The island mistaken for Manhattan – Blog Indonesia

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Not many people know that the island of Manhattan which is now part of New York was swapped for two small islands in eastern Indonesia. These island groups are called the Banda Islands and this is where the nutmeg comes from. In addition to its artistic-looking fruit, nutmeg was a valuable spice ingredient that motivated the British and Dutch to colonize these small islands.

It was the Dutch East India Company (VOC) that came to Banda Island in 1621 to colonize the islands. Although they controlled most of the islands, some of the remote ones (Run and Ai) were colonized by Captain Nathaniel Courthope, the commander of the small English force, in an attempt to break the Dutch monopoly. However, in 1667, following the signing of the Treaty of Breda, the two islands were exchanged for the island of Manhattan, thus ensuring the Dutch monopoly on nutmeg.

Band Island
Nutmeg fruit (Photo by Ian Yeo ON Unsplash)

The Banda Islands were hugely popular in the early 1900s where the likes of rock superstars such as Mick Jagger and aristocracy such as Lady Diana (Princess of Wales) visited and stayed on the islands.

Nowadays, the Banda Islands is a hotspot for SCUBA divers, thanks to its exquisite marine life, picturesque islands and the promise of a glimpse of the schooling hammerhead sharks that make their annual migration passing through the Banda Islands.

The Banda hammerhead season has a very small window, starting in September and ending in November. While there’s no guarantee that you’ll see hammerheads (or any hammerheads for that matter) schooling during your trip, the odds are great enough to entice SCUBA divers from around the world to dip their gills into the Banda Sea.

With hammerhead season approaching, you may want to make the journey to Banda Neira. One of the best options is to join a diving cruise. We have several travel plans available for 7 days/6 nights cruises which you can easily read here. The trip starts and ends in Ambon, making it easily accessible when taking return flights to/from Ambon.

This year, don’t miss your chance to explore the rich culture and history of the Banda Islands and encounter the highly anticipated hammerhead sharks. For more travel information, contact us anytime on our live chat!

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