Benteng Nassau

Fortress in Bandaneira

Quietly crumbling among tropical foliage, Nassau was the scene of the Banda Massacre, the greatest obscenity in the violent history of Dutch Banda. The fort was built in 1609, against the wishes of the orang kaya (local leaders) by Dutch Admiral Verhoeff, on foundations abandoned by the Portuguese 80 years earlier.

The Bandanese, fearing Dutch control, ambushed and executed some 40 Dutch ‘negotiators’, including Verhoeff himself. Unfortunately, the party also contained Jan Pieterszoon Coen, who was to become the fourth governor general of the Dutch East Indies, and who retaliated (in 1621) with the infamous beheading and quartering of 44 orang kaya within the fortress. What followed was the virtual genocide of the Bandanese population.