teradesa.com  The Kingdom of Aceh was one of the largest and most powerful Islamic kingdoms in the archipelago that existed from the 15th century to the early 20th century. The kingdom played an important role in the spread of Islam, international trade and resistance to Dutch colonialism. This article will discuss the history, glory and legacy of the Kingdom of Aceh.

History of the Kingdom of Aceh
The Kingdom of Aceh was founded by Sultan Ali Mughayat Syah in 1496 AD. He succeeded in uniting the small kingdoms in the Aceh region and conquered Samudera Pasai, one of the centers of Islam in Sumatra. He also built strong land and naval forces to face threats from the West, especially the Portuguese who had taken control of Melaka.

The Kingdom of Aceh reached its peak during the reign of Sultan Iskandar Muda (1607-1636 AD). Under his leadership, Aceh took control of Pahang, a major source of tin in the archipelago, and attacked Melaka several times. Sultan Iskandar Muda also expanded Aceh’s territory to West Sumatra, Jambi, Bengkulu and Nias. He also strengthened diplomatic relations with the Ottoman Empire and other Islamic kingdoms.

The Kingdom of Aceh began to decline after the death of Sultan Iskandar Muda. The causes included internal rivalries between the ulama and ulèëbalang (regional leaders), succession conflicts between the sultans and sultanahs, attacks from neighboring kingdoms such as Minangkabau and Banten, as well as interference from the Dutch who wanted to control the spice trade.

The Kingdom of Aceh ended in 1903 AD after the Dutch conquered the capital city of Kutaraja in the 30-year Aceh War. The last Sultan of the Kingdom of Aceh was Muhammad Daud Syah who was captured and exiled to North Sumatra.

The Glory of the Kingdom of Aceh
The Kingdom of Aceh had several glories to be proud of, both in the political, economic and cultural fields. The following are some examples.

– The Aceh Kingdom was the first Islamic kingdom to establish diplomatic relations with Europe. In 1602 AD, Sultan Ala’ al-Din Riayat Syah Sayyid al-Mukammil sent an envoy to England to ask for help against the Portuguese. In 1613 AD, he also received envoys from the Netherlands offering a trade alliance.

– The Kingdom of Aceh had a thriving and profitable international trade. Aceh became the center of the Nusantara trade in spices, gold, silver, ivory, pepper, coffee, cotton, silk and weapons. Aceh also established trade relations with India, Persia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, China, Japan, Siam and Europe.

– The Kingdom of Aceh had a rich and diverse culture. Aceh was known as the center of Islamic science, literature, art, and architecture in the archipelago. Many scholars, writers, artists, and architects came from Aceh or studied in Aceh. Some of Aceh’s famous cultural works include the Hikayat Aceh, Bustan al-Salatin, Tuhfat al-Nafis, Syair Perang Siak, Baiturrahman Grand Mosque, Sultan Iskandar Muda’s Tomb, and Rumoh Aceh.

Legacy of the Kingdom of Aceh
The Kingdom of Aceh left many relics that we can still see and visit today. Some of the famous relics of the Kingdom of Aceh include:

– Baiturrahman Grand Mosque. This mosque is a symbol of the majesty and Islam of the Kingdom of Aceh. The mosque was built by Sultan Iskandar Muda in 1612 AD with Mughal architectural style. The mosque was burned down by the Dutch in 1873 AD, but was later rebuilt with the help of the Acehnese. The mosque has seven large domes and eight beautiful minarets.

– Tomb of Sultan Iskandar Muda. This tomb is the final resting place of Sultan Iskandar Muda and his wife, Putri Kamaliah or Putroe Phang. The tomb is located in Gampong Pande, Banda Aceh. The tomb is built in the Ottoman architectural style with calligraphic and geometric ornaments. The tomb is also surrounded by a high wall that symbolizes the greatness of Sultan Iskandar Muda.

– Rumoh Aceh. Rumoh Aceh is a traditional Acehnese house characterized by a towering pyramid roof. Rumoh Aceh is usually built of wood with beautiful carvings. Rumoh Aceh also has social and cultural functions, such as a place to gather, deliberate, and hold traditional ceremonies.


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