Maluku, the province of a thousand islands. It was these islands which, a little over four centuries ago lured the European seafares into making the long and dangerous journey to these parts of the world to look in search of spices.
The name of Maluku is of uncertain origin. Some take it to mean “the island of spices”. Other assume it to be derived from the phrase “Yaziratul Jabal Malik”, that is “mountainous islands”, or Maloko Kirana, which means the “island of the four mountains” (Ternate, Tidore, Bacan and Jailolo). Still others believe it to have come from the phrase “mae uku”, which in the language of Seram Island, would mean “to huddle together”.
In time, the phrase became corrupted into Malokok, and finally Maluku. The phrase Maluku, however, could also have meant “the island of four kingdoms”.
There have been many other views, which went in and out of vague as the centuries passed. Whatever the case, the current interpretation of Maluku is that it comprises the 1027 islands, big and small that make up the Indonesian province whose capital is Ambon.
Maluku consists of 1027 islands. About 85 percents of the province’s territory consists of sea, and only 15 percents is land. In fact, 1020 islands are very small and many are not even on the map. Only seven island maybe classified as big : Morotai, Halmahera, Taliabu, Mangoli, Buru, Seram and Yamdena. At least 622 islands are uninhabited.
There are two seasons in the year that are suitable for sailing to these islands, between February – March and between October – November, when the waves and the wind are low.
Although a maritime province, Maluku has many mountains, some of them active volcanoes. The highest mountains are Binaya or Seram Island (3.055 m), Kapalamada (2.429 m) on Buru island, and Batusibela (2.111 m) on Bacan island. The most active volcanoes are Gamalama (1.175 m) on Ternate island, and Kie Besi (962 m), Mamuya (1.269 m), Jailolo (1.130 m), Gamkonora (1.635 m), Ibu (1.325 m) Batu Soblat (1.508 m) and Tobaru (1.035 m).
There are small, narrow and short rivers on most of those islands, among them the rivers Akelamo, Jailolo and Kao on Halmahera; Wainapu on Buru Island, and Masiwang on Seram. Only small boats can sail up those rivers.
Maluku is widely known for its rich fishing grounds. It has deep seas such as the Banda Sea, which is the deepest in Indonesia. The deepest point (7.405 meters) is located off the islands Manuk, Teon, Nila, Serua and Damar. Due too its tropical climate, Maluku is hot in the daytime during the dry season, which lasts from September to March, The average temperature the reaches the 32 degrees Celcius mark. During April-August, temperatures range between 18 degrees and 20 degrees Celcius.
And now, in an effort to accelerate the development of regional expansion in Maluku. Maluku is divided into two provinces namely Maluku Province with the capital of Ambon and North Maluku province with the capital of Ternate.