View of Ambon, Anonymous, c. 1617
This bird’s-eye view of the Mollucan island of Ambon has a small portrait of its first Dutch governor, Frederik Houtman, at lower right. At centre is the Portuguese Fort Victoria, which was seized by the Dutch East India Company in 1605. The raid was prompted by the lucrative clove production. Houtman initially maintained good contacts with the Ambonese chiefs, but the company mounted punitive expeditions to prevent the sale of the spice to rivals.