The explorers reached Amboyna and Ternate, after gaining some knowledge of Java, Madura, Sumbawa and other islands, possibly including New Guinea.
By the Dutch, in whose residency of Amboyna they are included, they are politically divided into two districts; Larat, including the inhabited islands of Larat, Vordate, Molu, and Maro, together with many uninhabited islands; and Sera, including the Sera Islands, Selaru, and the southern part of Yamdena, all inhabited.
Chinese tombs are among the objects that strike the traveller's attention at Amboyna and other ancient settlements.
The vegetation is also rich, and Amboyna produces most of the common tropical fruits and vegetables, including the sago-palm, bread-fruit, cocoa-nut, sugar-cane, maize, coffee, pepper and cotton.
Granite and serpentine rocks predominate, but the shores of Amboyna Bay are of chalk, and contain stalactite caves.
The Dutch were already too strongly entrenched in the Indian archipelago for English competition to avail there, and the intense rivalry between the two nations led to the tragedy of Amboyna in 1623, when Governor Van Speult put to torture and death nine Englishmen on a charge of conspiring to take the Dutch forts.
Thus, the species inhabiting Sumatra, Java and Borneo are almost always much smaller than the closely allied species of Celebes and the Moluccas; the species or varieties of the small island of Amboyna are larger than the same species or closely allied forms inhabiting the surrounding islands; the species found in Celebes possess a peculiar form of wing, quite distinct from that of the same or closely allied species of adjacent islands; and, lastly, numerous species which have tailed wings in India and the western islands of the Archipelago, gradually lose the tail as we proceed eastward to New Guinea and the Pacific.
The Portuguese were the first European nation to visit Amboyna (1511).
The massacre of Amboyna in 1623 led the English East India Company to retire from the Eastern seas to the continent of India, and thus, though indirectly, contributed to the foundation of the British Indian empire.