North Sulawesi (Indonesian Sulawesi Utara) is a province at the end of the northernmost foothills of Sulawesi and world’s eleven largest island.
Situated just north of the equator, the landscape is dominated by volcanoes up to 2000 metres high, some of which are active. The volcanic ash has provided North Sulawesi with fertile soil, where rice, coconut, cloves, vanilla, nutmeg and vegetables thrive. There is a dry and rainy season, but these are not particularly pronounced. So the whole year is the travel season.
The sea drops down to a depth of up to 6000 metres on the one hand, on the other hand countless bigger and smaller islands rise out of the water.
Sulawesi was inhabited during the ice age, when the sea level sank so low that it was part of a land bridge between Asia and Australia.
From the 13th century onwards, the traditional society was transformed by the onset of trade. The first Europeans reached the country in the early 16th century; from then on, until Indonesia‘s independence after the Second World War, it was the plaything of the colonial great powers Portugal, Great Britain and the Netherlands.
One old Indonesian name was „Bumi Nyiur Melambai“ („Land of swaying coconut palms“). Sulawesi, on the other hand, is called „iron tip“, a reference to an early export product. The name Celebes used by the Portuguese probably represents a corruption of the name Sulawesi.
North Sulawesi is inhabited by the Minahasa people who mainly profess Christianity, a peculiarity of the otherwise Muslim Indonesia, which only shares the province with the nearby Moluccas. The capital Manado has about 700000 inhabitants.
The province is predominantly agricultural, palm oil and coconuts are produced for export among other things. Fishing and fish industry are also important. The capital of the province is called Manado and is located in the administrative district Minahasa Raya.