from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • An island of eastern Indonesia in the northern Moluccas east of northeast Sulawesi. Settled by the Portuguese (1522–1574), it was subjugated by the Dutch in 1683.


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  • It was during his second stay on Ternate that Alfred Russell Wallace first experienced an earthquake. The world of books is full of such trivia.

    The Malay Archipelago, Vol. II.

    November 21, 2012

  • "... For the spices they sought grew on only two tiny archipelagoes, each of which is barely larger than a speck on the best modern map. ... No such maps existed in 1500. To locate them among the sixteen thousand or so islands of the archipelago was to find a needle in a haystack.

    The northernmost of those specks is the home of the clove, in what is today the province of Malaku, in the easternmost extremity of Indonesia. Each of the five islands of the North Moluccas is little more than a volcanic cone jutting from the water, fringed by a thin strip of habitable land. From the air, they resemble a row of emerald witches' hats set down on the ocean. Ternate, one of the two principal islands, measures little more than six and a half miles across, tapering at the center to a point more than a mile high. In the phrase of the Elizabethan compiler Samuel Purchas, Ternate's volcano of Gamalama is 'angrie with Nature,' announcing its regular eruptions by spitting Cyclopean boulders into the atmosphere to an altitude of 10,000 meters, like the uncorking of a colossal champagne bottle...."

    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 28-29

    November 28, 2016