Morotai Island North Maluku Indonesia
Morotai Island (Indonesian: Pulau Morotai) is an island in the Halmahera group of eastern Indonesia’s Maluku Islands (Moluccas). It is one of Indonesia’s northernmost islands.
Morotai is a rugged, forested island lying to the north of Halmahera. It has an area of some 1,800 square kilometres (690 sq mi), stretching 80 kilometres (50 mi) north-south and no more than 42 kilometres (26 mi) wide. The island’s largest town is Daruba, on the islands south coast. Almost all of Morotai’s numerous villages are coastal settlements; a paved road linking those on the east coast starts from Daruba and will eventually reach Berebere, the principal town on Morotai’s east coast, 68 kilometres (42 mi) from Daruba. Between Halmahera and the islets and reefs of the west coast of Morotai is the Morotai Strait, which is about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) wide.
During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, Morotai was generally within the sphere of influence of the powerful sultanate on the island of Ternate. It was the core of a larger region, called Moro, that included the island and the coastline of Halmahera closest to Morotai to the south.
In the mid-sixteenth century, the island was also the site of a Portuguese Jesuit mission. The Muslim states on Ternate and Halmahera resented the outpost for its proselytising activities, and managed to drive the mission from the island in 1571, as a part of a larger Portuguese retreat in the region. In the seventeenth century, Ternate further exerted its power over Morotai by repeatedly forcing major parts of the population to move off the island. Early in the century most of the population was moved to Dodinga, a small town in a strategic spot on Halmahera’s west coast. Later, in 1627 and 1628, Sultan Hamzah of Ternate had much of the Christian population of the island moved to Malayu, on Ternate, where they could be more easily controlled.