Group of about 30 islands, southeastern Moluccas, Indonesia. It includes the large island of Yamdena, some 70 mi (110 km) long and 30 mi (50 km) wide, and the nearby islands of Larat and Selaru. Though there is a lack of fresh water, the soil supports corn, rice, coconut palms, and fruits. The Dutch claimed the group in 1639 but did not establish rule until 1900. The islands became part of Indonesia in 1949.
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The largest of the group is Yamdena. Yamdena Island has a range of thickly forested hills along its eastern coast, while its western coast is lower. Saumlaki is the chief town, located on the south end of Yamdena. Other islands include Larat, Selaru, and Wuliaru.
The tiny island of Tanimbarkei is part not part of Tanimbar, but of the Kai Islands and inhabited by less than 1000 very traditional people.
In recent times offshore exploratory drilling by a Japanese led consortium has identified gas reserves that have the potential to support LNG production. Feasibility studies are currently being developed.