Banda Lontor


Great Banda, also called Lonthor after the main village, is the biggest of the Banda Islands. On this island the Bandanese produced most of the nutmeg and mace. In 1621, Great Banda was violently conquered by Governor General Jan Pieterszoon Coen. The most numerous casualties were those Bandanese who had fled to the mountains and died there of hunger and hardship. An unknown number of Bandanese left the island by boat to settle elsewhere in the region. Around 800 Bandanese were deported to Batavia. 44 orangkaja’s (chiefs) suspected of plotting Coen’s assassination were arrested, interrogated on the rack, sentenced to death and executed. After the conquest the Bandanese nutmeg gardens were annexed, parceled up and allotted to freeburghers. The parcels are called ‘perken’, their owners ‘perkeniers.’ The owners were required to sell their nutmeg and mace to the VOC. Labour on the ‘perken’ was mostly done by slaves. The perkenier system persisted until 1873.