We nestled into the south harbor of Saparua, right in front of an imposing fort. Fort Duurstede was built by the Dutch in the 1670s.
The ruins were interesting, but other than a guest book and a guy collecting fees there was little to illuminate us about what we saw. We can speculate about the trace evidence of jail cells and the sanitation, but wish we could learn more.
The museum adjacent did have a series of dioramas (with annotations in both Indonesian and English) depicting the 19th century uprising that took place there. In the early 1800s, it was occupied by the English, then turned over to Dutch as holdings were consolidated with a bit of colonial horse trading. The local community didn’t want the Dutch back, and one man led a successful attack to take over the fort. He was given the name “Pattimura,” which means big heart, because he didn’t kill all the Dutch within- he spared the Resident’s young son.
The museum tells almost nothing about the history, purpose, or structures remaining of the fort. It is chock full of Pattimura’s story. It seemed odd at first, but we had to change our point of view. Foreign tourists of (ultimately) European origin, we’re drawn to understanding a particular aspect of the history. But most of the visitors to the fort are Indonesian, and they’re much more interested in their national hero’s role here. Pattimura, an inspiration to Sukarno, and important enough to pictured on Indonesia’s smallest denomination of currency- the 1,000 Rupiah bill.
So we roll with it. But we wish we’d brought a few headlamps, because the someone didn’t pay the electric bill and we are squinting in the dark at the displays.