Seram, formerly Ceram (both: sāˈräm) [key], island, c.6,600 sq mi (17,100 sq km), E Indonesia, W of New Guinea, second largest of the Moluccas; also called Seran or Serang. Its chief port and town is Masohi. Traversed by a central mountain range rising to 9,905 ft (3,019 m) at Mt. Binaiyi, the island is c.210 mi (340 km) long and c.40 mi (60 km) wide. The interior has dense rain forests and is largely unexplored. Copra, resin, sago, and fish are important products. Oil is exploited in the northeast near Bula. Portuguese missionaries were active there in the 16th cent. Dutch trading posts were opened in the early 17th cent., and the island came under nominal Dutch control c.1650.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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