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22. Indonesia, Pulau Rhun history

Thursday, February 26, 2015

This cheerful card was sent by Wahyu from Indonesia, as a prize for winning her lottery. Thank you again Wahyu! Lately I found very interesting trivia about Indonesia and it's perfect time to share it with you! It was found by Wirawan Winarto, at Quora.

An Indonesian island was once exchanged for New York

Among 18,000 islands of Indonesia, there is a small island named Pulau Rhun (or Roon/Run). Little known about the history of this insignificant island in Maluku. It looks like just another tranquil and underdeveloped island with a few fishermen boats docked on its bay. But what does Rhun have to do with Manhattan (New York)?

In 17th century, Rhun was a producer of nutmeg (Myristica fragrans), an essential and expensive spice of that era. Rhun was of great economic importance because of the value of the spices nutmeg, which was found exclusively in Maluku. While the rest of Maluku was occupied by the Dutch, this island was occupied by the British since 1603. The British and The Dutch fought for this islands on several occasions. Because the Dutch felt the existence of the British will threaten its monopoly for that particular spices which were only found in Maluku. The Dutch was successfully drove the The British away on 1620.

But the conflict just did not stop. The British were trying to win the island back. According to the Treaty of Westminster (1654) ending the First Anglo-Dutch War, Rhun should have been returned to England. The first attempt in 1660 failed because of formal constraints by the Dutch. 

After the second attempt in 1665, the English traders were expelled in the same year, the Dutch destroyed the nutmeg trees. The conflict was ended by Treaty of Breda (1667), which was stating that the British would hand Rhun islands to the Dutch, in exchange for Manhattan. Manhattan, at that time was a Dutch settlement called New Amsterdam, finally was handed to The British who changed the name of New Amsterdam into New York.... and the rest is history.


  1. Mam tą pocztówkę w ulubionych, jest piękna :)
    Lubię kartki z lokalnymi ludźmi, zajęciami oraz strojami.







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