This is a story that never ceases to fascinate. Whenever I give a ‘Spice Islands’ book talk, I am always asked “Is it true that the island of Run was exchanged for Manhattan?”
Manhattan is often referred to as the ‘capital of the world’, this densely populated island on the Hudson River is home to the United Nations where the world’s political leaders decide the fate of nations and Wall Street is undoubtedly the financial capital of the world.
However, before Manhattan there was New Amsterdam.
And before New Amsterdam, there was the island of Run.
The island of Run?
The island of Run, only 3 km long and 1 km wide, is a speck on the map of Eastern Indonesia. It is part of the six Banda islands which surround a central volcano in the middle of the Banda Sea. To reach these tiny islands we sailed overnight from…
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I would have thought the great deal for Alaska from the Russians would have been the biggest coup.