Nusa Tenggara covers over 1300 square kilometers with more than 500 islands sitting a few degrees south of the equator. The large volcanic islands of the north are Lombok, Sumbawa, Flores and the Alor Archipelago. In the south the big islands of raised coral limestone and sediment are Sumba, Savu, Roti and West Timor. With hundreds of other small islands that are rarely seen on maps.
The Wallace Line named after the 19th century explorer and Naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace shows a consistent transition between the ecosystems of Asia and Australia. Located to the west of the line are the Asiatic species and organisms and to the east is a mixture of Asian and Australian species and organisms. The line cuts through the Makassar Straight between Borneo and Sulawesi and through Lombok Strait between Bali and Lombok.
With some of the least fertile islands in the Indonesian archipelago the people of Nusa Tenggara have relied on regional trade and fishing to support them. Most of the territory was controlled by small kingdoms until the arrival of Islam in the 15th century. Then early in the 16th century the Portuguese arrived bringing with them the Catholicism. Since then and to this day the people have intertwined the practice of Islam and Christianity with their own ancient beliefs in nature and ancestral spirits.