Ambon Island is part of the Maluku archipelago of Indonesia. Ambon City is the capital, not only of Ambon Island but also of the Maluku Province and has a rich and interesting history. Maluku Province is the largest province in Indonesia, though mainly consists of sea.
The islands (over 1000) formerly known as the Moluccas, are the original Spice Islands which in the 16th and 17th centuries lured the major seafaring nations of Europe to come to trade and to establish their power and influence in this part of the East.
Ambon is rugged forest-covered and mountainous hinterlands.
Most of the Maluku islands are part of Wallacea, the group of Indonesian islands that are separated by the deep water from both the Asian and Australian continents. Geologically young being from 1 million to 15 million years old, and have never been attached to the larger landmasses.
There is a long history of geological study of these regions since Indonesian colonial times, however, the geological formation and progression is not fully understood, and theories of the island’s geological evolution have changed extensively in recent decades. The Maluku Islands comprise some of the most geologically complex and active regions in the world, resulting from its position at the meeting point of four geological plates and two continental blocks.
Cassava and sago are the main crops. Breadfruit, sugarcane, coffee, cocoa, pepper and cotton are also grown. Nutmeg and Cloves, the spices that first brought the Europeans to the islands, are now only produced in limited quantities.
The Portuguese were the first Europeans to land in Ambon, in 1513. Attacked on a regular basis by the native Muslims, they did not obtain peaceful possession until 1580. The Portuguese never managed to control the Spice Trade and were dispossessed by the Dutch in 1605.
Ambon was the headquarters of the Dutch East India Company from 1610 until 1619, until Batavia (now Jakarta) was founded. The British took control a couple of times in the late 1700s and early 1800s until it was once more restored to the Dutch in 1814.
Ambon used to be the world center of clove productions, until the 19th century, as the Dutch prohibited the growing of the clove-tree in all the other islands subject to their rule, securing a monopoly in Ambon.
During World War 2, Ambon was the site of a major Dutch military base. The Imperial Japanese forces captured it in 1942 and more than 300 Allied PoWs were executed in the Laha massacre. There is still a Commonwealth Anzac War Memorial in Ambon today.
The official language is Bahasa Indonesian. There is also a local dialect called Ambonese. Though Dutch was widely spoken, now English is the most popular European language.
The Ambonese are of a mix Malay-Papuan origin. They are mostly Christian or Muslims, about a 50/50 mix. Though there have been tensions is the past between the two groups, harmony has been restored. The Ambonese are very friendly. When away from the resort, be prepared to be greeted with smiles, waves and cries of ‘Hello Mister!’
Climate/Seasons best time to visit
The average temperature in Ambon is 27C (80F). Rainfall can be heavy, particularly during the eastern monsoons. June, July and August are very wet and DIA is closed during this season.
Dry monsoon between October to March and wet monsoon from May to August, which is the reverse of the rest of Indonesia.
We are closed in July and August every year, due to the South East Monsoon.
- September to mid-October: Muck Diving only
- mid-October to mid-May: Muck diving and all the clear water south and east coast sites
- mid-May to end of June: Muck Diving only
Water temperature is around 28C (82F)