Banda under Dutch rule


As the only region producing valuable nutmeg, the tiny Banda archipelago was an immediate target of European ambitions. Its rulers resisted Portuguese efforts to set up a fort and opposed a monopoly claimed by the VOC. In response the VOC attacked the islands in 1609; ten years of war followed in which the population of Banda, estimated at 15,000 was reduced to about a thousand miserable survivors who were finally shipped to the Kai Islands. The main nutmeg island, Banda Lontor, was then divided into nutmeg perken, or gardens, which were allocated to officials and friends of the Company.

Further reading

Ellen, Roy, On the edge of the Banda zone: past and present in the social organization of a Moluccan trading network.  Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2003.

Hanna, Willard A., Indonesian Banda: colonialism and its aftermath in the nutmeg islands. Philadelphia: Institute for the study of Human Issues (ISHI), 1978.

Loth, Vincent C., ‘Pioneers and the perkeniers: the Banda islands in the 17th century', Cakalele 6 (1995), pp. 13-35.

Map number from Cribb, Historical Atlas of Indonesia (2000)


Year span

1619 - 1800