Moluccas (or ROYAL or SPICE ISLANDS), a number of islands of the Malay Archipelago, in the Indian Ocean. The term comprehends, in its most extensive sense, all the islands between Celebes and New Guinea, situated to the east of the Molucca passage, in long. 1260, particularly those of Gilolo; but, in a more limited sense, it is usually restricted to the Dutch Spice Islands:
(1) Ternate, the most important, lies in 0° 48' N. lat. and 127° 8' E. long., and is 25 miles in circumference. It has a population of 9000, of whom only about 400 are Europeans. Its natives are mainly Mohammedans. It was formerly the residence of sultans, who ruled over large territories, and could call out 100,000 fighting-men. The island is fertile and well watered. Rice, cotton, tobacco, etc., are cultivated, and a trade is supported with the adjacent islands.
(2) Tidore, south of Ternate, in 0040' N. lat. and 1270 25' E. long., is 18 miles in circumference, and rises towards the interior.
Of its population of 8000, the natives are less gentle but more industrious than those of Ternate, and diligently cultivate the soil, weave, and fish. They are also Mohammedans, and have many mosques. The sultans of Ternate and Tidore are subsidized by and subject to the Netherlands, being appointed by the governor of the Moluccas, and exercising their authority under the surveillance of the resident.
(3) Makian, in 0° 18' 30!' N. lat. and 1270 30' E. long., is very fertile yields much sago, rice, tobacco, canary-oil, etc., and has important fishings.
(4) Farther north is the island of Motir, which is uninhabited, but formerly yielded a considerable quantity of cloves, and later sent much earthenware to all the Spice Islands.
(5) Batjan, the only remaining Royal Island, situated between 0° 13'00 55' S. lat. and 1270 22'-1280 E. long., is 50 miles in length and 18 in breadth, and has many mountain-peaks from 1500 to 4000 feet in height, the sources of numerous rivers. The greatest part of this beautiful island is covered with ebony, satin-wood, and other valuable timber-trees, which give shelter to numerous delicately plumaged birds, deer, wild hogs, and reptiles. Sago, rice, cocoa-nuts, cloves, fish, and fowls are plentiful, and a little coffee is cultivated. Coal is abundant; gold and copper are found in small quantities. The inhabitants, who are lazy and sensual, are a mixed race of Portuguese, Spaniards, Dutch, and natives. All the abovenamed islands are volcanic, Ternate being a mountain, sloping upwards to 7000 feet, to which Tidore bears a striking resemblance. Makian is an active volcano, and, so late as December 1861, threw forth immense quantities of lava and ashes, by which 326 lives were lost, and 15 villages in part or in whole destroyed. Motir is a trachyte mountain, 2296 feet in height; and Batjan a chain with lofty peaks. The total population of the Moluccas proper is 23,500.
(6) To the southwest of Batjan lie the Obi group, consisting of Obi Major, Obi Minor, Typha, Gonoma, Pisang, and Mava. Obi Major, in 1° 35' S. lat. and from 1270 to 1280 E. long., is by far the largest of these, it having an area of 598 square miles. It is hilly and fertile, being covered, like the smaller islands of the group, with sago and nutmeg trees. The Obi group are uninhabited, and serve simply as lurking-places for pirates and escaped convicts. In 1671 the Dutch built a block-house, called the Bril; and a few years later the sultan of Batjan sold them the group, but the unhealthy climate caused its abandonment in 1738.
The Moluccas, or Spice Islands, in the broad use of the term, lie to the east of Celebes, scattered over nearly eleven degrees of latitude and longitude, between 30 S.80 N. lat. and 1260-1350 E. long., including all the territories formerly ruled over by the sultans of Ternate and Tidore. They are now tributary to Holland, and are virtually under the jurisdiction of the governors appointed by the Dutch, and are divided into the residencies of Amboyna, Banda, and Ternate; a fourth residency, under the governor of the Moluccas, being Menado. Over the northern groups of the Spice Islands the Netherlands exercise an indirect government, the sultans of Ternate and Tidore requiring to have all their appointments of native officials ratified by the resident. The southern groups are directly under European rule. The residency of Amboyna contains that island- sometimes called Ley-Timor, or Hitu, from the two peninsulas of which it is formed- Buru, the Hiassers group. and the west part of Ceram. That of Banda includes the Banda, Keffing, Key, Arru, and other islands; also the eastern part of Ceram. Under the residency of Ternate are placed the Moluccas proper, Gilolo, the neighboring islands, and the north-west of Papua. The population ruled over by the governor of the Moluccas is 767,000. Amboyna, the Banda 'and Uliasser islands, chiefly supply the cloves, nutmegs, and mace which form the staple exports. The Banda Islands are Neira, or Banda-Neira, Great Banda, Ay or Way, Rhun, Rozingain, and Goenong-Api, containing an area of 588 square miles. 'Of the population, which is about 6000, 400 are Europeans; in the whole residency, the inhabitants number about 110,000, including the eastern part of Ceram. The principal island of the group is Neira, south-east from Amboyna, in 40 33' S. lat. and 1300 E. long., separated by narrow straits from Goenong- Api on the west, and Great Banda on the east. The coast is steep, and surmounted by several forts and batteries, which command the straits and roadstead. The town of Neira, on the south side of the island, is the capital of the ,Dutch residency of Banda. It has a Protestant church, school, and hospital. The Banda Islands have a rich soil, and are planted with nutmeg- trees, producing upwards of a million pounds of nuts and over a quarter of a million pounds of mace. Pineapples, the vine, banana, cocoa-nut, and other fruit-trees thrive, and are abundant. Ay is the prettiest and most productive of the group. Goenong-Api is a lofty volcano. The climate is not particularly healthy. The east monsoon begins in May, and the west in December, and both are accompanied with rain and storms. The Uliassers, which, with Amboyna, produce the cloves of commerce, are Saparoua, Oma or Haroukou, and Nousa-Laut. They lie to the east of Amboyna, in 30 40' S. lat. and 1280 33' E. long., and have an area of 1071 square miles. Saparoua is the largest, and is formed of two mountainous peninsulas, joined in the middle by a narrow strip of undulating, grassy land. The population amounts to 11,655, of whom 7340 are Christians, having twelve schools, with a very large attendance of scholars. Oma, separated from Saparoua by a strait of a league in width, has eleven villages, of which Harouka and Oma are the chief. It is mountainous in the south, and has several rivers and sulphurous springs. The beautiful village of Harouka, on the west coast, is the residence of the Dutch postholder, who is president of the council of chiefs. Here is the head office of the clove produce. There are two forts on Oma, several churches, and six schools, with 700 pupils. Population 7188; one half Christians, the other Mohammedans. Nousa-Laut lies to the south-east of Saparoua. It is planted with clovetrees, which in 1853 produced 120,283 pounds. There are upwards of 30,000 cocoa-nut-trees. The inhabitants, who were formerly pirates and cannibals, amount to 3479 souls, are all Christians, and have schools in every village — in 1859 they were attended by 870 pupils.
The Spice Islands generally are healthy both for Europeans and Asiatics; and, though the plains are sometimes very hot, mountains are always near, where it is pleasantly cool in the mornings and evenings. Besides the spice- trees, the bread-fruit, sago, cocoa-nut, baanana, orange, guava, papaw, also ebony, iron-wood, and other valuable timber-trees, are abundant.
The natives of some of the islands are Alfoers; of others, Malays on the coasts, and Alfoers in the interior. In Ceram are also Papuan negroes, brought originally from Bali and Papua as slaves. These are harshly treated and poorly fed. The governor of the Moluccas has a salary of $8500, gold, and, with the secretary and other officials, resides in the city of Amboyna, the streets of which are broad, planted with rows of beautiful trees, and cut each other at right angles. There are two Protestant churches, a town- house, orphanage, hospital, and theatre, besides a useful institution for training native teachers, with which is connected a printing-press.
History, etc. — The Moluccas were first discovered by Europeans in 1511, when the Portuguese, under Antonio de Abreu and Francisco Serrao, landed there. They found, however, that the Arabians had already been there, and had made converts of the natives along the coast — the Malavs. In the mountains they found the Papuans (q.v.), but these Oriental negroes were savages, and in a large measure remain so to this day. The king of Portugal claimed the island, and held undisputed sway until 1599, when the Netherlanders took Tidore. In 1623 they drove out the English from these islands, of which they had taken possession, and in 1663 the Netherlanders alone remained to lord it over the Moluccas. Though for a time the British got a hold in the island, the Dutch finally became its possessors. The islanders have frequently attempted to throw off the Dutch yoke, but have failed thus far. The wars with the Alfoers of Ceram, in 1859 and 1860, have brought them more fully under Dutch rule. Recently new sultans of Ternate and Tidore have been appointed, with less power than their predecessors. The natives along the coast speak a dialect of the Malay tongue, mixed with many foreign words; but the ancient Molucca or Tirnata language appeared to the eminent Asiatic linguist, Dr. Leyden, to have been an original tongue. They have adopted many of the tenets, or rather observances, of the Brahminical system; but many of them, named Sherifs, boast of their descent from Mohammed. and are held in great respect, especially if they have performed the pilgrimage to Mecca. The Papuans have been rapidly decreasing, and have wholly disappeared in most of the smaller islands. But they still exist in many of the more eastern islands, and hold undisturbed possession of New Guinea. The houses on these islands are generally raised on pillars eight or ten feet high, on account of the moisture, and are entered by means of a ladder, which is afterwards drawn up. The color of the natives is a deep mixture of black and yellow, and their dispositions uncivil. They subsist chiefly on sago. The men wear little covering, except a hat of leaves, and a piece of cloth round the middle; and the women are dressed in a large wide garment like a sack, with a remarkably broad hat on their heads. Their arms are a kind of light tough wood, arrows of reeds, pointed with hard wood, and bucklers of black hard wood, ornamented with designs in relieve, made with beautiful white shells. The Moluccans have themselves but little intercourse with natives of civilized countries; indeed they know considerably less of them than others in the archipelago. They seldom see a European vessel.
Missionary Labors. — The native tribes of the mountains remain very largely in heathen ignorance. Many of the Moluccans were made converts to Mohammedanism even before the appearance of Christians on the soil, and Islamism is gaining new adherents daily. Christianity, on the other hand, has thus far secured but few in number, as the first impression made by the Portuguese did not result very favorably. The Inquisition at Goa extended its power to these parts, and tried hard to carry the Moluccans into the Christian fold, but failed utterly.
The exchange of ownership imported the Protestant doctrines, but the natives have failed to see much difference between Romanism and the Reformed faith, and Islam is still ahead. All efforts until 1815 made by Protestants are hardly worth mentioning. In that year Jos. Kasse, in the employ of the Rotterdam Missionary Society (Zenddinggenootschap), inaugurated successful efforts for the conversion of the Moluccans, and for eighteen years apostolic labors were performed there. In 1819 missionary Jungmichel inaugurated successful labors at Ternate and in the Sangur Islands* At the same time valuable enterprises were inaugurated also at Timor and Amboyna. To the former Lebrun went. He settled at Cupang, the seat of the Dutch governor, on the south coast of Timor. For twenty years there had been no Christian minister among the natives there, who profess Christianity. With so much greater eagerness did they now crowd to the missionary's preaching; and in the very first year ninety pagans were admitted to the Church, which already consisted of 3000 professed Christians. Moreover, the rajah of Rotti submitted himself to Christ crucified; and in 1823 Lebrun baptized in Little Timor, Kissor, Letti, and Moa, 496 persons. The Friendly Society which he established was subscribed to every by some of the pagan princes. He everywhere formed schools, and to the remote churches he addressed pastoral letters, after the manner of the apostles, of the good effect of which there are very pleasing testimonies. A few years before his death, which took place in 1829, eight missionaries more arrived, who distributed themselves among various stations, and made it one part of their business to establish more fundamentally in Christianity the churches and congregations that had been gained to it. Their work, indeed, is often exceedingly harassing and fatiguing. The centre, however, of missionary labors in the archipelago is, and always has been, Amboyna. Its inhabitants have since 1850 been regarded as Christians. The Rotterdam Society has a number of stations there, and a seminary for the education of native teachers. These stations are now subject to the Church at Batavia, and it is anticipated that the Dutch government will recognise the missionaries as stationed pastors, and contribute for their support. See Sonnerat, Voyage to the Spice Islands; Forrest, Voyage to New Guinea; Crawfurd, Hist. of the Indian Archipelago, 1:18 sq.; Earl, Native Races of the Indian Archipelago, chapter 6; Daniel, Handbuch der Geographie, 1:323 sq.; Grundemann, Missions-Atlas, part 2, No. 6; Newcomb, Cyclop. of Missions, page 485 sq.