- This article is about Flores Island, Indonesia. For other uses of the name see Flores (disambiguation).
Map of Lesser Sunda Islands
Flores (Portuguese for "flowers") is one of the Lesser Sunda Islands, an island arc with an estimated area of 14,300 kmē extending east from the Java island of Indonesia. Flores is located east of Sumbawa and Komodo and west of Lomblen and the Alor archipelago. To the southeast is Timor. To the south, across the Sumba strait, is Sumba and to the north, beyond the Flores Sea , is Sulawesi.
Flores is part of the East Nusa Tenggara province. The island is split into five regencies (local government districts); from west to east these are: Manggarai , Ngada , Ende , Sikka and Flores Timur .
Flores has several active and dormant volcanoes, including Egon , Ilimuda , Lereboleng , and Lewotobi (see the full list).
Flora and fauna
The west coast of Flores is one of the few places, aside from the island of Komodo itself, where the Komodo dragon can be found in the wild. The Flores giant rat is also endemic to the Island.
In September 2003, at Liang Bua cave in western Flores, paleoanthropologists discovered skeletons of a previously unknown hominid species. Homo floresiensis, affectionately termed hobbits, appear to be miniaturized versions of Homo erectus standing about one meter tall. They may have existed until as recently as 11,000 BC. Local reports of elf-like people, the Ebu Gogo, or the Orang Pendek of Sumatra, have caused speculation that Flores man may have survived even to the present. The discovery has been published in the October 28, 2004 issue of Nature magazine. 
There are many languages spoken on the island of Flores, all of them belonging to the Austronesian family. In the centre of the island in the districts of Ngada and Ende there is what is variously called the Central Flores Dialect Chain or the Central Flores Linkage. Within this area there are slight linguistic differences in almost every village. At least six separate languages are identifiable. These are from west to east: Ngadha , Nage , Keo , Ende , Lio and Palu'e, which is spoken on the island with the same name of the north coast of Flores. Locals would probably also add So'a and Bajawa to this list, which anthropologists have labeled dialects of Ngadha.
The most famous tourist attraction in Flores is Kelimutu ; three coloured lakes in the district of Ende. These coloured lakes change colours on a regular basis. The latest colours (mid 2003) were said to be turquoise, green and red. The red lake has only recently changed from being black.
There is good snorkelling and diving on several locations along the north coast of Flores, most notably Maumere and Riung . However, due to the destructive practice of local fishermen using bombs to fish, and locals selling shells to tourists, the reefs are slowly being destroyed.
Last updated: 09-12-2005 02:39:13