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The Moluccas, known as the Spice Islands during the era of colonisations, are an island group in the Indonesian archipelago. Inhabited by Malay peoples, the islands were contested by the Spanish, Portuguese and English but ended up under firm Dutch control by the 16th century. During the decolonisation process many Moluccans sided with the Dutch East Indies Army. This, and the centralism exerted by Java after Indonesia's independence in 1949, led to the proclamation of the Republic of the South Moluccas in 1950. The rebellion was crushed, but a government in exile continues to operate, not recognised by any country.