The Royal Family


The Royal House of Kupang descends from the great Empire of Sonbai that was the foremost Atoni Princedom on the island of Timor. The Nisnoni Dynasty succeeded to the throne of the Kingdom of Kupang in the early 16th century and has held the throne as Rajas of Kupang for fourteen generations. Prior to this, the Nisnoni Dynasty were and still are the Liurai of Sonbai Kecil, and thus Princes and past Emperors of Sonbai Kecil. This lineage was acknowledged by both the Dutch and the Portuguese who recorded the Rajas of Kupang as Keiser and Emperor.

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Don Leopold lived in The Netherlands during many momentous events in the history of his country. He left a complex geopolitical situation in Timor, consumed by war and occupation, and the struggles between independence fighters and the colonial administration. At the close of 1949, Don Leopold witnessed the declaration of independence of the Republic of Indonesia, signed in The Hague by Queen Juliana and the Indonesian Vice President Mohammed Hatta.

At the beginning of 1951, Don Leopold returned to Indonesia, not directly to Kupang, but to Java, where he continued his studies. The following year, he received the news of the death of his grandfather, the Raja Don Nicolaas Nisnoni. Don Nicolas would be succeeded by Don Alfonsus Nisnoni and therefore Don Leopold became Prince of the Crown of Kupang. He returned to Kupang in 1960.

His European experience had convinced Don Leopold of the need for modernization and infrastructure development for any advanced society. The difficult time that The Netherlands went through in the immediate postwar period, awakened Don Leopold’s awareness of the importance of innovation and modernization that were necessary for Kupang.

On his return, he married Princess Dona Frederika Lino, of the Termanu Dynasty, of the neighboring island of Flores. The couple has two children: Don Alfonso Nisnoni, Prince of the Crown of Kupang, and Dona Connie Nisnoni. Upon the death of his father on November 14, 1992, Don Leopold Isu Nisnoni became the fourteenth Raja of Kupang and Liurai of Sonbai Kecil.

Since becoming head of the Royal House of Kupang, the Raja's primary concern, as he was convinced in his years in Europe, is the modernization and development of Kupang, as well as the welfare of his people.

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