North Maluku is a province of Indonesia. It covers the northern part of Maluku Islands, which are split between it and Maluku Province. Maluku Province used to cover the entire group. The planned provincial is Sofifi, on Halmahera, but the current capital and largest population is Ternate Island. So, the capital of North Maluku is Ternate.
In the sixteenth and seventeenth century, the islands of North Maluku were the original "Spice Islands". At the time, the region was the sole source of cloves. The Dutch, Portuguese, Spanish, and local kingdoms including Ternate and Tidore fought each other for control of the lucrative trade in these spices. Nutmeg trees have since been transported and replanted all around the world and the demand for nutmeg from the original spice islands has ceased, greatly reducing North Maluku's international importance.
In North Maluku the land makes up just 15 percent of the area's total surface. In many places the surrounding seas could be thousands of meters deep. North Maluku is in a transition zone between the Asian and Australian fauna and flora, and also between the Malay-based cultures of western Indonesia and those of Melanesia. A great variety of endemic plant and animal species are found in the rugged forest-covered and mountainous hinterlands of most of the islands. A few of the best known are the Rucker-tailed Kingfisher, the Red-crested Moluccan Cockatoo and various brilliantly colored lorikeets and parrots.
North Maluku sits astride one of the world's most volatile volcanic belts. The region has known more than 70 eruptions in the last 400 years. Tremors and volcanic eruptions are by no means rare events at present. Many islands, in fact, look from a distance like volcanic cones rising right out of the sea.
|Information and pictures courtesy of Indonesia Tourism.