When ‘Banda’ was More Valuable than New York
At one time, Island Run, a small island in the Banda Islands, Maluku, valued higher than the city of New York on Manhattan Island who was then called Nieuw Amsterdam.
That’s the irony of history, in the latter half of the 17th century, the English and Dutch repeatedly involved seizure of spice-producing areas. During it, a bag of spices worth more expensive than a bag of gold with the same weight!
Trade Union of the Dutch East Indies (VOC) and the British East Indian Trade Unions (EIC) competing and often open conflict. In fact, there was a massacre of British residents in Ambon in the Dutch fort, known as the Amboyna Massacre of the triggering of England.
Lieutenant Colonel (Ret) Navy C Kowaas, who traveled in 1964 with the KRI DewaDewa Rutji, tells the bartering between the British and Dutch territory on the island of Run and the Nieuw Amsterdam to the impact of three centuries later.
Seizing spices by Europeans in the past can be compared to the competition in the 20th century and into the-21 to fight over Middle East oil resources by developed countries and other Arab nations.
“In the year 2600 BC Egyptians used spices from Asia known to the workers who built the pyramids in order to give certain powers. From archaeological evidence it is known spices from the Moluccas. This spice business supposedly helped create the Aryan peoples migrated to the area of Child Continent, namely India, “says the book Kowaas journey with god Ship Rutji Publishers will reissue by Compass Books.
Notes Marco PoloMarco Polo travel to Asia to be a reference to the nations of Europe are trying to find a way to Asia and the source of spices. At that time, the Medieval period, trading in the Far East and Middle Eastern nations dominated Tionghoa, Arab, Indian and European merchants of Venice.
After the Western Caliphate, ie Umayyad dynasty, defeated the Spanish and Portuguese at the Andalusian peninsula, then the nations of Western Europe’s race to find a way to the Far East, the source country and spices.
Bandar Portuguese captured Malacca in 1511 as opening the way to the Moluccas Islands. In 1512, Maluku, Banda and finally found the Portuguese sailors. Western nations trading opened directly into the source of spices.
The fight lasted until the Spanish and Portuguese a century old. At the turn of the 16th century, maritime power has been transferred to two new power: the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.
England with his EIC competing with the VOC in the Indian Ocean to the islands of the archipelago.
“VOC finally mastered the Banda Islands and the Moluccas in the 17th century. However, Island Run and Ai in Banda ruled EIC. That’s very disturbing that wanted to control VOC Nusantara spice trade, “Kowaas explain further.
After repeated disputes and Anglo-Dutch War the second (1664-1667), attempted to find a compromise between the EIC and the VOC in the treaty of Breda.
Agreed VOC Nieuw Amsterdam colony handed over to the EIC. Conversely, EIC submit Island Run and the colony of Suriname in the hands of the VOC. The incident was confirmed in a treaty in 1674.
On paper, the VOC big profit because of all the spice islands were under control. However, EIC who got Nieuw Amsterdam, which they then give the name of New York, thinks for the long term by building a trading town.
Another spoke of modern history. After the industrial revolution, wealth gained from selling the final product that consumers enjoyed immediately or develop the service sector such as occurred in New York.
Banda, like other parts of the Republic of Indonesia, is still relying on the economics of selling raw materials and does not add economic value to the goods ready for consumption. Nutmeg, clove, rubber, quinine, tea, and coffee, all sold as raw product for the immediate benefit that does not amount to much. Furthermore, re-imported products ready for consumption Indonesian nation with more expensive price!
Now, three more centuries, barter Banda and New York passed. Banda Islands, the more quiet, while New York became one of the world’s commercial and cultural center. An irony of history.