Although the Portuguese claimed the eastern half of the island, along with Oecusse, and divided it into separate kingdoms, this declaration reflected their aspirations on a map rather than the facts on the ground. Even in the latter half of the nineteenth century, fewer than one hundred colonists lived beyond the city, and large parts of the island were uncharted. For centuries, no one seemed particularly certain even of where the island ended.
From Beloved Land: Stories, Struggles, and Secrets from Timor-Leste
by Gordon Peake