The provincial capital of East Nusa Tenggara in western Timor has proximately 522.944 inhabitants, making it the largest urban center in the province. It is the center of government, business, trade, and education. ‘The only sandalwood oil factory in Indonesia is located in this town. The city is located in West Timor, at 10011’S 123035’E, and has a population of about 450,000.
As the capital of East Nusa Tenggara, the transport and administrative links from Kupang with isolated islands are extensive. The location was an important port and trading point during the Portuguese and Dutch colonial eras. There are ruins and remnant signs of the colonial presence in the city. The city was an important landing and refueling place for early long distance airplane flights between Europe and Australia in the early twentieth century. It was an important location during the conflict in East Timor, for the Indonesian military, as well as the militias. The camps around Kupang were also of significant impact on the city.
Kupang was the final destination of Captain William Bligh (actually he was a lieutenant in the British Royal Navy) who was set adrift in an open boat during the Mutiny on the Bounty.
The Mutiny on the Bounty (1789) took place about 30 nautical miles (56 km) from Tofua. Lt William Bligh navigated the overcrowded 23-foot (7 m) open launch on an epic 41-day voyage first to Tofua and then Kupang City is equipped only with a sextant and a pocket watch — no charts or compass. He recorded the distance as 3,618 nautical miles (6710 km). He passed through the difficult Torres Strait along the way and landed on June 14. The only casualty of his voyage was a crewman named James Norton who was stoned to death by the natives of Tofua, the first island they tried to land on. First Mate Fletcher Christian who fell in love with a Tahitian native and eventually settled on Pitcairn Island South East of Tahiti, had led the Mutiny.