IV. The Early Modern Period, 1500–1800 > D. South and Southeast Asia, 1500–1800 > 2. Southeast Asia, 1500–1800 > e. Maluku (Eastern Indonesia), 1500–17th Century
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
e. Maluku (Eastern Indonesia), 1500–17th Century
In this period, emphasis on an origin myth underscored unities that were island-wide, area-wide, and region-wide. Ceremonies recognizing the origin myth connected five kingdoms, with Ternate depicted as the center.  1
Islam had been introduced over the turn of the century, but conversion touched only sultans and their own kin-based settlements.  2
Ternate and Tidore became the two most important centers in North Maluku, incorporating nearby areas. Expansion due to rapid increase in demand for cloves, which provided rulers with Indian cloth and iron implements, items that were highly valued.  3
Under Sultan Hairun in North Maluku, rulers of area began to become much more identifiable by European concepts of kings; Sultan Hairun took on imagery of European rulers; consequently Portuguese treated him as the leader of the Malukan world, which reinforced the authority and power exercised by this kingdom over the other polities of eastern Indonesia.  4
Portuguese killed Sultan Hairun; the Ternaten court mobilized resources of sufficient power to oust the Portuguese from Ternate; avenging his father's death gave the new sultan grounds for a campaign to make Ternate the single center in the Malukan world. He subdued Bacan and Tidore, then sent a conquering fleet to Banggai, Tobunku, Butung, and Salayar. Though some parts remained restive, the origin myth helped to underscore shared culture and the political claims of Ternate.  5
Rule of Sultan Babullah witnessed the culmination of a centralizing process that reinforced the power of this ruler in North Maluku. Before this period the sultan was still a kin-based leader; afterward, he could act without the consensus of the elders of many settlements.  6
By 1600s
Islam had spread to fellow rulers of Ternate and gradually to the rest of population. Since Muslim traders preferred to work in ports where they could find a mosque and where they could assume the protection of a Muslim ruler, the spread of Islam also brought important economic benefits to the sultan. (See The Malayan Archipelago, 1798–1908)  7
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.