Brief History of Acheh


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Our mission


The Swedish-Achehnese Association (SAA), set up in December 1999, is a non-profit and non-politically or religiously independent organisation. The main objective of the organisation is to inform the Swedish people and other peoples residing in Sweden about Acheh and its current political, social and economic situation and to promote greater knowledge and understanding of social, cultural and political conditions in Acheh.


Another purpose of SAA is to develop co-existence between Achehnese community and the Swedish people with mutual tolerance. And to provide the Swedish-born-Achehnese with homeland knowledge and help them preserve their own identity in this multicultural society with greater understanding of the diversity of Sweden.


Brief History of Acheh


Early History - Acheh was a Buddhist state that flourished about AD

500 in northern Sumatra, was visited by Arab, Indian, and Chinese

merchants and pilgrims. According to some historians, Islam first

entered the Malay archipelago through Acheh sometime around the year

700. The first Islamic kingdom is Perlak, established in the year 804.


1496–1528 - Sultan Ali Mughayat Syah, the first Sultan and founder

of the Kingdom of Acheh. He is regarded as the father of Acheh's



1607–1636 - Sultan Iskandar Muda. The era of Iskandar Muda is

regarded as the Golden Age of Acheh. Acheh's power reached its height

under his reign. In that period there were frequent wars with the

Portuguese at Malacca, and the Portuguese fleet was defeated at Bintan

in 1614.


1641 – 1699 - Acheh ruled consecutively by four queens


1819 - The Acheh-England Friendship Treaty was signed, firmly

stating mutual defense and that an attack against one is considered an

attack against the other. This treaty has never been revoked and under

international law the United Kingdom is still obliged to defend Acheh

from any foreign aggression.


1824 - London Treaty (also referred to as the Anglo-Dutch treaty)

was signed. Through this instrument, the Dutch gained control of all

the British possessions on the Island of Sumatra, including Acheh. In

exchange, the Dutch surrendered their possessions in India, Gold Coast

(present Ghana) and withdrew all claims in Singapore.


26 March 1873 - Dutch Invasion: The Netherlands began efforts to

colonize Acheh, which had been an independent sultanate for some 500

years. After a bloody 30-year struggle, the Dutch gained control but

never fully conquered Acheh.


1874–1903 - Tuanku Sultan Mohammad Daud Syah, the last Sultan of an

independent Acheh


1942 – 1945 - Japanese Interegnum: The Japanese occupied Acheh

during World War II.


1945 – 1949 - Lost Period:


1949 - On December 27, the Dutch East Indies ceased to exist and

became the Republic of Indonesia. Acheh was forcibly made part of the

new Republic despite the fact that it had never been formally

incorporated into the Dutch colonial possession. In other words, the

Dutch had illegally transferred ”sovereignty over Acheh to Indonesia.


1953-1962 - Darul Islam Movement


4 December1976 - Acheh Sumatra National Liberation Front (ASNLF)

established and Acheh declared independent again


1989-1998: Acheh is designated as Military Operational Area – DOM

The Indonesian military launched Operation Red Net, a

counterinsurgency campaign. Ten of thousands Achehnese civilians

killed during that period and many more tortured and disappeared.


2003 - Martial law was imposed in Acheh. Some 50,000 military and

police forces launched “Operasi Terpadu” (unified operation) to

eradicate Free Acheh Movement (GAM).


19 May 2004 - Martial law ended, replaced by a state of civil

emergency. This made almost no difference to the situation as violence

and repression continued.


26 Dec. 2004 - The devastatingTsunami hit Acheh, and about 200.000

Achehnese perished, while another 500,000 were displaced.


15 Augustus 2005 - Helsinky Peace Accord called MOU signed between

the Indonesian government and the Free Acheh Movement (GAM). But

dispite the peace accord, some GAMs factions continued to seek

independence from Indonesia.



Copyright@Swedish-Achehnese Association (SAA)