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|Maluku via gettyimages.com|
The Maluku Islands, also known as the Moluccas or the Spice Islands, are a region of Indonesia lying between Sulawesi and Papua. They are divided into North Maluku Province and Maluku Province. Maluku was the first part of what is now Indonesia to be colonized by Europeans, first the Portuguese, then Spanish and finally the Dutch. As a result, many Moluccans have European names.
The islands are still somewhat off-the-beaten track for travellers. Because of their isolation and lack of infrastructure, some of the small islands are a hidden paradise. Transport can be frustrating, but the combination of pristine reefs, tropical beaches, forest-coated volcanoes, centuries-old forts and charming local culture make the effort worthwhile.
The over 632 islands Maluku are sprawled across a vast expanse of ocean, sitting astride one of the world’s most volatile volcanic belts. Maluku is blessed with incredible sea gardens, idyllic, tropical beaches and rugged, forest-coated volcanic mountains.
These are the famous Spice Islands, which drew Indian, Chinese, Arab and eventually European traders in search of cloves, nutmeg, mace and several other spices that were at the time grown only in these islands. For European traders, these spices were almost as precious as gold. In 1511, the Portuguese built their first fort in the area on the island of Ternate and cornered the clove trade. The Dutch, who arrived in 1599, mounted the first serious threat to Portuguese control of Maluku’s treasures. Armed conflicts broke out, taking a heavy toll from the islands' populations as well as the rival European powers. When the Dutch finally emerged as victors they enforced their trade monopoly with an iron fist. Whole villages were razed to the ground and thousands of islanders were massacred, especially on the island of Banda.
The British briefly occupied Maluku during the Napoleonic Wars, but Dutch rule was restored in 1814 and it wasn’t until 1863 that the compulsory cultivation of spices was abolished in the province. Now fish and other sea products are Maluku’s major sources of revenue, but nickel, oil, manganese and various kinds of timber also contribute to the province’s wealth.
The main gateway into Maluku is through the provincial capital Ambon, which is served by regular flights to most parts of the archipelago. Air and sea transportation connect the islands with 79 seaports and 25 airports. Roads on many of the islands provide access to the more remote places of interest. (adapted from https://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Maluku)
Baca juga: Contoh soal descriptive text (Manokwari)
1. Which of the following statement is true according to the text?
a. Maluku, Sulawesi, and Papua are known as the island of spices
b. There are only two provinces in the Maluku islands
c. Maluku Province is located between Papua and Moluccas
d. Maluku is now part of European countries
2. Why do people in the Maluku islands have European names?
a. Because they are part of European countries
b. Because Maluku colonialised European countries in the past
c. Because of European countries’ influence on the island
d. Because they are Indonesians
3. “…some of the small islands are a hidden paradise.” (paragraph 2)
The word ‘hidden’ in the text above has a closest meaning with…
4. Which of the following statement is incorrect about travelling in Maluku?
a. Traveller can expect to have more than enough transportations when travelling on the island
b. Travelling to Maluku will be worth your time and effort
c. It can be difficult for travellers to move around the islands due to public transports
d. Maluku offers an interesting culture to witness
5. Why did a lot of traders come to Maluku in the past?
a. They were looking for golds
b. They were trying to grow nutmeg, cloves, and other spices on the island
c. They were trying to find a new place to live
d. They were searching for spices
6. How did Dutch colonialise the Maluku islands?
a. By asking to the local people to hand their lands
b. By trading to the other traders from other countries
c. By battling against other powers
d. By planting a lot of spices on the islands
7. “The British briefly occupied Maluku during the Napoleonic Wars” (paragraph 4)
The antonym of the word ‘briefly” is…
8. Which of the following is true about Ambon?
a. It can only be accessed by flights
b. It is the capital city of Indonesia
c. It is located in the Maluku island
d. It is a hidden place
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