The Minahasa
Sulawesi Utara, Indonesia

This page will give you more information about the environment, history, religion and culture of the Minahasan people, who live on the northeastern peninsula of  Sulawesi, in one of the four districts of  the province Sulawesi-Utara.

Sulawesi-Utara(North Celebes), general overview
This province covers an area of about 27,487 sq. km and is divided into four districts: Minahasa, Bolaang Mangondow, Gorontalo, and Sangihe Talaud islands.

The capital of  Sulawesi-Utara is Manado.

It is reachable by air from Ujung Pandang, Jakarta, Singapore, Surabaya, Balikpapan, Ternate, Ambon, Davao and Jayapura. Other airports in this province i.e. Gorontalo, Tahuna and Talaud are served mainly by domestic feather- line traffic.

Map of North-Sulawesi 

The Minahasan people
One of the most western oriented people, the hospitable and open-minded Minahasan people are Christians. Their first contact with the Europeans came in the 16th century with the arrival of Spaniards and Portuguese spice traders. However, it wasn't until the Dutch landed on their shores that they became totally Christianized.

The Christian Church in the center of Manado.

At the beginning of the 17th century, the cultures of  North Celebes were still dominated by the old Austronesian heritage of insular Southeast Asia. Indian influence had been negligible even in comparison with parts of the Philippines - there were no conspicuous Hindu religious accretions, no Indic scripts and very few Indian linguistic borrowings. Islam seems to have reached certain aristocratic groups via Ternate in the 1560s, but would not become an important part of folk culture in any part of North Celebes until the late nineteenth century. Contact with Spanish and Portuguese explorers began in the 1520s, and several Jesuit missionaries visited the area from 1563 onward, but only on the island of  Siau was a European presence at all sustained in the sixteenth century (De la Costa 1958:7-11; Wessels 1933). (Henley 1996:23)

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