MOLUCCAS, or Spice Islands, are terms often applied to all the groups of islands lying between Celebes and New Guinea, although politically this name is restricted to the Dutch Spice Islands. The groups are under three Dutch Residencies, viz,--L The Ternate Islands, including the Moluccas proper, comprising Ternate, Gilolo, Batchian, Obi, Mortui, and the Kaiva Islands ;. 2. The Amboyna Islands, including Amboyna, Ceram, Bourn, Goram, Arabian, and some smaller islands ; and 3. The Banda Islands, 10 in number, including Great Banda or Lonthoir, Banda Neira, Pulo Run, Pulo Ai, Gunong Api, Rosengyn, Kapal, Pisang Sjethan, and Yroumen. Rearrange . ments of the groups are made from time to time to meet altering conditions of the administra tion. The islands are mostly small, volcanic, un productive in grain, but fertile in fine spices. Ternate, Tidore, Motir, and Makian are only trachytic cones standing on the same great fissure of the earth. The clove tree grows spon taneously on Ternate, Tidore, Motir, Makian, and Bachian. It begins to bear at 15 years, and is in full perfection at 20, and the average yield is 5 lbs. Ternate is the most northerly of a chain of islands off the W. coast of Gilolo, in lat. 48' N., and long. 16' E. Ternate is merely a high volcano, with its base beneath the ocean. Its circumference around its shore is 6 miles, and its height is 5480 feet. Severe and destructive eruptions took place in 1608, 1635, 1653, 1673, and next on the 26th February 1838, then on the 25th March 1839, and cm 2d February 1810. In that of 1673 a considerable quantity of ashes was carried to Amboyna. In that of 2d February 1840, for 15 hours the solid ground rolled like the sea ; but the heaviest ground wave was at 10 A.M. of the 15th February, and the people then took to their boats. In this interval were great eruptions of ashes and hot stones, which fell like hail. Lava poured from the crater into the sea. For ten days clouds of black smoke poured out. About midnight of the 14th the shocks were more violent, and before half-past three A.M. every house was levelled. Fissures formed in the earth, out of which hot water rose for a moment, and then the earth closed again to re-open at another place. The lower part of the mountain behind the town is covered with fruit trees,—the dorian and mango, lausat, inangosteen. When Drake
visited Ternate in A.D. 1579, the Portuguese had been driven out of the island by the sultan, It was taken by the Dutch in 1607. The people are of three welt-marked races,—the Ternate Malay, the Orang Sirani; and the Dutch. The find are the descendants of the intruding Malay, who drove out the indigenes (who were no doubt the Same as those of the adjacent mainland of Gilolo), and established a monarchy. The Sirani are the Christian descendants of Portuguese. Ternate town is at the foot of the mountains.
Makian Island is 50 miles from Ternate, and consists of a single grand volcano. In 1646 there was a violent eruption, which blew up the whole top of the mountain, leaving a truncated jagged summit, and vast gloomy crater valley. It was said to have been as lofty as Tidore before this calamity. On the 29th December 1862 another eruption of the vast mountain took place, in which all the villages and crops were destroyed, and many of the inhabitants killed. The sand and ashes fell so far that crops at Ternate were destroyed, and it was so dark at Ternate that lamps had to be lighted at noon.
Gilolo north end is in about lat. 2° 23' N. It has a long mountainous coast, high bold land, with three remarkable peaks. The northern peninsula of Gilolo and the great island of Ceram are inhabited by the Alfura.
The Galela race are natives of a district in the extreme north of Gilolo,' but they are great wanderers over the archipelago. They are re markably energetic and industrious, of light complexion, tall, and with Papuan features, coming near to the drawings and descriptions of the true Polynesians of Tahiti and Owyhee. They build large and roomy prahus with outriggers, and settle on any coast or island they take a fancy for. They are an industrious and enterprising race ; cultivating rice and vegetables, and inde fatigable in their search after game, fish, trepang, pearls, and tortoise-shell. Professor Bikinore, however, states that they are strictly of the Malay type, and have not the dark skin and frizzly hair of the Alfura of Ceram and Burn, though representatives of that people may exist in Gilolo.