Written by Marco Ramerini. English text revision by Dietrich Köster.
This research aims to want to shed light on an aspect of the history of the Moluccas islands that is still largely unexplored. Its purpose is to trace through the study of manuscripts and other documents a preliminary framework of the fortifications, the Spanish had built on the island of Tidore, one of the Moluccas, the fabled Spice Islands, during the years 1521-1663.i
As is well known, already from the Magellan expedition (1521) the Spaniards tried several times to gain control of the Spice Islands at the expense of the Portuguese, with whom they had often bitter differences. The Spaniards established alliances with the kings of Tidore and Jailolo and Spanish troops were on the islands during the years 1527-1534 and 1544-1545. The failure to discover a way back across the Pacific, however, prevented them to compete with the Portuguese naval power. In 1529 Spain and Portugal signed an agreement concerning the Moluccas the Treaty of Zaragoza, with whom the King of Spain abandoned all claims on the islands, at least nominally, in exchange for 350,000 ducats.
The first period of interest of the Spaniards in the Moluccas was characterized by the struggle against the Portuguese for the control of the islands. It began with the arrival of the Magellan expedition in 1521 and ended in 1545 with the surrender to the Portuguese Army of Villalobos. Between these two expeditions the Spaniards sent other fleets, including those of Loaisa (1527) and Saavedra (1528) as well as the unfortunate adventure of the Grijalva expedition (1538). The expedition of Villalobos was prepared after the Treaty of Zaragoza. For this reason the expedition was directed to unspecified Spice Islands not yet occupied by Portugal. The center of all these activities of the Spaniards remained throughout this period the island of Tidore.
To be continued by: The first contacts of the Spaniards with the island of Tidore and the first Spanish fort.
The Italian version is complete: Italian version
- The Spanish forts on the island of Tidore, 1606-1663