“The island can be smelled before it can be seen…” The opening line of Nathaniel’s Nutmeg is among the most evocative of accounts of the approach to the Banda Islands. Giles Milton’s book presents the story of how the English came to the island of Run (Pulau Rhun) in 1616 and persuaded the islanders to grant them a monopoly over their nutmeg, in defiance of the Dutch, who were striving to control the supply of nutmeg on a global level.
Milton writes of the Dutch:
“Faced with competition from both the English and Portuguese, they changed their goal from trade to conquest—the conquest of the Banda Islands—and they pursued this with a brutality that shocked even their own countrymen. But on the island of Run they were to meet their match. What happened on that remote atoll, just two miles long and half a mile wide, was to have consequences that no one could ever have imagined.
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The book is priced at Rp. 395,000. 10% of direct sales go to sustainability initiatives on the islands. For more information on the causes we support, click here.