Coordinates: 0°41′N 127°24′E / 0.683°N 127.400°E / 0.683; 127.400
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City of Tidore Islands
Kota Tidore Kepulauan
Tidore Island, as seen from Ternate Island.
Tidore Island, as seen from Ternate Island.
Coat of arms of Tidore
Toma Loa Se Banari
(The Conscience of the People)
Location within Maluku Islands
Location within Maluku Islands
Tidore is located in Maluku and Western New Guinea
Location in Maluku, Halmahera and Indonesia
Tidore is located in Halmahera
Tidore (Halmahera)
Tidore is located in Indonesia
Tidore (Indonesia)
Coordinates: 0°41′N 127°24′E / 0.683°N 127.400°E / 0.683; 127.400
Country Indonesia
RegionMaluku Islands
Province North Maluku
 • MayorAli Ibrahim
 • Vice MayorMuhammad Senin
 • City1,703.32 km2 (657.66 sq mi)
 • Metro
150.12 km2 (57.96 sq mi)
 (mid 2022 estimate)
 • City118,247
 • Density69/km2 (180/sq mi)
 • Metro
 • Metro density440/km2 (1,100/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+9 (Indonesia Eastern Time)
Area code(+62) 921
Vehicle registrationDG

Tidore (Indonesian: Kota Tidore Kepulauan, lit. "City of Tidore Islands") is a city, island, and archipelago in the Maluku Islands of eastern Indonesia, west of the larger island of Halmahera. Part of North Maluku Province, the city includes the island of Tidore (with three smaller outlying islands) together with a large part of Halmahera Island to its east. In the pre-colonial era, the Sultanate of Tidore was a major regional political and economic power, and a fierce rival of nearby Ternate, just to the north.


Tidore Island consists of a large stratovolcano which rises from the seafloor to an elevation of 1,730 m (5,676 ft) above sea level at the conical Mount Kie Matubu on the south end of the island. The northern side of the island contains a caldera, Sabale, with two smaller volcanic cones within it.

Soasio is Tidore's capital. It has its own port, Goto, and it lies on the eastern edge of the island. It has a mini bus terminal and a market. The sultan's palace was rebuilt with completion in 2010.[2]


Tidore was the center of a spice-funded sultanate that arose in the 15th century. It spent much of its history in the shadow of Ternate, another sultanate with which it had a dualistic relationship.[3]

Islam spread to Tidore around the late 15th century but Islamic influence in the area can be traced further back to the late 14th century.[4]

The sultans of Tidore ruled most of southern Halmahera, and, at times, controlled Buru, East Ceram and many of the islands off the coast of New Guinea.[5] Tidore established an alliance with the Spanish in the sixteenth century, and Spain had several forts on the island. There was mutual distrust between the Tidorese and the Spanish but for the Tidorese the Spanish presence was helpful in resisting the incursions of the Ternateans and their ally the Dutch, who had a fort on Ternate. For the Spanish, backing the Tidore state helped check the expansion of Dutch power that threatened their nearby Asia-Pacific interests, provided a useful base right next to the centre of Dutch power in the region and was a source of spices for trade.[6]

Although nominally part of the Spanish East Indies in the later sixteenth century and well into the seventeenth century, the Tidore sultanate established itself as one of the strongest and most independent states in the region. After the Spanish left in 1663, it continued to resist direct control by the Dutch East India Company (the VOC). Particularly under Sultan Saifuddin (r. 1657–1687), the Tidore court was skilled at using Dutch payment for spices for gifts to strengthen traditional ties with Tidore's traditional peripheral territories. As a result, he was widely respected by many local populations, and had little need to call on foreign military help for governing the kingdom, unlike Ternate which frequently relied upon Dutch military assistance.[7]

Tidore long remained an independent state, albeit with growing Dutch interference, until the late eighteenth century. Like Ternate, Tidore allowed the Dutch spice eradication program (extirpatie) to proceed in its territories.[8] This program, intended to strengthen the Dutch spice monopoly by limiting production to a few places, impoverished Tidore and weakened its control over its periphery.

In 1780 Tidore was forced to sign a treaty that reduced it to a Dutch vassal. The discontented Prince Nuku left Tidore and declared himself Sultan of the Papuan Islands. This was the beginning of a guerilla war which lasted for many years.[9] The Papuans, south-east Halmaherans and east Ceramese sided with the rebellious Prince Nuku. The British sponsored Nuku as part of their campaign against the Dutch in the Moluccas. Captain Thomas Forrest was intimately connected with Nuku and represented the British as ambassador. Nuku could finally take Tidore in 1797 and helped the British to conquer Ternate in 1801.[10] However, his successor Zainal Abidin was expelled by Dutch forces in 1806 and Tidore was firmly brought under colonial rule.[11]

The sultanate was abolished in the Sukarno era and re-established in 1999 with the 36th sultan.[3] Tidore was largely spared from the sectarian conflict of 1999 across the Maluku Islands.[3]


Tidore Island featured on the Indonesian 1,000-rupiah banknote

The island, together with three smaller islands (Mare, Maitara and Filonga) and an adjacent much larger section (called "Oba") of Halmahera Island, constitutes a municipality (kotamadya) within the province of North Maluku. It is officially called the "Tidore Islands City" because it includes four islands (the main island of Tidore, plus the three nearby smaller islands of Mare, Maitara and Filonga) as well as the Oba area on mainland Halmahera (also including minor offshore islands). The municipality covers an area of 1,703.32 square kilometres (657.66 sq mi) and had a 2010 Census population of 90,530;[12] the 2020 Census produced a total of 114,480[13] and the official estimate as at mid 2022 was 118,247.[1]

It is divided into eight districts (kecamatan), of which four constitute the island of Tidore (including the three small islands) and the other four constitute the Oba area on the 'mainland' of Halmahera. These are tabulated below with their areas (in sq km) and their populations at the 2010 Census[12] and the 2020 Census,[13] together with the official estimates as at mid 2022.[1] The table also includes the locations of the district administrative centres, the number of administrative villages in each district (totaling 49 rural desa and 40 urban kelurahan), and its post code.

Name of
English name Area
mid 2022
82.72.01 Tidore (a) (Tidore town,
or Soasio)
36.08 18,477 22,975 23,610 Tomagoba 13 - 97811
82.72.04 Tidore Selatan (b) South Tidore 42.40 13,129 14,671 14,770 Gurabati 6 2 97821
82.72.05 Tidore Utara (c) North Tidore 37.64 14,573 17,294 17,610 Rum 10 4 97823
82.72.08 Tidore Timur East Tidore 34.00 7,657 9,608 9,890 Tosa 7 - 97822
(totals on
Tidore Island
150.12 53,836 64,548 65,880 36 6
82.72.02 Oba Utara (d) North Oba 376.00 13,331 19,552 20,740 Sofifi 2 (e) 11 97827
82.72.06 Oba Tengah Central Oba 424.00 7,659 10,096 10,490 Akelamo 1 13 97826
82.72.03 Oba Oba 403.67 10,337 13,628 14,160 Payahe 1 12 97824
82.72.07 Oba Selatan South Oba 196.58 4,892 6,656 6,960 Lifofa - 7 97825
(totals on
Halmahera Island
1,400.25 36,219 49,932 52,350 4 43

Notes: (a) including Filonga Island to the northeast of Tidore Island. (b) including Mare Island (with an area of 11 km2), to the south of Tidore. (c) including Maitara island, to the northwest of Tidore (and between Tidore and Ternate), with an area of 2 km2 and about 3,600 inhabitants.
(d) including the town of Sofifi, which since 2010 has been the provincial capital of North Maluku. (e) Sofifi and Guraping.


  1. ^ a b c Badan Pusat Statistik, Jakarta, 2023, Kota Tidore Kepulauan Dalam Angka 2023 (Katalog-BPS 1102001.8272)
  2. ^ Kompas
  3. ^ a b c Witton, Patrick (2003). Indonesia. Melbourne: Lonely Planet. pp. 827–828. ISBN 1-74059-154-2.
  4. ^ Azra, Azyumardi (2006). Islam in the Indonesian World: An Account of Institutional Formation. Mizan Pustaka. pp. 39–40. ISBN 978-979-433-430-0.
  5. ^ Leonard Andaya (1993) The world of Maluku. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, p. 99-110.
  6. ^ Leonard Andaya (1993), p. 169-74.
  7. ^ Leonard Andaya (1993), p. 190-2.
  8. ^ Muridan Widjojo (2009) The revolt of Prince Nuku: Cross-cultural alliance-making in Maluku, c. 1780-1810. Leiden: Brill, p. 33-7.
  9. ^ Muridan widjojo (2009), p. 55-8.
  10. ^ Muridan Widjojo (2009), p. 75-88.
  11. ^ Muridan Widjojo (2009), p. 88-94.
  12. ^ a b Biro Pusat Statistik, Jakarta, 2011.
  13. ^ a b Badan Pusat Statistik, Jakarta, 2021.
  • Andaya, Leonard Y. 1993. The world of Maluku: eastern Indonesia in the early modern period. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 0-8248-1490-8.
  • Hanna, Willard A. & Des Alwi. 1990. Turbulent times past in Ternate and Tidore. Banda Naira: Rumah Budaya Banda Naira.

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