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(tĕrnä`tā), volcanic island (c.40 sq mi/100 sq km), E Indonesia, in the Molucca Sea, one of the MoluccasMoluccas
or Spice Islands,
Bahasa Indonesia Maluku, Du. Molukken, island group and prov. (1990 pop. 1,856,075), c.32,300 sq mi (83,660 sq km), E Indonesia, between Sulawesi and New Guinea. The capital of the province is Ambon, on Ambon island.
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. Forested and mountainous, the nearly conical Ternate rises to the summit of Gamalama, or the Peak of Ternate (5,627 ft/1,715 m), the volcano whose flanks form the entire island. Extremely active, Gamalama has erupted more than 70 times since the 1500s. The principal town, also called Ternate, is an important transit port for New Guinea and Halmahera; exports include spices and copra.

Despite its small size, the island was for centuries a major spice center and one of the most important islands of the Moluccas. Ruled by a powerful sultan, it became an important Muslim center in the 15th cent. The Portuguese built a fort there in 1522. They were expelled during a native revolt in 1574. The sultan granted the spice concession to the Dutch in 1607. Popular revolts were suppressed by the Dutch in 1650 and 1683, after which the Dutch were in control until Ternate became part of Indonesia.

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



an island in Indonesia; one of the Moluccas. Situated off the western coast of Halmahera Island. Area, approximately 40 sq km. The island has an active volcano, Mount Temate, that rises to an elevation of 1,715 m. At its summit is a crater, 300 × 250 m in area, inside which are three smaller craters. Since 1538 there have been more than 60 eruptions of basalt and andesite lava. The volcano’s slopes are covered with evergreen rain forests. Rice, corn, coffee, and spices are cultivated on the island, and there is fishing. The port city of Témate is situated on the island.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Composed of three subdivisions, as a leaf with three leaflets.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.