On our recent trip to the Banda Sea, Julie and I visited the Banda Islands. These islands are in the middle of nowhere, and would have been forgotten in history if it weren’t for one small detail: they were the only islands in the world where the spice nutmeg grew. In the 16th and 17th century these tiny little islands were the center of the spice trade, and therefore the center of many sea battles. My native country The Netherlands (Holland) played a big, and sometimes sinister, part in all the trade and fighting.
Even back then corporate power was almost equal to the power of kings and queens, especially the company called VOC, which in English is known as the Dutch East-Indies Company. It was a major trading company, and had large stakes in the spice trade, and therefore the spice islands.
During our short stay on Banda Neira, where an old dutch fort still dominates the harbor, we found some locals selling old VOC coins. The locals find them when they build houses or work on the fields and I bought one that is more than 250 years old. There are lots of them in dutch museums so it’s not that rare, but it’s a nice reminder of this trip to the past.