The typical members of the group are the cuscuses (Phalanger), ranging from the Moluccas and Celebes to New Guinea, in which the males are often different in colour from the females.
The emu corresponds with the African and Arabian ostrich, the rhea of South America, and the cassowary of the Moluccas and New Guinea.
The importance of the Malay Peninsula, as has been noted, consisted in the privilege which its locality conferred upon it of being the distributing centre of the spices brought thither from the Moluccas en route for India and Europe.
The Moluccas were, from the first, the objective of the Portuguese invaders, and no sooner had the white men found their way round the Cape of Good Hope and established themselves successively upon the coast of East Africa, in the neighbourhood of the Gulf of Aden and the Malabar coast, than Malacca, then the chief trading centre of the Malayan Archipelago, became the object of their desire.
The Dutch Company in 1614 again resolved to send a fleet to the Moluccas by the westward route, and Joris Spilbergen was appointed to the command as admiral, with a commission from the States-General.
After plundering Payta and making requisitions at Acapulco, the Dutch fleet crossed the Pacific and reached the Moluccas in March 1616.
On the 1st of March the Dutch fleet sighted the island of Juan Fernandez; and, having crossed the Pacific, the explorers sailed along the north coast of New Guinea and arrived at the Moluccas on the 17th of September 1616.
Then, of forms which are but weakly represented, we have the otherwise abundant thrushes (Turdidae), and, above all, the woodpeckers (Picidae), of which only very few species, out of 400, just cross the boundary and occur in Lombok, Celebes or the Moluccas, but are unknown elsewhere in the region."
The Papuan Subregion, chiefly New Guinea with its dependencies, the Timor group of islands, the Moluccas and Celebes.
After visiting Amboyna, the Moluccas and other isles of the Malay archipelago, he returned to Malacca in July 1547, and found three Jesuit recruits from Europe awaiting him.
The same conclusion is indicated by the absence from the Moluccas and Celebes of various other Mammals, Quadrumana, Carnivora, Insectivora and Ruminants, which abound in the western part of the Archipelago.
Only the following are dangerous to man and larger animals: the "death-adder," Acanthopis antarcticus, easily recognized by the peculiar end of the tail which is compressed and terminates in a thin horny spine; common throughout Australia to the Moluccas, scarcely one yard in length; the "black snake" (Pseudechis porphyriacus),likewise common throughout the Australian continent, especially in low marshy places, and upwards of 6 ft.
The residency shares with that of Ternate the administration of the Moluccas, the previous government of which was abolished in 1867.
Amboyna, the chief town, and seat of the resident and military commander of the Moluccas, is protected by Fort Victoria, and is a clean little town with wide streets, well planted.
The voyage of Thomas Forrest (1774) in the " Tartar galley " of 10 tons, and his account of New Guinea (Voyage to New Guinea and the Moluccas, London, 1780), are still full of interest.
The claims to superiority over New Guinea on the part of the rulers of some of the small neighbouring islands date at least from the spread of Islam to the Moluccas at the beginning of the 15th century, and were maintained by the Malay rulers both of Bachian and of Gebeh and afterwards by the sultan of Tidore.
It includes the Sunda Islands, the Moluccas, New Guinea, and the Philippine Islands, but excludes the Andaman-Nicobar group. The equator passes through the middle of the archipelago; it successively cuts Sumatra, Borneo, Celebes and Halmahera, four of the most important islands.
Running south-east through Sumatra, east through Java and the southern islands to Timor, curving north through the Moluccas, and again north, from the end of Celebes through the whole line of the Philippines, they follow a line roughly resembling a horseshoe narrowed towards the point.
In 1511 the Portuguese under Alphonso d'Albuquerque occupied Malacca, and in November of that year an expedition under Antonio de Abreu was despatched to find a route to the Moluccas and Banda Islands, then famous for their cloves and nutmegs.
Meanwhile the Spanish government was considering whether the Moluccas did not fall within the Spanish sphere of influence as defined by the Treaty of Tordesillas in 1494; and in August 1519 an expedition commanded by Ferdinand Magellan sailed from Seville to seek a westward passage to the archipelago.
Af ter losing the commander in the Philippines and discovering Borneo, the two surviving ships reached the Moluccas late in 1520.
Of Portugal, by which, in return for 350,000 gold ducats, the Spanish claim to the Moluccas was withdrawn.
Of the Moluccas, but by a geographical fiction the Philippines were included within the Spanish sphere.
Ternate remained the seat of the governor of the Moluccas, who was the highest official in the archipelago, though subordinate to the viceroy or governor of Portuguese India.
Rebellions in Java (1629) and the Moluccas (1650) were suppressed with great severity, but in 1662 the company suffered a heavy reverse in Formosa, all its colonists being expelled from the island.
A British naval squadron arrived in the Moluccas in February 181 o and captured Amboyna, Banda, Ternate and other islands.
The extension of Dutch political power - notably in Java, Sumatra, Celebes, the Moluccas, Borneo, the Sunda Islands and New Guinea - proceeded simultaneously with the reform movement, and from time to time involved war with various native states.
The produce of the Eastern Islands is also collected at its ports for re-exportation to India, China and Europe - namely, gold-dust, diamonds, camphor, benzoin and other drugs; edible bird-nests, trepang, rattans, beeswax, tortoiseshell, and dyeing woods from Borneo and Sumatra; tin from Banka; spices from the Moluccas; fine cloths from Celebes and Bali; and pepper from Sumatra.
In1525-1527Garcia Jofre de Loyasa sailed to the Moluccas, but, like Magellan, missed the bulk of the oceanic islands.
Tiliqua of Australia, Tasmania and Malay Islands, has stout lateral teeth with rounded-off crowns; C. gigas of the Moluccas and of New Guinea is the largest member of the family, reaching a length of nearly 2 ft.; the limbs are well developed, as in Trachysaurus rugosus of Australia, which is easily recognized by the large and rough scales and the short, broad, stump-like tail.
- Dibamus novae-Guineae of New Guinea, the Moluccas, Celebes and the Nicobar Islands.
MOLUCCAS, or Spice Islands, a name which in its wider sense includes all the islands of the Malay Archipelago between Celebes on the W., New Guinea on the E., Timor on the S., and the open Pacific Ocean on the N.
And 124° 22' and 135° E., and include: (I) the Moluccas proper or Ternate group, of which Halmahera is the largest and Ternate the capital; (2) the Bachian, Obi, and Xulla groups; (3) the Amboyna group, of which Ceram (Serang) and Buru are the largest; (4) the Banda Islands (the spice or nutmeg islands par excellence); (5) the southeastern islands, comprising Timor-Laut or Tenimber, Larat, &c.; (6) the Kei Islands and the Aru Islands, of which the former are sometimes attached to the south-eastern group; and (7) the south-western islands or the Babar, Sermata, Leti, Damar, Roma and Wetar groups.
The name Moluccas is said to be derived from the Arabic for "king."
Since 1867, when the political unity, under a governor, was dissolved, the Moluccas are often named by the Dutch the "Great East" (Groote Oost).
The geology of the Moluccas is very imperfectly known.
The great chain of volcanoes which runs through Sumatra and Java is continued eastwards into the Moluccas, and terminates in a hooklike curve which passes through the Damar Islands to the Banda group. Outside this hook lies a concentric arc of non-volcanic islands, including Tenimber, the Lesser Kei Islands, Ceram and Buru; and beyond is still a third concentric arc extending from Taliabu to the Greater Kei Islands.
A good deal of work was done by Dutch evangelists in Java, the Moluccas, Formosa and Ceylon, but it was not permanent.
In Celebes and the Moluccas the work is now under the Colonial State Church.
The name (Jilolo) was really that of a native state, the sultan of which had the chief rank among the princes of the Moluccas before he was supplanted by the sultan of Ternate about 1380.
Meanwhile, in 1577, Sir Francis Drake had circumnavigated the globe, and on his way home had touched at Ternate, one of the Moluccas, the king of which island agreed to supply the English nation with all the cloves it produced.
Of Spain (the emperor Charles V.), with the object of proving that the Moluccas lay within that part of the world which Pope Alexander VI.
In 1529, by the treaty of Zaragosa, Spain relinquished to Portugal all claims to the Moluccas and agreed that no Spaniard should trade or sail west of a meridian drawn 297 leagues east of the Moluccas.
After Magellan's death, his comrades sailed from the Moluccas across the Celebes into the Sulu Sea, and were the first white men who are known to have visited Brunei on the north-west coast of Borneo, where they arrived in 1522.
Thus, the species inhabiting Sumatra, Java and Borneo are almost always much smaller than the closely allied species of Celebes and the Moluccas; the species or varieties of the small island of Amboyna are larger than the same species or closely allied forms inhabiting the surrounding islands; the species found in Celebes possess a peculiar form of wing, quite distinct from that of the same or closely allied species of adjacent islands; and, lastly, numerous species which have tailed wings in India and the western islands of the Archipelago, gradually lose the tail as we proceed eastward to New Guinea and the Pacific.
There are, however, certain cases in which the sources of error above mentioned are reduced to a minimum, and cannot seriously affect the results; such as those of the Jews, the Dutch at the Cape of Good Hope and in the Moluccas, and the Spaniards in South America.
In the Moluccas, where the Dutch have had settlements for 250 years, some of the inhabitants trace their descent to early immigrants; and these, as well as most of the people of Dutch descent in the east, are quite as fair as their European ancestors, enjoy excellent health, and are very prolific. But the Dutch accommodate themselves admirably to a tropical climate, doing much of their work early in the morning, dressing very lightly, and living a quiet, temperate and cheerful life.
The breaking up of the old government of the Moluccas tended to make Ternate perhaps the most important Dutch-Indian political centre of the archipelago east of Celebes.
(4) From 1499 to 1580 Portugal acquired an empire stretching from Brazil eastward to the Moluccas, reached the zenith of its prosperity and entered upon a period of swift decline.
On its provisions were based both the Portuguese claim to Brazil and the Spanish claim to the Moluccas (see Malay Archipelago: History).