Banda Neira


The VOC had a trading post on the island of Banda-Neira from 1599. In 1609, Fort Nassau was constructed on the location of an earlier fortification. The construction of the fort and the murder of admiral Pieter Willemsz Verhoeff by Bandanese triggered a war between the VOC and Banda-Neira that same year. The VOC won, after which the Bandanese had to cede the island. In 1612, another fort, named Belgica, was erected on a hilltop behind fort Nassau, in order to protect it from a possible Bandanese landside attack. Fort Nassau was the seat of the ‘gouvernement’ Banda, which would come to consist of the Banda Islands, the Southeastern Islands and the Southwestern Islands. Banda-Neira and the other Banda Islands, were (virtually) the only place in the world where nutmeg trees grew. Between 1609 and 1621 the VOC conquered all of Banda, including the nutmeg gardens belonging to the Bandanese. In this way the VOC obtained a monopoly on nutmeg and mace. From 1621 onwards, the annexed gardens were parceled up by the VOC and allotted to freeburgers. The parcels were called ‘perken’, their owners ‘perkeniers’. Most of the work in these ‘perken’ was done by slaves. The ‘perkeniers’ were required to sell their produce to the VOC. The ‘perkenier’ system was only abolished in 1873.