Maluku is also called the Moluccas. These are the original Spice Islands. Cloves, nutmeg and pepper all originally came from here.
Ternate and Tidore had rival sultans for many years, on two small islands very close to each other. Both spread their influence over many neighboring islands. They converted to Islam in about 1475. The Spanish and Portuguese both built posts and made deals in the area. The Dutch through the VOC did not seriously interfere until the 1650s.
Ambon is the main city of Maluku today. It was the center of Dutch administration for many years. There was a revolt against the Dutch here in 1817 under Pattimura.
In 1950, the Republik Maluku Selatan was declared by former soldiers from Maluku who had fought for the Dutch and did not want to join the new Republic of Indonesia. The rebellion was quickly put down, but many R.M.S. supporters left for the Netherlands. Persons claiming to be supporters of the R.M.S. were involved in train hijackings and other incidents in the Netherlands in the late 1970s.
Banda had rival Dutch and British posts at one time. It is the home island of nutmeg.
Buru is known outside of Indonesia chiefly for being the place where author Pramoedya Ananta Toer was sent to prison under the Suharto government.
Morotai was the scene of heavy fighting between Allied and Japanese forces during 1944, as U.S. Gen. MacArthur fought his way back to the Philippines.
Starting in the late 1990s and continuing to today, there has been serious communal violence between Muslims and Christians in Maluku and Maluku Utara provinces.
Maluku Utara or North Maluku became a separate province from Maluku on January 1, 2000.