/hal'meuh her"euh, hahl'-/, n.an island in NE Indonesia: the largest of the Moluccas. ab. 100,000; 6928 sq. mi. (17,944 sq. km). Also, Halmaheira. Also called Gilolo, Jilolo.
* * *Dutch DjailoloIt is made up of four peninsulas enclosing three great bays; politically it includes the small islands of Ternate and Tidore. Its area is 6,865 sq mi (17,780 sq km). It is dominated by heavily wooded mountain chains, with three active volcanoes on the northern peninsula. The indigenous population, whose descendants inhabit the interior, were probably Papuan; the coastal people include many elements from surrounding islands. In 1683 the Dutch obtained a foothold in Halmahera with the aid of the sultan of Ternate. With the Moluccas, it was incorporated into the Republic of Indonesia in 1949.
* * *also called Djailolo , or Jailololargest island of the Moluccas (Maluku), Indonesia; administratively it is part of Maluku Utara (Northern Moluccas) provinsi (province). The island, located between the Molucca Sea (west) and the Pacific Ocean (east), consists of four peninsulas enclosing three great bays (teluk): Kau in the northeast, Buli in the east, and Weda in the southeast. Halmahera has an area of 6,865 square miles (17,780 square km), and its name means “motherland.” An isthmus connects the northern peninsula with the others and forms a bay on the western side of the island; at the mouth of this bay are the islands of Ternate, from which it is administered, and Tidore. The four peninsulas are traversed in the direction of their longitudinal axes by heavily wooded mountain chains 3,000 to 5,000 feet (900 to 1,500 metres) in height, often interrupted by plains. Parts of the chain of the northern peninsula are volcanic: three volcanoes are active, one of which, Mount Gamkonora, reaches 5,364 feet (1,635 metres). There are numerous small rivers and several lakes, and near Weda is a grotto containing stalactites.The ancient indigenous population appears to have been Papuan. The inhabitants of the interior live mostly by hunting, fishing, and collecting sago starch. The coastal people cultivate rice on temporary forest clearings and grow coconuts. Many lead a roving life of fishing, collecting forest produce, or hunting, often far beyond the home island. Headhunting was once common, particularly in the north. Some have converted to Islam and Christianity, but a kind of animism—relations with the spirits of the dead—predominates. The native languages in the island's southern part belong to the Austronesian (Malayo-Polynesian) group, with linguistic affinities to western New Guinea; the languages of the north, including Ternate, Tidore, and Morotai, are unrelated to any other linguistic stock. The traditional house in northern Halmahera is octagonal, and villages consist of one-family houses grouped around a square, in the middle of which is a temple. The chief towns are Gani in the south; Pantani in the southeast; Weda in the centre; and Kau, Tobelo, Galela, Laloda, Sahu, and Jailolo on the northern peninsula.The Portuguese and Spaniards were well acquainted with Halmahera, calling it alternately Batu Tjina and Moro. The name Djailolo was that of a native state on the western coast of the island whose sultan held chief rank among the Moluccan princes before he was supplanted (1380) by the sultan of Ternate. The Dutch obtained a footing in Halmahera with the aid of the latter, and he held claim to the northern half of the island, with the southern half under the sultan of Tidore for as long as the Dutch controlled the Indies. After World War II Halmahera was part of the state of East Indonesia, and it was incorporated into the Republic of Indonesia after the country gained independence from the Dutch in 1949.
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