An Account of the Sad Mischief Befallen the Inhabitants of the Isle of Sorea, Near Unto the Molucco’s, for Which They Have Been Forced to Leave Their Countrey (From The Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Volume 19, London, 1695, abr.)

<strong>Moluccae insulae (1602) by cartographer Petrus Bertius</strong>

Moluccae insulae (1602) by cartographer Petrus Bertius

An Account of the Sad Mischief Befallen the Inhabitants of the Isle of Sorea, Near unto the Molucco’s, for Which They Have Been Forced to Leave Their Countrey. Contained in a Letter, Written in Those Parts, to the Right Worshipful, Nicholas Witzen, Burgermaster of Amsterdam, etc. in the Year 1693. And by Him Communicated to Dr. Martin Lister, S. R. S.

In the beginning of the easterly season, the isle of Sorea, situated towards the south-east of these islands, consisting for the most part of one mountain, which now is more terribly shaken than ever before, casting out abundance of fire and smoke, only with some short intermissions. And when the easterly wind had blown about six or seven weeks, till about the 4th of June, the inhabitants being almost so far used to the trembling and casting up of fire that they were careless, the mountain Sorea began early in the morning to cast out more fire than ordinary, which continued for five or six days, during which it was dark and cloudy weather, till at last it brought forth not only a most prodigious flame, but also such a black and sulphureous vapour, that the inhabitants of Hislo, a village in the western part of the island, and nearest to the opening of the mountain, were wholly covered by it, and afterwards followed a whole stream of burning brimstone, which consumed many that could not escape. Afterwards the inhabitants perceived that a part of the mountain was sunk down, and three or four days after another part; and so from time to time, until the burning lake was become almost half the space of the island. Wherefore the inhabitants went on board their vessels and boats, from whence they perceived that huge pieces of the mountain fell into this fiery lake, as into a bottomless pit, with a most prodigious noise, as if a large cannon were discharged. It was remarkable, that the more vehement the fire was, the less the island was shaken.

The inhabitants of another town, called Woroe, upon the east side of the island, not thinking themselves in so great danger, the opening or fiery lake being yet at some distance, remained a month longer, until they saw the same continually approaching them: they observed that when great pieces fell down, and that the lake became wider, the noise was so much the greater, so that they saw no likelihood but that all the island would be swallowed up; wherefore they unanimously transported themselves to Banda, leaving all their moveables for want of vessels.

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