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date: 18 April 2024

History of the Banda Sealocked

History of the Banda Sealocked

  • Hans HägerdalHans HägerdalLinnaeus University, Department of Cultural Sciences

Summary

The Banda Sea is a watery landscape in eastern maritime Southeast Asia, encompassing much of the present Maluku Province of Indonesia. Historically, its hundreds of islands include the economically vital Banda Islands and Ambon, as well as the outlying islands of Wetar and Kisar, and the Kei and Tanimbar archipelagos. In spite of its relative remoteness in relation to the historical centers of Indonesia, the sea evolved as a vibrant economic crossroads from about the 14th century, mostly because of the trade in cloves and nutmeg that attracted visitors and settlers from various parts of Asia. The islands also delivered sea and forest products of some consequence. The potential commercial profits made the Banda Sea an early priority for colonial encroachment after the arrival of Europeans in Asian ports. The Portuguese established a presence after 1512, followed by the Dutch and English in 1599. European powers strove to impose monopolies in the spice trade. The contest for the islands was eventually won by the Dutch East India Company, whose dispositions turned the sea into a colonial backwater. This it remained during the Dutch Colonial State of the 19th and 20th centuries. The Indonesian Revolution in 1945–1949 was followed by an unsuccessful attempt to establish an independent South Malukan state in 1950. The relative neglect and the transmigration policies of the successive Indonesia governments led to local civil war in 1999–2002.

Subjects

  • Southeast Asia

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