, just to the north. The island - with other islands to the south - now constitutes a municipality ("kotamadya") within the province of North Maluku. The municipality covers an area of 1,550 square kilometres (598 square miles) and had an estimated population of 78,617 in July 2003.


The sultans of Tidore ruled most of southern Halmahera, and, at times, controlled Buru, Ambon and many of the islands off the coast of New Guinea. Tidore established a loose alliance with the Spanish in the sixteenth century, and Spain had several forts on the island. While there was much mutual distrust between the Tidorese and the Spaniards, for Tidore the Spanish presence was helpful in resisting incursions by their Dutch enemy on Ternate, as well as their Dutch ally, that had a fort on that island.

Before the Spanish withdrawal from Tidore and Ternate in 1663, Tidore became one of the most independent kingdoms in the region, resisting direct control by Dutch East India Company (VOC). Particularly under Sultan Saifuddin (r. 1657-1689), the Tidore court was skilled at using Dutch payment for spices for gifts to strengthen traditional ties with Tidore's traditional periphery. As a result he was widely respected by many local populations, and had little need to call on the Dutch for military help in governing the kingdom, as Ternate frequently did.

Tidore remained an independent kingdom, albeit with frequent Dutch interference, until the late eighteenth century. Like Ternate, Tidore allowed the Dutch spice eradication program ("extirpatie") to proceed in its territories. This program, indended to strengthen the Dutch spice monopoly by limiting production to a few places, impoverished Tidore and weakened its control over its periphery.


* Andaya, Leonard Y. 1993. "The world of Maluku: eastern Indonesia in the early modern period". Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 0-8248-1490-8.
* [http://www.colonialvoyage.com/molucche/0_index.html The History of the Spanish Presence in the Moluccas (Indonesia): the Spanish Forts in Tidore Island, Maluku, Indonesia by Marco Ramerini]


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