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Morotai Island (Indonesian: Pulau Morotai) is an island located in the Halmaheramarker group of eastern Indonesiamarker's Maluku Islandsmarker (Moluccas). It is governed as a regency called Morotai Island Regency Kabupaten Pulau Morotai until October 2008 when it was split into 5 regencies, of North Maluku province, and is one of Indonesia's most northerly islands.


During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, Morotai was generally within the sphere of influence of the powerful sultanate on the island of Ternatemarker. It was the core of a larger region, called Moro, that included the island and the coastline of Halmahera closest to Morotai to the south.

In the mid-sixteenth century, the island was also the site of a Portuguesemarker Jesuit mission. The Muslim states on Ternate and Halmahera resented the outpost for its proselytising activities, and managed to drive the mission from the island in 1571, as a part of a larger Portuguese retreat in the region. In the seventeenth century, Ternate further exerted its power over Morotai by repeatedly forcing major parts of the population to move off the island. Early in the century most of the population was moved to Dodinga, a small town in a strategic spot on Halmahera's west coast. Later, in 1627 and 1628, Sultan Hamzah of Ternate had much of the Christian population of the island moved to Malayu, on Ternate, where they could be more easily controlled.

World War 2 History

The island was captured by the Japanesemarker in early 1942. Morotai's southern plain was taken by Americanmarker forces in September 1944 during the Battle of Morotaimarker, and used as a staging point for the Allied invasion of the Philippinesmarker in early 1945, and of Borneomarker in May and June of that year. Japanese soldier Teruo Nakamura was discovered in the Morotai jungle in 1974, as one of the WW2 Japanese soldiers who did not surrender.


The island is heavily wooded and produces timber and resin.

See also


  • Andaya, Leonard (1993). The world of Maluku: eastern Indonesia in the early modern period. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.
  • Villiers, John (1988). Las Yslas de Esperar en Dios: The Jesuit Mission in Moro 1546-1571. Modern Asian Studies 22(3):593-606.

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