Ambon, Maluku

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Coordinates: 3°42′S128°10′E / 3.700°S 128.167°E / -3.700; 128.167


City of Ambon
Kota Ambon
Ambon City of Music.jpg
Patung Pattimura.jpg
Teluk Ambon.jpg
Ambon Stad2.jpg
Jembatan Merah Putih Kota Ambon.jpg
Bandara Pattimura.jpg
Gong Perdamaian Dunia Ambon.jpg
From top, left to right: "Ambon City of Music" sign, Pattimura statue, panoramic view of Ambon Bay, governor office of Maluku, Merah Putih Bridge, Pattimura International Airport, and World Peace Gong.
Lambang Ambon.png
Bersatu Manggurebe Maju
Locator map of Ambon City in Maluku.png
Location within Maluku
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Location in Maluku and Indonesia
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Red pog.svg
Ambon (Indonesia)
Coordinates: 3°42′S128°10′E / 3.700°S 128.167°E / -3.700; 128.167
Country Flag of Indonesia.svg  Indonesia
Province Flag of Maluku.svg  Maluku
Incorporated7 September 1575
  MayorRichard Louhenapessy
  Vice MayorSyarif Hadler
  Total359.45 km2 (138.78 sq mi)
3 m (10 ft)
 (2020 Census)
  Density970/km2 (2,500/sq mi)
Area code (+62) 911
Ambon and Lease Islands (Uliasers) en.png

Ambon is the capital and largest city of the Indonesian province of Maluku. This city is also known as Ambon Manise, which means "beautiful" or "pretty" Ambon. It covers a land area of 298.61 km2, and had a population of 331,254 at the 2010 Census and 347,288 at the 2020 Census. [1] The city is divided into five administrative districts (kecamatan) - namely Nusaniwe, Sirimau, Teluk Ambon (Ambon Bay), Baguala and Leitimur Selatan (South Leitimur). Known as Indonesia's music city, [2] [3] [4] Ambon became the first city in Southeast Asia to be recognised as the UNESCO City of Music in 2019. [5]

The city is populated by a mix of ethnic Alifuru (original Moluccans), Javanese, Balinese, Butonese, Bugis, Makassar, Papuan, Minahasa, Minang, Flobamora (Flores, Sumba, Alor and Timor ethnics) and those of foreign descent (Chinese, Arabian-Ambonese, Spanish-Ambonese, German-Ambonese, Portuguese-Ambonese and Dutch-Ambonese). Between 1999 and 2002, there was social unrest motivated by racial intolerance.


Colonial era

Ambon was colonized by Portugal in 1526 and originally named Nossa Senhora de Anunciada, founded by Portuguese-Moluccan Governor Sancho de Vasconcelos. The Portuguese were driven out by the Dutch in 1609. Except for brief periods of British rule, the island remained under Dutch control until Indonesia's independence in 1945.

Amboina in the 17th century under Portugal. Amboina. 17th century print, most likely English..jpg
Amboina in the 17th century under Portugal.

During the Dutch period, Ambon was the seat of the Dutch resident and military commander of the Maluku Islands. The town was protected by Fort Victoria, and the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica characterized it as "a clean little town with wide streets, well planted". [6] The population was divided into two classes, orang burger (citizens) and orang negri (villagers), the former being a class of native origin enjoying certain privileges conferred on their ancestors by the old Dutch East India Company. There were also, besides the Dutch, some Arabs, Chinese and a few Portuguese settlers.

On 22 December 1902, the Apostolic Prefecture of Dutch New Guinea was established in the city, later to be promoted as the Diocese of Amboina.

Indonesian military forces evacuate refugees from Ambon. Ambon refugees, 1999.jpg
Indonesian military forces evacuate refugees from Ambon.

Ambon Island was the site of a major Dutch naval base, captured by the Japanese in 1942. Ambon was a center of Christian missionary activity, and Ambon and the surrounding islands have many Christians as well as the Muslims that predominate in most of Indonesia.

Conflicts since independence

In 1950 Ambon was the center of an uprising against Indonesian rule, caused by the self-proclaimed Republic of the South Moluccas. Indonesian troops invaded the city during the Invasion of Ambon and reasserted control in just a few months. Many important buildings such as the Victoria Fort (APRMS main base) were heavily damaged during the confrontation.

In April and May 1958 during the Permesta rebellion in North Sulawesi, the USA supported and supplied the rebels. Pilots from a Taiwan-based CIA front organisation, Civil Air Transport, flying CIA B-26 Invader aircraft, repeatedly bombed and machine-gunned targets in and around Ambon. On 27 April a CIA raid set fire to a military command post, a fuel dump and a Royal Dutch Shell complex. [7] The attack on Shell was deliberate: the CIA had orders to hit foreign commercial interests in order to drive foreign trade away from Indonesia and undermine its economy. [8] The next day, the same CIA pilot bombed Shell interests at Balikpapan in East Kalimantan on Borneo, which persuaded Shell to suspend tanker services from there. [9]

On 28 April a CIA air raid damaged an Indonesian Army barracks next to a marketplace. [10] On 30 April a CIA air raid hit the airstrip. [11] On 7 May a CIA air raid attacked Ambon airstrip, seriously damaging a Douglas C-47 Skytrain and an Indonesian Air Force North American P-51 Mustang and setting fire to a number of fuel drums. [12] On 8 May a CIA B-26 tried to bomb an Indonesian Navy gunboat in Ambon harbour. [13] Its bomb missed but it then machine-gunned the boat, wounding two crew. [13] The Indonesian National Armed Forces reinforced Ambon City's anti-aircraft defences with a number of 12.7 mm (0.5 in) machine guns. [13] On 9 May a CIA B-26 attacked the city again. [13] The machine-gunners returned fire and an Indonesian Air Force P-51 Mustang chased the B-26, but it escaped. [13]

On 15 May a CIA B-26 attacked a small ship, the Naiko, in Ambon Bay. [14] The Naiko was a merchant ship that the Indonesian Government had pressed into military service, and she was bringing a company of Ambonese troops home from East Java. [15] A CIA bomb hit the Naiko's engine room, killing one crew member and 16 infantrymen [15] and setting the ship on fire. [14] The B-26 then attacked Ambon city, aiming for the barracks. Its first bomb missed and exploded in a market-place next door. [14] The next landed in the barracks compound but bounced and exploded near an ice factory. [14] The B-26 in the May air raids was flown by a CAT pilot called Allen Pope. [15] On 18 May Pope attacked Ambon again. First he raided the airstrip again, destroying the C-47 and P-51 that he had damaged on 7 May. [16] Then he flew west of the city and tried to attack one of a pair of troop ships being escorted by the Indonesian Navy. [17] Indonesian forces shot down the B-26 but Pope and his Indonesian radio operator survived and were captured. [18] Pope's capture immediately exposed the level of CIA support for the Permesta rebellion. Embarrassed, the Eisenhower administration quickly ended CIA support for Permesta and withdrew its agents and remaining aircraft from the conflict. [19]

As part of the transmigration program in the 1980s, the Suharto government relocated many migrants, most of them Muslim, from densely overpopulated Java.[ citation needed ]

Between 1999 and 2002, Ambon was at the centre of sectarian conflict across the Maluku Islands. [20] [21] There was further religious violence in 2011. [22]

Geography and climate


Most of the land area can be classified as hilly to steeply sloping, while 17% of the land area can be classified as more flat or shallow-sloped.


Ambon experiences a tropical rainforest climate (Af) according to Köppen Climate Classification as there is no real dry season. The driest month is November with total precipitation of 114 millimetres (4.5 in), while the wettest month is June with total precipitation of 638 millimetres (25.1 in). As it is located near the equator, the temperature throughout the year is constant. The hottest month is December, with an average temperature of 27.2 °C (81.0 °F), while the coolest month is July, with an average temperature 25.0 °C (77.0 °F). [23]

Climate data for Ambon, Maluku, Indonesia (Extremes: 1912-1936)
Record high °C (°F)35.5
Average high °C (°F)31.3
Daily mean °C (°F)27.0
Average low °C (°F)24.1
Record low °C (°F)22.2
Average rainfall mm (inches)127
Average rainy days121312121921222116101013181
Average relative humidity (%)79808385878685848381808283
Mean monthly sunshine hours 1921862111771581201151121501922192022,034
Source 1: Deutscher Wetterdienst [23]
Source 2: Danish Meteorological Institute [24]

Administrative districts

Government office in Ambon. Ambon Stad2.jpg
Government office in Ambon.

The city is divided into five districts (kecamatan), tabulated below with their areas and their 2010 Census and 2020 Census populations. [25]

Teluk Ambon93.6838,45143,363
Leitimur Selatan
(South Leitimur)

Like other regions in the (Maluku)[ clarification needed ], areas in Ambon are still considered as states led by kings and queens.

NusaniweUrimessing, Benteng, Wainitu, Kudamati, Waihaong, Manggadua, Nusanive, Amahusu, Latuhalat, Seilale
SirimauWaihoka, Amantelu, Rijali, Karangpanjang, Batumeja, Batugajah, Ahusen, Honipopu, Uritetu, Pandankasturi, Galala, Hative, Batumerah, Soya
Southern LeitimorHatalai, Naku, Kilang, Ema, Hukurila, Hutumuri, Rutong, Leahari
BagualaWaiheru, Nania, Negrilama, Passo, Lateri, Latta, Halong
Ambon BayLaha, Tawiri, Greater Hative, Wayame, Rumatiga, Tihu, Poka, Hunuth


Based on the 2010 census, the city was populated by 331,254 people; in the 2020 Census, this had reached 348,288 people. In 2010, the religious breakdown in Ambon was 58.37% Protestant, 39.02% Muslim, 2.41% Catholic, 3% other.

The Cathedral of Ambon The Cathedral of Ambon.jpg
The Cathedral of Ambon
Religions in Ambon


Economic growth rate of Ambon City in 2014 was 5.96%. Gross Domestic Regional Product in 2014 both at current market price and at constant market price was increasing gradually. The increase, if compared to 2013 GDRP at current market price equal to 12.76 percent and 5.96 percent for GDRP at constant market price. The GDRP at current market price in Ambon 2014 was equal to Rp.9.9 trillion, whereas for GDRP at constant 2010 market price, it was equal to Rp.7.77 trillion. [26]

In 2014, the gross domestic product per capita of Ambon based on current prices grew by 8.3 percent, while for the constant price in Ambon City grew by 1.7 percent. GDP per capita of Ambon City in 2014 is 25.16 Million (U $1,836.43). The poverty rate in the city of Ambon is 4.42% which is the smallest percentage of poverty in the province of Maluku. [26]

All twenty one economic sectors in 2014 saw positive growth for GDRP of Ambon. For GDRP at current market price, the highest contribution was provided by the electricity and gas Sector with 34.2 percent, while the lowest was human health and Social Work activities with 6.61 percent.[ citation needed ]


The literacy rate was 99.63% in 2010. However, the school enrollment rate in Ambon City was only 73% in 2010, whereas the national average was 96%. In 201. The enrollment rates in Ambon City were 98.72% in the primary education level, 95% in junior high, 78% in high school, and 45% in college or university.[ citation needed ]

Currently, the city has 17 higher education institutions. These are:

  1. Pattimura University
  2. Ambon State Polytechnic
  1. College of Protestant Christianity Ambon
  2. Trinity College of Administrative Sciences
  3. Abdul Aziz Kataloka College of Administrative Sciences
  4. Rutu Nusa College of Economics Management
  5. Pasapua College of Health
  6. University of Darussalam Ambon
  7. Christian University of Indonesia Maluku
  8. Maritime Academy Maluku
  9. Caritas Secretary and Management Academy
  10. Ambon College of Computer Sciences
  11. Indonesian Islamic Religion Institute Ambon
  12. Industrial Academy ( AKPER RUKMIT ) Ambon
  13. Evangelical Theology College Indonesia
  14. Bethel Theology College Ambon
  15. St. Yohanes College Ambon

Places of interest

The Fort Victoria is a Portuguese and Dutch heritage fortress located in the heart of Ambon City Benteng Victoria.jpg
The Fort Victoria is a Portuguese and Dutch heritage fortress located in the heart of Ambon City


Ambon is served by Pattimura International Airport.

Twin towns – sister cities

Ambon is twinned with:

Related Research Articles

Ambon Island Island of Indonesia

Ambon Island is part of the Maluku Islands of Indonesia. The island has an area of 743.37 km2 (287.02 sq mi) and is mountainous, well watered, and fertile. Ambon Island consists of two territories - the city of Ambon to the south and various districts (kecamatan) of the Central Maluku Regency to the north. The main city and seaport is Ambon, which is also the capital of Maluku province, while those districts of Maluku Tengah Regency situated on Ambon Island had a 2020 Census population of 128,069. Ambon has an airport and is home to the Pattimura University and Open University, state universities, and a few private universities, which include Darussalam University and Universitas Kristen Indonesia Maluku (UKIM).

North Maluku Province of Indonesia

North Maluku is a province of Indonesia. It covers the northern part of the Maluku Islands, bordering the Pacific Ocean to the north, the Halmahera Sea to the east, the Molucca Sea to the west, and the Seram Sea to the south. The provincial capital is Sofifi on the largest island of Halmahera, while the largest city is the island city of Ternate. The population of North Maluku was 1,038,087 in the 2010 census, making it one of the least-populous provinces in Indonesia, but by the 2020 Census the population had risen to 1,282,937.

Saparua Island in Maluku, Indonesia

Saparua is an island east of Ambon Island in the Indonesian province of Maluku; the island of Haruku lies between Saparua and Ambon. The main port is in the south at Kota Saparua. The island of Maolana is located near its southwestern side and Nusa Laut off its southeastern tip.

Balikpapan largest city in East Kalimantan, Indonesia

Balikpapan is a seaport city in East Kalimantan, Indonesia. Located on the east coast of the island of Borneo (Kalimantan), the city is the financial center of Kalimantan and the main gateway to the new capital of Indonesia. Balikpapan is the city with the largest economy in Kalimantan with an estimated 2016 GDP at Rp 73.18 trillion. The city has both the busiest airport and seaport in Kalimantan, namely Sultan Aji Muhammad Sulaiman Sepinggan Airport and Port of Semayang. With a population of 688,318 as at the 2020 Census, Balikpapan is the second most populous city in East Kalimantan, after Samarinda. Balikpapan has been consistently ranked as one of the most liveable cities in Indonesia.

Civil Air Transport (CAT) was a Nationalist Chinese airline, later owned by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), that supported United States covert operations throughout East and Southeast Asia. During the Cold War, missions consisted in assistance to "Free World" allies according to the Mutual Defense Assistance Act of 1949.

Maluku (province) Province of Indonesia

Maluku is a province of Indonesia. It comprises the central and southern regions of the Maluku Islands. The main city and capital of Maluku province is Ambon on the small Ambon Island. The land area is 62,946 km2, and the total population of this province at the 2010 census was 1,533,506 people, rising to 1,848,923 at the 2020 Census. Maluku is located in Eastern Indonesia. It is directly adjacent to North Maluku and West Papua in the north, Central Sulawesi, and Southeast Sulawesi in the west, Banda Sea, East Timor and East Nusa Tenggara in the south and Arafura Sea and Papua in the east.

Republic of South Maluku

South Maluku, also South Moluccas, officially the Republic of South Maluku, is an unrecognized secessionist republic that claims the islands of Ambon, Buru, and Seram, which make up the Indonesian province of Maluku.


Permesta was a rebel movement in Indonesia, its name based on the Universal Struggle Charter that was declared on 2 March 1957 by civil and military leaders in East Indonesia. Initially the center of the movement was in Makassar, which at that time was the capital of the province of Sulawesi. However, support for the movement in South Sulawesi gradually dissipated, forcing the headquarters to move to Manado in North Sulawesi. On 17 February 1958, Permesta joined forces with the Revolutionary Government of the Republic of Indonesia based in Sumatra that declared a revolutionary government two days earlier. Following successful attacks by government forces (TNI) from the Indonesian central government on the PRRI in Sumatra, the conflict swung to the east where the Permesta rebels were based. Manado was captured at the end of June 1958. However, the Permesta rebels continued their resistance, fighting a guerrilla campaign against the TNI until the last remnants surrendered and were given amnesty in 1961. The conflict killed 4,000 government soldiers and 2,000 Permesta rebels.

Allen Lawrence Pope

Allen Lawrence Pope is a retired US military and paramilitary aviator. He rose to international attention as the subject of a diplomatic dispute between the United States and Indonesia after the B-26 Invader aircraft he was piloting in a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) covert operation was shot down over Ambon on 18 May 1958 during the "Indonesian crisis".

Pattimura International Airport

Pattimura International Airport is an airport in Ambon, Maluku. The airport is located 38 kilometers west of the city of Ambon. The airport was named after Pattimura, an Indonesian national hero who fought against the Dutch colonialists in the nineteenth century. Pattimura Airport is an airport located in Ambon City, Maluku Province, Indonesia. The airport also caters for domestic and overseas trips. The airport is 35 kilometers outside Ambon City with travel time approximately 30–45 minutes. At this airport there are immigration facilities, quarantine, customs, cargo building, restaurant, public phone, and post office. Pattimura Airport Ambon is a very strategic area in the Maluku Islands which is divided into two provinces namely, North Maluku and Maluku. Pattimura Ambon Airport is located in Ambon Island, located in Maluku Province.


Thomas Matulessy, also known as Kapitan Pattimura or simply Pattimura, was an Ambonese soldier and National Hero of Indonesia from Maluku.

Maluku sectarian conflict

The Maluku Islands sectarian conflict was a period of ethno-political conflict along religious lines, which spanned the Indonesian islands that compose the Maluku archipelago, with particularly serious disturbances in Ambon and Halmahera islands. The duration of the conflict is generally dated from the start of the Reformasi era in early 1999 to the signing of the Malino II Accord on 13 February 2002.

Morotai Island in North Maluku Province, Indonesia

Morotai Island is an island in the Halmahera group of eastern Indonesia's Maluku Islands (Moluccas). It is one of Indonesia's northernmost islands.

William Henry Beale Jr. was a US military and paramilitary aviator. In the Second World War, he was in the USAAF and flew bombing missions in the northern Pacific theater. In the Permesta rebellion in Indonesia in 1958 he flew bombing missions for the CIA. His career ended on a CIA covert mission in Laos in 1962 when he was killed in a plane crash.

SS <i>San Flaviano</i> 1950s British oil tanker sunk by the CIA

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MV <i>Daronia</i>

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SS Aquila was a cargo ship built in Britain in 1940 for Stavros Livanos' Trent Maritime Co Ltd. by William Gray & Company. An identical sister, SS Duke of Athens, was made for Trent at the same time.

SS Flying Lark was a ship built in Fredrikstad, Norway in 1915 as the banana boat SS Honduras. Over a 43 year career that spanned oceans and seas the world over she had 10 owners, eight names and a succession of different managers.

SS Armonia was a 2,740 GRT cargo ship built in Britain in 1924 for the Moor Line as SS Tullochmoor. Scrapped in 1960, she had eight sets of owners, managers and names over her 26-year career.

Invasion of Ambon Indonesian military operation against Republic of South Maluku

The Invasion of Ambon was a combined Indonesian military operation which aimed to seize and annex the self proclaimed Republic of South Maluku.


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