In 1678 the Sultan of Ternate relinquished his claims over Gorontalo to the VOC. In 1681 the governor of the Moluccas, Robertus Padtbrugge, brought Gorontalo under the direct control of the Company, The Company didn’t want to be involved in the unstable territory too much, and the main reason the remained in the area was to keep it free of spice trees and European rivals, to control the busy indigenous shipping and to offer protection against pirates. Their merchants bought rice and sold Indian textiles. The interest of the company dramatically increased after the discovery of gold in the mountains of Gorontalo in 1720. During the 1770s, however, it became clear to the VOC that its policy of sea patrols, small forts and diplomacy weren’t enough to control the gold trade. The local rulers used the protection of the VOC to enrich themselves by selling the gold to Indonesian traders.