Aceh Sultanate

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Kingdom of Aceh Darussalam
Keurajeuën Acèh Darussalam
كاورجاون اچيه دارالسلام

Flag of Aceh Sultanate.svg
Alam Peudeung Mirah
Bendera aceh.svg
Coat of arms
Aceh Sultanate en.svg
Extent of Aceh Sultanate during the reign of Iskandar Muda, 1608–1637.
Status Protectorate of the Ottoman Empire (1569–1903)
Capital Kutaraja, Bandar Aceh Darussalam (modern Banda Aceh)
Common languages Acehnese, Malay, Arabic
Sunni Islam
Ali Mughayat Syah
Muhammad Daud Syah
 Coronation of the first Sultan
  Aceh War
CurrencyNative gold and silver coins
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Blank.png Pasai
Dutch East Indies Flag of the Netherlands.svg
Today part ofFlag of Indonesia.svg  Indonesia
Flag of Malaysia.svg  Malaysia
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History of Indonesia
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The Sultanate of Aceh, officially the Kingdom of Aceh Darussalam (Acehnese : Keurajeuën Acèh Darussalam; Jawoë: كاورجاون اچيه دارالسلام), was a Sultanate centered in the modern-day Indonesian province of Aceh. It was a major regional power in the 16th and 17th centuries, before experiencing a long period of decline. Its capital was Kutaraja, the present-day Banda Aceh.

Acehnese language Malayo-Polynesian language spoken by Acehnese people natively in Aceh, Sumatra Island

The Acehnese language is a Malayo-Polynesian language spoken by Acehnese people natively in Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia. This language is also spoken by Acehnese descendants in some parts of Malaysia like Yan, in Kedah.

Jawi alphabet Arabic alphabet for writing the Malay language, Acehnese, Banjarese, Minangkabau, Tausug and several other languages

Jawi is an Arabic script for writing Malay, Acehnese, Banjarese, Minangkabau, Tausūg and several other languages in Southeast Asia.

Indonesia Republic in Southeast Asia

Indonesia, officially the Republic of Indonesia, is a country in Southeast Asia, between the Indian and Pacific oceans. It is the world's largest island country, with more than seventeen thousand islands, and at 1,904,569 square kilometres, the 14th largest by land area and 7th in the combined sea and land area. With over 267 million people, it is the world's 4th most populous country as well as the most populous Muslim-majority country. Java, the world's most populous island, is home to more than half of the country's population.


At its peak it was a formidable enemy of the Sultanate of Johor and Portuguese-controlled Malacca, both on the Malayan Peninsula, as all three attempted to control the trade through the Strait of Malacca and the regional exports of pepper and tin with fluctuating success. In addition to its considerable military strength, the court of Aceh became a noted centre of Islamic scholarship and trade.

Johor Sultanate sultanate

The Sultanate of Johor was founded by Malaccan Sultan Mahmud Shah's son, Sultan Alauddin Riayat Shah II in 1528. Johor was part of the Malaccan Sultanate before the Portuguese conquered Malacca's capital in 1511. At its height, the sultanate controlled modern-day Johor, Riau, and territories stretching from the river Klang to the Linggi and Tanjung Tuan, Muar, Batu Pahat, Singapore, Pulau Tinggi and other islands off the east coast of the Malay peninsula, the Karimun islands, the islands of Bintan, Bulang, Lingga and Bunguran, and Bengkalis, Kampar and Siak in Sumatra. In 1564 the Ottomans conquered the Sultanate during the Ottoman expedition to Aceh. During the colonial era, the mainland part was administered by the British, and the insular part by the Dutch, thus breaking up the sultanate into Johor and Riau. In 1946, the British section became part of the Malayan Union. Two years later, it joined the Federation of Malaya and subsequently, the Federation of Malaysia in 1963. In 1949, the Dutch section became part of Indonesia.

Portugal Republic in Southwestern Europe

Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic, is a country located mostly on the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe. It is the westernmost sovereign state of mainland Europe, being bordered to the west and south by the Atlantic Ocean and to the north and east by Spain. Its territory also includes the Atlantic archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira, both autonomous regions with their own regional governments.

Malacca State of Malaysia

Malacca, dubbed "The Historic State", is a state in Malaysia located in the southern region of the Malay Peninsula, next to the Strait of Malacca.

Foundation and rise

Aceh's early history is unclear, but in one version it was founded by the Cham people. The Acehnese language is one of the 10 languages of the Aceh-Chamic language group. According to the Sejarah Melayu (Malay Annals), the Champa king Syah Pau Kubah had a son Syah Pau Ling who escaped when the capital Vijaya was sacked by the Vietnamese Lê dynasty in 1471, and who later founded the Aceh kingdom.

Champa kingdom in South-East Asia

Champa or Tsiompa was a collection of independent Cham polities that extended across the coast of what is today central and southern Vietnam from approximately the 2nd century AD before being absorbed and annexed by Vietnamese Emperor Minh Mạng in AD 1832. The kingdom was known variously as nagara Campa in the Chamic and Cambodian inscriptions, Chăm Pa in Vietnamese and 占城 (Zhànchéng) in Chinese records.

Vijaya (Champa) Cham capital

Vijaya was a city-state in the ancient kingdom of Champa in what is now the South Central Coast region of Vietnam. It was the capital of Champa for several centuries until it was conquered by Vietnam in 1471.

Lê dynasty

The Later Lê dynasty, sometimes referred to as the Lê dynasty, was the longest-ruling dynasty of Vietnam, ruling the country from 1428 to 1789, with a brief six-year interruption of the Mạc dynasty usurpers (1527–1533). Vietnamese historians usually distinguish the 100-year Primitive Lê Dynasty from 256-years of figurehead emperors of the Revival Lê dynasty following the dynasty's restoration by powerful warlords.

The ruler of Aceh converted to Islam in the mid-15th century. [1] The Sultanate was founded by Ali Mughayat Syah, who began campaigns to extend his control over northern Sumatra in 1520. [2] His conquests included Deli, Pedir, and Pasai, and he attacked Aru. His son Alauddin al-Kahar (d. 1571) extended the domains farther south into Sumatra, but was less successful in his attempts to gain a foothold across the strait, though he made several attacks on both Johor and Malacca, [3] with the support along with men and firearms from Suleiman the Magnificent's Ottoman Empire. [1] The Ottoman Empire sent a relief force of 15 Xebecs commanded by Kurtoğlu Hızır Reis.

Ali Mughayat Syah Sultan of Aceh

Sultan Ali Mughayat Syah was the first sultan of Aceh in northern Sumatra, reigning from about 1514 until his death. Although he was not the first ruler of the Aceh heartland, he is considered the founder of the greater Aceh kingdom. His time also saw the emergence of the long struggle with the Portuguese for the political and economic supremacy in the Melaka Straits. Sultan Ali's life and career are nevertheless ill-chronicled, and have to be pieced together from various Acehnese, Malay and European accounts.

Sultanate of Deli Malay state in eastern Sumatra (1632–1946)

Sultanate of Deli was a 1,820 km² Malay state in east Sumatra founded in 1630. A tributary kingdom from 1630 it was controlled by various Sultanates until 1814, when it became an independent sultanate and broke away from the Sultanate of Siak.

Aru Kingdom early Islamic polity in northeast Sumatra between the 13th and 16th centuries

The Aru was a major Sumatran kingdom from the 13th to the 16th century. It was located on the eastern coast of North Sumatra, Indonesia. In its heyday the kingdom was a formidable maritime power, and was able to control the northern part of the Malacca strait.

On 21 June 1599 a Dutch captain, Cornelius Houtman arrived at "Acheen" aboard the Lioness as the first of three planned voyages to the East Indies. The crew stayed for three months acquiring pepper and other spices. British crew member John Davis claims the party was subsequently attacked by the local warlord with the loss of 68 dead and captured. After they arrived, they were permitted by the Sultan to purchase pepper, during the same year as representatives of the English East India Company under the command of James Lancaster arrived. He returned in 1602 bearing a letter from English Queen Elizabeth I. [4] [5]

East Indies region encompassing South (Indian subcontinent) and Southeast Asia

The East Indies or the Indies are the lands of South and Southeast Asia. In a more restricted sense, the Indies can be used to refer to the islands of Southeast Asia, especially the Indonesian Archipelago and the Philippine Archipelago. The name "Indies" is used to connote parts of Asia that came under the Indian cultural sphere.

John Davis (explorer) English explorer and navigator

John Davis was one of the chief navigators of Queen Elizabeth I of England. He led several voyages to discover the Northwest Passage and served as pilot and captain on both Dutch and English voyages to the East Indies. He discovered the Falkland Islands in August 1592.

East India Company 16th through 19th-century British trading company

The East India Company (EIC), also known as the Honourable East India Company (HEIC), East India Trading Company (EITC), or the British East India Company, and informally known as John Company, Company Bahadur, or simply The Company, was an English and later British joint-stock company. It was formed to trade in the Indian Ocean region, initially with Mughal India and the East Indies, and later with Qing China. The company ended up seizing control of large parts of the Indian subcontinent, colonised parts of Southeast Asia, and colonised Hong Kong after a war with Qing China.

The Sultan from 1589 to 1604 was Alauddin Riayat Shah ibn Firman Shah. Internal dissension in the Sultanate prevented another powerful Sultan from appearing until 1607 when Iskandar Muda came to the position. He extended the Sultanate's control over most of Sumatra. He also conquered Pahang, a tin-producing region of the Malayan Peninsula, and was able to force the Sultans of Johor to recognise his overlordship, if temporarily. During his reign, he created a code of laws known as Adat Meukuta Alam (Adat meaning "customs", or "customary rules"). The strength of his formidable fleet was brought to an end with a disastrous campaign against Malacca in 1629 when the combined Portuguese and Johor forces managed to destroy all his ships and 19,000 troops according to Portuguese account. [6] [7] [5] Aceh's forces were not destroyed, however, as Aceh was able to conquer Kedah within the same year and taking many of its citizens to Aceh. [7] The Sultan's son in law, Iskandar Thani, former prince of Pahang later became his successor. During his reign, Aceh focused on internal consolidation and religious unity.

Iskandar Muda Sultan of Aceh

Iskandar Muda was the twelfth Sulṭān of Acèh Darussalam, under whom the sultanate achieved its greatest territorial extent, and was the strongest power and wealthiest state in the western Indonesian archipelago and the Strait of Malacca. "Iskandar Muda" literally means "young Alexander," and his conquests were often compared to those of Alexander the Great. In addition to his notable conquests, during his reign, Aceh became known as an international centre of Islamic learning and trade.

Pahang Sultanate

The Pahang Sultanate also referred as the Old Pahang Sultanate, as opposed to the Modern Pahang Sultanate, was a Malay Muslim state established in the eastern Malay peninsular in 15th century. At the height of its influence, the Sultanate was an important power in Southeast Asian history and controlled the entire Pahang basin, bordering to the north, the Pattani Sultanate, and adjoins to that of Johor Sultanate to the south. To the west, it also extends jurisdiction over part of modern-day Selangor and Negeri Sembilan.

Tin Chemical element with atomic number 50

Tin is a chemical element with the symbol Sn (from Latin: stannum) and atomic number 50. Tin is a silvery metal that characteristically has a faint yellow hue. Tin, like indium, is soft enough to be cut without much force. When a bar of tin is bent, the so-called tin cry can be heard as a result of sliding tin crystals reforming; this trait is shared by indium, cadmium, and frozen mercury. Pure tin after solidifying keeps a mirror-like appearance similar to most metals. However, in most tin alloys (such as pewter) the metal solidifies with a dull gray color. Tin is a post-transition metal in group 14 of the periodic table of elements. It is obtained chiefly from the mineral cassiterite, which contains stannic oxide, SnO2. Tin shows a chemical similarity to both of its neighbors in group 14, germanium and lead, and has two main oxidation states, +2 and the slightly more stable +4. Tin is the 49th most abundant element on Earth and has, with 10 stable isotopes, the largest number of stable isotopes in the periodic table, thanks to its magic number of protons. It has two main allotropes: at room temperature, the stable allotrope is β-tin, a silvery-white, malleable metal, but at low temperatures, it transforms into the less dense grey α-tin, which has the diamond cubic structure. Metallic tin does not easily oxidize in air.

After the reign of Sultan Iskandar Thani, Aceh was ruled by a series of female Sultana. Aceh's previous policy of taking hostages from conquered kingdoms' population [7] made them eager to seek independence, the results were Aceh's control weakened while regional rulers gained effective power. The Sultan ultimately became a largely symbolic title. [8] By the 1680s, a Persian visitor could describe a northern Sumatra where "every corner shelters a separate king or governor and all the local rulers maintain themselves independently and do not pay tribute to any higher authority." [9]

Culture and economy

A ceramic plate made by Chinese Hui Muslims found in the Aceh Sultanate in the 17th century. Aceh Islamic plate (Ming dynasty).jpg
A ceramic plate made by Chinese Hui Muslims found in the Aceh Sultanate in the 17th century.

Aceh saw itself as heir to Pasai, the first Islamic state in Southeast Asia, and succeeded Islamic missionary work of Malacca after it was conquered by the Roman Catholic Portuguese. It was called the "porch of Mecca," and became a centre of Islamic scholarship, where the Qur'an and other Islamic texts were translated into Malay. [1] Its notable scholars included Hamzah Fansuri, Syamsuddin of Pasai, Abdurrauf of Singkil, and the Indian Nuruddin ar-Raniri. [10]

Aceh gained wealth from its export of pepper, nutmeg, cloves, betel nuts, [11] and, once it conquered Pahang in 1617, tin. Low-interest rates and the use of gold currency strengthened its economy. [12] It was always somewhat fragile economically, however, because of the difficulty in providing enough surplus food to support the military and commercial adventures of the state. [13] As Aceh lost political cohesion in the 17th century, it saw its trading importance yielded to the Dutch East India Company, who became the dominant military and economic power in the region following the successful siege of Malacca in 1641. [9]

Later years and conquest by the Dutch

Tuanku Muhammad Daud Syah Johan Berdaulat, the last Sultan of Aceh. COLLECTIE TROPENMUSEUM Portret van de Sultan van Atjeh TMnr 10001853.jpg
Tuanku Muhammad Daud Syah Johan Berdaulat, the last Sultan of Aceh.

In 1699 Sultan Badr al-alam Syarif Hasyim Jamal ad-din ascended to the throne, the first male to rule in almost 60 years. He was succeeded by several short-lived rulers, and in 1727 a member of the Buginese dynasty, Sultan Ala ad-din Ahmad Shah took power. In the late 18th and early 19th Centuries, Koh Lay Huan  – the first Kapitan Cina of Penang, had good contacts with the English-and-French-speaking Sultan of Aceh, Jauhar al-Alam. [14] The Sultan allowed Koh to gather pepper plants in Aceh to begin pepper cultivation in Penang. Later, about 1819, Koh helped Sultan Jauhar al-Alam put down a rebellion by Acehnese territorial chiefs. [14] [15]

In the 1820s, as Aceh produced over half the world's supply of pepper, a new leader, Tuanku Ibrahim, was able to restore some authority to the Sultanate and gain control over the "pepper rajas" who were nominal vassals of the Sultan by playing them off against each other. He rose to power during the Sultanate of his brother, Muhammad Syah, and was able to dominate the reign of his successor Sulaiman Syah (r. 1838–1857), before taking the Sultanate himself, under the title Sultan Ali Alauddin Mansur Syah (1857–1870). He extended Aceh's effective control southward at just the time when the Dutch were consolidating their holdings northward. [16]

Britain, heretofore guarding the independence of Aceh to keep it out of Dutch hands, re-evaluated its policy and concluded the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of Sumatra, which allowed for Dutch control throughout Sumatra in exchange for concessions in the Gold Coast and equal trading rights in northern Aceh. The treaty was tantamount to a declaration of war on Aceh, and the Aceh War followed soon after in 1873, with the Dutch making the unfounded excuses that Aceh was sponsoring piracy and preparing to conclude a treaty with the United States. As the Dutch prepared for war, Mahmud Syah (1870–1874) appealed for international help, but no one was willing or able to assist. [17]

In early 1874 the Sultan abandoned the capital after the palace was captured on 31 January, withdrawing to the hills, while the Dutch announced the annexation of Aceh. He would die of cholera, as did many combatants on both sides, but the Acehnese proclaimed a grandson of Tuanku Ibrahim Sultan. The local rulers of Acehnese ports nominally submitted to Dutch authority to avoid a blockade, but they used their income to support the resistance. [18]

During this time, many Acehan politicians sought aid from the Ottoman Empire. Their efforts were futile, but they did serve to inspire resistance movements across south-east Asia. Local resistance in northern Sumatra then passed to the local lords and potentates, and then to the religious leaders. However, an adviser of the Sultan, Abd al-Rahman al-Zahir, soon returned to take command of the independence movement, fell out with the revolutionary leaders, and promptly agreed to surrender himself to the Dutch in exchange for a lifetime pension in Mecca.

The Dutch, now hounded by locals and cholera alike, fortified their coastal positions and began a slow siege of the entire country, conducted by General van Pel. The capital, in particular, was surrounded by forts connected by railways. The Dutch made another serious attempt to finally pacify the country in 1884, but it quickly slowed down and suffered from popular criticism. Dutch armies were finally able to make progress between 1898 and 1903, with each local potentate in occupied territories being forced to sign "The Short Declaration", a pledge of allegiance to the Dutch colonial overlords. Because of their co-operation, the Dutch were able establish a fairly stable government in Aceh and get the Sultan to surrender in 1903. After his exile in 1907, no successor was named, but the resistance continued to fight for some time, until 1912. [19] [15]


Sultan Ali Mughayat Syah's tomb in Banda Aceh Jirat Soleutan Ali Mughayat Syah.JPG
Sultan Ali Mughayat Syah's tomb in Banda Aceh
Sultan tomb complex from era before Iskandar Muda in Banda Aceh Kandang XII.JPG
Sultan tomb complex from era before Iskandar Muda in Banda Aceh
Sultan Iskandar Muda's tomb in Banda Aceh Jirat Soleutan Eseukanda Muda.JPG
Sultan Iskandar Muda's tomb in Banda Aceh
A complex of tomb of Acehnese sultan from Bugis descendant in Banda Aceh Jirat Soleutan Aceh Bugeh.JPG
A complex of tomb of Acehnese sultan from Bugis descendant in Banda Aceh
Sultan of AcehReign
Ali Mughayat Syah c. 1514–1530
Salahuddin 1530–c. 1537/39
Alauddin al-Kahar c. 1537/39–1571
Ali Ri'ayat Syah I 1571–1579
Sultan Muda 1579
Sri Alam 1579
Zainul Abidin 1579
Alauddin Mansur Syah 1579–1585/86
Ali Ri'ayat Syah II, Raja Buyung 1585/86–1589
Alauddin Ri'ayat Syah Sayyid al-Mukammal 1589–1604
Ali Ri'ayat Syah III 1604–1607
Iskandar Muda 1607–1636
Iskandar Thani 1636–1641
Ratu Safiatuddin Tajul Alam 1641–1675
Ratu Nurul Alam Naqiatuddin Syah 1675–1678
Ratu Inayat Zaqiatuddin Syah 1678–1688
Ratu Kamalat Syah 1688–1699
Badr ul-Alam Syarif Hasyim Jamaluddin 1699–1702
Perkasa Alam Syarif Lamtui Syah Johan Berdaulat 1702–1703
Jamal ul-Alam Badr ul-Munir 1703–1726
Jauhar ul-Alam 1726
Syamsul Alam 1726–1727
Alauddin Ahmad Syah 1727–1735
Alauddin Johan Syah 1735–1760
Alauddin Mahmud Syah I 1760–1781
Badr ul-Alam Syah 1764–1765
Sulaiman Syah 1773
Alauddin Muhammad Syah 1781–1795
Alauddin Jauhar ul-Alam Syah (first reign)1795–1815
Syarif Saiful Alam Syah 1815–1819
Alauddin Jauhar ul-Alam Syah (second reign)1819–1823
Alauddin Muhammad Da'ud Syah I 1823–1838
Alauddin Sulaiman Ali Iskandar Syah 1838–1857
Alauddin Ibrahim Mansur Syah 1857–1870
Alauddin Mahmud Syah II 1870–1874
Alauddin Muhammad Da'ud Syah II Johan Berdaulat 1874–1903

See also


  1. 1 2 3 Barwise and White, 114
  2. Ricklefs, 32
  3. Ricklefs, 33
  4. Michael Hicks, ‘Davis , John (c.1550–1605)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008
  5. 1 2 Ooi Keat Gin, ed. (2004). Southeast Asia. Santa Barbara, Calif. [u.a.]: ABC Clio. p. 120. ISBN   1-57607-770-5.
  6. Ricklefs, 34
  7. 1 2 3
    • D. G. E. Hall, A History of South-east Asia. London: Macmillan, 1955.
  8. Ricklefs, 36
  9. 1 2 Barwise and White, 117
  10. Ricklefs, 51
  11. Barwise and White, 115–116
  12. Barwise and White, 116
  13. Ricklefs, 35
  14. 1 2 Journal of the Malayan Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society By Malaysian Branch, Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland Malaysian Branch, Singapore Published by , 1996; p. 119
  15. 1 2 The Cambridge History of Southeast Asia By Nicholas Tarling Published by Cambridge University Press, 1999 ISBN   978-0-521-66370-0; pg. 260
  16. Ricklefs, 143
  17. Ricklefs, 144
  18. Ricklefs, 145
  19. Ricklefs, 146

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