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The Colonial Powers Arrive
After the first Portuguese and European vessel, under the stewardship of Francisco Serrao, arrived in Maluku in April 1512, the balance of power that had remained quite stable and little changed over the centuries, changed abruptly. The building of a series of forts set a new precedent in Maluku. The forts were built to ensure security as an Asian trading centre and to protect goods and people so they would not be arbitrarily seized by a local ruler. This pioneer idea later evolved into the modern concept of foreign naval bases. But it also set an immediate cultural barrier between newcomers and local people; also a local legacy of foreign naval bases.
The Portuguese power in the islands faded with their empire. The Dutch had a confrontation with them in Ambon, and expelled them. That was the end of their presence in the Banda Islands at that time.
The huge impact that these tiny and remote islands had on the European continent at that time was immense. Maluku was the most valuable piece of real estate in the world 500 years ago. Thus Henry the Navigator, Christopher Columbus, Vasco de Gama, and Ferdinand Magellan began their fates with destiny. They spread the word of god and enthusiastically secured as much spices as their boats would hold. Although the work was treacherous, a sack full of nutmeg from Banda would put a common sailor into an early retirement if he made it back to Europe alive with the legendary spices to hand.
In 1579 the Englishman Francis Drake arrived in Ternate, at nearby Halmahera, aboard the Golden Hind, taking several tons of cloves with him; and in 1603 James Lancaster arrives and raises English flag on the Banda Island of Run.
In 1602 the Dutch East India Company was formed with a base on Banda Neira Island, and in 1609 the Dutch arrive in force, thus bringing the ensuing conflict with the English into sharp focus.

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