Ternate is an island in the Maluku Islands
(Moluccas) of eastern Indonesia
. It was the center of the powerful former Sultanate of Ternate. It is located off the west coast of the larger island of Halmahera
. Like its neighbouring island, Tidore
, Ternate is a visually dramatic cone-shaped island. The islands are ancient Islamic sultanates with a long history of bitter rivalry.
The islands were once the World
's single major producer of cloves, a commodity that allowed their sultans to become amongst the wealthiest and most powerful of all sultans in the Indonesian region. In the precolonial era, Ternate was the dominant political and economic power over most of the "Spice Islands" of Maluku. Today, Ternate City is the largest town in the province of North Maluku, within which the island constitutes a municipality (kotamadya). It is, however, no longer the provincial capital, a title now held by the town of Sofifi
Ternate is dominated by the volcanic Mount Gamalama
(1715 m). An 1840 eruption destroyed most houses on the island and recent eruptions occurred in 1980, 1983, 1994 and 2011. During the latest eruption in 2011, Indonesia closed a domestic airport near the volcano for several days following ash emissions that reached 2,000 meters into the atmosphere. The foothills are home to groves of clove trees, and climbs to the peak of the volcano can be made.
Ternate lies in a very active seismic region where active volcanic activity and frequent earthquakes are common.