Steven van der Haghen reports about Tidore

Official letter by admiral Steven van der Haghen of 18 july 1616
from Maleije on Ternate to the VOC chamber of Amsterdam
Dutch National Archives, access no.: 1.04.02 (VOC), file 1063, folio 50r - 54v;

[folio 51v]
From there they [the English] sailed to the Spaniards and anchored under the fortresses of Tidore. The [Dutch] governor joined them there with the ships from the Magellan fleet [note 1] staying just outside gun range, in order to prevent the supply of gloves from other places.
The English traded with the Spaniards rice against gloves. I learned that they obtained 40 or 50 bahars.
From there the sailed to the coast of Gilolo. I arrived june 13th with 7 ships from Amboyna and seeing them near the coast waiting for provision of gloves, I sent 4 ships to stay with them in order to prevent this. Upon this they returned anchoring under the fortress of the Spaniards and Tidore. Our ships followed them again. They remained there another 4 or 8? days. Because there was nothing for them to do there, they raised sail again direction (around the ?) south. Our 4 ships followed them until they were out of sight [folio 52r] above Makian setting? direction (around the) south.

Spot 5 satellite image of Ternate (upper left) and Tidore (lower center)
The red area on the eastern side of Ternate indicates Ternate city where the sultan had his palace and the Dutch their main fortress, Orange. The place of the 3 Spanish fortresses on Tidore is believed to be on the South-Eastern side of the island but remains open to discussion. The main island Halmahera is on the right side of the image

.[folio 53v]..........
About 7 or 8 months ago, the people from Ternate and Tidore have concluded a trÍve or truce with another.
The prince from Tidore went often to Maleye. He comes to make love with the queen widow of Gilolo [note 2] with whom he sleeps every night that he stays in Maleye following the customs of the Moors.
We supposed that the people from Tidore were tired of the Spanish. That this prince was not a friend of the Spaniards and that all hands together, the prince, the king his father and our forces, we could beat the Spaniards out of the Moluccas. Or that they would remain quiet and let us alone with the Spaniards. But up until now there is no indication that we can trust him. The people from Ternate would like to see that we undertake [folio 54r] a raid on Tidore but we can neither trust the king nor the prince of Tidore.
We possess an important naval force here but very few people to take such a job in hands against 3 fortresses on Tidore, strong by nature, build upon rocks and cliffs near (or: against?) the mountains with each fortress being able to shoot the other.
So it has been decided by resolution to leave this off and look with 8 or 10 ships for the enemy in the Philippines, seeing what adventure the Lord will accord us there.

Official letter by admiral Steven van der Haghen of august 20th, 1618,
written in the fortress of Nofaquia op Makian to the VOC chamber of Amsterdam
Dutch National Archives, access no.: 1.04.02 (VOC), file 1068, folio 252r - 258r; the original letter

[folio 254v........
The third English ship with destination Pulau Ron this year, left his commander near Boquewons ??? . It sailed to the Moluccas and stayed some time under the Spanish fortresses under Tidore. They exchanged with the king of Tidore 2 or 3 guns together with ammunition of war against gloves. She laid so close to the shore that she could almost reach the cliffs with a pike.

[note 1] the fleet of Van Spilbergen that had sailed through the Strait of Magellan to the East Indies, arriving in april 1616 in Ternate;
note 2: On 17th century maps (ex. "India qua orientalis dicitur" in the "Atlas Major" by Joan Blaeu, dedicated to governor Reael !), Gililo was both the name of a town, nowadays Jailolo, and the entire island of Halmahera.

this page was added on august 20, 2004