Moluccas, M0l17ccos, 01 Spice Islands
MOLUCCAS, M0L17CCOS, 01 SPICE ISLANDS, THE, Comprise, in the wider use of the term, all the islands of the East Indian Archipelago between Celebes on the west, the Papuan Islands and New Guinea on the east, Timor on the south, and the open Pacific on the north. They are thus distributed over an area measuring about 450 miles from east to west, and about 800 from north to south, and include - (1) the Moluccas proper or Ternate group, of which Jilolo is the largest and Ternate the capital ; (2) the Batchian, Obi, and Sula groups ; (3) the Ambon or Amboyna group, of which Ceram (Serang) and Burn are the largest; (4) the Banda Islands (the spice or nutmeg islands par excellence), of which Lantoir or Great Banda is the largest, and Neira politically the most important ; (5) the southeastern islands, comprising Tenimber or Timor-Laut, Larat, it-,c.; (6) the Kei Islands and the Aru Islands, of which the former are sometimes attached to the southeastern group ; and (7) the south-western islands or the Babber, Sermatta, Letti, Wetter, Roma, and Damme groups. At the close of the 16th century this part of the archipelago was divided among four rulers settled at Ternate, Tidore, Jilolo, and Batchian. The northern portion belongs to the Dutch residentship of Ternate, the southern portion to that of Amboyna.
The name Moluccas seems to be probably derived from the Arabic for "king." Argensola (1609) uses the forms islets 21.Ialucas, Maltico, and el 'Value(); Coronel (1623), Islas del Molueo ; and Camoens, Ma/uco.
Compare the articles OR INDIAN ARCHIPELAGO, ARU ISLANDS, JILOLO, TERNATE, &c., and J. J. de Hollander, Handleiding bij de Beocfening der Land- en Volkenkunde VOR Ned. Oast. Indic, Breda, 1877 and 1882.