RAJA AMPAT

"The Four Kings"

RAJA AMPAT

"The Four Kings"
Raja ampat mapRaja Ampat means "the Four Kings", a name dating back to the 15th century, when the Sultanate of Tidore - one of the muslim sultanates in the original Maluku west of Halmahera - appointed four local "rajas" in Misool, Salawati, Batanta and Waigeo. Even earlier, Seramese traders from small islands off the eastern tip of Seram had established trade settlements, sosolot, throughout the region, exchanging cloth, beads, and other products from western Indonesia for trepang, feathers, forest products and slaves from Papua.

There were also strong ties to the island of Biak east of the Bird's Head Peninsula. Rock paintings found in caves in Misool and on on the west coast of the Birds Head, as well as bronze artefacts, show that trade with other parts of Asia was already established 2 - 3,000 years ago.

Going further back, it should be noted that just 10,000 years ago, at the end of the last ice age, most of what is currently sea in this area was still land. This means that most of the early coastal settlements in this area are now submerged, and will require underwater archaeology to be found and explored.