neira dutch island
BANDA ISLANDS, a group in the East Indian Archipelago, lying to the S. of Ceram, in lat. 4° 30' S. and long. 129' '50' E. They are ten or twelve in number, and have an area of about 7150 square miles. Their volcanic origin is distinctly marked. Banda Lantoir, which derives its name from the lontar or Palmyra palm, is the largest of the group. From the sea this island appears lofty, - its sides being steep, and crowned by a sort of table-land fort, called Ilollandia, commands the harbour. Banda Neira lies S.. of Lantoir. It is the seat of the Dutch resident, whose jurisdiction extends not only over the Banda Islands, but also over a part of Ceram and several other small groups. Fort Nassau, which was built in 1609, is the chief defence of the islands ; and to the right and left of it extends the village of Neira. Gunong Api is to the north of Neira, and derives its name - Fire Mountain - from its large cone-shaped volcano, which rises 2320 feet above the level of the sea, and is constantly emitting smoke. The peak was ascended by Professor Reinwardt in 1821, by M. S. Miller in 1828, and in 1865 by Mr Bickmore, who has given an interesting account of the adventure. Eruptions took place in 158G, 1598, 1609, 1615, 1632, 1690, 1696, 1712, 1765, 1775, 1778, 1820, 1824 ; and earthquakes without eruptions occurred in 1629, 1683, 1710, 1767, 1816, and 1852 On the last occasion the sea swept up in an enormous wave over Fort Nassau. Pulo Way - The Water Island - lies north of Neira. It is about 400 or 500 feet high, consists of coral rock, and is esteemed the healthiest of the group. Pulo Rend or Roon - tho Chamber Island - is about four miles further N., and was at one time the seat of an English "factory." Rosyngain, about seven miles S.E. of Lantoir, is likely to become of some importance for its gold-mines. It was formerly a convict station for Amboyna. Pule Pisang - Banana Island - two miles N.E. of Neira, produces fine fruits. The other islands Craka, Capella, Sonangy, &c., are uninhabited. In the space between Banda Lantoir and the islands of Banda Neira and Gunong Api there is a very good harbour, formed with entrances both from the E. and W., which enable vessels to enter it from either of the monsoons. These channels are well defended with several batteries, particularly the western one, which is very narrow. Between Gunong Api and Banda Neira there is a third channel into this harbour from the N., but it is navigable for small vessels only. The principal articles of commerce in the Banda group are nutmegs and mace. The native population having been cleared off by the Dutch, the plantations were worked by slaves and convicts till the emancipation of 1860. The introduction of Malay and Chinese labourers has since taken place. The plantations or perken, can neither be sold nor divided. About 700,000 lb or upwards of nutmegs are obtained in a year, with a proportionate quantity of mace. The imports are provisions, cloth, and iron-ware from Batavia, and various native productions from the Amu Islands, Ceram, &c.
The Banda Islands were discovered and annexed by the Portuguese Abreus about 1511; but in the beginning of the 17th century his countrymen were expelled by the Dutch. In 1608 the English built a factory on Pulo Way, which was demolished by the Dutch as soon as the English vessel left. Shortly after, however, Banda Neira and Lautoir were resigned by the natives to the English, and in 1620 Polo Loon and Pulo Way were added to their dominions ; but-, in spite of treaties into which they had entered, the Dutch attacked and expelled their British rivals. In 1654 they were compelled by Cromwell to restore Pulo Roan, and to make satisfaction for the massacre of Amboyna ; but the English settlers not being adequately supported from home, the island was retaken by the Dutch in 1664. They retained undisturbed possession of their conquests in this quarter of the globe until the year 1796, when the Banda Islands, along with all the other Dutch colonies, were conquered by the British. They were restored by the treaty of Amiens in the year 1300, again captured, and finally restored by the treaty of Paris concluded in 1814. In the Presidency of Banda there are 111,191 inhabitants of whom 6000 belong to Neira.
See Wallace's Malay Archipelago; Ilicinore's Indian Archipelago; Linden's Banda en Tiine bewoncrs, 1873 ; Trans. of Ihsc,14 Geog. Soc., 1874.