Maluku is a captivating archipelago in eastern Indonesia where historical significance and natural beauty converge. The Banda Islands, also known as the ‘Spice Island’, was once the primary source of the valuable spices nutmeg and mace during the colonial era, particularly in the 16th and 17th centuries. The Islands held a virtual monopoly on the global spice trade during the Age of Exploration, leading to European powers, especially the Portuguese and later the Dutch, seeking control over these islands. Fort Belgica on Banda Neira, which now serves a tourist attraction, was built by the Dutch in 1611 during the height of the spice trade and strategically positioned on a hill overlooking the island and its surrounding waters. Beside its rich history, Maluku boasts lush landscapes dotted with volcanic peaks, spice plantations, and secluded beaches and a fascinating underwater world, including the dugong, the Southeast Asian cousin of the American manatee for superb snorkeling and diving opportunities.

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