Moluccas[mō luk′əz, mə-]
group of islands of Indonesia, between Sulawesi & New Guinea: 28,767 sq mi (74,506 sq km); pop. 1,742,000
also Molucca Islands
A group of islands of eastern Indonesia between Sulawesi and New Guinea. Inhabited by various Malay and Papuan peoples, the islands were colonized first by the Portuguese in the 1500s and later fell to the Dutch in the 1600s. The Moluccas, long known as the “Spice Islands,” have historically provided much of the world's cloves, nutmeg, and mace.