta), Biangwala.
Nedebang-1.380
North central Pantar, south and southwest of Kabir. Alternate names: Balungada, N裥bang.
Tereweng-900
Tereweng Island off southeast Pantar Island. 2 villages northern side, 1 on Pantar. Dialects: Whether this is a dialect of Blagar [beu] or a separate language is disputed.
Tewa, Lebang-7.600
Central Pantar. Dialects: Deing, Madar, Lebang

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