The island was visited (1512) by the Portuguese, who made it a religious and military headquarters. It was captured by the Dutch in 1605. An English outpost there was destroyed (1623) by the Dutch in what is called the Ambon massacre. Ambon was temporarily under British rule from 1796 to 1802 and again from 1810 to 1814. The town was the site of a major Dutch naval base captured (1942) by the Japanese in World War II, and it was the scene (1950) of a revolt against the Indonesian government during the short-lived South Moluccan Republic. After the end of Dutch rule, it was a source of major immigration to the Netherlands. As a result of continued violence between rebels and government troops, many Ambonese emigrated to the Netherlands. The island has been the scene of Muslim-Christian violence in recent years.
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