Banda Islands, group of 10 volcanic islands, c.70 sq mi (180 sq km), E Indonesia, in the Banda Sea, in the Moluccas. The capital and commercial center is Bandanaira, a seaport on Bandanaira island. The largest island in the group is Bandalontar. Nutmeg and mace are the chief products. The islands were discovered and claimed by the Portuguese in 1512. The Dutch ousted the Portuguese in the early 1600s, and the Dutch East India Company assumed control in 1619. Conflict with the English led to the so-called Ambon massacre. Many inhabitants are Christian.