Aceh (to pronounce A-tché) is a province ( provinsi ) of the Republic of Indonesia, located on the northern point of the island of Sumatra. Its inhabitants is the Acehnais . Its surface is of 57.366 km ² and its population is estimated at approximately four million anybody (according to the Recensement of 2000), almost two pourcent of the population indonésienne. A law of 2001 grants a otonomi khusus to him (" autonomy spéciale") and the official name of Nanggroe (" pays") Aceh Darussalam . Previously, it was called Daerah Istimewa (" territory spécial" of) Aceh. The capital of the province is Banda Aceh (formerly Kutaraja, " the fortress of the rois").
Aceh was the theater of a long and bloody conflict between the Army indonésienne and the separatist movement Gerakan Aceh Merdeka (" movement for Aceh libre") or GAM, created in 1976 to denounce the iniquitous division of the natural wealths between the central government and the province. In the years 1970 and 1980, Aceh was indeed the first natural gas producer of Indonesia thanks to the giant field of Arun. But the production is declining and the reserves become exhausted without being renewed. An peace agreement was concluded between the GAM and the government in August 2005. At the time of the elections of the governor by the direct suffrage in December 2006 it is a member of the GAM, Irwandi Yusuf, which carried it.
Orthographical noteThe Orthographe universally employed today is “Aceh”. However, the daily newspaper Le Monde employs systematically the form Atjeh . It is an old C-W communication with the Dutch E where the group tj note a T wet or tch . Towards 1972 one unified these two C-Ws communication in Aceh ( tch noted C ), within the framework of a common spelling reform between the Indonesia and the Malaysia.
The orthography of the name varied according to the times and the authors: Acheh , Atjeh , Acem , or Achin .
There exists also a C-W communication with the English E: Acheh , which the GAM in its official documents uses.
administrative DivisionsThe province of Aceh includes/understands the North of the island of Sumatra and some islands of less dimensions. Since 1999, much new Kabupaten (departments) was created. Aceh includes/understands from now on eighteen kabupaten and five kota (municipalities):
the 18 kabupaten (departments)
5 kota (municipalities):
The old periodIn Indonesia, one calls Aceh " the anteroom of Mecque" ( Serambi Mekah ), which testifies to the importance attached to Aceh by Indonésiens in the history of the Islam in the country. However, the oldest evidence known on the presence of Islam in north of Sumatra dates from the end of the 13th century.
In 1282, the king of Samudra, located in current Aceh, sends in China two emissary carrying of the Arab names. In its return voyage of the court of Kubilai Khan in Venice in 1292, Marco Polo makes stopover with Perlak, close to Samudra, and notes that the sovereign of this port is Moslem, which is not the case of " Basma" and " Samara". One tried to identify, without certainty, Samara with Samudra and Basma with Pasai, another close principality.
The Moroccan traveller Ibn Battuta makes stopover with Samudra with the outward journey and the return of his voyage in China in 1345-46. He notes that the sovereign is Moslem school shafi' ite.
Two tomb stones in the village of Minye Tujuh testify to the transition taking place in the country. Both written in Malayan, one is written in an alphabet of Indian origin described as " proto-sumatranais" , the other in Arabic. They are Islamic and announce the death of a girl of the sultan Malik Al Zahir. The two inscriptions carry a date in era Saka and era of the Hégire, but differ from ten years, one mentioning the equivalent of 1380 after J. - C. and the other, 1389. There exists an inscription into Malayan written in the same way in the two alphabets, in the State of the Negeri Sembilan in Malaysia.
The sultanateThe sultanate of Aceh is founded at the beginning of the 16th century. In 1511, a Portuguese fleet, started from Goa to India under the command of the viceroy Afonso de Albuquerque, seizes Malacca, which, founded about 1400 by prince de Sumatra, had become the largest wearing of Southeast Asia. The royal family of Malacca founds a new sultanate with Johor, in the south of the Malayan Péninsule.
Aceh manages to collect a big part of the activity of the Moslem merchants who had made the prosperity of Malacca and did not want to trade with the Portuguese. The rise of Aceh démonstre the role of the Islam and the trade in its opposition to Europeans. Interventions of the Portuguese with Pasai and Pidie leads other local leaders to support the sultan Ali Mughayat Syah.
Aceh undertakes the producing conquest of the east coast of Sumatra of pepper and of gold, which according to Tomé Worse, a Portuguese apothecary who lived in Malacca of 1512 to 1515, is not Islamized yet. The sultanate expels the Portuguese of Passed, where they held a garrison, and demolishes a Portuguese fleet in 1524.
Between 1537 and 1570, Aceh as well attacks several times Malacca the Portuguese and catholic that Johor faintness and Moslem woman, without decisive success.
In the years 1560, Aceh establishes commercial relations and diplomatic with the Ottoman Empire. In 1566, the sultan of Aceh sends a request for assistance to the Othoman sultan within the framework of a policy intended to counter the Portuguese in the area.
From 1571 to 1607, eight sultans succèdenten Aceh. In 1602, the first forwarding of the English Company of the Eastern Indies recently created in England, on the way for Banten in the west of Java, made stopover in Aceh.
Aceh will know its apogee with Iskandar Muda (reign 1607-36). This sovereign conquers Deli (current the Medan) in 1612 and attacks Johor in 1612. Johor then forms an alliance with six other Malayan sultanates, of Sumatra and the peninsula, to resist Aceh. Iskandar demolishes a Portuguese fleet with Bintan (island indonésienne close to current Singapore), conquers Pahang and Kedah on the peninsula, plunders Johor and occupies Nias at broad other coast of Sumatra. In 1629, Iskandar launches a fleet on Malacca, which is completely destroyed with 19.000 lost men.
After the death of Iskandar Muda, Aceh starts one period of decline. The royal authority is not exerted any more but on the capital. The nobility which it had created becomes independent. Aceh ceases soon being a political and military power important.
In Aceh, the courts have as a function to make apply the Moslem Sharia and precepts. During the 17th century, Aceh becomes a center of Moslem religious studies. One will retain the name of the mystical and reforming large last Moslem of Aceh, Abd Al-Ra' uf of Singkel, secretary of the sultan, born about 1615 and died in 1693.
In 1820, Aceh produces more half of world pepper. Europeans and Americans benefit from competition that the various princes deliver themselves who sell this pepper to them. One of these princes, Tuanku Ibrahim, emerges like most powerful of them. In 1854, it launches a forwarding and subjects the sultanates of Langkat, Deli and Serdang, threatening the Dutchmen, who occupy already the remainder of Sumatra. In 1871, the Dutchmen sign with the English the Traité of Sumatra. The Dutchmen yield their possessions in West Africa to the English. In exchange, they have the freehands for Aceh. See also: Malacca ~ Johor
The Dutch conquestIn 1873, the American consul with Singapore meets an emissary of Aceh to discuss a treaty between the two countries. The Dutchmen decide to attack Aceh. Begin long the Guerre of Aceh. The Dutchmen bombard the capital, Kutaraja (today Banda Aceh) and make unload a body expéditioènaire of 3.000 men. They are pushed back, losing their general. The sultan Mahmud Syah (reign 1870-74) organizes resistance and asks of the assistance. The Americans and the British refuse to grant it to him. The French do not answer. The Turks are impotent. The Dutchmen send a second task force of 10.000 men. The troops of Aceh give up their capital, that the Dutchmen invest in 1874. They proclaim the annexation of Aceh and the abolition of the sultanate. Mahmud and its partisans take refuge in the mountains. It dies there of the cholera. His/her Daud son is proclaimed sultan under the name of reign of Ibrahim Mansyur Syah (reign 1875-1907) and continues resistance.
The Dutchmen hold really only Kutaraja. The princes of the harbor cities pretend to subject themselves to the Dutch order but support resistance. The Dutchmen bombard and set fire to the villages, forcing the population to take refuge in the mountains, where they join resistance. In 1881, the Dutchmen declare the end of the war. Side acehnais, the direction of the fight passed from the traditional aristocracy, the uleebalang , with the religious leaders, the ulama , of which most known is Teungku Cik di Tiro. Resistance becomes an holy war against the inaccurate Dutchmen.
The war exhausts the resources of the Dutch colonial budget. The Dutchmen, who gave up the control of the campaigns in Acehnais, will find the solution in two men. The first, Joannes van Heutz, are a soldier who was used a long time for the combat. It is named governor in 1898. The second, Snouck Hurgronje, are an academic of Leyde, the best Dutch specialist in Islam. Hurgronje makes understand with the Dutchmen that nothing will be able to alleviate the fanaticism of the ulama , and that they must thus gain the alliance of the nobility of the uleebalang .
It is the oil discovery in the northern of Sumatra which will determine the Dutchmen to finish some with resistance. They sign with the princes a Korte Verklaring (" declaration courte") by which the latter recognize Dutch sovereignty. The sultan Daud Shah goes in 1903 like his chief of the armies, Panglima Polim. The sultan keeps contacts with resistance. After an attack missed in 1907, it is exiled. The ulama (Ouléma S), religious leaders, continue resistance.
Aceh and the independence of IndonesiaIn 1939 is created the Persatuan Ulama Seluruh Aceh (" union of the Ouléma S of Aceh) or PUSA, under the direction of Daud Beureueh, of which the goal is to defend Islam and to promote the modernization of the Islamic schools. The PUSA contacts the Japanese and envisages to help them in their attack of the Indies Dutchwomen. At the beginning of 1942, the PUSA starts a sabotage campaign against the Dutchmen, who must evacuate Aceh towards the south of Sumatra. The Japanese unload a few weeks later. Acehnais, which considers that their fight against the Dutchmen is not finished, start discussions for independence with the new occupant. These discussions turn short with the end of the Second world war.
Indonesia proclaims its independence the August 17th 1945. Begin one 4 years period of the conflict which opposes the young republic to its former Dutch colonizer, that Indonésiens call " Revolusi ". Into Aceh, this one results in the arrest of principal the uleebalang and their assassination.
When in 1948 the Dutchmen launch their second " action of police" , i.e. military operation against the republic, they take the capital, Yogyakarta and the main cities of Java and Sumatra. The territory of the Republic of Indonesia east soon reduced to Aceh.
The conflict ends in 1949 with the transfer of sovereignty of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to a " republic of the United States d' Indonésie". Aceh obtains the autonomous statute of province there. But in 1950, the province is amalgamated with that of Northern Sumatra. This act increases the dissatisfaction with the PUSA, which saw already evil eye the not-Islamic character of the Republic of Indonesia.
In 1953 Daud Beureueh joined the rebellion of the Darul Islam, a separatist movement born in the western of Java in 1949, which claims the creation of an Islamic state in Indonesia. Daud Beureueh accepts finally a cease-fire in 1957 with the government, whereas the movement of Darul Islam continues. Discussions are started to find a solution with the claims of Acehnais. In 1959, the government indonésien grants a special statute to the province of Aceh, which obtains autonomy in the fields of the religion, the common law and education.
In 1967, Moslems attack Christian churches in Aceh. They are the first incidents serious anti-Christians of the new mode of Soeharto.
The civil war
OriginsThe claims of Acehnais take another tone with the discovery by the American oil company Mobil of the giant gas field of Arun in 1971. A factory of liquefaction of gas is built in Lhokseumawe. The Natural gas liquefied is exported in Japan. Then a factory of manure is built, also fed out of natural gas. This industrial development will upset the life of the inhabitants, with the dislocation of the traditional family, the arrival of migrant worker, in particular of Java, the environmental pollution.
But especially, the appropriation of the incomes of gas by the central government, without true repercussion for the local population, creates a resentment. In 1976, the Gerakan Aceh Merdeka (" Movement for Aceh libre") or GAM is founded, with at its head Hassan Di Tiro, a descendant of Teungku Cik Di Tiro, the leader of the fight against the Dutchmen at the end of the 19th century. The objective of Hassan is the restoration of the sultanate of Aceh which would build its prosperity on gas of Arun. Hassan had taken part in her time in Darul Islam. But this time, its objective is to make benefit the gas basket, of which essence goes to the central government, with the only people from Aceh.
The GAM undertakes a series of attacks against military and police positions. In 1990, the government indonésien states Aceh daerah operasi to militate (" zone of operations militaires"), or DOM. The armed sends troops in Aceh. Begin a war which does not say its name.
The special statuteIn 1999, the government indonésien announces the introduction of the Sharia H in Aceh. This initiative came from the president of the time, B.J. Habibie. It was based on the recommendations of its adviser for the conflict in Aceh, Usman Hassan. The government thus thought of solving a conflict which ensanglantait the province since 1976.
The introduction of the shariah is from the start translated by campaigns for the installation of the physical symbols of Islam. In particular, one asked the women to carry in public the jilbab (Moslem veil). A police force of the shariah ( polisi syariah ) was created.
Population, languages and culturesThe majority of the population of the province of Aceh is consisted the group of the same name.
The language aceh belongs to a sub-group known as " achinais-chamique" " group; malaïque " Austronesian branch of the family of the Languages austronésiennes. That wants to say that the language of Aceh is closer to the cham, spoken with the Vietnam and the Kampuchea, that other languages of Sumatra. Certain linguists distinguish a substrate Austroasiatique there, in particular in the vocabulary.
In the highlands of the south of Aceh the Gayo live, whose language forms with it only a group of the Austronesian branch of the languages austronésiennes.
See also: Tourism in Indonesia
The conflict which tore the province of 1976 to 2006 was not favourable with the development of tourism.
The island has beautiful beaches and charming traditional villages.
On Weh is the small town and the port of Sabang , where at the time of the navy with vapor, the boats came to be supplied with coal. In Sabang two French sailors are buried, who were among the 36 survivors of the shipwreck of the destroyer " Mousquet" , cast in 1914 by the German destroyer " Emden" off the island of Penang in Malaysia. Their tomb commune is the object of a regular maintenance by the French government.
Weh is largest of a group of islands among which have finds Klah, Rubiah, Seulako and Rondo. Their total surface area is of 154 km ². Rubiah , a small island of hardly 17 hectares, was a place of forty for the pilgrims who returned from the Mecque at the time of the voyages in boat. The small island has beautiful coral reefs.
To approximately 30 km of the coast of Sumatra, in the north of the island of Denied, is the islands Banyak (" nombreuses"), an archipelago of 60 small islands which form part of the province administratively. Their total surface area is of 319 km ². Largest of these islands are Tuanku and Bangkaru.
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