New York Mayor scheduled to join the "Banda People Festival 2017" in the Moluccas

20 Sep 2017

" New York Mayor, Bill de Blasio is scheduled to attend the Pesta Rakyat Banda or the People's Festival of Banda Islands in the Moluccas, to be held for one month, from 11th October to 11th November 2017 in these original Spice Islands", announced Maluku Governor Said Assagaff recently. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio will be accompanied by US Ambassador to Indonesia, Joseph R. Donovan and US Embassy diplomatic staff, and are expected to arrive in Banda on 22 October.


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The visit of the Mayor of New York is in conjunction with the 350 years commemoration of the Treaty of Breda that was signed between the Netherlands and England on 31 July 1667 in the town of Breda in Holland, in which the then lucrative Spice island of Run was exchanged by the British for New Netherlands in the USA, today's Manhattan in New York.


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The Treaty of Breda ended the second Anglo-Dutch War and was signed between England, the Netherlands, France and Denmark-Norway.

In the Treaty, the signing parties agreed that the British would relinquish Run island in the Banda archipelago in exchange for New Netherlands, the present Manhattan area in the United States, and four other areas being: New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania


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In the 17th century, the islands of Banda, and in particular the small island of Run was a most lucrative source of the rare and precious lime-free nutmegs, that in Europe could fetch the value of gold as nutmeg was not only used as a herb for cuisine, but was believed to be an aphrodisiac and hallucinogen, and more importantly was believed to be able to ward off the Black plague.


Image source: Shutterstock


Image source: Shutterstock

The Netherlands had wished to keep its hold on the monopoly of the nutmeg trade, but the island of Run that was at the time colonized by the British, stood in the way. With the Banda archipelago now firmly in its hands, the Dutch VOC believed that it had the full monopoly of the nutmeg trade. However, unknowingly, the British had brought with them the seeds, and planted these, among others, in Grenada in the Caribbean and in other countries, where nutmeg began to flourish.


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"Therefore, the Pesta Rakyat Banda 2017 also commemorates 350 years of the signing of the Treaty of Breda", said Governor Assagaff , who expects that through the Festival, the Banda Islands will again come into the global limelight , where Banda was once the focus of the world in the Quest for the Spice Islands.


Image source: Shutterstock

The Event will be filled with an array of festivities from traditional dances, music, theater, a culinary bazaar, handicrafts exhibition, to workshops on the role that the original Spice Islands played in the Age of Discovery.

Special focus will be given of course to Cuisine and Spices, and festivities on the ocean, there will be historical dialogues, besides photographic exhibition as well as a rare display of antique drawings, maps and books.


Image source: Shutterstock

Meanwhile, for avid divers, the Moluccas is one of Indonesia's most fantastic dive sites. The local government has prepared 30 dive spots, all of which are of world class quality, where its underwater life and coral reefs can easily be compared to the wealth found in the now more popular Raja Ampat islands in Papua. In the deep trenches of Banda one can find many species from small to large fish, from tuna to hammerhead sharks, which can all be found in the Moluccas.


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