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The Maluku Islands or the Moluccas () (''Molukken'') are an
archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as ...

archipelago
in the east of
Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania between the Indian Ocean, Indian and Pacific Ocean, Pacific oceans. It consists of over List of islands of I ...

Indonesia
.
Tectonic Tectonics (; ) are the processes that control the structure and properties of the Earth's crust and its evolution through time. These include the processes of mountain building A mountain is an elevated portion of the Earth's crust, gene ...
ally they are located on the
Halmahera Plate Halmahera Plate has recently (1990s) been postulated to be a microplate within the Molucca Sea Collision Zone of eastern Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in So ...
within the
Molucca Sea Collision Zone The Molucca Sea Collision Zone is postulated by paleogeologists to explain the tectonics of the area based on the Molucca Sea in Indonesia, and adjacent involved areas. Tectonics The tectonic relationship of the Sangihe Plate, Halmahera Plate, an ...

Molucca Sea Collision Zone
. Geographically they are located east of
Sulawesi Sulawesi (), also known as Celebes (), is one of the four Greater Sunda Islands The Greater Sunda Islands are four tropical islands situated within Southeast Asia, in the Pacific Ocean. The islands, Borneo, Java, Sulawesi and Sumatra, are in ...

Sulawesi
, west of
New Guinea New Guinea (; Hiri Motu Hiri Motu, also known as Police Motu, Pidgin Motu, or just Hiri, is a language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign ...

New Guinea
, and north and east of
Timor Timor is an island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atolls can be called islets, skerry, s ...

Timor
. Lying within
Wallacea in blue has been used to separate Wallacea into a western part pertaining to Asia Asia () is a landmass variously described as part of Eurasia Eurasia () is the largest continent A continent is any of several large landmasse ...

Wallacea
(mostly east of the
biogeographical Biogeography is the study of the distribution of species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often define ...

biogeographical
Weber Line), the Maluku islands have been considered part of both
Asia Asia () is 's largest and most populous , located primarily in the and . It shares the continental of with the continent of and the continental landmass of with both Europe and . Asia covers an area of , about 30% of Earth's total lan ...

Asia
and
Oceania Oceania (, , ) is a geographic region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth ...

Oceania
. The islands were known as the Spice Islands because of the
nutmeg Nutmeg is the seed A seed is an embryonic ''Embryonic'' is the twelfth studio album by experimental rock band the Flaming Lips released on October 13, 2009, on Warner Bros. Records, Warner Bros. The band's first double album, it was release ...

nutmeg
,
mace Mace may refer to: Arts and entertainment * Mace (G.I. Joe), a fictional character in the G.I. Joe universe * Mace, a fictional character in the 1995 film ''Strange Days (film), Strange Days'' * Mace, a fictional character in the 2007 film ''Sunsh ...
and
clove Cloves are the aromatic flower A flower, sometimes known as a bloom or blossom, is the reproduction, reproductive structure found in flowering plants (plants of the division Magnoliophyta, also called angiosperms). The biological function of ...

clove
s that were exclusively found there, the presence of which sparked colonial interest from Europe in the sixteenth century. The Maluku Islands formed a single
province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, are g ...
from Indonesian independence until 1999, when it was split into two provinces. A new province,
North Maluku North Maluku ( id, Maluku Utara) is a province of Indonesia Provinces of Indonesia are the 34 largest subdivisions of the Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country i ...
, incorporates the area between
Morotai Morotai Island ( id, Pulau Morotai) is an island in the Halmahera group of eastern Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania between the ...
and Sula, with the arc of islands from
Buru Buru (formerly spelled Boeroe, Boro, or Bouru) is the third largest island within Maluku Islands The Maluku Islands or the Moluccas () (''Molukken'') are an archipelago in the east of Indonesia. Tectonically they are located on the Halmahera ...

Buru
and
Seram Seram (formerly spelled Ceram; also Seran or Serang) is the largest and main island of Maluku (province), Maluku Provinces of Indonesia, province of Indonesia, despite Ambon Island's historical importance. It is located just north of the smaller ...
to
Wetar Wetar is a tropical island which belongs to the Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania between the Indian Ocean, Indian and Pacific Oce ...
remaining within the existing
Maluku Province Maluku is a province of Indonesia Provinces of Indonesia are the 34 largest subdivisions of the Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia and Ocea ...
. North Maluku is predominantly Muslim, and its capital is
Sofifi Sofifi is a town A town is a human settlement. Towns are generally larger than villages and smaller than city, cities, though the criteria to distinguish between them vary considerably in different parts of the world. Origin and us ...

Sofifi
on
Halmahera Halmahera, formerly known as Jilolo, Gilolo, or Jailolo, is the largest island upright=1.15, Great_Britain.html"_;"title="Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain">Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain_(right),_are_large_islands_of_north-west_Europe imag ...

Halmahera
island. Maluku province has a larger Christian population, and its capital is Ambon. Though originally
Melanesian Melanesians are the predominant and indigenous inhabitants of Melanesia, in a wide area from Maluku Islands and New Guinea New Guinea (; Hiri Motu: ''Niu Gini''; id, Papua, historically ) is the List of islands by area, world's second-l ...

Melanesian
, many island populations, especially in the
Banda Islands The Banda Islands ( id, Kepulauan Banda) are a volcanic group A volcanic group (or, equivalently, a volcanic complex) is a collection of related volcano A volcano is a rupture in the crust of a planetary-mass object, such as Earth, that ...
, were massacred in the seventeenth century during the
Dutch–Portuguese War The Dutch–Portuguese War was an armed conflict involving Dutch Republic, Dutch forces, in the form of the Dutch East India Company and the Dutch West India Company, against the Portuguese Empire. Beginning in 1602, the conflict primarily involve ...
, also known as The Spice War. A second influx of immigrants primarily from Java began in the early twentieth century under the
Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" Castle * Dutch Castle Places * ...
and continues in the Indonesian era, which has also caused a lot of controversy as the Transmigrant programs have done so and even thought to have led to the Maluku Riots. Between 1999 and 2002, conflict between Muslims and Christians killed thousands and displaced half a million people.


Etymology

The etymology of the word ''Maluku'' is not very clear, and it has been a matter of debate for many experts. A common theory says that the term ''Maluku'' originates from the
Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countries, transcontinental region ...

Arabic
phrase ''Jaziratul Muluk'' (جزيرة الملوك), which means "Country of the Kings" (''muluk'' is the plural form of ''malik'', which means king). Thus the kingless Ambon archipelago, the Banda archipelago and island groups to the south were at that time not included in the original sense of the term. The name has been mentioned in the fourteenth-century
Majapahit The Majapahit () was a Javanese Hindu Hindus () are persons who regard themselves as culturally, ethnically, or religiously adhering to aspects of Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion and ''dharma'', or way of life. It i ...

Majapahit
eulogy,
Nagarakretagama The ''Nagarakretagama'' or ''Nagarakṛtāgama'', also known as ''Desawarnana'' or ''Deśavarṇana'', is an Old Javanese eulogy to Hayam Wuruk, a Javanese people, Javanese king of the Majapahit Empire. It was written on Palm-leaf manuscript, l ...
by the local language with the meaning "the head of a bull" or "the head of something large". Though there is speculation that Majapahit writers sourced their name from the Arabic name. However, the term is known in texts from the 14th century, before there was likely any significant Arab influence, putting this etymology in doubt. Another idea is the name Maluku comes from the concept of “Maluku Kie Raha”. “Raha” means four, while “kie” here means mountain. referring to 4 mountains of Ternate, Tidore, Bacan, and Jailolo (Halmahera) which have their own kolano (title for local kings). Therefore the Maluku can come from: “Moloku” here means to grasp or hold. However the root word “loku” comes from local malay creole word for a unit, therefore not an indigenous language. Using these the meaning of “Moloku Kie Raha” is “confederation of four mountain”. The other idea is the word “Maloko” which is a combination of “Ma” whish is for support and “Loko” refer to area, which combining the words. The phrase “Maloko Kie Raha” means “the place/world which have four mountains”. In tamil language pepper mean "milaku", indicating possible connections.


Administrative divisions

The Maluku Islands were a single province from Indonesian independence until 1999 when they were split into
North Maluku North Maluku ( id, Maluku Utara) is a province of Indonesia Provinces of Indonesia are the 34 largest subdivisions of the Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country i ...
and Maluku. North Maluku province includes
Ternate Ternate is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Routledge. It ca ...

Ternate
(the former site of the provincial capital),
Tidore Tidore ( id, Kota Tidore Kepulauan, lit. "City of Tidore Islands") is a city, island, and archipelago in the Maluku Islands The Maluku Islands or the Moluccas () (''Molukken'') are an archipelago in the east of Indonesia. Tectonically they are ...

Tidore
,
Bacan The Bacan Islands, formerly also known as the Bachans, Bachians, and Batchians, are a group of islands in the Moluccas The Maluku Islands or the Moluccas () (''Molukken'') are an archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an isla ...
and
Halmahera Halmahera, formerly known as Jilolo, Gilolo, or Jailolo, is the largest island upright=1.15, Great_Britain.html"_;"title="Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain">Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain_(right),_are_large_islands_of_north-west_Europe imag ...

Halmahera
(the largest of the Maluku Islands).


History


Early history

Australo-Melanesians were the first people to inhabit the islands at least 40,000 years ago, and then a later migration of Austronesian speakers around 2000 BC. Arab merchants began to arrive in the fourteenth century, bringing
Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission
o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", "ah gawd"; see interjection An interjection is a word or expression that occurs as an utterance on its own and expresses a spontaneous feeling o ...
) is an religion teaching that is a of .Peters, F. E. 2009. "Allāh." In , edited by J. L. Esposito. Oxford: . . (See alsoquick reference) " e Muslims' und ...
. The
conversion Conversion or convert may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media * Conversion (Doctor Who audio), "Conversion" (''Doctor Who'' audio), an episode of the audio drama ''Cyberman'' * Conversion (Stargate Atlantis), "Conversion" (''Stargate Atlantis ...
to Islam occurred in many islands, especially in the centres of trade, while aboriginal
animism Animism (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it ...

animism
persisted in the hinterlands and more isolated islands.
Archaeological Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis Analysis is the process of breaking a complexity, complex topic or Substance theory, substance into smaller parts in order to gain a better underst ...

Archaeological
evidence here relies largely on the occurrence of pigs' teeth, as evidence of pork eating or abstinence therefrom.


Portuguese

In August 1511 the
Portuguese Portuguese may refer to: * anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Portugal ** Portuguese cuisine, traditional foods ** Portuguese language, a Romance language *** Portuguese dialects, variants of the Portuguese language ** Portug ...
conquered the city-state of Malacca. The most significant lasting effects of the Portuguese presence were the disruption and reorganization of the Southeast Asian trade, and in eastern Indonesia—including Maluku—the introduction of Christianity. One Portuguese diary noted 'it is thirty years since they became
Moors '' of Alfonso X, c. 1285 The term Moor is an Endonym and exonym, exonym first used by Christian Europeans to designate the Muslims, Muslim inhabitants of the Maghreb, the Iberian Peninsula, Sicily and Malta during the Middle Ages. The Moors init ...

Moors
'.
Afonso de Albuquerque Afonso de Albuquerque, Duke of Goa (; 1453 – 16 December 1515) (also spelled Aphonso or Alfonso) was a Portuguese general, admiral, and statesman. He served as Governor of Portuguese India from 1509 to 1515, during which he expanded Portugues ...

Afonso de Albuquerque
learned of the route to the
Banda Islands The Banda Islands ( id, Kepulauan Banda) are a volcanic group A volcanic group (or, equivalently, a volcanic complex) is a collection of related volcano A volcano is a rupture in the crust of a planetary-mass object, such as Earth, that ...
and other 'Spice Islands', and sent an exploratory expedition of three vessels under the command of António de Abreu, Simão Afonso Bisigudo and
Francisco Serrão
Francisco Serrão
. On the return trip, Serrão was shipwrecked at
Hitu Hitu is an Austronesian Austronesian may refer to: *The Austronesian languages *The historical Austronesian peoples who carried Austronesian languages on their migrations {{disambiguation ... language of the Central Malayo-Polynesian subgroup s ...
island (northern Ambon) in 1512. There he established ties with the local ruler who was impressed with his martial skills. The rulers of the competing island states of
Ternate Ternate is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Routledge. It ca ...
and
Tidore Tidore ( id, Kota Tidore Kepulauan, lit. "City of Tidore Islands") is a city, island, and archipelago in the Maluku Islands The Maluku Islands or the Moluccas () (''Molukken'') are an archipelago in the east of Indonesia. Tectonically they are ...
also sought Portuguese assistance and the newcomers were welcomed in the area as buyers of supplies and spices during a lull in the regional trade due to the temporary disruption of Javanese and
Malay Malay may refer to: Languages * Malay language or Bahasa Melayu, a major Austronesian language spoken in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore ** History of the Malay language#Old Malay, the Malay language from the 4th to the 14th century ** ...
sailings to the area following the 1511 conflict in Malacca. The spice trade soon revived but the Portuguese would not be able to fully monopolize or disrupt this trade. Allying himself with Ternate's ruler, Serrão constructed a fortress on that tiny island and served as the head of a
mercenary A mercenary, sometimes known as a soldier of fortune, is a private individual, particularly a soldier, who takes part in for personal profit, is otherwise an outsider to the conflict, and is not a member of any other official . Mercenaries fi ...

mercenary
band of Portuguese seamen under the service of one of the two local feuding sultans who controlled most of the
spice A spice is a seed A seed is an embryonic ''Embryonic'' is the twelfth studio album by experimental rock band the Flaming Lips released on October 13, 2009, on Warner Bros. Records, Warner Bros. The band's first double album, it was releas ...

spice
trade. Both Serrão and
Ferdinand Magellan Ferdinand Magellan ( or ; pt, Fernão de Magalhães, ; es, link=no, Fernando de Magallanes, ; c. 1480 – 27 April 1521) was a Portuguese explorer Exploration is the act of searching for the purpose of discovery of information In ...

Ferdinand Magellan
, however, perished before they could meet one another. The Portuguese first landed in Ambon in 1513, but it only became the new centre for their activities in Maluku following the expulsion from Ternate. European power in the region was weak and Ternate became an expanding, fiercely Islamic and anti-European state; the Portuguese-Ternate wars raged throughout the reigns of Sultan Baab Ullah (r. 1570–1583) and his son Sultan
Saidi Berkat Sultan Saidi Berkat (c. 1563 - 1628) was the eighth Sultan of Ternate Ternate is the largest city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds ( ...
(r. 1583-1606). Following Portuguese missionary work, there have been large Christian communities in eastern Indonesia through to contemporary times, which has contributed to a sense of shared interest with Europeans, particularly among the Ambonese.


Dutch

The Dutch arrived in 1599 and competed with the Portuguese in the area for trade. The
Dutch East India Company The Dutch East India Company, officially the United East India Company ( nl, Vereenigde Oost Indische Compagnie; VOC), was a multinational corporation A multinational company (MNC) is a corporate organization that owns or controls the pro ...

Dutch East India Company
allied with the Sultan of Ternate and conquered Ambon and
Tidore Tidore ( id, Kota Tidore Kepulauan, lit. "City of Tidore Islands") is a city, island, and archipelago in the Maluku Islands The Maluku Islands or the Moluccas () (''Molukken'') are an archipelago in the east of Indonesia. Tectonically they are ...
in 1605, expelling the Portuguese. A Spanish counterattack from the
Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, links=no), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas, links=no), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republ ...

Philippines
restored Iberian rule in parts of
North Maluku North Maluku ( id, Maluku Utara) is a province of Indonesia Provinces of Indonesia are the 34 largest subdivisions of the Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country i ...
up to 1663. However the Dutch monopolized the production and trade in spices through a ruthless policy. This included the genocidal conquest of the nutmeg-producing Banda Islands in 1621, the elimination of the English in Ambon in 1623, and the subordination of Ternate and Tidore in the 1650s. An anticolonial resistance movement led by a Tidore prince, the Nuku Rebellion, engulfed large parts of Maluku and Papua in 1780-1810 and co-opted the British. During the
French Revolutionary Wars The French Revolutionary Wars (french: Guerres de la Révolution française) were a series of sweeping military conflicts lasting from 1792 until 1802 and resulting from the French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) refers to the peri ...
and again in the
Napoleonic Wars The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of major global conflicts pitting the French Empire#REDIRECT French Empire {{Redirect shell , {{R from ambiguous page {{R from other capitalisation ... and its allies, led by Napoleon I ...
, British forces captured the islands in 1796-1801 and 1810, respectively, and held them until 1817. In that time they uprooted many of the spice trees for throughout the
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. ...

British Empire
.


After Indonesian independence

With the declaration of a single republic of
Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania between the Indian Ocean, Indian and Pacific Ocean, Pacific oceans. It consists of over List of islands of I ...

Indonesia
in 1950 to replace the federal state, a
Republic of South Maluku South Maluku, officially the Republic of South Maluku, is an unrecognized secessionist republic that claims the islands of Ambon, Buru Buru (formerly spelled Boeroe, Boro, or Bouru) is the third largest island within Maluku Islands of Ind ...
(Republik Maluku Selatan, RMS) was declared and attempted to secede. and led by
Chris Soumokil Christiaan Robbert Steven Soumokil, known as Chris Soumokil (13 October 1905 in Surabaya, East Java, Dutch East Indies The Dutch East Indies (or Netherlands East-Indies; nl, Nederlands(ch)-Indië; ) was a Dutch colony consisting of what is ...
(former Supreme Prosecutor of the Eastern Indonesia state) and supported by the Moluccan members of the Netherlands special troops. This movement was defeated by the Indonesian army and by special agreement with the Netherlands the troops were transferred to the Netherlands. Maluku is one of the first provinces of Indonesia, proclaimed in 1945 until 1999, when the Maluku Utara and Halmahera Tengah Regencies were split off as a separate province of
North Maluku North Maluku ( id, Maluku Utara) is a province of Indonesia Provinces of Indonesia are the 34 largest subdivisions of the Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country i ...
. Its capital used to be
Ternate Ternate is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Routledge. It ca ...

Ternate
, on a small island to the west of the large island of
Halmahera Halmahera, formerly known as Jilolo, Gilolo, or Jailolo, is the largest island upright=1.15, Great_Britain.html"_;"title="Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain">Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain_(right),_are_large_islands_of_north-west_Europe imag ...

Halmahera
, but has been moved to
Sofifi Sofifi is a town A town is a human settlement. Towns are generally larger than villages and smaller than city, cities, though the criteria to distinguish between them vary considerably in different parts of the world. Origin and us ...

Sofifi
on Halmahera itself. The capital of the remaining part of Maluku province remains at Ambon.


1999–2003 inter-communal conflict

Religious conflict erupted across the islands in January 1999. The subsequent 18 months were characterized by fighting between largely local groups of Muslims and Christians, the destruction of thousands of houses, the displacement of approximately 500,000 people, the loss of thousands of lives, and the segregation of Muslims and Christians.


Geology and geography

The Maluku Islands have a total area of 850,000 km2, 90% of which is sea. There are an estimated 1027 islands. The largest two islands,
Halmahera Halmahera, formerly known as Jilolo, Gilolo, or Jailolo, is the largest island upright=1.15, Great_Britain.html"_;"title="Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain">Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain_(right),_are_large_islands_of_north-west_Europe imag ...

Halmahera
and
Seram Seram (formerly spelled Ceram; also Seran or Serang) is the largest and main island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such a ...
are sparsely populated, while the most developed, Ambon and
Ternate Ternate is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Routledge. It ca ...

Ternate
are small. The majority of the islands are forested and mountainous. The
Tanimbar Islands The Tanimbar Islands, also called ''Timur Laut'', are a group of about 65 islands in the Maluku province A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or state. The term derives from the ancient Roman '' provincia' ...
are dry and hilly, while the
Aru Islands The Aru Islands Regency ( id, Kabupaten Kepulauan Aru) are a group of about ninety-five low-lying island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very smal ...
are flat and swampy.
Mount Binaiya Mount Binaiya (Indonesian: Gunung Binaia) is the highest point on the Indonesian island of Seram (or Ceram). With an elevation of , it is one of the one hundred most topographic prominence, topographically prominent peaks on Earth. Mount Binaiya ...
(3027 m) on Seram is the highest mountain. A number of islands, such as Ternate (1721 m) and the TNS islands, are volcanoes emerging from the sea with villages sited around their coasts. There have been over 70 serious volcanic eruptions in the last 500 years and earthquakes are common. The geology of the Maluku Islands share much similar history, characteristics and processes with the neighbouring Nusa Tenggara region. There is a long history of geological study of these regions since Indonesian colonial times; however, the geological formation and progression is not fully understood, and theories of the island's geological evolution have changed extensively in recent decades.Monk (1996), page 9 The Maluku Islands comprise some of the most geologically complex and active regions in the world, resulting from their position at the meeting point of four geological plates and two continental blocks.


Biota and environment

, all of the islands apart from the Aru group lie in
Wallacea in blue has been used to separate Wallacea into a western part pertaining to Asia Asia () is a landmass variously described as part of Eurasia Eurasia () is the largest continent A continent is any of several large landmasse ...

Wallacea
, the region between the
Sunda Shelf Geologically Geology (from the Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into t ...

Sunda Shelf
(part of the Asia block), and the Arafura Shelf (part of the Australian block). More specifically, they lie between Weber's Line and
Lydekker's Line Richard Lydekker (; 25 July 1849 – 16 April 1915) was an English natural history, naturalist, geologist and writer of numerous books on natural history. Biography Richard Lydekker was born at Tavistock Square in London. His father was Gerard W ...
, and thus have a fauna that is rather more Australasian than Asian. Malukan biodiversity and its distribution are affected by various tectonic activities; most of the islands are geologically young, being from 1 million to 15 million years old, and have never been attached to the larger landmasses. The Maluku islands differ from other areas in Indonesia; they contain some of the country's smallest islands, coral island reefs scattered through some of the deepest seas in the world, and no large islands such as
Java Java ( id, Jawa, ; jv, ꦗꦮ; su, ) is one of the Greater Sunda Islands in Indonesia. It is bordered by the Indian Ocean to the south and the Java Sea to the north. With a population of 147.7 million people, Java is the world's List of ...

Java
or
Sumatra Sumatra is one of the Sunda Islands The Sunda Islands are a group of islands in the Malay Archipelago. They consist of the Greater Sunda Islands The Greater Sunda Islands are four tropical islands situated within Southeast Asia S ...

Sumatra
. Flora and fauna immigration between islands is thus restricted, leading to a high rate of endemic biota evolving. The ecology of the Maluku Islands has fascinated naturalists for centuries;
Alfred Wallace Alfred Russel Wallace (8 January 18237 November 1913) was a British naturalist Natural history is a domain of inquiry involving organisms, including animals, fungus, fungi, and plants, in their natural environment, leaning more toward ...
's book, ''
The Malay Archipelago ''The Malay Archipelago'' is a book by the British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace which chronicles his scientific exploration, during the eight-year period 1854 to 1862, of the southern portion of the Malay Archipelago including Malaysia ...
'', was the first significant study of the area's natural history, and remains an important resource for studying Indonesian biodiversity. Maluku is the subject of two major historical works of natural history by
Georg Eberhard Rumphius Georg Eberhard Rumphius (originally: Rumpf; baptized c. 1 November 1627 – 15 June 1702) was a German-born botanist Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "k ...
: the ''Herbarium Amboinense'' and the ''Amboinsche Rariteitkamer''. Rainforest covered most of northern and central Maluku, which, on the smaller islands has been replaced by plantations, including the region's endemic
cloves Cloves are the aromatic flower A flower, sometimes known as a bloom or blossom Image:Cerisier du Japon Prunus serrulata.jpg, Cherry blossoms in Paris in full bloom. In botany, blossoms are the flowers of stone fruit fruit tree, trees (genu ...
and
nutmeg Nutmeg is the seed A seed is an embryonic ''Embryonic'' is the twelfth studio album by experimental rock band the Flaming Lips released on October 13, 2009, on Warner Bros. Records, Warner Bros. The band's first double album, it was release ...

nutmeg
. The
Tanimbar Islands The Tanimbar Islands, also called ''Timur Laut'', are a group of about 65 islands in the Maluku province A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or state. The term derives from the ancient Roman '' provincia' ...
and other southeastern islands are arid and sparsely vegetated, much like nearby
Timor Timor is an island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atolls can be called islets, skerry, s ...

Timor
. In 1997 the
Manusela National Park Manusela National Park is located on Seram island, in the Maluku Islands, Maluku archipelago of Indonesia. It is made up of coastal forest, swamp forest, lowland and montane rainforest ecosystem types. Mount Binaiya at 3,027 meters, is the highest ...
, and in 2004, the Aketajawe-Lolobata National Park, were established, for the protection of endangered species. Nocturnal
marsupials Marsupials are any members of the mammal Mammals (from Latin language, Latin , 'breast') are a group of vertebrate animals constituting the class (biology), class Mammalia (), and characterized by the presence of mammary glands which in ...

marsupials
, such as
cuscus Cuscus ( or ) is the common name Common may refer to: Places * Common, a townland in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland * Boston Common Boston Common (also known as the Common) is a central public park in downtown Boston, Massachusetts. It is so ...

cuscus
and
bandicoots Bandicoots are a group of more than 20 species of small to medium-sized, terrestrial marsupial Marsupials are any members of the mammal Mammals (from Latin language, Latin , 'breast') are a group of vertebrate animals constituting th ...
, make up the majority of the mammal species, and introduced mammals include Malayan civets and wild pigs. Bird species include approximately 100 endemics with the greatest variety on the large islands of Halmahera and Seram. North Maluku has two species of endemic birds of paradise. Uniquely among the Maluku Islands, the
Aru Islands The Aru Islands Regency ( id, Kabupaten Kepulauan Aru) are a group of about ninety-five low-lying island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very smal ...
have a purely Papuan fauna including kangaroos, cassowaries, and birds-of-paradise. While many ecological problems affect both small islands and large landmasses, small islands suffer their particular problems. Development pressures on small islands are increasing, although their effects are not always anticipated. Although Indonesia is richly endowed with natural resources, the resources of the small islands of Maluku are limited and specialised; furthermore, human resources in particular are limited. General observations about small islands that can be applied to the Maluku Islands include: * a higher proportion of the landmass will be affected by List of volcanoes in Indonesia, volcanic activity, earthquakes, landslips, and cyclone damage; * Climates are more likely to be maritime climate, maritime influenced; * drainage basin, Catchment areas are smaller and degree of erosion higher; * A higher proportion of the landmass is made up of coastal areas; * A higher degree of environmental specialisation, including a higher proportion of Endemism, endemic species in an overall depauperate community; * Societies may retain a strong sense of culture having developed in relative isolation; * Small island populations are more likely to be affected by economic migration.


Climate

Central and southern Maluku Islands experience the dry monsoon between October to March and the wet monsoon from May to August, which is the reverse of the rest of Indonesia. The dry monsoon's average maximum temperature is 30 °C while the wet's average maximum is 23 °C. Northern Maluku has its wet monsoon from December to March in line with the rest of Indonesia. Each island group have their own climatic variations, and the larger islands tend to have drier coastal lowlands and their mountainous hinterlands are wetter.


Demographics

Maluku's population is about 2 million, less than 1% of Indonesia's population. Over 130 languages were once spoken across the islands; however, many have now switched to the Creole language, creoles of North Moluccan Malay, Ternate Malay and Ambonese Malay, the lingua franca of northern and southern Maluku, respectively. A long history of trade and seafaring has resulted in a high degree of mixed ancestry in Malukans. Austronesian peoples added to the native Melanesia, Melanesian population around 2000 BCE. Melanesian features are strongest in the islands of Kei Islands, Kei and Aru Islands Regency, Aru and amongst the interior people of the islands
Seram Seram (formerly spelled Ceram; also Seran or Serang) is the largest and main island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such a ...
and
Buru Buru (formerly spelled Boeroe, Boro, or Bouru) is the third largest island within Maluku Islands The Maluku Islands or the Moluccas () (''Molukken'') are an archipelago in the east of Indonesia. Tectonically they are located on the Halmahera ...

Buru
. Later added to this Austronesian-Melanesian mix were some Indian and Arab strain. More recent arrivals include Bugis trader settlers from Sulawesi and Javanese transmigrants.


Economy

Cloves and nutmeg are still cultivated, as are cocoa, coffee and fruit. Fishing is a big industry across the islands but particularly around Halmahera and
Bacan The Bacan Islands, formerly also known as the Bachans, Bachians, and Batchians, are a group of islands in the Moluccas The Maluku Islands or the Moluccas () (''Molukken'') are an archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an isla ...
. The Aru Islands produce pearls, and Seram exports lobsters. Logging is a significant industry on the larger islands with Seram producing ironwood and teak and ebony are produced on Buru.


See also

*Maluku culture *Governor of Maluku *List of rulers of Maluku *Folklore of the Moluccas


References


Notes


General

* Andaya, Leonard Y. (1993). ''The World of Maluku: Eastern Indonesia in the Early Modern Period''. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press. . * Bellwood, Peter (1997). ''Prehistory of the Indo-Malaysian archipelago''. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press. . * Donkin, R. A. (1997). ''Between East and West: The Moluccas and the Traffic in Spices Up to the Arrival of Europeans''. American Philosophical Society. . * Milton, Giles (1999). ''Nathaniel's Nutmeg''. London: Sceptre. . * Monk, Kathryn A., Yance De Fretes, Gayatri Reksodiharjo-Lilley (1997). ''The Ecology of Nusa Tenggara and Maluku''. Singapore: Periplus Press. . * Van Oosterzee, Penny (1997). ''Where Worlds Collide: The Wallace Line''. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. . * Wallace, Alfred Russel (2000; originally published 1869). ''The Malay Archipelago''. Singapore: Periplus Press. .


Further reading

* George Miller (editor), ''To The Spice Islands And Beyond: Travels in Eastern Indonesia'', Oxford University Press, 1996, Paperback, 310 pages, * Severin, Tim ''The Spice Island Voyage: In Search of Wallace'', Abacus, 1997, paperback, 302 pages, * Bergreen, Laurence ''Over the Edge of the World'', Morrow, 2003, paperback, 480 pages * Muller, Dr. Kal ''Spice Islands: The Moluccas'', Periplus Editions, 1990, paperback, 168 pages,


External links

*
Deforestation in the Moluccas



Trajectories of the early-modern kingdoms in eastern Indonesia


* [http://www.wdl.org/en/item/460 Map of a Part of China, the Philippine Islands, the Isles of Sunda, the Moluccas, the Papuans] from 1760 {{Authority control Maluku Islands, Molucca Sea Archipelagoes of Indonesia Archipelagoes of Southeast Asia Maritime Southeast Asia Dutch East India Company Former Portuguese colonies Former Spanish colonies Portuguese colonialism in Indonesia Spanish East Indies Wallacea