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Ai

The Bandanese island of Ai was an important producer of nutmeg. The murder of the VOC admiral Pieter Willemsz verhoeff in 1609 on the island of Bandaneira and subsequent events eventually precipitated a war between the VOC and Ai. The VOC decided to conquer the island because of the lively spice trade. The English East India Company also traded there. The first invasion in 1615 was an abject failure and the VOC was driven back. The second attempt in 1616 did succeed. The population managed to save itself by fleeing to other islands. To prevent the island from being retaken a fort was built with the fitting name Revenge. The VOC immediately repopulated the island, mostly Asians, to continue the cultivation of nutmeg. In 1621 the nutmeg forest was parceled up by the VOC and distributed to burghers, free citizens. The parcels were called ‘perken’, their owners ‘perkeniers.’ The perkeniers were obliged to sell all of their production to the VOC. Half of these parcels was distributed to Asians, half to European colonists. Most of the work on the parcels was done by slaves.

historical name

Ai

Aij

Ay

Pulowaij

country Indonesia
region Ai Island
function island
fortification(s) fort Revenge

Literature