Southeast Asia

Organized Panel Session

3 - Taxation and Demographic Change in Portuguese Timor, 1900-1950

Friday, July 6
10:20 AM - 11:50 AM
Location: Mahogany, First Floor

Studies of Timor-Leste’s history typically note the heavy burden that the introduction of a head tax (imposto de capitação), which was introduced in 1908, placed on the indigenous population. This is cited as an important factor contributing to the great rebellion of 1911-12, a reason for the rise of a new class of village heads, and a reason that many villagers supported the pro-independence Front for an Independent Timor-Leste (Fretilin) in 1974-75. It would be a mistake, however, to assume that the head tax, the tax on polygamous marriage, and taxes on the slaughter of livestock fell evenly on the population across the colony. The colonial state’s interest in collecting taxes varied over time and space as too did its capacity. Furthermore, the impact of colonial taxes on subsistence peasants, producers of cash crops such as coffee, and local elites varied considerably. This paper explores the intersection between the colonial census and tax collection, on the one hand, and patterns of social organization and power involving old ‘royal’ (liurai) families, new village heads (chefe de suco), smallholders and subsistence peasants. The paper considers changes in population growth (and contraction), internal migration, and marriage patterns at the level of the administrative districts and sub-districts.

Send Email for Douglas Kammen


3 - Taxation and Demographic Change in Portuguese Timor, 1900-1950

Attendees who have favorited this

Please enter your access key

The asset you are trying to access is locked. Please enter your access key to unlock.

Send Email for Taxation and Demographic Change in Portuguese Timor, 1900-1950