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I "J

ACEH AND THE PRTUGUESE: A


.
STUDY F THE STKUGGLE OF I S L A h
IN SUUTHEAST A S I A , 1 5 0 0 - 1 5 7 9

HADIf AHI RUL


OEGRE ATE: 1992

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.339 (>.aam)c Canac


A C F H AND THE PORTUGUESE

A Study of the Struggle of Isiam in Southeast Asia

1500-1579

by

Amirul Hadi

A Thesis Submitted to

the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research

in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of

Master of Arts

Institute of Islamic Studies

McGill University

Montreal, Canada

April 1992
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?

, 'S NAME
R HAP*

tlXENT \SLA^C STUplSS DEGREE SOUGHT: A.

: OF THESIS ACEH AAJP THE PDRTVJGUbSg A <.VO?X D F T ^ ^ U ^ i e Of &l

, u c h o r i z a t i o n i s h e r e b y g i v e n Co M c G i l l U n i v e r s i t y t o raake t h i s t h e s i s a v a i l a b l e t o
eaders i n a M c G i l l U n i v e r s i t y L i b r a r y or o t h e r L i b r a r y , e i t h e r i n i t s p r e s e n t form
r i n reproduction. The a u t h o r r e s e r v e s o t h e r p u b l i c a t i o n r i g h t s , a n d n e i t h e r t h e
h e s i s n o r e x t e n s i v e e x t r a c t s Erom i t may be p r i n t e d o r o t h e r w i s e b e r e p r o d u c e d
ithout the a u t h o r ' s w r i t t e n p e n n i s s i o n .

'he a u t h o r ! z a t i o n i s t o h a v e e f f e c t on t h e d a t e g i v e n a b o v e u n l e s s t h e E x e c u t i v e
:ommittee o f C o u n c i l s h a l l h a v e v o t e d t o d e f e r t h e d a t e on w h i c h i t i s t o h a v e e f f e c t ,
f s o , the def r;ed d a t e i s :

Signature of Author

Permanent Address:

\A\AJ AR-rlAAMfcy , PAE-USSAWW

BA/VPA A C g H 23 *M
) AJ V O N E SI A

Cure of Dean r e q u i r e d i f date i s inserted


r a g r n p h 2.

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C E H A N D THE P O R T U G U E S E
Kupersembahkan buat
Ayah dan Bundaku,
Kakak dan Adik-adikku,
serta semua keponakanku:
Zikra, Rina, Usi, Putra dan Uzmah.
i

ABSTRACT

Author: Amirul Hadi

Title: Aceh and the Portuguese: A Study of the Struggle of Islam in


Southeast Asia, 1500-1579

Department: Institute of Islamic Studies

Degree: M.A.

The coming of the Portuguese to Malacca in 1511 disrupted the

existence of the people of the Malay-lndonesian archipelago, where trade

and Islam were the main influences. The Christian European intruders were

regarded as both economie competitors and religious enemies. The Muslim

kingdoms of the region put up fierce resistance to the Portuguese. The

strongest opp^sition was shown by Aceh. lts response was mainly

expressed in three aspects; military action, political maneuvering and

economie reaction. Jihad (holy war) also played an important spiritual role

in the response. This resistance combined with the strategie location of

Aceh in the northern tip of Sumatra and the support of other Muslim

powers accelerated the rise of Aceh in the sixteenth century.


ii

RSUM

Auteur: A m i r u l Hadi

Titre: A c e h et les P o r t u g u a i s : une etude d e la lutte de l'lslam d a n s Ie


s u d - e s t asiatique, 1 5 0 0 - 1 5 7 9

Dpartement: Institut des tudes islamiques

Diplome: M.A.

La v e n u e d e s Portuguais a M a l a k a en 1511 a perturb la vie des

habitants de l'archipel m a l a i s - i n d o n e s i e n qui subissait alors surtout

l'influence du c o m m e r c e et de l'lslam. Les intrus europens chrtiens

lurent c o n s i d r s des concurrents sur Ie p l a n c o n o m i q u e , et des ennemis

sur Ie p l a n religieux. Les royaumes m u s u l m a n s de la rgion opposrent aux

P o r t u g u a i s une rsistance froce. La plus forte rsistance eut lieu a A c e h .

Celle-ci prit essentiellement trois tormes: action militaire, manoeuvres

politiques et raction conomique. Le jihad (guerre sainte) j o u a a u s s i un

rle spirituel important. Cette rsistance, a s s o c i a n t a v e c la position

s t r a t g i q u e d ' A c e h , qui se situe sur la pointe n o r d d e S u m a t r a , le soutien

d'autres p u i s s a n c e s m u s u l m a n e s , a amen l'acclration de l ' i m p o r t a n c e

q u e c o n n u t A c e h au seizime sicle.
iii

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I wish to express my gratitude to the McGill Indonesia IAIN

Development Project for its financial support during the past two years.

My gratitude also goes to Professor H. Ibrahim Husein, the former rector of

IAIN Ar-Raniry Banda Aceh-lndonesia, whose support and encouragement

were of great value to my studies. I would also like to express my sincere

thanks to Dr. A. Uner Turgay, the director of the Institute of Islamic Studies

and my thesis advisor, for his criticism and patience in seeing this thesis

through. My gratitude and sincere thanks also go to Dr. Howard M.

Federspiel who kindly read the draft of this thesis and contributed his

constructive criticism. His encouragement was of great assistance to me in

completing this research. I would like to thank Ms. Salwa Ferahian from

the Library of the Institute of Islamic studies for her assistance in obtaining

some important books for this thesis through interlibrary loans. Special

thanks go to Steve Millier, Shafiq Virani and John Calvert for editing my

English. My thanks also go to Roxanne Marcotte for the translation of the

abstract into French and to Eric Ross for the maps. Finally, my great

gratitude and love are dedicated to my parents who, with their endless

effort and love, guide me in this life.


iv

LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS

JMBRAS Journal of Malayan Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society


(Singapore)

JRAS Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland
(London)

JSBRAS Journal of Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society


(Singapore)

JSEAH Journal of Southeast Asian History (Singapore)

JSEAS Journal of Southeast Asian Studies (Singapore)


V

LXllrev I n s t i t u t e of Islamic Studies


i9.ll.64 .McCill University

iilSLITEHATIOH TABLB

Cor.zor.znts: * iiitialv unexpressed * medial and f i n a l : '

Ar*b;"'3 Psrsian Tuxkish Ordu Arabio Peraiin Trkiah Urdu

r > b b b W 9 9 9 B

V P P P u* d z x
p

O t t t t
k f t f j
0
i
J | f f z
c th 3 a fl
t 4
. . .
L gn g fii
vl. ch 9 cii ui f f f f
C h h h h q q k q
* d k k k k
C kb. kh . h kh
j d d d d o s er e
j d w n

dh jz _z Z_ J 1 1 1 1

.' r r r r f n o DI n
O n n n n

) 2 z z z u 9

J zh zh zh h h h h
a s s a J w V V

u- ah ah s ah * 7 7 7 7

Vovols, dinhthom-s, atc. (Por Ottonan 'Rirkish vovels etc. see separate memorandun.)

hort; - a; - i; - u.

long: \ a; 5 , and i n Peraian and Urdu also randered 5} , and ia Urdu


also rendered by ; ^_ (in Urdu) .

a l i f naggurah; 1$ &. diphthonga: cj' ay$ 3 ' aw.

long with tashdd: ^ ya; Vt. t i ' marbtahi *> ah; ia Idafah.: at.
vi

A NOTE O N S P E L L I N G

In this thesis, various spellings of the n a m e s uf k i n g d o m s will be

n o t i c e d . E u r o p e a n travelers a n d historians s p e l l Pasai a s Pase or Pacem;

Pidie a s Pedir, a n d Lamuri as Lambri. T h o u g h the spelling Melaka has been

a d o p t e d by s o m e recent authors, the m o r e universal spelling Malacca is

u s e d 11 tf- ,s thesis. The spellings of Aceh a r e n u m e r o u s a n d i n c l u d e Acheh,

Achem, Achin, Acheen a n d Atjeh. Atjeh was the preferred spelling in

Indonesia until the government c h a n g e d the s p e l l i n g to Aceh in 1972 when

it d e c r e e d an overhaul of the spellings of m a n y Indonesian w o r d s (Ejaan

Bahasa Indonesia yang Disempurnakan). Therefore, the latter spelling is

utilized here. An attempt has been m a d e in this thesis to use s t a n d a r d i z e d

s p e l l i n g s . However, spellings used in direct q u o t a t i o n s remain u n c h a n g e d .


vii

TABLE OF CONTENTS

ABSTRACT i

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS iii

LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS <v

TRANSLITERATION TABLE v

A NOTE ON SPELLING vi

TABLE OF CONTENTS vii

INTRODUCTION 1

ChapteM: THE "THREE POWERS" DURING THE FIFTEENTH


CENTURY

A. Aceh in the Fifteenth Century 9


B. The Emergence of Malacca 28
C. The Portuguese in Malacca 40

Chapter2: THE RESPONSE OF THE ACEHNESE TO THE


PORTUGUESE

A. Military Encounter 51
B. Political Maneuver 64
C. Trading Competition 72
D. Islamic Response 81

Chapter 3: THE EMERGENCE OF ACEH IN THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY

A. The Rise of Aceh 88

B. Aceh's Motivations 108

CONCLUSION 114

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY 119

MAPS 1 2 6
INTRODUCTION

Few would deny that the coming of the Portuguese to Malacca in the

early part of the sixteenth century brought about a new era for the peoples

of Southeast Asia. They were the first Europeans to come to the region, a

region where trade and agriculture were the main activities of the people.

The ambition of the Portuguese to dominate the trading activities and to

spread Christianity clearly upset native traders and political rulers of the

region at a time when Islam was consolidating its hold on the population

and local rulers clearly empowered it as the "official" religion. Hence, the

Portuguese were regarded as both trading competitors and religious

adversaries.

The reaction cf the people to the Portuguese presence in Malacca was

formidable. The strongest opposition was shown by Aceh which was

strategically located on the northern tip of Sumatra; it was the first and

most frequent place touched by Islam in the archipelago since the seventh

century. At the time the Portuguese conquered Malacca in the early

sixteenth century Aceh emerged as a powerful Muslim kingdom. lts

proximity to Malacca across the straits made it a competitor for the Indian

Ocean trade as well as a Champion of local interests against the

Portuguese.

The main task of this thesis will be to answer two major questions: the

first, how did Aceh respond to the Portuguese? and the second, to what

extent did the response provide an impetus to the rise of Aceh?

1
2

This study focuses only on the history of Aceh during the period from

1500 to 1579. It might seem that the period covered is quite long.

However, this thesis concentrates on the relation of Aceh with the

Portuguese and the impact of this relation on the rise of Aceh rather than

on a complete study of the Muslim kingdom. It was during this period that

Aceh, for the first time, emerged as a strong Muslim kingdom in the region.

This rise constituted the basic foundation for the golden age of the

kingdom in the seventeenth century, especially during the reign of Sultan

Iskandar Muda (1607-1636).

Chapter one deals with the roles of Aceh, Malacca and the Portuguese

during the fifteenth century. There were several main powers in the

northern part of the island of Sumatra in this century: Pasai, Pidie, Daya,

Lamuri and Aceh. They played an important role in trade and Islamic

propagation, especially Pasai and Pidie. At this time, Malacca had

emerged as a powerful and rich Muslim sultanate in the archipelago, based

on its status as an important entrepot in Southeast Asia. It was the wealth

and potential of Malacca that motivated the Portuguese, whose ambition

was to dominate the spice trade of the region and to spread Christianity

and to seize the port and city.

The second chapter deals with the response of Aceh to the Portuguese

in Malacca. The response involved military force, political challenges, and

trading competition. Islam undoubtedly played an important role in the

response. The final chapter discusses the rise of Aceh in military strength,

politics, economics and Islamic studies. This development is discussed by

relating it to the presence of the Portuguese in Malacca.


3

This work is primarily b a s e d on historical a n d descriptive analvtical

approaches. For the most part, a chronological s e q u e n c e has been

followed in p r e s e n t i n g material. Within the wider historical a n d descriptive

analvtical a p p r o a c h e s , socio-political, economie, religious and military

matters a n d the interrelations a m o n g them are s t r e s s e d .

T h e s o u r c e s on w h i c h this work is b a s e d reflect the fact that the study

of Indonesian history is extremely c o m p l e x a n d difficult to reconstruct as a

unit. In his introduction to the book An Introduction to Indonesian

Historiography S o e d j a t m o k o writes:

Reflecting the h a p h a z a r d development of I n d o n e s i a n historiography,


Indonesian history that has been written s o far is notoriously full of
g a p s , a n d o u r k n o w l e d g e of its p e r i o d s is quite u n e v e n . There is no
c o n t i n u o u s historical narrative nor is there any central point of vision,
a n d the r e c o n s t r u c t i o n of several p e r i o d s is often b a s e d on extremely
limited e v i d e n c e . A l t h o u g h for s o m e p e r i o d s there is a more or less
c o n t i n u o u s h i s t o r i c a l narrative, the material is o r g a n i z e d a c c o r d i n g to
a viewpoint m a t w a s not, a n d in all fairness c o u l d not have been, an
I n d o n e s i a - c e n t r i c viewpoint....

To s o m e extent, this c o n d i t i o n leads the historian to h a n d l e the history of

the region differently from that of E u r o p e a n d North A m e r i c a . A. H. J o h n s

c o m m e m s on the matter. He states:

when the E u r o p e a n historian turns to the study of A s i a n history, a n d


writes in the s a m e way as he w o u l d were he writing the history of a
E u r o p e a n p e o p l e , merely substituting an A s i a n set of names a n d
p l a c e s , then the result frequently l a c k s interest, a n d m a y even be a
distortion of the general picture of the p a s t that he w i s h e s to r e l a t e /

It is a g a i n s t this b a c k d r o p that any d i s c u s s i o n r e g a r d i n g the s o u r c e s which

1
S o e d j a t m o k o , e d . , An Introduction to Indonesian Historiography (Ithaca:
Cornell University Press, 1965), xii.
2
A. H. J o h n s , " S u f i s m as a C a t e g o r y in Indonesian Literature a n d
History," JSEAH, v o l . 2, no. 2 (July 1961), 10.
4

were c o n s u l t e d in this study must take p l a c e . The s o u r c e s reflect different

g e o g r a p h i c origins, cultural b i a s e s , political biases etc. This study relies

primarily on i n d i g e n o u s (Malay) s o u r c e s , E u r o p e a n s o u r c e s , Chinese a n d , to

s o m e extent, A r a b i c s o u r c e s . E a c h set of s o u r c e s has its own l a n g u a g e ,

outlooks a n d cultural eccentricities that m a k e it unique a n d divorce it from

the others.

In general, M a l a y s o u r c e s are full of legends a n d myths which are

unreliable a n d even contradictory in their historical information. This is

u n d e r s t a n d a b l e s i n c e for the M a l a y p e o p l e history " h a s not until recently

been either a s c i e n c e or an art, but an e n t e r t a i n m e n t . T h i s is not to say

that the s o u r c e s are useiess. In fact, they are rich with information about

the peoples of the region. Three M a l a y c h r o n i c l e s were c o n s u l t e d . The first

is the fifteenth century c h r o n i c l e Sejarah Melayu {Malay Annals) translated

a n d p u b l i s h e d by C. C . B r o w n in 1 9 7 0 . 4
" C o n s i d e r e d to be the fin est work

in p e n i n s u l a r M a l a y literature,"^ the Malay Annals d i s c u s s e s the M a l a c c a

sultanate a n d its people, c o v e r i n g the c u s t o m s , government and religious

traditions there. It also mentions P a s a i a n d the c o m i n g of the Portuguese

to M a l a c c a . T h e s e c o n d s o u r c e is the Hikayat Aceh, a seventeenth century

work, which is d i s c u s s e d by T. Iskandar in his published dissertation

entitied De Hikajat Atjeh.^ D e d i c a t e d to the renowned Sultan of A c e h ,

J . C. Bottoms, " S o m e M a l a y Historical S o u r c e s : A B i b l i o g r a p h i c a l Note,"


in S o e d j a t m o k o , An Introduction, 180.

4
This c h r o n i c l e w a s p u b l i s h e d for the first time in JMBRAS, vol. 25, pt. 2
a n d 3 (1935).
5
Buttoms, " S o m e M a l a y Historical S o u r c e s , " 168.
6
Hoesein Djajadiningrat, " L o c a l Tradition a n d the Study of Indonesian
History," in S o e d j a t m o k o , An Introduction, 76. In this study only his
translated edition w a s c o n s u l t e d .
5

Iskandar M u d a (1607-1636), more t h a n half of this work is devoted to the

glorification of the Sultan himself. However, it also includes some of the

accounts and a chronotogy of the early S u l t a n s of A c e h . The third s o u r c e is

the Bustan al-Salatn c o m p o s e d by a Gujarati a\im, S h a i k h Nr al-DFn al-

Ranir in in the reign of Sultan Iskandar ThanT. This chronicle consists of

seven c h a p t e r s which d i s c u s s both religious a n d historical matters. C h a p t e r

two w a s m o s t useful for this particular study. This section was published

with a s t u d y by T. Iskandar in 1966. Iskandar s u g g e s t s that this chronicle is

not only the greatest work of the author but also the greatest work in M a l a y

literature. While the historical a c c o u n t s of this chronicle seem to be


O

generally a c c u r a t e on the b a s i s of a r c h e o l o g i c a l findings such as tombs,

Hoesein Djajadiningrat, in his critical study on A c e h from Malay s o u r c e s ,

c o n c l u d e s that the historical a c c o u n t s of this c h r o n i c l e are accurate only

for i n f o r m a t i o n between the years 1600 to 1 6 8 0 . ^

E u r o p e a n s o u r c e s are usually c h r o n o l o g i c a l l y a n d historically a c c u r a t e ,

but are c f t e n o n e - s i d e d a n d m i s i e a d i n g c o n c e r n i n g the motivations of n o n -

E u r o p e a n a c t o r s of the time. The most important European sources on

sixteenth century Indonesia are the P o r t u g u e s e s o u r c e s . They are rich a n d

informative, c o v e r i n g not only v o y a g e s , sieges a n d intrigues, but also

7
T. I s k a n d a r , Bustanu's-Salatin, B a b . 2, F a s a l 13 (Kuala Lumpur: Dewan
B a h a s a d a n P u s t a k a , Kementrian Pelajaran M a l a y s i a , 1966), 4.
8
Denys L o m b a r d , Le Sultanat d'Atjeh au temp d'Iskandar Muda, 1607-1636
(Paris: E c o l e F r a n c a i s e d'Extrme-Orient, 1967), 19. For more d i s c u s s i o n
on the a u t h o r a n d the date of this c h o r n i c l e see R. O. Winstedt,
" B u s t a n u ' s - S a l a t i n , " JSBRAS, 82 (September 1920), 151-152.
9
R a d e n H o e s e i n Djajadiningrat, Kesultanan Aceh: Suatu Pembahasan
Tentang Sejarah Kesultanan Aceh Berdasarkan Bahan-Bahan yang Terdapat
Dalam Karya Melayu, t r a n s , by Teuku H a m i d ( B a n d a A c e h : Departement
P e n d i d i k a n d a n K e b u d a y a a n , Proyek P e r m e u s e u m a n Daerah Istimewa
A c e h , 1 9 8 2 / 1 9 8 3 ) , 3.
6

geographical, anthropological, politica!, economie, religious and socio-

cultural d a t a . A n excellent example of these sources is Tome Pires' S u m a

Oriental. It has been r e g a r d e d as "the most important a n d complete

a c c o u n t of the East p r o d u c e d in the first half of the sixteenth century." 1 0

However, this work is only related to the early part of this study s i n c e it w a s

written in the years 1 5 1 2 - 1 5 1 5 . In 1557 Braz de A l b u q u e r q u e , the s o n of

A l f o n s o de A l b u q u e r a u e , p u b l i s h e d The Commentaries of the Great Alfonso

Dalboquerque w h i c h , he c l a i m e d , represented the original letters of his

father to king M a n u e l . This work is useful for the study of the a r c h i p e l a g o

in the early sixteenth century. The Peregrination of Fernao M e n d e z Pinto

(1510-1583) is a l s o useful for this study, even though it is not a s c o m p l e t e

as Pires' work. In this study Pinto's work was consulted, especially the

English edition t r a n s l a t e d , edited and annotated by R e b e c c a C. C a t z . Other

P o r t u g u e s e works are m u c h more concerned with battles, sieges and

expeditions, 11
s u c h as those of J o a o de Barros (1496-1570), D i o g o do

C o u t o (1542-1616), G a s p a r C o r r e a (1495-1565), Duarte B a r b o s a (who w a s in

the service of the Indian Portuguese between 1500-1516/17), Manoel

Gadinho de Eredia (1563-1623) and Fernao Lopez de Castanheda

(1500-1559). S o m e of these works (in their English translations) were

c o n s u l t e d , while others were only quoted from secondary s o u r c e s .

C h i n e s e a n d A r a b i c s o u r c e s are the most difficult s o u r c e s to u s e s i n c e ,

as cursory visitors to the region, their observations often lack context either

1 0
I. A . M a c g r e g o r , " S o m e A s p e c t s of Portuguese Historical Writing of the
Sixteenth a n d Seventeenth Centuries on South East A s i a , " in D. G . E.
Hall, e d . , Historians of South East Asia (London: Oxford University P r e s s ,
1961), 173.

1 1
S a r t o n o Kartodirdjo, "Religious a n d E c o n o m i e A s p e c t s of P o r t u g u e s e -
Indonesian R e l a t i o n , " STUDIA, no. 29 (Centro de Estudios H i s t o r i c o s
U l t r a m a r i n o s , P o r t u g a l , April 1970), 178-179.
7

in time or in regard to developments in the region. Still, many are useful


b e c a u s e they a d d another dimension to the study. W. P. Groeneveldt has
s u c c e e d e d in c o m p i l i n g a description of the Malayan a n d Indonesian
p e o p l e s from C h i n e s e s o u r c e s prior to the European infiltration. His
Historical Notes on Indonesia and Malaya Compiled from Chinese Sources
c o v e r s several a s p e c t s of the people a n d geography. A l t h o u g h not as
c o m p l e t e as the other works, A r a b i c s o u r c e s give us some information on
the Indonesian p e o p l e before the c o m i n g of the Europeans. G . R. Tibbetts
h a s d i s c u s s e d these issues and published them in a book entitled A Study
of the Arabic Texts Containing Material on South East Asia.

The weighing of information from these different kinds of s o u r c e s a n d

the forming of a historical c o m p o s i t e calls for careful a n a l y s i s . The

P o r t u g u e s e s o u r c e s , for instance, are rich in information. However, they are

subject to " a strong patriotic a n d religious bias, a sense of P o r t u g u e s e

m i s s i o n in A s i a , a note of pride, an intolerance and s u s p i c i o n of M u s l i m s

and a d i s r e g a r d for rights of A s i a n s . " 1 2


The literary license of M a l a y

a u t h o r s a n d their lack of concern for matters outside the courts of the

rulers lessen the reliability of their information, but often bring a c r o s s the

s e n s e of destiny a n d feelings of accomplishment that local rulers had

r e g a r d i n g their o w n adventures. Therefore, there is a need to verify the

E u r o p e a n (Portuguese) information with local sources; a n d to verify l o c a l

sources, which contain much legend, myth and unreliability, with

E u r o p e a n s o u r c e s . This is what Djajadiningrat, for instance, has d o n e in his

critical d i s c u s s i o n of the history of A c e h .

1 2
M a c g r e g o r , " S o m e A s p e c t s of Portuguese," 199.
8

The net result of using such varied sources, whether from the original

texts or through secondary sources, is to better understand the essence of

scholarship in the periphery of the Islamic world. The use of this set of

sources illustrates the task confronting Southeast Asian Muslims

themselves as they continue their efforts at fashioning their own regional

and nationai histories. In time, they may even come to be accepted by the

greater tradition of the Islamic world itself, including Southeast Asian

developments as an important ingredint in Islamic history.


Chapter 1

THE 'THREE POWERS" DURING THE RFTEENTH CENTURY

In order to comprehend the main topics discussed in this thesis, this

section will focus on the interrelations during the fifteemh century among

three powers: Aceh, Malacca and Portugal. In Aceh, there were several

small Islamic sultanates that flourished in trade. They also played an

important role in the propagation of Islam in the Malay-lndonesia

archipelago. Malacca flourished as a strong Islamic Empire by making

itself an important trading center in Southeast Asia and a center for Islamic

studies. The Portuguese, after conquering Ceuta in 1415 and Goa in 1510,

took Malacca in 1511.

A. Aceh in The Fifteenth Century 1

Aceh is the northern part of the island of Sumatra, which is now one of

the provinces of the Republic of Indonesia. In the course of history, several

Islamic sultanates such as Pasai, Pidie, Daya, Lamuri and Aceh^ emerged

in this area. They each played important roles in the development of

religion, economics and politics in the region. G. P. Tolson writes that

"Acheh is a correct name of that part of Sumatra extending from Tamiang

1
In this section we will discuss only some sultanates which constituted
the main pioneers of the emergence of the Islamic Empire of Aceh Dar
al-Salam.
2
Aceh here is an Islamic sultanate in this area which will be discussed
later.
9
10

point on the east to Trumon on the west coast, though it is commonly, not
erroneously, known to Europeans as Acheen." The people, who "occupy
8

the land bordering the sea as far inland as the high ranges of hills," have a 4

long history, although here only the fifteenth century will be discussed.

Tome Pires' description of Sumatra in the early sixteenth century

mentions some kingdoms in the region, namely Aceh, Lamuri, Pidie,

Peudada, Pasai, Meulaboh and Daya.^ In this thesis, however, the only

kingdoms discussed are Pasai, Pidie, Daya, Lamuri and Aceh which were

the key components forming the kingdom of Aceh. Peureulak, Teumieng

(Beuna)^ and L i n g g a combined to form the federation of Pasai. There is


7

not enough information available to us regarding Pirada (Peudada),

Meulaboh and Tarumon (Trumon). 8

Pasai represents the earliest Islamic sultanate in the Indonesian

archipelago. The accounts of Marco Polo and Ibn Battta regarding this

kingdom give us some of the information on which later historians rely for

3
G. P. Tolson, "Acheh, Commonly Called Acheen," JSBRAS, 5 (June
1880), 37.
4
lbid.,39.
5
Tome Pires, The Suma Oriental of Tome Pires, trans, and ed. by Armando
Cortesao, vol. 1 (London: The Hakluyt Society, 1944), 135-136.

A. Hasjmy, Sejarah Kebudayaan islam di Indonesia, (Jakarta: Bulan


Bintang, 1990), 12; M. Junus Djamil, Silsilah Tawarich Ftadja2 Keradjaan
Atjeh (Banda Atjeh: Kodam I Iskandar Muda, 1968), 5-8.
7
Djamil, Silsilah, 28-30.
8
Tome Pires very briefly mentions Peudada, Aelabu, M a n c o p a (Meulaboh)
and Lide. Tgk. Ismail Jakoeb gives only one sentence on Trumon. He
says that "according to W. L. Ritter the kingdom of Trumon was founded
by Raja Bujang," Tgk. Ismail Jakoeb, Atjeh dalam Sedjarah, vol. 1
(Koetaradja: Penerbit Joesoef Mahmoed dan Semangat Merdeka, 1946),
25.
11

their studies. M a r c o P o l o s t o p p e d at Perlak in 1292 o n his w a y to V e n i c e .


R e g a r d i n g this k i n g d o m he mentions that "its inhabitants are for the most
part idolaters, but m a n y of those who dweil in the seaport towns h a v e been
converted to the religion of Mahomet, by the s a r a c e n m e r c h a n t s w h o
constantly frequent t h e m . " B e c a u s e of b a d weather, he stayed at S a m a r a
9

for five months, where he a n d his 3000 men h a d to struggle a g a i n s t what


he called "mischief from the s a v a g e n a t i v e s . " T h e S a m a r a a n d B a s m a n
1 0

in his a c c o u n t " h a v e been identified as S a m u d r a a n d P a s e , t w o t o w n s


s e p a r a t e d by the P a s e river, a short d i s t a n c e a b o v e P e r l a k . "
1 1

A b o u t five d e c a d e s later, in 746 A . H . (1345 A.D.) a n d a g a i n in R a m a d a n

747 A . H . (December 1346 or J a n u a r y 1347), Ibn Battta, a f a m o u s M u s l i m

traveler from M o r o c c o , visited S a m u d r a a n d f o u n d that Islam (ShafiT

school) h a d been e s t a b l i s h e d for about a century. T h e K i n g , a l - M a l i k a l -

Zahir, was a devoted M u s l i m . He established religious activities a s well a s

performed the religious o b l i g a t i o n s . Ibn Battta also d e s c r i b e s s o m e royal

court ceremonies that he witnessed. Both important a c c o u n t s h a v e led

Hoesein Djajadiningrat to the c o n c l u s i o n that "if the identificatin of

S a m a r a with S a m u d r a is correct, then this must have been the first M u s l i m

k i n g d o m in Indonesia when M a r c o Polo visited it at the end of the seventh

9
M a r c o P o l o , I n e Travel of Marco Polo, trans, by W. M a r s d e n a n d intr. by
J o h n Masefield ( L o n d o n : J . M. Dent a n d S o n s Limited, 1926), 3 3 8 .
1 0
Ibid., 3 4 1 - 3 4 2 .
1 1
P.A. Hoesein Djajadiningrat, "Islam in Indonesia," in K e n n e t h W.
M o r g a n , e d . , Islam the Straight Path (New York: T h e R o n a l d Press
C o m p a n y , 1959), 3 7 5 .
1 2
Ibn Battta, Ibn Battta Travels in Asia and Africa 1325-1354, trans, and
select, by H. A . R. G i b b (London: R o u t l e d g e & K e g a n P a u l , 1963),
2 7 2 - 2 7 6 , 3 0 1 - 3 0 3 ; s e e also R o s s E. D u n n , The Adventures of Ibn Battta:
A Muslim Traveler of the 14th Century (Berkeley, Los A n g e l e s : University
of C a l i f o r n i a Press, 1989), 2 5 1 , 2 5 7 , 2 6 6 .
12

century (thirteenth century A.D.)-'

Little is known about this k i n g d o m s u b s e q u e n t to these a c c o u n t s .

E u r o p e a n s o u r c e s s u c h a s Pires' Suma Oriental g i v e s o m e descriptions of it

at a later s t a g e of development. He states that "the k i n g d o m of P a s e has

the city c a l l e d P a s e , a n d s o m e p e o p l e call it Camotra (Sumatra)." 14


It w a s

united with S a m u d r a a n d c a l l e d S a m u d r a P a s a i . This unification


1
took

p l a c e d u r i n g the reign of Sultan M u h a m m a d a ! - M a l i k a l - Z a h i r (1289- 1326).

T h e r e a s o n s for this unification are u n c e r t a i n , but they likely lie in their

c l o s e n e s s in terms of g e o g r a p h y a n d i d e o l o g y (Islam) a s well as in political

a n d e c o n o m i e r e a s o n s . A more p l a u s i b l e r e a s o n is that the relations

between both kingdoms were very c o r d i a l , s i n c e "the first sultan of

S a m u d r a f o u n d e d also the s u l t a n a t e of P a s e . " 1 8

The k i n g d o m of P a s a i w a s p r o s p e r o u s . It w a s o n e of the most central

entrepots in Southeast Asia, where many merchants from different

countries c a m e to p u r s u e their trading activities. A c c o r d i n g to H o r a c e

S t o n e , "the port of P a s a i grew into a great t r a d i n g centre, s o that at a b o u t

A . D . 1400 the trade w a s s h a r e d between M a j a p a h i t , in J a v a , a n d P a s a i , in

Sumatra. A l s o the S i a m e s e were overlords of the Malay peninsula,

particularly in Old Singapore and at Patani." 1 7


The other important

1 8
Djajadiningrat, "Islam in Indonesia," 3 7 6 .
1 4
Pires, The Suma, v o l . 1, 142.
1 5
Edwin M . L o e b , Sumatra: lts History and People, with an a d d i t i o n a l
c h a p t e r by Robert Heine-Geldern ( S i n g a p o r e : O x f o r d University Press,
1989), 2 1 8 ; Teuku Ibrahim A l f i a n , Kronika Pasai: Sebuah Tinjauan Sejarah
( Y o g y a k a r t a : G a d j a h M a d a University P r e s s , 1973), 2 1 .

1 6
L o e b , Sumatra, 218.
1 7
H o r a c e S t o n e , From Malacca to Malaysia 1400-1965 (London: George G.
H a r r a p & C o . , 1966), 17; see a l s o , M . A . P. M e i l i n k - R o e l o f s z , Asian
13

entrepots in this area were M a l a c c a , J o h o r , P a t a n i , A c e h a n d B r u n a i . 1 8

F. L. de C a s t a n h e d a states that " P a c e m w a s the p r i n c i p a l matter in

S u m a t r a , a n d very important for trade of Malacca by r e a s o n of the

pepper." 1 9
In his d e s c r i p t i o n on this k i n g d o m T o m e Pires states:

S i n c e M a l a c c a h a s been p u n i s h e d a n d Pedir is at w a r , the k i n g d o m of


P a s e is b e c o m i n g p r o s p e r o u s , rich, with m a n y m e r c h a n t s from
different M o o r i s h a n d Kling nations, w h o d o a great d e a l of trade,
a m o n g w h o m the most important are the B e n g a l e e s . There are
Rumes, T u r k s . A r a b s , Persians, Gujaratees, K l i n g , M a l a y s , J a v a n e s e ,
and Siamese. 9

The main natural r e s o u r c e s of P a s a i were p e p p e r , silk a n d b e n z o i n . It


p i
p r o d u c e d "from eigrn to ten t h o u s a n d b a h a r s of p e p p e r s every y e a r . ' " 11

From C h i n e s e s o u r c e s we k n o w that in the early sixteenth century the price


pp

of p e p p e r w a s 80 dirhams or one tael of silver for 100 c a t i e s (62.5 kg).

Another important r e s o u r c e w a s "oil from natural flows at Perlak, which

enriched the k i n g d o m of P a s a i a n d later A c e h . " 2 8


T h e silk of P a s a i w a s an

Trade and European Influence (The H a g u e : M a r t i n u s Nijhoff, 1962), 13,


18-19.
1 8
A n t h o n y Reid, Southeast Asia in the Age of Commerce 1450-1680, vol. 1
(New Haven a n d L o n d o n : Y a l e University Press, 1988), 7.
1 9
F. L. d e C a s t a n h e d a , Historia do Descobrimento e Conquista da India,
(lisbon, 1551-6). Reprint, L i s b o n , 1 8 8 3 . E n g l . t r a n s , by N. Litchfiel
( L o n d o n , 1582), vol. 2, 178, q u o t e d in Duarte B a r b o s a , The Book of
Duarte Barbosa, trans, by Royal A c a d e m y of S c i e n c e s at L i s b o n , e d .
a n d annot. by M a n s e l Longworth D a m e s , vol. 2 ( L o n d o n : T h e Haklyut
Society, 1921), 1 8 5 ; see a l s o , M e i l i n k - R o e l o f s z , Asian Trade, 8 8 - 8 9 .

2 0
Pires, The Suma, vol. 1, 142.
2 1
Ibid.; s e e a l s o , M e i l i n k - R o e l o f s z , Asian Trade, 2 1 . Bahar is a "variable
unit of weight, equivalent to 3 pikul or a p p r o x . 180 kg w h e n weighing
p e p p e r , but only 72.5 kg when weighing g o l d . " (Reid, Southeast Asia,
267).
2 2
W. P. G r o e n e v e l d t , Historical Notes of Indonesia and Malaya Compiled
from Chinese Sources (Djakarta: B h r a t a r a , 1960), 8 6 .
14

important resource which attracted Europeans, such as Alfonso de

A l b u q u e r q u e , the governor of P o r t u g a l at G o a who c o n q u e r e d M a l a c c a .

Anthony Reid writes:

A l b u q u e r q u e learned a b o u t the silk of P a s a i when he was on the way


to the c o n q u e s t of M e l a k a in 1 5 1 1 . He sent his G e n o e s e
troubleshooter, G i o v a n n i d a E m p o l i , b a c k there from India to
negotiate for the s u p p l y of all the silk P a s a i c o u l d p r o d u c e . Empoli
was told by the Raja that this w o u l d c o s t the Portuguese one hundred
thousand ducats.

Every year at the b e g i n n i n g of the sixteenth century "Pegu ports sent at

least forty rice-laden vessels (with p e r h a p s 14,000 tonnes of rice) to P a s a i ,

Pedir, a n d M e l a k a . " 2 5
In his study o n S o u t h e a s t A s i a from A r a b i c s o u r c e s ,

G . R. Tibbetts c o n c l u d e s that "the port of S u m a t r a is ine most famous one

of all the ports of the i s l a n d . This is a l a r g e town. It is the port for pepper,

silk a n d g o l d a n d is a very f l o u r i s h i n g port.

T h e rapid e c o n o m i e d e v e l o p m e n t of P a s a i apparently brought it to the

s t a g e of an a d v a n c e d k i n g d o m with l a r g e t o w n s . At the time when T o m e

Pires reached this k i n g d o m the p o p u l a t i o n in the city w a s not less than

twenty t h o u s a n d . 2 7
A n u m b e r of l a r g e t o w n s in the interior of the k i n g d o m

were inhabited by important a n d e d u c a t e d p e o p l e . 2 8


Unfortunately, we do

not have detailed information r e g a r d i n g these people.

2 3
Reid, Southeast Asia, 75.
2 4
lbid.,93.
2 5
Ibid., 2 1 .
2 6
G . R. Tibbetts, A Study of The Arabic Texts Containing Materials on
South-East Asia (Leiden & L o n d o n : E. J . Brill, 1979) , 2 2 3 .

2 7
Pires, The Suma, vol. 1, 1 4 3 .
2 8
Groeneveldt, Historical Notes, 8 5 - 9 3 .
15

T o m e Pires a n d Chinese s o u r c e s teil us that the c o i n a g e used in this

k i n g d o m w a s the dirham. Pires s a y s :

There are small coins like ceitis. They are tin c o i n s bearing the n a m e
of the reigning king. There are very small g o l d c o i n s which they call
dramas. Nine of these are worth one Cruzado, a n d I believe that each
o n e of them is worth five h u n d r e d c a s h . A b o v e this they have g o l d -
dust a n d silver. Their b a h a r of pepper is less t h a n that of M a l a c c a -
five cares, that is twelve arrateis less.

T h o u g h there is little information on Islam in S a m u d r a P a s a i , it h a s

been s u g g e s t e d that it was a center of religious studies and "the first


qn

important diffusion centre of the new faith in S o u t h - E a s t A s i a . u


At the

time when Ibn Battta s t o p p e d there, there were two Persian theologians

who p a r t i c i p a t e d in the d i s c u s s i o n s of the Sultan a l - M a l i k a l - Zahir, namely

Qad Sharf Amr Sayyid of S h i r a z a n d Taj al-Dn of I s f a h a n . 31


Later "in

1407 A b d A l l a h ibn M u h a m m a d ibn A b d a l - Q a d i r ibn 9 \ b d al-9\zz ibn al-


c c

Mansr A b Ja far a l - A b b a s al-Muntasir bi A l l a h , g r a n d - s o n of the last


c c

A b b a s i d C a l i p h , died at P a s e ; half a century earlier Ibn Battta h a d met his

father at the court of the ruler of D e l h i . " 3 2

It is difficult to establish exactly what kind of religious institutions

existed in P a s a i at this time. However, it is p r o b a b l e that there were to be

2 9
Pires, The Suma, vol. 1, 144; Groeneveldt, Historical Notes, 8 7 - 8 8 ; see
a l s o , Proyek Penelitian d a n P e n c a t a t a n K e b u d a y a a n Daerah, Sejarah
Propinsi Daerah Istimewa Aceh ( B a n d a A c e h : Departemen P e n d i d i k a n
d a n K e b u d a y a a n , P u s a t Penelitian Sejarah d a n B u d a y a , 1977/1988), 50.

3 0
D. G . E. Hall, A History of South-East Asia, 3th ed. (New York: St
Martin's Press, 1962), 2 0 6 .
3 1
Rita R. Di Meglio, " A r a b T r a d e with Indonesia a n d the Malay Peninsula
from the 8th to the 16th Century," in D. S . R i c h a r d s , ed., Islam and the
Trade of Asia: A Colloquium (Oxford: Bruno C a s s i r e r , 1970), 117.

3 2
Ibid.
16

f o u n d institutions which were simiiar to the Pesantren or Dayah (traditional

Islamic schools), the m o s q u e a n d the Surau or Meunasah (a p l a c e for

p r a y i n g , smaller than a m o s q u e , w h i c h is also used for the study of Islam).


qq
the most p o p u l a r Islamic institutions in the Empire of Aceh Dar a l - S a l a m .

From P a s a i , Islam s p r e a d out to M a l a c c a , P a t a n i 3 4


a n d even to J a v a .

It is well k n o w n that "one of J a v a ' s f a m o u s walis, S u n a n G u n u n g J a t i , c a m e

from P a s e with the object of converting the island." 3 5


Furthermore,

M a l a c c a , which rose as an Islamic sultanate in the fifteenth century,

a s s u m e d the role of S a m u d r a P a s a i in spreading Islam. Yet, Pasai w a s still

respected as a center of Islamic studies and "the s c h o l a r s in P a s a i were

however more learned than t h o s e in M a l a c c a . " 3 6

Pasai actively pursued international relations, especially in trade,

religion a n d even politics. P a s a i h a d a long relationship with C h i n a . In 1 2 8 2 ,

3 3
Proyek Penelitian, Sejarah Propinsi, 56.
3 4
For a d i s c u s s i o n on the relation of Islamic history of P a t a n i a n d
S a m u d r a P a s a i , see H a m d a n H a s a n , "Pertalian Pemikiran Islam
M a l a y s i a - A c e h , " in K h o o K i m , ed., Tamaddun Islam di Malaysia (Kuala
L u m p u r : P e r s a t u a n S e j a r a h M a l a y s i a , 1980), 4 8 - 5 9 .
3 5
B. O. J . S c h r i e k e , Her Boek van Bonang (Utrecht, 1916), 12, as q u o t e d in
M e i l i n k - R o e l o f z s , Asian Trade, 2 1 .
3 6
Haji B u y o n g bin A d i l , The History of Malacca During the Period of the
Malay Sultanate (Kuala Lumpur: Dewan B a h a s a d a n P u s t a k a
Kementrian Pelajaran M a l a y s i a , 1974), 36. Sultan Mansr S h a h of
M a l a c c a a s k e d M a k h d u m P a t a k a n , an Calim of 'Pasai, to' interpret a
b o o k c a l l e d "Dar a l - M a z l m " written by M a u l a n a A b u Ishaq. His p u p i l ,
M a u l a n a A b Bakr, b r d u g h t this book to M a l a c c a a n d 'delivered it to
S u l t a n Mansr S h a h . T h e S u l t a n also sent his assistant, T u n Bija
W a h g s a , to P a s a i to s u b m i t a religious question. The s a m e m i s s i o n led
by Tun M u h a m m a d w a s a l s o sent to Pasai to " p o s e the problern of
theology" during the reign of Sultan M a h m u d S h a h . S e e Sejarah
Melayu or Malay Annals, a n n o t . a n d trans, by C. C. Brown ( K u a l a
L u m p u r : Oxford University P r e s s , 1970), 9 0 - 9 6 , 145-149; H. O v e r b e c k ,
"The A n s w e r of P a s a i , " JMBRAS, vol. 11, pt. 2 (December, 1933),
2 5 4 - 2 6 0 ; R. Rooivink, "The A n s w e r of P a s a i , " JMBRAS, vol. 3 8 , pt. 2
(1965), 1 2 9 - 1 3 9 ; A b u H a s s a n S h a m , " P e r h u b u n g a n M e l a k a d e n g a n
17

the k i n g d o m of S a m u d r a sent two a m b a s s a d o r s to C h i n a identified as

Sulayman and Shams a l - D n . 3 7


Both P a s a i a n d C h i n a sent envoys to e a c h

other bearing presents such as during the reign of the emperor C h e n g - t s u

(1403-1424). Cheng Ho was sent to P a s a i three times, in 1405, 1414 a n d

1430. 3 3
P a s a i also sent envoys to this country with presents in 1426, 1433

a n d 1434 3 9

P a s a i ' s relations with M a l a c c a in the fifteenth century were also very

c o r d i a l . A b u Hassan S h a m suggests that the relations were b a s e d on four

areas: religion, commerce, politics and culture. The Islamization of

M a l a c c a by Pasai made the latter a religious reference for the former.

A l t h o u g h M a l a c c a dominated trade in the r e g i o n , Pasai still h a d s o m e

p r o d u c t s which were needed in M a l a c c a ' s markets s u c h as p e p p e r a n d

rice. The political disorder in Pasai motivated M a l a c c a to interfere in this

conflict by sending B e n d a h a r a P a d u k a R a j a a n d H a n g T u a h to support

Zayn a l - 9 \ b i d n , who was in conflict with his brother. It seems that the

structure of the M a l a c c a n government w a s taken from that of P a s a i ar.d

that in socio-cultural aspects both P a s a i a n d M a l a c c a influenced e a c h

other. This influence c a n be seen in l a n g u a g e (Malay), literature and

tradition. 4 9

The kingdom of Samudra Pasai, which was unified with Beuna

P a s a i di A b a d ke-15 d a n 16," Journal Sejarah Melaka, 6 (1981), 5-14.


3 7
M e g l i o , " A r a b Trade with Indonesia," 116.
3 8
Groeneveldt, Historical Notes, 8 5 - 9 3 .
3 9
S a i d , Aceh, 120-121.
4 9
S h a m , "Perhubungan Melaka d e n g a n P a s a i , " 5-14.
18

(Temieng) in the reign of Sultan A h m a d a l - M a l i k a l - Zahir (d. 1 3 5 0 ) , 4 1


was

attacked by Majapahit, the dominant political power of insular S o u t h e a s t

A s i a at the time with its capital on J a v a . T h e force under Patih N a l a

arrived in the reign of Sultan Zayn al- AbidTn a l - M a l i k a l - Zahir (d. 1394).
c

The attack failed d u e to the strong resistance of P a s a i a n d the death of the


49
King of Majapahit, P r a b u R a j a s a n e g a r a H a y a m W u r u k . ^

in the early sixteenth century Pasai b e g a n to decline as an important

entrepot in Southeast A s i a , a development related to the rise of M a l a c c a

as a major trading center in the fifteenth century. Even then Pasai's

commercial importance continued. As mentioned before, Pasai still

imported rice from Pegu at that time. It also p r o d u c e d p e p p e r , oil a n d a

g o o d quality of silk w h i c h attracted E u r o p e a n s , s u c h as the P o r t u g u e s e a n d

later the Dutch.

Political conflict within this sultanate apparently invited foreign

infiltration. The struggle between Zayn a l - A b i d n a n d his brother Z a y n a l -


c

Dn to attain power led to the interference of M a l a c c a a n d the P o r t u g u e s e .

Z a y n al-SAbidn w a s s u p p o r t e d by M a l a c c a while his brother w a s a s s i s t e d

by the Portuguese. T h i s political disorder w a s exploited by the P o r t u g u e s e

who used the port of P a s a i as a temporary post before l a u n c h i n g a n attack

on M a l a c c a in 1 5 1 1 . In 1521, the Portuguese o c c u p i e d P a s a i , until A c e h

Dar a l - S a l a m , under Sultan AI M u g h a y a h S h a h , took


C
P a s a i from the

Portuguese by force in 1 5 2 4 . 4 3

4 1
Djamil, Silsilah, 14.
4 2
Ibid.; S a i d , A c e n , 9 0 ; H. M . Z a i n u d d i n , Tarich Atjeh dan Nusantara
(Medan: P u s t a k a Iskandar M u d a , 1961), 2 2 1 - 2 3 3 .

4 3
Malay Annals, 9 6 - 1 0 0 ; S a i d , Aceh, 1 2 9 - 1 3 0 ; A d i l , The History of Malacca,
37-38.
19

Besides Pasai there w a s another important k i n g d o m in the r e g i o n ,


namely Pidie. It "was on the straits nearly o p p o s i t e to M a l a c c a , a n d h a d
long been famous in India as o n e of the principal entrepots for p e p p e r . " 4 4

Tome Pires also gives s o m e important notes on this k i n g d o m . A c c o r d i n g


to him:

Pedir in the i s l a n d of S u m a t r a used to b e important a n d rich a n d a


trading p l a c e , a n d it h a d d o m i n i o n over all the a b o v e f A c e h , L a m u r i ,
Biar_7 a n d also over the l a n d of Aeilabu a n d the k i n g d o m of Lide and
the kingdom of Pirada; a n d it w a s at war with P a s e ; a n d Pedir o n c e
held the mouth of the c h a n n e L A n d it h a d all the trade, a n d they
sailed there more than to P a s e . 4 5

J o a o De Barros also remarks on this k i n g d o m :

Of all these k i n g d o m s / " o f north c o a s t j that of Pedir w a s the greatest


a n d most f a m o u s in t h o s e r e g i o n s , and w a s s o before M a l a c c a w a s
inhabited. In it c a m e together what went from the west a n d c a m e
from the east by reason of the e m p o r i u m a n d market where g o o d s of
all kinds c o u l d be f o u n d , a n d b e c a u s e that city c o m m a n d e d the strait
between this island of S a m a t r a a n d the m a i n l a n d . But after the
foundation of M a l a c c a , a n d especially at our entry into India, the
kingdom of P a c e m b e g a n to g r o w a n d that of Pedir to decline. A n d
that of A c h e m its n e i g h b o u r b e i n g (then) but of little power is n o w the
greatest of all; s u c h are tjie variations in States of w h i c h m a n k i n d
makes so m u c h a c c o u n t . 4 6

Pidie was f a m o u s a n d wealthy. T h i s w a s d u e to "its being the p r i n c i p l e

source of supply for pepper, a c o n d i m e n t which w a s s o greatly v a i u e d by

the nations of the East a n d the W e s t . " 4 7


Therefore, it w a s "the best of the

4 4
B a r b o s a , The Book of Duarte, v o l . 2, 181; M e i l i n k - R e o l o f s z , Asian Trade,
19-20; 8 8 - 8 9 .
4 5
Pires, The Suma, vol. 1, 139.
4 6
J o a o De B a r r o s as q u o t e d in Decadas da Asia (Lisbon a n d M a d r i d ,
1563-1615), vol. 3, 120, as q u o t e d in B a r b o s a , The Book of Duarte, v o l .
2, 182.
4 7
Ibid.
20

i s l a n d . " A more detailed d e s c r i p t i o n of this k i n g d o m is given by Ludivico


4 8

di Varthema, a B o l o g n e s e traveler w h o visited the region in the early


sixteenth century, a s quoted by Hall:

In S u m a t r a V a r t h e m a visited the flourishing port of Pedir, near A c h e h .


Every year, he tells us, eighteen to twenty s h i p s were laden with
pepper for C h i n a . It also p r o d u c e d an i m m e n s e quantity of silk a n d
m u c h b e n z o i n . S o extensive w a s its trade, a n d s o great the number of
merchants resorting there, that o n e of its streets c o n t a i n e d about 500
m o n e y - c h a n g e r s . S t a m p e d m o n e y of g o l d , silver a n d tin w a s in use
there, with a devil s t a m p e d on o n e side a n d s o m e t h i n g resembling a
chariot d r a w n by elephants on the other. He w a s m u c h impressed by
the strict a d m i n i s t r a t i o n of justice there. T h r e e - m a s t e d junks with two
rudders were built there. He a l s o m a k e s the interestmg statement that
the natives excelled in the art of m a k i n g fireworks. y

These d e s c r i p t i o n s by E u r o p e a n travelers are also s u p p o r t e d by an

A r a b traveler, S u l a y m a n ibn A h m a d al-Mahr. In his b o o k al-Minhaj al-Fakhir

ff 9/m al-Bahr al-Zakir he mentions that Pidie w a s o n e of the most well-

known ports of the east c o a s t of S u m a t r a , e s p e c i a l l y as a port for

50
pepper.

Tome Pires gives us more information a b o u t the t r a d e of this k i n g d o m .

lts main p r o d u c t s were p e p p e r , white silk, b e n z o i n a n d g o l d . E a c h year it

p r o d u c e d from six o r seven to ten t h o u s a n d bahars of p e p p e r . This a m o u n t

declined in the last four years (early sixteenth century) until no more than

two or three t h o u s a n d bahars of p e p p e r a year were e x p o r t e d . P i d i e w a s

still e n g a g e d in t r a d e until 1500. M e r c h a n t s from m a n y n a t i o n s visited its

port. Two s h i p s c a m e from C a m b a y a n d B e n g a l every year, as at P e g u .

The trade d e c l i n e d after the taking of M a l a c c a by the P o r t u g u e s e . The war

4 8
Ibid.
4 9
B a d g e r in his edition of 777e Travel of Indovico Di Varthema (Hak. S o a ,
1863) as mentioned by Hall, A History of South-East Asia, 235.
5 0
Tibbetts, The Arabic Texts, 2 2 3 .
21

in Pidie itself was a l s o the c a u s e of this decline, w h i c h itself resulted in so


many merchants leaving the k i n g d o m . G o l d a n d silver a s well a s tin c o i n s
formed the c u r r e n c y . 5 1

It seems that Islamization took p l a c e in the m i d d l e of the fourteenth

century A.D., when the S u l t a n of A c e h Dar a l - S a l a m , Sultan Mahmd

S h a h , attacked it. S u l t a n M a h m d II A l a ' al-Dn J o h a n S h a h of A c e h


c

(1408-1465) a p p o i n t e d his s o n , P r i n c e Husayn S h a h , to be the King in Pidie.

He later b e c a m e the S u l t a n of A c e h (1465-1480) a s w e l l . 5 2

There is agreement a m o n g historians, both l o c a l a n d foreign, that Daya

was a kingdom located on the west coast of the northern part of

Sumatra. 5 3
However, n o n e of the foreign historians identify precisely the

location of this k i n g d o m . Tgk. Ismail J a k o e b relates that de Vink, w h o did

his research in 1915 in D a y a (Calang), d i s c o v e r e d the t o m b of Poteu

M e u r e u h o m D a y a , w h o w a s c a l l e d A l a ' al-Dn R i ^ y a h S h a h (d. 7 R a j a b


c

9 1 3 / 1 2 November 1508), the s o n of S u l t a n ^ n a y a h S h a h in C o t G l e J o n g

(Kuala Daya) 5 4

Nor is m u c h k n o w n of the early history of this k i n g d o m . Djamil asserts

that Daya w a s Islamized by Meurah P u p o o k (also known as Tcngku

S a g o o p ; we have no detailed information o n his dates a n d o r p l a c e from

where he came), w h o , later, w a s a p p o i n t e d a s a M u s l i m S u l t a n of D a y a . It

is s a i d that M e u r e u h o m O n g a w a s o n e of the f a m o u s S u l t a n s of Daya

5 1
Pires, The Suma, vol. 1, 1 3 9 - 1 4 0 .
5 2
Djamil, Silsilah, 24-26.
5 3
Ibid., 30; Hasjmy, Sejarah Kebudayaan, 14; De B a r r o s , Decada, quoted
in B a r b o s a , The Book of Duarte, v o l . 2, 183.
5 4
J a k o e b , Atjeh, 2 5 ; S a i d , Aceh, 1 5 0 - 1 5 1 , 155.
22

d e s c e n d e d from M e u r a h P u p o o k . Daya feil info d i s o r d e r after the death of


this S u l t a n , a n d did not recover untii the c o m i n g of Sultan ^ n a y a h S h a h a n d
his s o n , R i ' a y a h S h a h , from the k i n g d o m of A c e h . P r i n c e RiSayah S h a h was
a p p o i n t e d the Sultan of D a y a , while his father ruled the k i n g d o m of A c e h in
1480-1490. 5 5

J u s t o n the north s i d e of Daya there lay the k i n g d o m of Lamuri. De

B a r r o s i n f o r m s us that it w a s l o c a t e d between Daya a n d A c e h . 5 6


B a s e d on

extracts from the b o o k s Ying-yai Sheng-Lan (1416) a n d History of the Ming

Dynasty (1368-1643), Groeneveldt writes that " L a m b r i must have been

s i t u a t e d o n the north-western corner of the i s l a n d of S u m a t r a , on or near

the s p o t of the present A c h i n : we see that it w a s b o u n d e d by the s e a on

the n o r t h a n d the west, a n d that the Indian o c e a n w a s called after this

insignificant p l a c e , b e c a u s e it w a s c o n s i d e r e d to begin t h e r e . " 5 7


The

k i n g d o m of Lamuri c o m p r i s e d the area of Lamreh a n d p r o b a b l y even the

liver of A c e h . But all activities were centralized in the c a p i t a l city, Krueng

Raya. 5 8

L a m u r i w a s well k n o w n to foreign travelers a n d merchants, including

A r a b s , P e r s i a n s , E u r o p e a n s a n d C h i n e s e . T h e n a m e of this k i n g d o m was

s p e l l e d differently by all of these p e o p l e . A r a b s a n d Persians spelled it

Raml, Ramnl, or Lamuri. E u r o p e a n s c a l l e d it Lambri, Lambry, or Lamori.

T h e C h i n e s e spelled it Lan-li, Lan-bu-li, Lan-wu-li, a n d even Nan-po-li. Lamiri

5 5
D j a m i l , Silsilah, 3 0 - 3 2 ; Hasjmy, Sejarah Kebudayaan, 14-15.
5 8
De B a r r o s , Decada, q u o t e d in B a r b o s a , The Book of Duarte, vol. 2, 184.
5 7
G r o e n e v e l t , Historical Notes, 100.
5 8
T e u k u Iskandar, Hikayat Aceh, t r a n s , by A b o e B a k a r ( B a n d a A c e h ,
Departemen Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan Direktorat Jenderal
K e b u d a y a a n , M e u s e u m Negeri A c e h , 1986), 32.
23

is uded in ine Sejarah Melayu (Malay Annals), while Lamri is found in the
Hikayat Aceh. T h e n a m e Lamuri is f o u n d in Nagarakertagama. It was
spelled llamuridocam in Tanjore inscriptions. L o c a l historians, like M. J u n u s
Djamil a n d A . Hasjmy, use the n a m e Lamuri.^

A c c o r d i n g to T. Iskandar, Lamuri w a s e s t a b l i s h e d in the ninth century

a n d its c a p i t a ! w a s K r u e n g R a y a . A b o u t the year 9 4 3 , L a m u r i w a s colonized

by Criwijaya, a state ot affairs w h i c h c o n t i n u e d until 1225. By the year 1286

Lamuri sent e n v o y s to China, a n d s u b s e q u e n t l y often sent gifts and

e m b a s s i e s to this c o u n t r y until the early part of the fifteenth century. It was

not until 1365 that L a m u r i w a s attacked by M a j a p a h i t . Iskandar also states

that Islam c a m e to this k i n g d o m in the fourteenth c e n t u r y . 6 0


This view is

different from that of Djamil w h o asserts that Islam c a m e to this area in the

twelfth c e n t u r y . 6 1
In the fifteenth century, the King of L a m u r i , M u n a w w a r

S h a h , removed his k i n g d o m to M a h k o t a A l a m . T h e r e a s o n for this move

w a s to a v o i d the a t t a c k of Pidie w h i c h w a n t e d to c o n q u e r A c e h ' s valley.

T h e mouth of the river where Lamuri w a s l o c a t e d h a d b e c o m e shallow,

preventing any s h i p s from d o c k i n g . 6 2

T h e p r e s e n c e of the Lamuri k i n g d o m in M a h k o t a A l a m constituted a

rival for A c e h w h i c h w a s l o c a t e d in Dar a l - K a m a l a n d w h i c h w a s only

s e p a r a t e d from M a h k o t a A l a m by a river. T h e rivalry led to a w a r between

the two k i n g d o m s w h i c h resulted in stalemate. This situation e n c o u r a g e d

5 9
S e e Iskandar, Hikayat Aceh, 3 0 ; L o m b a r d , Le Sultanat d'Atjeh, 31;
Djamil, Silsilah, 3 4 - 3 7 ; Hasjmy, Sejarah Kebudayaan, 15-16.
6 9
Iskandar, Hikayat Aceh, 4 1 .
6 1
Djamil, Silsilah, 35.
6 2
Iskandar, Hikayat Aceh, 3 5 .
24

M u n a w w a r S h a h to resort to trickery by p r o p o s i n g the marriage of his s o n


with the d a u g h t e r of S u l t a n Inayah S h a h . When qnayah S h a h accepted this
p r o p o s a l , the envoys of M u n a w w a r S h a h secretly brought guns with them
to attack Dar a l - K a m a l . This ruse w a s s u c c e s s f u l a n d Dar a l - K a m a l w a s
o c c u p i e d by M u n a w w a r ' s envoys, w h o were actually soldiers. From then
o n L a m u r i a n d A c e h were united under the reign of Sultan S h a m s S h a h ,
the s o n of M u n a w w a r S h a h . In order to strengthen his position, S h a m s
S h a h married his s o n , AIT M u g h a y a h S h a h , to the daughter of I n a y a h
C

Shah. 6 3

I s k a n d a r ' s version obviously points out that Lamuri w a s not A c e h . But


64

he believes that the n a m e of L a m u r i w a s later c h a n g e d to A c e h . A c e h , in

his view, w a s p r o b a b l y f o u n d e d at the end of the fifteenth century. He

b a s e s this view on the information i n s c r i b e d on the tomb of Muzaffar S h a h

(d. 1497), w h o w a s the s o n of Qnayah S h a h a n d the g r a n d s o n of A b d Allah


c

a l - M a l i k a l - M u b T n . He insists that Dar a l - K a m a l was the ealier name of

Aceh, 6 5
a view a l s o s u p p o r t e d by M u h a m m a d S a i d .

Foreign travelers give us limited information on this kingdom. Arab

travelers only mention that L a m u r i w a s o n e of the most important ports in

Southeast Asia 6 7
Pires tells us only that it was located right beside

Aceh. 6 8
Other E u r o p e a n travelers point out that Lamuri was "the ancient

6 3
Ibid., 3 5 , 4 1 ; S a i d , Aceh, 1 5 1 - 1 5 3 .

6 4
Iskandar, Hikayat Aceh, 2 9 , 3 1 .

6 5
Ibid., 3 5 .
6 6
S a i d , Aceh, 1 3 1 - 1 5 6 .
6 7
Tibbetts, The Arabic Texts, 2 3 0 .
6 8
Pires, The Suma, v o l . 1, 138.
25

country of S u m a t r a " a n d called it "the Lamuri of the A r a b s . " It w a s 6 9

visited by Friar O d o r i c after 1320 who "names the kingdoms of Lamuri a n d


S o m o l t r a , the latter of which he p l a c e s more to the s o u t h . " The a c c o u n t
7 0

of Ying-yai Sheng-lan [1416) mentions that the inhabitants of Lamuri were


g o o d a n d that they, including their Kings, were Muslims. He states that its
port w a s visited by many s h i p s , including s o m e from C h i n a , and that the
relations between the k i n g d o m a n d C h i n a were very c o r d i a l . The History 7 1

of Ming Dynasty (1368-1643) tells us, as p a r a p h r a s e d by Groeneveldt, that:

In the year 1412 the king M a - h a - r a - s a sent envoys, together with


t h o s e of S u m a t r a , to carry tribute; the envoys were presented with
c o u r t - d r e s s e s a n d the king got a seal, a c o m m i s s i o n a n d silks, whilst
C h e n g H o was sent to carry the instructions of the emperor to that
c o u n t r y . Till the end of the reign of the emperor C h e n g - t s u (1424), they
sent tribute every year.
W h e n in 1430 C h e n a , H o brought presents to different countries,
L a m b r i w a s one of them.

L a m u r i h a d sent envoys to C h i n a s i n c e 1286. In 1408 the admiral C h e n g

Ho w a s sent to Lamuri, while in 1411 Lamuri's envoys were again sent to

C h i n a to c a r r y tribute. In 1412 King M u h a m m a d S h a h of Lamuri, together

with S a m u d r a , sent another envoy to C h i n a for the s a m e reason, as did his

son, S h a h Johan, later. 7 3


A c c o r d i n g to Iskandar the Cakra Donya bell,

dating from 1409 a n d inscribed with C h i n e s e a n d A r a b i c script, w a s the

present of t h e C h i n e s e emperor to L a m u r i . It w a s b r o u g h t by C h e n g Ho in

6 9
S e e notes in B a r b o s a , The Book of Duarte , vol. 2, 182.

7 0
Ibid.
7 1
G r o e n e v e l d t , Historical Notes, 9 8 - 9 9 .

7 2
Ibid.
7 3
G . S c h l e g e l Geographical Notes XVI : The Old States in the Island of
Sumatra, T ' o u n g P a o , serie 2, vol. 2 (1901), 2 3 5 - 2 5 9 , quoted in Iskandar,
Hikayat Aceh, 2 8 - 2 9 .
26

1 4 3 0 a n d w a s l a t e r r e m o v e d to A c e h D a r a l - S a l a m . 7 4

Little is k n o w n a b o u t A c e h in t h e fifteenth c e n t u r y . U n l i k e L a m u r i , A c e h

w a s n e i t h e r k n o w n n o r v i s i t e d m u c h b y f o r e i g n t r a v e l e r s a n d t r a d e r s s i n c e it

was located in t h e hinterland, more than one mile from the coast 7 5

Djajadiningrat insists that before the year 1500 A c e h w a s an insignificant

area. 7 6
S i g n s of t h e e m e r g e n c e of A c e h h a v e b e e n i d e n t i f i e d at t h e e n d of

the fifteenth century a n d the early sixteenth century with the unification of

M a h k o t a A l a m a n d Dar a l - K a m a l into o n e k i n g d o m .

All the kingdoms discussed conceivably had similar ethnic and

l i n g u i s t i c b a c k g r o u n d s . L o o k i n g at their r a c i a l f e a t u r e s , l a n g u a g e , literature

a n d h i s t o r i c a l r e m a i n s , D j a m i l c o n c l u d e s t h a t t h e p e o p l e of t h i s a r e a c a m e

from India, Siam, Funan, Cambodia and Campa. 7 7


This population

a s s i m i l a t e d w i t h o t h e r s w h o c a m e for t h e p u r p o s e of t r a d i n g a n d religious

proselytization, a process which eventually affected racial features,

language and culture. T h e old trade relations with India, for instance,

b r o u g h t a H i n d u i n f l u e n c e in c i v i l i z a t i o n a n d l a n g u a g e . Arab and Persian

traders brought I s l a m a n d their o w n l a n g u a g e s . P a s a i , for i n s t a n c e , w a s

reported by T o m e Pires a s a k i n g d o m inhabited by a Bengali majority. C .

S n o u c k H u r g r o n j e , w h o wrote a study on the A c e h n e s e p e o p l e , m e n t i o n s

t h a t T e u n g k u K u t a K a r a n g , w h o w a s a r e l i g i o u s l e a d e r (<a7/m) a s w e l l a s a

district chief (hulubalang), insisted that Aceh was born from the

7 4
I s k a n d a r , Hikayat Aceh, 28-29.

7 5
Ibid.

7 6
D j a j a d i n i n g r a t , Kesultanan Aceh, 20.

7 7
D j a m i l , S i l s i l a h , 2 ; s e e a l s o , L o m b a r d , L e Sultanat d'Af/eh, 3 4 - 3 5 .
27
78
intermarriage of an indigenous people with A r a b s , P e r s i a n s a n d T u r k s .
U n d o u b t e d l y the rise of several of these cities as entrepots a n d religious
centers accelerated this intermixture of people.

Using Chinese sources Groeneveldt c o n c l u d e s that in Pasai "the

l a n g u a g e , the marriage a n d burial ceremonies, the dress etc. are all the

s a m e as M a l a c c a . " 7 9
This statement p r o b a b l y implies that the p e o p l e of

the a r e a used the Malay l a n g u a g e for international Communications in

trading and, perhaps, as the language of the courts, government

c o r r e s p o n d e n c e , official d o c u m e n t s , e t c . 8 0
However, A c e h n e s e w a s also

u s e d a s the c o m m o n l a n g u a g e of the p o p u l a t i o n , while both the A c e h n e s e

and M a l a y languages were also used in literature a n d other works,


Q -I
i n c l u d i n g historical a n d religious w r i t i n g s . 0

O u r knowledge of the early history of the sultanates or k i n g d o m s in the

region is still very limited. Loeb says that "the history of Atjeh b e f c r e 1500

A.D. lies very much in the dark" 8 2


and Djajadiningrat repeats this

observation. 8 3
That there were several sultanates or k i n g d o m s before the

sixteenth century, located at different sites in the general A c e h n e s e

territory, is reasonably clear. When A c e h emerged, it brought with it the

7 8
C . S n o u c k Hurgronje, The Achehnese, trans, by A. W. S . O ' S u l l i v a n , v o l .
1 (Leiden: Brill, 1906), 18.
7 9
Groeneveldt, Historical Notes, 87.

8 0
Ibid.; Z a i n u d d i n , Tarich Atjeh, 3 7 - 3 8 .
8 1
For a d i s c u s s i o n on these works see A. Hasjmy, Sumbangan
Kesusasteraan Aceh Dalara Pemoinaan Kesusasteraan Indonesia ( J a k a r t a :
B u l a n Bintang, 1977), 7 5 - 1 1 1 .

8 2
L o e b , Sumatra, 218.
8 3
Djajadiningrat, Kesultanan Aceh, 9.
28

legacy of all t h o s e p r e d e c e s s o r states, carrying this legacy into the


sixteenth century a n d a new historical era in the region.

B. T h e E m e r g e n c e of M a l a c c a

A c c o r d i n g to F e r n a n d B r a u d e l , "geography was certainly responsible

for a g o o d deal of M a l a c c a ' s story. The town o c c u p i e s an a d v a n t a g e o u s

site on the straits w h i c h bear its name, lying on the maritime c h a n n e l

c o n n e c t i n g the waters of the Indian Ocean to those of the C h i n a s e a s on

the e d g e of the P a c i f i c " 8 4


a n d protecting all sails from m o n s o o n s .

Fourteenth century M a l a c c a was an unimportant place, lts historical

s i g n i f i c a n c e g o e s b a c k to the arrival of P a r a m e s w a r a who, a c c o r d i n g to

Pires, fled from P a l e m b a n g with his followers to S i n g a p o r e , where he killed

the l o c a l p r i n c e a n d e s t a b l i s h e d his rule over the small settlement existing

there. S i n c e S i n g a p o r e w a s a vassal of S i a m , P a r a m e s w a r a only ruled

there for five years before he w a s driven out by the S i a m e s e . He then

m o v e d to M u a r a n d later to M a l a c c a sometime before 1 4 0 3 . 8 5


When

P a r a m e s w a r a c a m e to its s h o r e s M a l a c c a was a poor place, o c c u p i e d by

a b o u t twenty to thirty p e o p l e who lived either by fishing or piracy, as

d e s c r i b e d by A l b u q u e r q u e . 8 6
Shortly after 1403, M a l a c c a b e g a n to develop

8 4
F e r n a n d B r a u d e l , The Perspective of The World: Civilization and
Capitalism 15th-18th Century, vol. 3, trans, by S i a n Reynolds (New York:
H a r p e r & R o w P u b l i s h e r , 19S4), 524.
8 5
Pires The Suma, vol. 2, 2 2 9 - 2 3 5 ; R i c h a r d O. Winstedt, A History of
Maia'ya ( S i n g a p o r e : M a r i c a n & S o n s , 1962), 44-46; C . H. W a k e , " M e l a k a
in the Fifteenth Century: M a l a y Historical Traditions and the Politics of
the I s l a m i z a t i o n , " in Kernial Singh S a n d h u and Paul Wheatly, eds.,
Melaka: The Transformation of A Malay Capital, C. 1400-1980 (Kuala
L u m p u r , New Y o r k : Oxford University Press, 1983), 140.
8 6
Braz de Albuquerque, The Commentaries of the Great Afonso
29

as an important entrepot in this region.

F. J . M o o r h e a d suggests that both an internal and an external factor

account for M a l a c c a ' s rise. The internai factor lies in its excellent

geographical position. The external factor is m a d e up of both the

expansion of C h i n e s e trade under the Ming emperors and Muslim

p a t r o n a g e as a result of the conversion to Islam of Parameswara h i m s e l f . 87

It h a s been s u g g e s t e d that his conversion was motivated by political a n d

economie r e a s o n s . 8 8
Meglio asserts that "it was due to the exertion a n d

e l o q u e n c e of an A r a b holy m a n . " 8 9
He quotes Diogo do C u o t o ' s statement

as follows:

When he h a d f o u n d e d M a l a c c a , ships started to arriv from A r a b i a n


ports. O n e year a Cassiz arrived on one of these ships who h a d c o m e
to p r e a c h the faith of M u h a m m a d in those parts. He resided with the
King (who grew a t t a c h e d . to him) and eventually converted him to
Islam a n d r e n a m e d him, in the name of the Prophet, S h a h
(

Muhammad 9 9

E c o n o m i e factors seem to have played an important role in the

conversion as well. S p e a k i n g to this point Stone states:

In any c a s e , he had already m a d e his peace with S i a m . Following o n


this policy of m a k i n g p e a c e with the neighbouring powers, he sent

Dalboquerque, ed., trans., a n d annot. by Walter de Gray B i r c h , vol. 3


( L o n d o n : The Hakluyt Society, 1880), 74-75.
8 7
F. J . M o o r h e a d , A History of Malaya and Her Neighbours, vol. 1 (Kuala
L u m p u r : L o n g m a n s of M a l a y s i a , 1961), 118-124.
8 8
S t o n e , From Malacca, 2 0 - 2 1 ; W a n S h a m s u d d i n and A r e n a Wati, Sejarah
Tanah Melayu 1400-1967, (Kuala Lumpur: Penerbitan P u s t a k a A n t a r a ,
1969), 2 2 .
8 9
M e g l i o , " A r a b T r a d e with Indonesia," 119.
9 0
Diogo do C u o t o r e p r o d u c e d J o a o de Barros' Decades. T h e p a s s a g e
q u o t e d is taken from the edition of L i s b o a , 1788, D e c a d a IV, b o o k II,
chapter i, p. 84, quoted in M e g l i o , " A r a b Trade with Indonesia," 119.
30

e m b a s s i e s to Majapahit (Java) and Pasai, in the far north of S u m a t r a .


He f o u n d that the soit near M a l a c c a would not grow rice very well,
a n d J a v a a n d S i a m are places that export it. In a d d i t i o n , he a s k e d
the King of Majapahit to allow his traders to call at M a l a c c a , for it
h a d a better harbour than P a s a i . He also a s k e d the S u l t a n of P a s a i to
allow traders to go to M a l a c c a . The Sultan replied that he did not
m i n d provided Parameswara b e c a m e a M u s l i m . Finally, P a r a m e s w a r a
sent an e m b a s s y to C h i n a with Yin Ching when he r e t u r n e d . 91

Apparently, the key elements were gaining C h i n e s e recognition a n d giving

evidence of a connection with Islam. The latter w a s g a i n e d by marrying the

d a u g h t e r of the King of Pasai a n d by converting to Islam with the title of

Iskandar S h a h . These moves c h a n g e d M a l a c c a "from a pirate centre to a

trading port recognized by all powers a r o u n d . " 9 2


T o m e Pires tells us that

there were Muslim traders coming from such different p l a c e s as C a i r o ,

Mecca, Aden, Abyssinia, Kilwa, Malindi, Hormuz, Persia, Turkey,

T u r k o m e n i s t a n , Gujarat, Pasai a n d Pidie. S o many p e o p l e c a m e to this

entrepot that there were eighty-four languages in use there 9 3


On this point

G e o r g e C h o a n d Marion W. Ward write:

the settlement at the mouth of the M e l a k a River grew rapidly to


c o m m a n d the trade between East (China a n d J a p a n , the i s l a n d s of
Indonesia a n d the Philippines, the coasts of m a i n l a n d S o u t h e a s t Asia)
a n d West (the Indian subcontinent, A r a b i a , the P e r s i a n Gulf, the R e d
S e a , the Mediterranean a n d Europe). At their greatest, the port's
trading c o n n e c t i o n s reached from Maluku to S u e z (thence indirectly
to Eurppe), from J a p a n to East Africa, from L u z o n to the Persian
Gulf. 9 4

Internally, the conversion of Parameswara to Islam led to the

9 1
S t o n e , From Malacca, 20.
9 2
Ibid.
9 3
Pires, The Suma, vol. 2, 268-269.
9 4
G e o r g e C h o a n d Marion W. W a r d , "The Port of M e l a k a , " in S a n d h u a n d
Wheatly, Melaka, vol. 1, 624.
31

conversion of his people and accordingly transformed M a l a c c a into an


Islamic sultanate which eventually replaced Pasai as a center of Islamic
studies a n d Islamic propagation in the Malay a r c h i p e l a g o . T h e K i n g u s e d
an Islamic name, adopted the title of Sultan a n d employed other M u s l i m
terms a n d a c c o l a d e s .

The prosperity of M a l a c c a was based mainly on trade. M . A . P.

Meilink-Roelofsz discusses the "commercial traffic" of this entrepot at the

end of the fifteenth century with other important ports, s u c h as G u j a r a t ,

C o r o m a n d e l , Bengal, Ceylon, Pegu, Kedah, S i a m a n d other c o u n t r i e s of

further India, China, Japan, the Philippines, Sumatra, Java, Borneo,

Celebes a n d the lesser S u n d a I s l a n d s . 95


T h o u g h it w a s not a major

producer, Malacca exported salted and fried fish throughout the

a r c h i p e l a g o . A small amount of gold and tin w a s also p r o d u c e d . A s far

as c o i n a g e is c o n c e r n e d , Meilink-Roelofsz writes that "the accepted

c o i n a g e w a s tin, but g o l d a n d silver were also used for bartering, t h o u g h

more as a commodity than as c o i n a g e . Foreign c o i n s , for e x a m p l e t h o s e of

the Indian seaports, were also current in M a l a c c a , where, no d o u b t , m a n y

m o n e y - c h a n g e r s were to be f o u n d . " 9 7

M a l a c c a was a dynastie sultanate and under Sultan M a h m d S h a h

(1424-1444) its organization a n d operation were given their b a s i c f o r m s .

The Sultan w a s at the apex of the state organization. His authority w a s

derived from both descent a n d religion. From the religious point of view he

9 5
Meilink-Roelofsz, Asian Trade, 6 0 - 8 8 .
9 6
M . A . P. Meilink-Roelofsz, "Trade and Islam in the M a l a y - l n d o n e s i a n
A r c h i p e l a g o Prior to the Arrival of the E u r o p e a n s , " in R i c h a r d s , Islam
and Trade, 150.
9 7
Ibid., 151.
32

was respected as " G o d ' s S h a d o w on E a r t h , a n d that as one performed

g o o d deeds for G o d a n d the Prophet, so s h o u l d o n e d o for a r u l e r . " 9 8


This

authority is corroborated by two traditional M a l a y c o n c e p t s called daulat

a n d durhaka. Datuk Z a i n a l Abidin states:

Daulat can be interpreted as sovereignty. T h e sovereignty of a M a l a y


ruler is not merely a legal concept; it is a cultural a n d religious o n e as
well. A n d it lies in the person of the ruler. T h e daulat e n d o w s him with
many rights a n d privileges, p l a c e s him a b o v e his society, b e y o n d
reproach and criticism. The daulat a l s o entails u n q u e s t i o n i n g loyalty
from his subject. Derhaka is a c o n c e p t related to daulat. It c o u l d , for
convenience, be translated as ' d i s o b e d i e n c e ' t h o u g h , in actuality,
derhaka has a wider meaning. If o n e were d i s o b e d i e n t to his ruler,
one could be regarded as derhaka; if o n e were to rebel a g a i n s t him,
on could be considered as derhaka; or if o n e ' s father were o r d e r e d to
be killed by a sultan for unjustifiable r e a s o n s , one w o u l d still be
regarded as having derhaka, if one were to try to keep his parent from
being k i l l e d .
99

This position of Sultan was also s t r e n g t h e n e d by c u s t o m s , traditions

and p r o h i b i t i o n s . 1 9 9
However, the S u ' l a n distributed his power structurally

to his officials, namely the B e n d a h a r a , the Penghulu Bendahari, the

T e m a n g g u n g , the L a k s a m a n a a n d the S h a h b a n d a r . To s o m e extent, the

B e n d a h a r a was similar to a Prime Minister. He w a s the most senior chief,

who acted as a chief advisor to the S u l t a n , o v e r s a w the administration of

the laws of the country a n d served a s the c o m m a n d e r of the military

forces, though he was never involved in battles. During the a b s e n c e of the

Sultan he was the acting S u l t a n . The P e n g h u l u B e n d a h a r i was the p e r s o n in

9 8
Datuk Zainal A b i d i n bin A b d u l W a h i d , " P o w e r a n d Authority in the
Melaka Sultanate: The Traditional View," in S a n d h u a n d Wheatly,
Melaka, 102.
9 9
Z a i n a l Abidin bin A b d u l W a h i d , " S e j a r a h M e l a y u , " Asian Studies, v o l . 4,
no.3 (1966), 446 as q u o t e d in A b d u l W a h i d , " P o w e r a n d Authority," 102.
1 0 0
For these customs, traditions a n d p r o h i b i t i o n s see A d i l , The History of
Malacca, 17-22.
33

charge of financial affairs. Law and order were under the responsibility of
the T e m a n g g u n g . T h e L a k s a m a n a was the military c o m m m a n d e r in both
sea a n d l a n d wars, while the S h a h b a n d a r w a s in c h a r g e of t r a d i n g activities
in the harbour, a position which is s o m e w h a t similar to a present day
harbour master. 1 0 1

The commercial prosperity of M a l a c c a e n c o u r a g e d the S u l t a n a n d his

officials to be actively involved with its o p e r a t i o n . A p p a r e n t l y , great wealth

was acquired by this ruling elite from fees a n d a s s e s s m e n t s p l a c e d o n the

foreign traders. Wilkinson says, as quoted by M o o r h e a d , that "the M a l a c c a

Malay were a ruling c l a s s living rather parasitically on a c o m m u n i t y of alien

traders." 1 0 2

The introduction of the customs, traditions a n d p r o h i b i t i o n s regarding

the royal status by Sultan M u h a m m a d S h a h e n l a r g e d the g a p between the

royal family a n d senior government officials on o n e s i d e a n d the general

population on the other. Eventually, M a l a c c a n society, according to

Muhammad Yusoff Hashim, was divided into three levels: the first

consisted of the Sultan a n d the royal family; the second was the

Sultanate's officials; a n d the last one w a s m a d e up of the c o m m o n p e o p l e

who h a d to s u p p o r t the royal institution as well as obey the rules, c u s t o m s ,

traditions a n d p r o h i b i t i o n s . 1 0 3
There w a s a high degree of o r g a n i z a t i o n a n d

laws existed for maritime affairs, for m a r r i a g e a n d for s a l e a n d p r o c e d u r e .

These laws, reflecting a high degree of influence from e l s e w h e r e in the

1 0 1
A b d u l W a h i d , " P o w e r and Authority," 1 0 5 - 1 0 6 .
1 0 2
M o o r h e a d , A History of Malaya, vol. 1, 137.
1 0 3
M u h a m m a d Yusoff Hashim, Kesultanan Melayu Melaka ( K u a l a L u m p u r :
Dewan B a h a s a d a n Pustaka Kementrian P e n d i d i k a n M a l a y s i a , 1989),
272-332.
34

Muslim world, have been c o m p i l e d in a b o o k entitled Undang Undang


Melaka (The L a w s of M e l a k a ) . 1 0 4

Meanwhile, the control of the c o u n t r y d e p e n d e d to a great extent on

the officials, especially the B e n d a h a r a . T u n Perak, w h o m Winstedt h a s

called "the brain of M a l a c c a ' s imperialist policy in M a l a y a n d S u m a t r a for

more than three r e i g n s , " 1 0 5


w a s the m o s t p o p u l a r B e n d a h a r a . On this

figure M o o r h e a d writes:

This man w a s to play a part in M a l a c c a n history similar to that p l a y e d


in J a v a by G a j a h M a d a , a n d i n d e e d the author of the Malay Annals
called these two of the greatest men of their time. He w a s , in truth,
the all-powerful minister d u r i n g three reigns, a real king-maker w h o
ensured that a relative of his o w n s h o u l d be nominated as S u l t a n in
each c a s e . H a v i n g firmly e n t r e n c h e d himself in power, he followed
with s i n g l e - m i n d e d devotion a p o l i c y w h i c h led to the creation of the
M a l a c c a Empire a n d the a g g r a n d i s e m e n t of his h o u s e . ' U b

He, with other senior officials, totally ruled the country d u r i n g the early

years of Sultan M a h m d S h a h ' s reign, w h o c a m e to the throne while still a

child. Another f a m o u s B e n d a h a r a w a s T u n Mutahir, who took the title

B e n d a h a r a Sri M a h a r a j a . He is described in the Malay Annals as "the

grandest of all the B e n d a h a r a s . " 1 0 7


T h a n k s to his "efficint a n d wise
1 OP,

administration, a n d his ability to attract f o r e i g n traders to M a l a c c a , " l u o


he

brought the entrepot to a point where it greatly f l o u r i s h e d , especially

during the reign of the last S u l t a n , M a h m d S h a h . Wilkinson d e s c r i b e s him

1 0 4
S e e Liaw Y o c k F a n g , Undang Undang Melaka (the L a w s of Melaka)
(The H a g u e : M a r t i n u s Nijhoff, 1976).

105 vVinstedt, A History of Malay'a, 51.


1 0 6
M o o r h e a d , A History of Malaya, vol. 1, 132.

1 0 7
Malay Annals, 128.
1 0 8
A d i l , The History of Malacca, 53.
35

as a " h a n d s o m e " gentleman who "liked looking well, wealthy, showy, v a i n ,


arrogant, lavish a n d corrupt" which won him many e n e m i e s . Obviously, 1 0 9

the role of the B e n d a h a r a a n d other senior officials w a s very important a n d


one of the b a s i c factors that attracted foreign m e r c h a n t s to use the
facilities at M a l a c c a .

It w a s mentioned above that the cultural plurality of the p o p u l a t i o n w a s

a characteristic of this town. The d o m i n a n t foreign e t h n i c g r o u p c o n s i s t e d

of Tamil M u s l i m s w h o h a d b e c o m e an important element a m o n g the elite

g r o u p , w h i c h apparently led to competition between t h e m a n d the M a l a y

faction. S o m e important positions were o c c u p i e d by the m e m b e r s of this

group s u c h as B e n d a h a r a Tun Ali, T e m a n g g u n g T u n T a h i r , B e n d a h a r a Tun

Mutahir a n d T e m a n g g u n g Tun H a s a n . 1 1 9
T h e s u c c e s s f u l c o u p d'etat led by

Raja K a s i m in 1446, w h o s e mother was T a m i l , resulting in the overthrow of

Raja Ibrahim (Sultan Ab S h a h i d ) a n d the s u b s e q u e n t a c c e s s i o n of Raja

K a s i m as the fifth Sultan with the title of M u z a f f a r S h a h , w a s an i n d i c a t i o n

of the triumph of the Tamil Muslims 1 1 1

T h e political achievement of this sultanate w a s very s u b s t a n t i a l . The

initiative taken by P a r a m e s w a r a to gain recognition f r o m other powers in

the region and even from China was very significant for the later

development of M a l a c c a e c o n o m i c a l l y as well a s politically. The cordial

relationship with C h i n a a n d its v a s s a l s g a v e it the s e l f - c o n f i d e n c e needed

to resist the political a n d military a s p i r a t i o n s of other regional p o w e r s .

1 0 9
R. J . W i l k i n s o n , "The M a l a c c a S u l t a n a t e , " JMBRAS, vol. 13, pt. 2
(October 1935), 6 3 - 6 4 .
1 1 9
M u h a m m a d Yusoff H a s h i m , " M a s y a r a k a t M e l a k a Z a m a n K e s u l t a n a n
d a n Sifat K o s m o p o l i t a n n y a , " in S a n d h u a n d W h e a l t h y , Melaka, 118.

1 1 1
Hall, A History of South-East Asia, 2 1 0 .
36

There were, for example, two u n s u c c e s s f u l attacks l a u n c h e d by S i a m


during the reign of M u z a f f a r S h a h , trying to bring M a l a c c a under its tutelary
system w h i c h extended t h r o u g h o u t most of the M a l a y peninsuia at the
time. After the attacks M u z a f f a r S h a h initiated p e a c e by s e n d i n g an
e m b a s s y led by Tun T e l a n i to S i a m . From information c o n t a i n e d in
1 1 2

C h i n e s e s o u r c e s , we k n o w that a c o r d i a l relationship between the rulers


was o b t a i n e d by s e n d i n g e n v o y s with presents to e a c h other. S u l t a n s of
M a l a c c a sometimes m a d e royal visits to C h i n a , s u c h as P a r a m e s w a r a
(Iskandar S h a h , d . 1424) in 1 4 1 1 , a n d Sultan M u h a m m a d S h a h (d. 1444) in
1424 a n d 1 4 3 3 , s i n c e they were beholden to the C h i n e s e for ultimate
1 1 3

protection a n d were r e g a r d e d by the C h i n e s e as part of their own v a s s a l


system.

The M a l a c c a sultanate b e c a m e a chief power in S o u t h e a s t Asia.

Several states in the region b e c a m e its v a s s a l s , s u c h as the R i a u - L i n g g a

islands and Sumatra, P a h a n g , Sungai Ujung, Jeram, Langat, Inderagiri,

Palembang, Jambi, L i n g g a , T u n g k a l , S i a n t a n , Brunei, B e r u a s , Bentan,

Kampar and S i a k . 1 1 4
The sultanate was r e s p o n s i b l e for the security of

these v a s s a l s . M a l a c c a , for i n s t a n c e , sent an army to help P a h a n g a n d


115
B e r u a s w h e n they were a t t a c k e d by Ligor and M a n j u n g .

T h e prosperity of M a l a c c a w a s also s u p p o r t e d by its status as a center

of Islamic studies. There is no d o u b t that Islam was an important element

in this sultanate. T h e Malay Annals inform us of the piety of Sultan Mansr

1 1 2
Malay Annals, 55-62.
1 1 3
G r o e n e v e l d t , Historical Notes, 1 2 3 - 1 3 8 .
1 1 4
A d i l , The History of Malacca, 38-39.
1 1 5
A b d u l W a h i d , " P o w e r a n d Authority," 107.
37

S h a h a n d his interest in religion a n d we even learn of how he studied

Islamic teachings with M a u l a n a A b B a k r . In s o m e religious matters, the

Sultan ordered that the ulama' c


of P a s a i b e c o n s u l t e d . 1 1 6
Sultan 9\la' al-DTn

is a l s o reported to have been a devoted M u s l i m . T o m e Pires states that

"this king was more devoted to the affairs of the m o s q u e than anything

else.... He w a s a solitary man a n d w a s not often in the town; a n d in his

time he a m a s s e d more riches a n d s w o r e to g o to M e c c a to carry out his


117
father's pilgrimage;...."

Eventually, " M a l a c c a ' s t r a d i n g activities e n a b l e d Islam to s p r e a d out

over a vaster area than merely politically d e p e n d e n t territories, indicating

h o w important trade a n d s h i p p i n g were a s f a c t o r s in the Islamization of the

archipelago." 1 1 8
Islam, which was brought by traders to the region,

b e c a m e both a port a n d court religion a n d p l a y e d an important role in both

t r a d e a n d state affairs. It w a s mentioned a b o v e that the first Sultan of

M a l a c c a , P a r a m e s w a r a , converted to Islam in order to attract M u s l i m

traders in the a r c h i p e l a g o , s u c h as P a s a i a n d J a v a , to c o m e to his new

port. From M a l a c c a , Islam s p r e a d to T r e n g g a n u , P a t a n i , Kelantan, K e d a h ,

R o h a n , K a m p a r , Inderagiri, S i a k , B r u n e i 1 1 9
a n d even to P a h a n g .

S u l t a n Mansr S h a h w a s the most f a m o u s Sultan of M a l a c c a . It w a s

d u r i n g his reign that M a l a c c a r e a c h e d its glory. During his reign M a l a c c a

w a s served by a g r o u p of energetic a n d p e r s o n a l l y brave, young officials,

who b e c a m e legends in M a l a y history and important symbols of the

1 1 6
Malay Annals, 9 0 - 9 6 ; A d i l , The History of Malacca, 36-37.
1 1 7
Pires, The Suma, v o l . 1, 2 5 1 .
1 1 8
M e i l i n k - R o e l o f z s , " T r a d e a n d Islam," 148.
1 1 9
Hall, A History of South-East Asia, 2 1 3 .
38

c o u r a g e of the M a l a y p e o p l e . These were H a n g T u a h , H a n g Jebat, H a n g


Kesturi, H a n g Lekir, H a n g Ali, H a n g Iskandar, H a n g H a s a n a n d H a n g
H u s e i n . H a n g T u a h w a s the most famous one. He was "a man of h u m b l e
birth, p r o b a b l y a p r o t o - M a l a y a n sea-gypsy from B e n t a n . " His bravery as
1 2 0

well as his intelligence w o n him the title Laksamana ( A d m i r a l ) . However, 1 2 1

it s h o u l d be pointed out that this glory is much due to the w i s d o m a n d the


ability of his B e n d a h a r a , T u n Perak. This is in contrast with Sultan Mansr
S h a h w h o , a c c o r d i n g to W i l k i n s o n , was "a man of little force of c h a r a c t e r ,
c o l o u r l e s s , unwarlike a n d p e r h a p s personally unambitious."

Mansr S h a h ' s s o n , w h o s u c c e e d e d him a n d took the title S u l t a n A l a '


c

al-Dn R i ^ y a h S h a h , w a s p r o b a b l y the most able Sultan of M a l a c c a . He

was " a m a n of energy a n d great physical strength, he did not allow his

country to be g o v e r n e d by his o f f i c e r s . " 1 2 3


He was the only one a b l e to rid

the country of banditry, a n d the only Sultan who w a s s o m u c h c o n c e r n e d

a b o u t his p e o p l e that he secretly went out to inspect the city. Pires states
124

that "at night he u s e d to g o about the city in p e r s o n ; ...he slept little...."

He h a d m a n y enemies, particularly a m o n g his senior officials w h o were

a n n o y e d by this b r e a k with the tradition of allowing them to govern in the

S u l t a n ' s name. T h e bitter jealousy of his brother, who c l a i m e d to have the

right to be a S u l t a n , a l s o c r e a t e d a d a n g e r o u s situation. The early death of

the S u l t a n is not entirely surprising- A l b u q u e r q u e states that he was

1 2 0
W i l k i n s o n , "The Malacca Sultanate," 41.
1 2 1
A d i l , The History of Malacca, 30, 3 8 - 3 9 .
1 2 2
W i l k i n s o n , "The M a l a c c a Sultanate," 50.

1 2 3
Ibid., 52.
1 2 4
Pires, The Suma, v o l . 2, 2 4 9 .
39

poisoned- 1 2 5
a n d may suggest the important role played by his senior
officials. 1 2 6

Sultan M a h m d S h a h , the last S u l t a n of M a l a c c a , w a s in m a n y w a y s

unlike Mansr S h a h . He b e c a m e Sultan while still a child. During his

minority it w a s B e n d a h a r a Tun Perak a n d other senior officials w h o ruled

the country. Tun Perak (d. 1498) w a s s u c c e e d e d by his brother, Tun

Perpatih a n d later Tun Mutahir w a s a p p o i n t e d as B e n d a h a r a with the title

" B e n d a h a r a Sri M a h a r a j a " . It seems that the prosperity of M a l a c c a d u r i n g

this time w a s d u e to this talented m a n . There are conflicting reports a b o u t

the c h a r a c t e r a n d abilities of the S u l t a n . In one report he is portrayed a s a

figure who p r a c t i c e d "the b a d habit of w o m a n i s i n g . " 1 2 7


Pires s a y s that "he

w a s a great eater a n d drinker, brought up to live well a n d viciously. He w a s

feared by the other kings; when they s p o k e to him it w a s with great

rvrence a n d courtesies of their k i n d . " 1 2 8


However, the Malay Annals

inform us that he w a s also m u c h c o n c e r n e d about religious matters, partly

o w i n g to his having been the pupil of M a u l a n a S a r d a r J a h a n . He a l s o u s e d

to send Tun Muhammad to Pasai to seek answers to theological

1 ?Q
questions.

During the reign of this Sultan the first Portuguese fleet led by D i o g o

L o p e z de S e q u e i r a arrived at M a l a c c a in 1509. The prosperity of M a l a c c a

1 2 5
A l b u q u e r q u e , The Commentaries, v o l . 3, 81.
1 2 6
For the d i s c u s s i o n on this event see M u h a m m a d Yusoff H a s h i m ,
Kesultanan Melayu Melaka, 1 1 3 - 1 2 7 .
1 2 7
A d i l , The History of Malacca, 50.

1 2 8
Pires, The Suma, vol. 2, 2 5 3 .
1 2 9
Malay Annals, 145-149.
40

attracted the Portuguese, with the result that later A l b u q u e r q u e took


M a l a c c a in 1511 a n d forced the Sultan to flee the country. The power ot the
Portuguese c o u l d not be stemmed. though the S u l t a n a n d his allies resisted
for a time, after being d e p o s e d . Eventually, Sultan M a h m d spent the rest
of his life in K a m p a r (Sumatra), where he died in 1528, a n d c a m e to be
known as " M a r h u m K a m p a r . " His downfall a n d the c a p t u r e of M a l a c c a
1 3 0

by the P o r t u g u e s e inaugurate a new era in the history of this region.

C. The P o r t u g u e s e in M a l a c c a

It w a s a remarkable achievement for P o r t u g a l , a small a n d weak

country in c o m m e r c i a l terms, to have a c q u i r e d the capability to explore

m u c h of the w o r l d . The Portuguese were driven by the need for g o l d a n d

silver in M e d i e v a l Europe to meet c o m m e r c i a l d e m a n d s a n d to s u p p o r t the

appetites of royalty which were to lead to the first E u r o p e a n e x p a n s i o n .

Tfiis b e g a n w h e n the Portuguese captured C e u t a (in North-West Africa) in

1415, under the leadership of Prince Henry the Navigator, an event

regarded as "the first stage of the overseas e x p a n s i o n of E u r o p e . " ' 1 0 1


This

success was followed by V a s c o da Gama's achievement, thanks to

Bartolomeu D i a s ' s reports of a voyage to the southern extremity of A f r i c a

ten years e a r l i e r , 1 3 3
in reaching C a l i c u t (India) a n d o p e n i n g it to trade in

1 3 0
A d i l , The History of Malacca, 5 7 - 7 5 ; S t o n e , From Malacca, 3 8 - 4 0 ; R. J .
W i l k i n s o n , "The Fall of M a l a c c a , " JMBRAS, v o l . 13, pt. 2 (October,
1935), 6 8 - 6 9 .
1 3 1
Parker T h o m a s M o o n , Imperialism and World Politics (New York: T h e
M a c m i l l a n C o m p a n y , 1964), 9.
1 3 2
C . R. Boxer, Four Centuries of Portuguese Expansion, 1415-1825: A
Succinct Survey (Berkeley a n d Los A n g e l e s : University of C a l i f o r n i a
Press, 1969), 5.
41

1497. He returned to C a l i c u t with well-armed s h i p s a n d took it in 1 5 0 2 . 1 3 4

Albuquerque, who first c a m e to India in 1503 a n d w a s a p p o i n t e d g o v e r n o r -

general there, took G o a in 1510 and used it as the P o r t u g u e s e b a s e in


1 35
India. It was not until 1511 that he took M a l a c c a .

The conquests in two continents in a single century by the P o r t u g u e s e

raises the question of how they c o u l d have achieved so m u c h in s u c h a

little time. The first factor is, certainly, the technical a d v a n c e s that they

enjoyed in navigation, s n i p - b u i l d i n g for both trading a n d fighting p u r p o s e s ,

and a r m s - m a n u f a c t u r e . 1 3 6
However, in addition to these, there are the

more important factors of religion and trade. T h e s e c a n a l s o b e s u g g e s t e d

as keys to the s u c c e s s of the Portuguese e x p a n s i o n . For i n s t a n c e , T h e

seizure of Ceuta, which h a d a majority Muslim p o p u l a t i o n , w a s inspired by

both the c r u s a d i n g spirit a n d trading interests. A c c o r d i n g to J . H. Parry:

Ceuta offered many possibilities: a b a s e for a d v a n c e into M o r o c c o , or


for an attack on G i b r a l t a r , the other great M o o r i s h fortress in the
western Mediterranean; the incentive, a n d p r o b a b l y to s o m e extent
the information, n e e d e d for the beginning of systematic A f n c a n
exploration a n d trade. With the capture of C e n t a " s i c " the c r u s a d i n g
movement p a s s e d f r o m its medieval to its modern p h a s e ; f r o m a w a r
against Islam in the Mediterranean basin to a genei al struggte to carry
the Chrjstian faith a n d European c o m m e r c e a n d a r m s r o u n d the
world. 1 3 7

The mixed purposes of war (crusade) and trade were the main feature not

1 3 3
Edgar Prestage, The Portuguese Pioneers (London: A d a m & Charles
Black, 1966), 2 2 2 - 2 2 6 .
1 3 4
Ibid.,248-269; G . R. C r o n e , The Discovery of The East, ( L o n d o n :
Hamish Hamilton, 1972), 2 7 - 3 9 ; Boxer, Four Centuries, 1 2 - 1 4 .

1 3 5
Crone, The Discovery, 46-54.
1 3 6
J . H. Parry, The Establishment of The European Hegemony: 1415-1715
(New York and E v a n s t o n : Harper T o r c h b o o k s , 1966), 1 3 - 2 5 .

1 3 7
Ibid., 10-11.
42

only of the Portuguese e x p a n s i o n , 1 3 8


but of some other European

countries, s u c h as S p a i n , where, a c c o r d i n g to Parry " c r u s a d i n g w a s in the

b l o o d of most men of gentle birth a n d a d v e n t u r o u s impulses." 1 3 9


So

committed were the Portuguese to Christianity that Prince Henry himself

" b e c a m e the apostolic administrator of the Order of Christ," a n d eventually

"the p r o g r e s s of the Christian mission in the East w a s consequently related

to the s u c c e s s a n d failure of the e m p i r e - b u i l d e r s . " 1 4 0


T h e religious a n d

social p o l i c i e s of the P o r t u g u e s e were k n o w n as "Parado: relentless war

against the M u s l i m s , a n d friendship a n d toleration for the h e a t h e n s . " 1 4 1


To

sum up the relation between P o r t u g u e s e c o l o n i a l i s m a n d Christianity, it is

e n o u g h to q u o t e L a u r e n c e A . N o o n a n w h o s a y s :

few historians w o u l d deny that religion p l a y e d a very significant part


in the story of P o r t u g a l ' s c o l o n i a l development; wherever the
P o r t u g u e s e went, their priests went with them; wherever they settled,
the c h u r c h rose a l o n g s i d e the fort or t r a d i n g post, a n d the c o n v e r s i o n
to Christianity of the native p e o p l e w a s r e g a r d e d as a matter of
rejoicing by the merchants a s well a s by the p r i e s t s . 1 4 2

After c a p t u r i n g G o a in 1510, A l b u q u e r q u e turned his attention to

M a l a c c a . He left C o c h i n for M a l a c c a on M a y 2 n d , 1511 with eighteen s h i p s

c o n t a i n i n g 8 0 0 Portuguese, a n d f r o m 300 to 6 0 0 M a l a b a r i s . 1 4 3
He w a s not

1 3 8
Ibid.; Boxer, Four Centuries, 5-6; D o n a l d F. L a c h , Asia in the making of
Europe, vol.1, bk.1 ( C h i c a g o a n d L o n d o n : T h e University of C h i c a g o
P r e s s , 1965), 5 0 - 5 2 .

139 P a r r y > The Establishment, 10-11.

1 4 0
L a c h , Asia, 2 2 9 .

1 4 1
Ibid., 2 3 3 .
1 4 2
L a u r e n c e A. N o o n a n , The First Jesuit Mission in Malacca: A Study of
the Use of the Portuguese Trading Centre as a Base for Chritian
Missionary Expansion During the Years 1545 to 1552 (Lisboa: Centro De
E s t u d o s Historicos U l t r a m a r i n o s Da J u n t a De Investigacoes
C i e n t i f i c a s Do Ultramar, 1974),1-2.
43

the first European to c o m e to this entrepot, s i n c e Diogo L o p e z de Sequeira

had reached M a l a c c a with five s h i p s on September 11th, 1509. He

encountered hostility f r o m the p e o p l e there, w h i c h resulted in the jailing of

Ruy de Araujo with twenty Portuguese sailors and their subsequent

expulsion from the t o w n . On his way to M a l a c c a A l b u q u e r q u e s t o p p e d at

Pidie, thanks to the help of a Gujarati sailor w h o m he h a d met at s e a . At

this port he f o u n d eight or nine P o r t u g u e s e who h a d a c c o m p a n i e d de

Sequeira a n d who h a d e s c a p e d from M a l a c c a . After Pidie, he s t o p p e d at

Pasai and then r e a c h e d M a l a c c a in early July 1 5 1 1 . A few d a y s after his

arrival, A l b u q u e r q u e started to attack M a l a c c a by b u r n i n g h o u s e s along the

coast a n d several M a l a c c a n junks a n c h o r e d at the port. He apparently

succeeded in releasing all the P o r t u g u e s e p r i s o n e r s . Ruy d e Araujo was

able to provide very important information for the s e c e n d attack. The

bridge which joined the southern part, where the palace and the

administration center were l o c a t e d , to the northern part, the commercial

center., was the first target of the Portuguese. On July 25th, 1511

A l b u q u e r q u e l a u n c h e d his s e c o n d attack on M a l a c c a . T h e Portuguese

s u c c e e d e d in l a n d i n g in M a l a c c a , t a k i n g the b r i d g e a n d b u r n i n g many

houses, including the p a l a c e of the S u l t a n . Yet, the s t r o n g resistance of the

M a l a c c a n s forced t h e m b a c k to their vessels. Finally, on A u g u s t 25th,

A l b u q u e r q u e l a u n c h e d the last attack which e n d e d with his capturing


144
M a l a c c a a n d forcing the Sultan to leave his p a l a c e .

1 4 3
Winstedt A History of Malaya, 6 6 . Different a c c o u n t is given by
Whiteway He s u g o e s t s that this fleet "started o n April 20th, 1511
with eighteen s h i p s a n d 600 men at a r m s b e s i d e s s l a v e s . " S e e R. S ^
Whiteway, The Rise of the Portuguese Power in India 1497-1550
( L o n d o n : S u s i i G u p t a , 1967), 1 4 1 .
1 4 4
Adil The History of Malacca, 5 6 - 6 8 ; Winstedt, A History of Malaya
65-70- Whiteway, The Rise of the Portuguese, 141-144; Moorhead, A
History of Malaya, vol. 1, 1 5 7 - 1 6 9 ; F. C . D a n v e r s , The Portuguese in
44

T h e early years of the Portuguese o c c u p a t i o n of M a l a c c a are identified


with several military incidents, s i n c e S u l t a n M a h m d , now in exile, tried
c o n t i n u o u s l y to retake M a l a c c a . T h e military i n c i d e n t s were l a u n c h e d from
several regions where the Sultan alternately resided, s u c h as H a m p a r .
Muar, Pagoh and Bentan.

After c o n q u e r i n g M a l a c c a , A l b u q u e r q u e d e c i d e d to return to G o a in

December 1 5 1 1 . He left with three s h i p s a n d a junk. He w a s sailing in the

ship Flor de la Mar, w h i c h was l o a d e d with s p o i l s a n d treasures from the

M a l a c c a sultanate a n d which w a s d e s c r i b e d by Danvers as "the richest

spoils that had ever been collected s i n c e the Portuguese first arrived in

India." 1 4 5
On its way to India, the vessel w a s w r e c k e d by a storm a n d s a n k

off the S u m a t r a c o a s t , near A r u . 1 4 6


A l b u q u e r q u e was nevertheless able to

reach India with two other s h i p s in early F e b r u a r y 1 5 1 2 . 1 4 7

From that time o n , M a l a c c a b e c a m e o n e of the most important

Portuguese ports in the east a n d w a s visited regularly by their traders.

However, the number of P o r t u g u e s e w h o settied in this entrepot was very

India vol. 1 (New York: O c t a g o n B o o k s , 1966), 2 2 0 - 2 2 8 ; R. W.


M c R o b e r t s , " A n Examination of the Fall of M a l a c c a in 1511,"
JMBRAS, vol. 57, pt. 1 (1984), 2 6 - 3 9 .
1 4 5
Danvers, The Portuguese, vol. 1, 2 3 9 .
1 4 6
It has been confirmed that the r e m a i n s of the s u n k e n ship have been
d i s c o v e r e d a b o u t five miles to the north of J a m b o Aye, in north A c e h .
Items f o u n d by a marine a r c h e o l o g i s t Robert M a r x have been
c o n f i r m e d by Maritime M u s e u m s in L i s b o n a n d A m s t e r d a m in early
1991 T h e remains dated to a r o u n d 1 5 0 0 . T h e value of treasures c o u l d
reach U S 9 billion dollars w h i c h c o u l d involve Indonesian , M a l a y s i a n ,
a n d P o r t u g u e s e governments in the distribution of the treasures. A s of
now the p r o c e s s of s e a r c h i n g these r e m a i n s a n d treasures has been
put o n hold by the Indonesian g o v e r n m e n t . S e e Tempo, V o l . 2 1 , No.
5 (March 30, 1991), 14.
1 4 7
Whiteway, The Rise of the Portuguese, 1 4 4 - 1 4 5 ; M o o r h e a d , A History of
Malaya, vol. 1, 1 7 5 - 1 7 6 ; Winstedt, A History of Malaya, 7 1 .
45

limited, p e r h a p s not exceeding 600 p e o p l e . This small number was


certainly d u e to the long d i s t a n c e between L i s b o n and M a l a c c a .
Furthermore, P o r t u g a l , w h i c h h a d only o n e or o n e a n d a half million people
in the sixteenth century, h a d few men to s h a r e a m o n g all its colonies,
namely B r a z i l , M o r o c c o , West A f r i c a , East A f r i c a a n d S o u t h and East A s i a .
Lisbon settled about 7000 men in India a n d an a d d i t i o n a l 4000 or 5000 were
being p r e p a r e d for the expedition to M o r o c c o . 4 0

T h e i m p o r t a n c e of the entrepot of M a l a c c a , " h o l d i n g the gates to one

of the most strategie maritime h i g h w a y s of the t i m e , " 1 4 9


motivated the

P o r t u g u e s e to organize and i m p r o v e their defence system. The first

d e c i s i o n w a s to build a fortress. T h e p l a c e c h o s e n for this by A l b u q u e r q u e

w a s the s o u t h e r n part of M a l a c c a , where the p a l a c e a n d mosque were

located. 1 5 0
This building w a s c o m p l e t e d in J a n u a r y 1 5 1 2 . S o beautiful was

the fort that the Portuguese called it " A F a m o s a " (The f a m o u s ) . 1 5 1


It

became the center of fortified Malacca. The other decision w a s to

strengthen the city by us',ng s o m e s u r r o u n d i n g hiUs a s military centers, s u c h

as St. P a u l ' s HUI, the hill of Bukit Pipi (St. J o h n ' s Hill), and Bukit C i n a

(Chinese H i l l ) . 1 5 2

1 4 8
I. A . M a c g r e g o r , "Notes on the P o r t u g u e s e in M a l a y a , " JMBRAS, vol.
2 8 , pt. 2 (May, 1955), 6 - 1 7 .
1 4 9
D R. S a r D e s a i , "The P o r t u g u e s e A d m i n i s t r a t i o n in Malacca
1 5 1 1 - 1 6 4 1 J S E A H , v o l . 10, n o . 3 (December, 1969), 503.

1 5 0
M o o r h e a d , A History of Malaya, vol. 1, 169.
1 5 1
E. K o e k , " P o r t u g u e s e History of M a l a c c a , " JSBRAS, vol. 17 (June,
1886), 1 2 6 - 1 2 7 .
1 5 2
M o o r h e a d , A History of Malaya, vol. 1, 1 7 7 - 1 7 9 ; Rev. Fr. R.
C a r d o n , " P o r t u g u e s e M a l a c c a , " JMBRAS, v o l . 12, pt. 2 (August, 1934),
1-2, 2 0 .
46

A s far as port administration w a s c o n c e r n e d , it appears that the


P o r t u g u e s e recognized the w e l l - o r g a n i z e d administration of the Sultans of
M a l a c c a a n d kept m u c h of it in p l a c e . D. R. S a r Desai argues that
P o r t u g a l was " a b a c k w a r d E u r o p e a n state, with very little commercial
tradition. C o n s e q u e n t l y , s h e l a c k e d a s o p h i s t i c a t e d , well developed
administrative s y s t e m . " Reflecting earlier M a l a c c a n practice the
1 5 3

B e n d a h a r a " h a d authority over all n o n - C h r i s t i a n s a n d s t r a n g e r s , " the 1 5 4

T e m a n g g u n g controlled "the M i n a n g k a b a u a n d Malay v a s s a l s on N a n i n g


and R i n g y , " a n d the S h a h b a n d a r s controlled the customs a n d foreign
1 5 5

s h i p p i n g , received foreign envoys a n d in general acted as assistant of the


Bendahara. T h e first B e n d a h a r a a p p o i n t e d by A l b u q u e r q u e was a
1 5 6

H i n d u , n a m e d N i n a c h a t u . This is an indication of the Portuguese preference


of other religions over Islam, as w a s the c a s e in G o a . This was an
expression of their enmity t o w a r d s M u s l i m s which they carried with them
f r o m their own great struggles a g a i n s t M u s l i m s in their own country in the
previous century.

T h e administration of the P o r t u g u e s e in M a l a c c a was centralized in the

T o w n Hall, "where the meetings of the C o u n c i l were h e l d . " 1 5 8


In general

the chief official in M a l a c c a w a s the C a p t a i n of the fortress, who w a s

a p p o i n t e d by the K i n g . He w a s s u p p o r t e d by the officials of the M u n i c i p a l

1 5 3
S a r Desai, "The P o r t u g u e s e A d m i n i s t r a t i o n , " 504.
1 5 4
M o o r h e a d , A History of Malaya, vol. 1, 184.

1 5 5
Winstedt, A History of Malaya, 88.
1 5 6
M o o r h e a d , A History of Malaya, vol. 1, 184.
1 5 7
Danvers, The Portuguese, vol. 1, 2 2 8 - 2 3 1 ; Sar Desai, "The Portuguese
Adminstration," 508-509.
1 5 8
M o o r h e a d , A History of Malaya, vol. 1, 184.
47

C o u n c i l , "some of w h o m were a p p o i n t e d by the government, whilst others


were elected, or b e c a m e members by virtue of their o f f i c e . " On this 1 5 9

matter M o o r h e a d writes:

In the first g r o u p were the Chief J u s t i c e (Ouvidor) and the Secretary of


State. In the s e c o n d were seven aldermen, elected each year by their
fellow citizens. Their duties were to assist in the deliberations of the
C o u n c i l , to act a s magistrates under the direction of the Chief Justice,
a n d to s u p e r v i s e the distribution of the income of the city. It is
p r o b a b l e that from one of these elected representaties the V i a d o r or
M a y o r was elected. In the third category was the Bishop of M a l a c c a
a n d the Ministers of the H o u s e of Mercy. u

T h e r e were three s u b u r b s on the outskirts of M a l a c c a . The first a n d the

most important w a s U p e h . It was the largest a n d most populous s u b u r b ,

w h e r e foreign m e r c h a n t s lived. The other two were Yler (Bandar Hilir) a n d

S a b b a (Bunga R a y a ) . 1 6 1

B e s i d e s his b u i l d i n g the fortress s o o n after the capture of M a l a c c a ,

A l b u q u e r q u e also built a c h u r c h called "Our Lady of the A n n u n c i a t i o n "

w h i c h w a s later c a l l e d "Our Lady of the A s s u m p t i o n " near his f a m o u s

Famosa. This w a s the first c h u r c h built in M a l a c c a . The most f a m o u s

c h u r c h , however, w a s the c h u r c h of "Our L a d y of the A n n u n c i a t i o n " on St.

P a u l Hill, which w a s built by Duarte C o e l h o in 1521 as a symbol of his

gratitude for "his e s c a p e in 1519 from an attack by the Chinese."

A l b u q u e r q u e also built a hospital for his p e o p l e which he named the "Royal

1 5 9
Ibid.

1 6 0
Ibid.
1 6 1
E. M a n u e l G a d i n h o De E r e d i a , "Description of M a l a c c a a n d
M e r i d i o n a l India a n d C a t h a y in Three Treaties," trans, and annot. by J .
V. Mills, JMBRAS, v o l . 8, pt. 1 (1930), 1 9 - 2 0 ; M o o r h e a d , A History of
Malaya, vol. 1, 182.
1 6 2
M o o r h e a d . A History of Malaya, v o l . 1, 186.
48

Hospita,"

The Christian missionary activity in M a l a c c a was carried out by the

Portuguese in the h o p e of repeating the very successful conversion in G o a ,

w h o s e bishop in 1534 "was given ecclesiastical jurisdiction over the vast

territory lying between the C a p e of G o o d Hope in the west a n d the ' i s l a n d s

of C h i n a ' in the e a s t . " 1 6 3


The first Jesuit mission arrived at M a l a c c a in

1545-1546 under St. Francis Xavier. Later, on his way to the M o l u c c a s ,

J a p a n and C h i n a , he visited this town twice- in 1550 a n d 1553. T h e first

Jesuit college w a s f o u n d e d in 1549. It was not until 1558 that this town

became a b i s h o p r i c . 1 6 4

Unlike G o a , where Christianity w a s so successful that Xavier called it

an "entirely Christian C i t y , " 1 6 5


it a p p e a r s that M a l a c c a and its environs

were not suitable areas for Christian missionary w o r k . 1 6 6


There w a s no

mass conversion of the people. Accordingly, Malacca "became an


1R7

administrative center for the c h u r c h but not a great mission." However,

M a l a c c a w a s used as a stepping stone for Christian missions in the

Celebes, the M o l u c c a s , A m b o n , Ternate and even to s o m e extent to

J a p a n , C h i n a , the Philippines a n d C a m b o d i a . 1 6 8

1 6 3
L a c h , Asia, 2 3 5 .
1 6 4
Ibid., 2 8 7 ; M a c g r e g o r , "Notes o n the Portuguese," 39.
1 6 5
Francis Xavier's letter to L o y o l a , L i s b o n , July 23, 1540, in
S c h u r h a m m e r a n d Wicki, eds., Epistolae S. Francisi Xavem Aliaque eius
Scripta, I, (Rome, 1945), 1 2 1 , q u o t e d in L a c h , Asia, 247.
1 6 6
M a c g r e g o r , "Notes on the P o r t u g u e s e , " 39.

1 6 7
L a c h , Asia, 2 8 7 .
1 6 8
Ibid., 286.
49

The Portuguese power in M a l a c c a lasted until January 14, 1 6 4 1 , when it


s u c c u m b e d to an attack by the D u t c h . The loss of their power c a n b e
1 6 9

traced to s o m e important factors. The inefficiency of the Portuguese in


handling their trade which was monopolized by the Portuguese
hierarchy that controlled M a l a c c a , and c o r r u p t i o n
1 7 9
forced P o r t u g u e s e
1 7 1

trade into decline. An unfavorable customs p o l i c y resulted in a


1 7 2

decrease in the number of traders coming to this entrepot. The boycott of


the J a v a n e s e , the main source of rice for M a l a c c a , weakened M a l a c c a . T h e
Portuguese also had to face both economie and military b l o c k a d e s from
other regions in the archipelago. During the settlement of M a l a c c a by the
Portuguese, M u s l i m traders were reluctant to c o m e to M a l a c c a , a n d
instead used the other ports, s u c h as A c e h , J o h o r , Deli, Perak a n d B a n t a m .
The Portuguese also responded to major military attacks by A c e h , J o h o r ,
J a v a a n d even T e r n a t e . which regarded the Portuguese as h i g h - h a n d e d
1 7 3

in trade matters and as p o s i n g a religious threat to the region. T h e


Portuguese also had to struggle against the unhealthiness of M a l a c c a 1 7 4

which resulted in much illness a n d death. In his article entitled "Notes o n


the Portuguese in M a l a y a , " M a c g r e g o r writes:

1 6 9
M o o r h e a d , A History of Malaya, vol. 1, 234.
1 7 0
M a c g r e g o r , "Note on the Portuguese," 17-20.
1 7 1
Ibid., 29; Winstedt, A History of Malaya, 90.
1 7 2
An eiqht percent tax was imposed upon g o o d s c o m i n g from Pegu
S u m a t r a , S i n g a p o r e a n d S a b a h instead of six percent of universal
tax. A discriminatory twelve percent tax was also m a d e on g o o d s
c o m i n g from India, except from B e n g a l . See M c G r e g o r "Notes on t h e
Portuguese," 25-27; S a r Desai, "The Portuguese Adm.n.stration,
506-507.
1 7 3
M o o r h e a d , A History of Malaya, vol. 1, 190-213.
1 7 4
M a c g r e g o r , "Notes on the Portuguese," 12-13.
50

Malacca was not always an easy place for Portuguese: there were
times when the men were in arms day and night, sleeping at the foot
of the stockades, exposed to the winds and rain, ill-fed and ill-
clothed. For every one who survived these things and reached worldly
success there were many who died or failed. r

He adds that "misfortune, or an early death, or both were, only too often,

the fate of the Portuguese who came to the East in the sixteenth and

seventeenth centuries."

1 7 5
Ibid., 41.
1 7 6
Ibid.
Chapter 2

THE R E S P O N S E O F THE A C E H N E S E T O THE P O R T U G U E S E

The nature of the Portuguese presence at M a l a c c a p r o m p t e d active

resistance from the p e o p l e of the region. B a s e d as it w a s o n religious

intolerance a n d on trade m o n o p o l i e s , they threatened nearly all other

inhabitants and visitors in the region. Consequently, several states

challenged the Portuguese, with A c e h Dar a l - S a l a m being the most

persistent, lts opposition w a s expressed through military activities, p o l i t i c s

a n d trade as well as religious spirit.

A. Military Encounter

On his way to M a l a c c a in 1509, Diogo L o p e z d e S e q u e i r a a n c h o r e d at

Pidie, where he f o u n d the hospitality of its King w h o p r o p o s e d to b e a

friend a n d an ally of the Portuguese in the region. He received the s a m e

treatment in P a s a i a f t e r w a r d s . 1
Later, in 1 5 1 1 , A l b u q u e r q u e s t o p p e d at

Pidie where he f o u n d eight or nine P o r t u g u e s e men of S e q u e i r a ' s fleet w h o

e s c a p e d from M a l a c c a a n d received hospitality from the King of P i d i e . F o r

this k i n d n e s s , A l b u q u e r q u e "expressed himself s e n s i b l e of this i n s t a n c e of

friendship, a n d renewed with the sultan the a l l i a n c e that h a d been f o r m e d

by S e q u e i r a . " From Pidie he p r o c e e d e d to P a s a i w h i c h w a s s a i d by his


2

1
William M a r s d e n , The History of Sumatra, a reprint of the third e d . , i n t r o d .
by J o h n Bastin (Kuala L u m p u r : Oxford University Press, 1966), 4 0 6 .

2
Ibid., 4 0 7 ; Danvers, The Portuguese, vol. 1, 2 2 1 .

51
52

i m p r i s o n e d friends to h a v e been hostile to them by killing one of them a n d

forcing them to flee to P i d i e . In this country he found the Sultan in fear of

the Portuguese. Albuquerque proceeded to Malacca from Pasai.

However, on his way he h a d a confrontation with a large junk. After killing

forty of its men, A l b u q u e r q u e i n d u c e d the rest to surrender a n d b e c o m e

v a s s a l s of P o r t u g a l . T h e l e a d e r of the junk was Zayn a i - A b i d n , the former


c

Sultan of P a s a i , w h o h a d b e e n overthrown by his brother. He w a s o n his

way to J a v a seeking a i d . Eventually, A l b u q u e r q u e promised him his throne

after finishing his military expedition to M a l a c c a a n d asked him to c o m e


q
with the P o r t u g u e s e to M a l a c c a .

Pidie a n d P a s a i in the early sixteenth century obviously h a d a c o r d i a l

relation with the Portuguese. Both were visited by Portuguese

ambassadors who brought presents from the King of P o r t u g a l . T h o s e

a m b a s s a d o r s aiso visited the K i n g s of P e g u , S i a m a n d B e n g a l for the s a m e

r e a s o n . T a k i n g p e p p e r s f r o m P a s a i on his way to C h i n a in 1516, F e r n a n d o


4

de A n d r a d e received a friendly w e l c o m e from the K i n g . 5


However, the

relation w a s interrupted by s o m e incidents. M a r s d e n mentions that a b o u t

the s a m e year, G a r c i a d e S a , the governor of M a l a c c a , sent Manuel

Pacheco to attack Pasai. 6


Furthermore, the conflict betwen Zayn

al-SAbidn, w h o h a d r e g a i n e d the throne, a n d Diogo Vaz resulted in the

murder of all the P o r t u g u e s e m e n . A s a result, J o r g e de A l b u q u e r q u e , the

c o m m a n d e r of M a l a c c a , w a s d i s p a t c h e d to P a s a i in 1521. A c c o r d i n g to

3
M a r s d e n , Sumatra, 4 0 8 ; D a n v e r s , The Portuguese, vol. 1, 2 2 2 ; S a i d , Aceh,
128-129.
4
Danvers, The Portuguese, v o l . 1, 330.

5
M a r s d e n , Sumatra, 221.

6
Ibid., 4 1 2 .
53

M a r s d e n , A l b u q u e r q u e a n d his 300 men attacked Zayn a l - A b i d n ' s army of


c

3 0 0 0 soldiers a n d killed about 2000 of them. A l b u q u e r q u e lost a b o u t 5 or 6


men a n d several others were w o u n d e d , including himself. After this victory,
A l b u q u e r q u e built a fortress in the area to secure the P o r t u g u e s e

7
presence.'

Unlike Pidie a n d P a s a i , A c e h showed a different r e s p o n s e to the

P o r t u g u e s e . A b o u t 1519, a ship under G a s p a r de C o s t a w a s lost near A c e h

a n d w a s attacked by the Acehnese. Many of her crew were killed a n d the

rest, i n c l u d i n g de C o s t a , were imprisoned. Nina C u n a p a m , the S h a h b a n d a r

of P a s a i , p a y e d a r a n s o m to the Sultan of A c e h , a n d d e C o s t a w a s

released to him for repatriation to M a l a c c a . 8


It w a s not l o n g after this

incident that another s h i p under J o a n o de Lima w a s attacked near A c e h

port a n d all her men were killed. In retribution Jorge De Brito in 1521 led a

fleet from west India with his 200 men and attacked A c e h , w h i c h resisted

with a force of 1000 men a n d 8 elephants. De Brito w a s s o u n d l y defeated

a n d he, with most of his men, was k i l l e d . 9

A year earlier, I b r a h m , the brother of A l M u g h a y a h S h a h , the Sultan


c

of A c e h w h o ruled between 1511-1530, led a military expedition to Daya

a n d took the t o w n . 1 0
In 1521, with 1000 men a n d 50 e l e p h a n t s , he

7
Ibid., 4 1 4 - 4 1 5 , 4 1 7 .
8
J o a o d e B a r r o s , Scheeps-Togten en Dappere Krygsbedryven door Diogo
Copez de Sequeira, gedaan na en in d'Ocost-Indien, in 't Jaar 1518 en
vervolgens (uitg Pieter van der A a , Leiden 1707), 2 9 - 3 0 ; P. A . Tiele, "De
E u r o p e e r s in den M a l e i s c h e A r c h i p e l , " Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land-en
Volkenkunde, 4 e. vlgr, I (1877), 3 6 3 , in Iskandar, Hikayat Aceh, 3 7 .
9
Scheeps-Togten, 2 1 6 - 2 2 2 ; J o a o de Barros, Geschichte der Entdeckungen
und Eroberungen der Portugiesen im Orint, ed., Dietrich Wihelm S o l t a o ,
vol. III ( B r a u n s c h w e i g , 1821), 1 6 7 - 1 6 9 , in Iskandar, Hikayat Aceh, 3 7 - 3 8 .
1 0
Iskandar, Hikayat Acehi 41.
54

besieged the P o r t u g u e s e in Pidie under the c o m m a n d ot M a n u e l , the

brother of A n d r e Henriquez (the governor of Pasai fort). He killed Henriquez

with his 35 m e n , 1 1
even though they were helped by their friends in P a s a i

under A n t o n i o d e M i r a n d a de A z e v e d o . 1 2
In 1524 A c e h l a u n c h e d an attack

on A n d r e H e n r i q u e z in P a s a i . Danvers states that "the king of A c h i n

overran all the c o u n t r y with fire a n d s w o r d , a n d entering the city of P a c e m


13
with 15,000 m e n , he s u m m o n e d Dom A n d r e to surrender."

These activities reveal different responses of the ports. Pidie, from the

early visit of the Portuguese, s h o w e d a friendly r e s p o n s e . P a s a i was

distinctly hostile to the Portuguese during their early contact, but in time

b e c a m e a friend a n d a vassal of this European intruder. The Portuguese

were interested in b u i l d i n g c o m m e r c i a l relations with both P a s a i a n d Pidie

for their p e p p e r . Their political role in P a s a i , a c c o r d i n g to Kartodirdjo,

r e a c h e d a c o n s e n s u s on giving the Portuguese the right to both build a

fortress a n d to m a i n t a i n a m o n o p o l y on the pepper t r a d e . 1 4

Unlike Pidie a n d P a s a i the rulers of A c e h never c o m p r o m i s e d with the

P o r t u g u e s e a n d u s e d military power instead. A d i s c u s s i o n of the motivation

of the A c e h n e s e b e h i n d this response will be given later. However, by

driving out all the Portuguese settlements in Daya (1520), Pidie (1521) a n d

P a s a i (1524), 9 \ l M u g h a y a h S h a h proved to be a strong ruler a n d the first

Sultan of A c e h to control the whole A c e h region which w a s c a l l e d Aceh Dar

1 1
M a r s d e n , Sumatra, 419.
1 2
Danvers, The Portuguese, vol. 1, 3 5 6 .
1 3
Danvers. The Portuguese, vol. 1, 3 5 6 .
1 4
S a r t o n o K a r t o d i r d j o . Pengantar Sejarah Indonesia Baru: 1500-1900, jilid
1 ( J a k a r t a : G r a m e d i a , 1988), 3 8 - 3 9 .
55

al-Salami 5

After the conquest of Pasai a n d until the death of 9\IT M u g h a y a h S h a h

in 1530, there were no major military expeditions on either s i d e , but two

incidents indicated the intense feeling of the A c e h n e s e a n d the P o r t u g u e s e

toward one another. The first was in 1528 when S i m a o d e S o u s a , o n his

way to the M o l u c c a s from C o c h i n , was forced to take shelter in the port of

A c e h b e c a u s e of a violent storm. He was attacked by the A c e h n e s e w h o

killed him a n d most of his men. Danvers s a y s that he " w a s cut to

pieces." 1 6
Not only was brutality s h o w n by the A c e h n e s e , but a l s o by the

Portuguese when Francisco de Mello, who w a s sent to lead an a r m e d

vessel to G o a , killed all 300 A c e h n e s e a n d 40 A r a b s in a s h i p returning f r o m

M e c c a off the c o a s t of Aceh in 1 5 2 7 . 1 7

T h e relations between Aceh a n d the P o r t u g u e s e d u r i n g the first three

d e c a d e s of the sixteenth century were marked by v i o l e n c e a n d war. Still,

A c e h at the time was not yet a genuine threat to the P o r t u g u e s e settlement

in M a l a c c a . However, it rose rapidly as a military p o w e r , lts victory over

the Portuguese saved the north part of Sumatra from the Western

enterprise for several centuries a n d led to its being a p o w e r w h i c h "rested

in large part on weapons captured from the P o r t u g u e s e , a n d p r o b a b l y a l s o

on the support of the Muslim c o m m e r c i a l elements f r o m the o l d t r a d i n g

centres of Pasai and P i d i e . " 1 8


Fernao L o p e z C a s t a n h e d a insisted that

1 5
Djajadiningrat, Kesultanan Aceh, 2 0 ; Iskandar, Hikayat Aceh, 4 1 . Bustan
al-Salatin confirms that he w a s the first Sultan of A c e h Dar a l - S a l a m .
S e e T. fskandar, Bustanu's-Salatin, 22, 3 1 .
1 6
Danvers, The Portuguese, vol. 1, 388; see a l s o M a r s d e n , Sumatra,
424-425.
1 7
Sumatra, 423-424.
56

Aceh at this time "was much better s u p p l i e d with artillery than was the
fortress of M a l a c c a . " 7

The first attack l a u n c h e d by A c e h on M a l a c c a was in September 1537,

a n d was led by Sultan A l a ' a l - D n Ri avah S h a h , the s o n of AI M u g h a y a h


c c C

Shah. This surprise attack, s u p p o r t e d by a b o u t 3000 fighting men, w a s

s u c c e s s f u l in landing on the first night in M a l a c c a . However, over the

following two nights the A c e h n e s e force w a s driven out by the P o r t u g u e s e

with heavy losses 2 0


The s c a l e of the attack i n d i c a t e d that A c e h w a s what
21
Danvers called an "irreconcilable enemy of the P o r t u g u e s e . "

It was not until 1547 that A c e h l a u n c h e d a s e c o n d formidable attack on

M a l a c c a . The fleet, consisting of 60 s h i p s with 5 0 0 0 men, l a n d e d at night in

M a l a c c a , took U p e h , burned two P o r t u g u e s e vessels in the port and

captured seven fishermen. Having cut off their n o s e s , ears a n d feet, the

A c e h n e s e c o m m a n d e r sent a letter to the P o r t u g u e s e c o m m a n d e r , S i m a o

de Mello, written with the b l o o d of the f i s h e r m e n . 2 2


Fernao M e n d e z Pinto

provides in his b o o k the content of the letter a s follows:

I, Biyaya Sora, son of Seribiyaya, Pracama de Raja, w h o , for his h o n o r ,

1 8
Anthony Reid, "Sixteenth Century T u r k i s h Influence in Western
Indonesia," JSEAH, vol. 10, no. 3 (December 1969), 4 0 0 ; M a r s d e n ,
Sumatra, 4 1 8 - 4 1 9 .
1 9
Fernao Lopez de C a s t a n h e d a , Historia do Descobrimento e Conquista da
India Pelos Portugueses, Livro VII ( C o i m b r a , 1554), C a p s . 84, 8 5 , 100 in
C R Boxer " A Note on Portuguese R e a c t i o n s to the Revival of the
h o d S e a S p i c e T r a d e a n d the Rise of A c h e h , 1 5 4 0 - 1 6 0 0 , " JSEAH, v o l .
10, no. 3 (December, 1969), 4 1 5 - 5 1 6 .
2 0
Winstedt, A History of Malaya, 7 9 ; M o o r h e a d , A History of Malaya, v o l . 1,
196.
2 1
Danvers, The Portuguese, vol. 1, 480.

2 2
Ibid., 480.
57

h a s stored, away in golden jewel boxes the favor of the great Sultan
A l a r a d i m , ^ in the form of a c a n d l e h o l d e r sweetened with incense
J

tabiets from the holy H o u s e of M e c c a , King of A c h i n a n d the l a n d


from sea to s e a , hereby make known to thee s o that thou in turn
mayest inform thy King that in this s e a of his where I have c o m e to
rest, terrifying his fortress with my might, I intend to keep on fishing
here in spite of him, c o m e what may, for as long as I please. A n d to
prove that I mean what I say, I a m taking over this land a n d its
inhabitants with all the other elements o n up to the lunar heaven.
Furthermore, I hereby certify, with w o r d s that c o m e from my own
mouth, that thy King has been v a n q u i s h e d a n d stripped of all h o n o r
a n d that his s t a n d a r d s lie t r a m p l e d in the dust, never a g a i n to be'
raised with the permission of o n e w h o has c o n q u e r e d him, signifying
that he has laid his h e a d beneath the fleet of my K i n g , as all-
c o n q u e r i n g lord, w h o s e slave he s h a l l be from this day forward. A n d
to make thee confess to the truth of what I say, I c h a l l e n g e thee, from
here where I s t a n d , to c o m e forth if, on his behalf, thou wouldst
contradict me.

De Mello, however, refused to a c c e p t the c h a l l e n g e b e c a u s e his troops

were very few. Francis Xavier, who w a s later s a i n t e d by the C a t h o l i c

C h u r c h for his efforts at Christianizing in the East, w a s in M a l a c c a at that

time a n d played an important role in a r o u s i n g the militant spirit of the

a n x i o u s defenders. He s a i d to them:

C o m e now, brothers, gentlemen!... Do not b e d i s h e a r t e n e d , for I


assure you that the Lord our G o d is with us, a n d in his n a m e I urge
e a c h one of you not to refuse to go a l o n g o n this holy expedition
b e c a u s e it is his will that we d o s o . A s for the difficulties raised by the
factor regarding the lack of s u p p l i e s for repairing the fleet, that is not
reason e n o u g h to deter us from o u r holy p u r p o s e . 2 5

There was a strong religious spirit a m o n g the P o r t u g u e s e of the time a n d

Xavier's remarks were intended to a p p e a l to that spirit as a m e a n s of

surviving the formidable forces c o n f r o n t i n g them. His remarks also indicate

2 3 c
A l a ' al-Dn R i ^ y a h S h a h
24
Fernao Mendez Pinto, The Travel of Mendez Pinto, ed. a n d trans, by
R e b e c c a D. C a t z ( C h i c a g o a n d L o n d o n : The University of C h i c a q o
Press, 1989), 4 5 5 .
2 5
Pinto, The Travels, 4 5 6 .
58

that the Portuguese venture in the East w a s often seen as "holy" a n d G o d -


inspired even though primarily e c o n o m i e in content.

Finding an all-out assault i m p r a c t i c a l a n d the Portuguese unwilling to

fight away from the city, the A c e h n e s e resorted to a b l o c k a d e of M a l a c c a .

To d o this the A c e h n e s e p r o c e e d e d to Perlis, where they built a fort a s a

b a s e for attacking "all s h i p s from G o a , B e n g a l , S i a m or P e g u . bearing f o o d

a n d reinforements for the b e l e a g u e r e d . " 2 6


By this effort, they tried to

"close completely the northern e n t r a n c e of the Straits to Portuguese

s h i p p i n g , a n d by this long d i s t a n c e b l o c k a d e , to starve their great rival to

death." 2 7

After repairing s o m e vessels, a s m a l l fleet under the c o m m a n d of D o m

Fransisco de E c a w a s sent to p u r s u e the A c e h n e s e in the Perlis river. The

fleet consisted of ten s h i p s with 2 3 0 m e n . 2 8


In the meantime, the allied

forces of J o h o r , Perak a n d P a h a n g , which were foes of A c e h , with 300

warships a n d 8000 men a n c h o r e d several d a y s at the h a r b o u r of M a l a c c a ,

most p r o b a b l y to help the P o r t u g u e s e a n d to lift the b l o c k a d e that w a s

apparently harming their interests. It took two m o n t h s for the P o r t u g u e s e

fleet to locate the A c e h n e s e t r o o p s w h o m they met eventually in battle on

the Perlis river. In a furious fight the P o r t u g u e s e killed 4 0 0 0 A c e h n e s e a n d

captured the remaining 1000, sank 20 vessels, and confiscated 300

c a n n o n s a n d about 1000 m u s k e t s . T h e P o r t u g u e s e lost only 26 of their


po
men a n d 150 were w o u n d e d .

2 8
M o o r h e a d , A History of malaya, v o l . 1, 197.

2 7
Ibid.
2 8
Ibid., 4 5 3 - 4 6 6 ; see a l s o , D a n v e r s , The Portuguese, vol. 1, 4 8 1 .
2 9
Danvers, The Portuguese, vol. 1; Winstedt, A History of Malaya, 80-81;
59

A g a i n in 1564. s o m e fifteen years after their defeat in the Perlis river,


the " A c h i n e s e war fleets were very active in M a l a y a w a t e r s . " It w a s not
3 0

until J a n u a r y 20th, 1568 that a n o t h e r siege w a s l a u n c h e d against


Malacca. 3 1
It w a s the largest a n d t h e strongest attack sent against
M a l a c c a . The fleet w a s led in p e r s o n by t h e S u l t a n , A ! a ' al-Dn R i ^ y a h
c

S h a h . Diogo d o C o u t o tells us that in this expedition the Sultan w a s also


a c c o m p a n i e d by his wife a n d his three s o n s . 3 2
T h e fleet w a s s u p p o r t e d by
15,000 men, 400 Ottoman elite t r o o p s a n d 2 0 0 b r o n z e c a n n o n s . T h e attack
c a m e as a surprise to the P o r t u g u e s e w h o were celebrating the birthday of
King S e b a s t i a n when the initial attack o c c u r e d . There were only 1500 men
defending M a l a c c a , 200 of w h o m were P o r t u g u e s e while the rest were
recruited l o c a l l y . F a c e d with o v e r w h e l m i n g o d d s the P o r t u g u e s e asked
3 3

for help from J o h o r a n d K e d a h , but their f o r c e s did not arriv in M a l a c c a


until the P o r t u g u e s e h a d s u c c e s s f u l l y d e f e n d e d the city against the
A c e h n e s e attempt at c o n q u e r i n g it. A c c o r d i n g to P o r t u g u e s e s o u r c e s ,
a b o u t 4000 A c e h n e s e were killed, i n c l u d i n g <Abd A l l a h , the s o n of the
S u l t a n who ruled at A r u . Out of a n g e r at J o h o r for h a v i n g helped the
Portuguese, the A c e h n e s e s t o p p e d there o n their w a y h o m e a n d b u r n e d
several of its v i l l a g e s . 3 4

M o o r h e a d , A History of Malaya, vol. 1, 1 9 6 - 1 9 7 .


3 0
I. A . M a c g r e g o r , " A S e a Fight N e a r S i n g a p o r e in the 1570's," JMBRAS,
voi. 29, pt. 3 (August 1956), 6.
3 1
Reid, "Turkish lnfluence,"405.
3 2
J o a o de B a r r o s a n d Diogo d o C o u t o , Da 'Asia de Joao de Barros e de
Diogo do Couto, 8, c h a p . 22 ( L i s b o n : N a R e g i a Officina T y p o g r a f i c a ,
1778-88), 1 3 3 - 1 6 3 , in notes given in P i n t o , The Travels, 5 5 9 .
3 3
Winstedt, A History of Malaya, 8 1 ; D a n v e r s , The Portuguese, vol. 1, 5 3 5 ;
Hall, A History of Southeast Asia, 2 4 1 . Hall m a d e mistake in dating this
attack, i.e. 1558.
60

In 1570, a P o r t u g u e s e fleet of fourteen s h i p s met an A c e h n e s e fleet


consisting of sixty a r m e d s h i p s near the port of A c e h . Eventually, Luiz de
Mello, the P o r t u g u e s e c o m m a n d e r , defeated the A c e h n e s e fleet, destroyed
their galleys, c a p t u r e d six s m a l l vessels a n d s a n k the rest. A g a i n ,
Portuguese s o u r c e s state that 1200 A c e h n e s e were killed a n d 300
i m p r i s o n e d , while, a c c o r d i n g to Danvers, the P o r t u g u e s e h a d no
casualties. This w a s the last military expedition of Sultan A l a ' a l - D n
3 5 c

R ^ y a h S h a h , who w a s k n o w n later as " a l - Q a h h a r . " He died on 8 J u m a d


3 6

a l - A w w a l 979 A . H . (28 S e p t e m b e r 1571 A . D . ) a n d w a s s u c c e e d e d by his


3 7

s o n , H u s a y n , who took the title of 9\l Ri<ayah S h a h . 3 8

During his reign, Sultan Husayn continued his father's policy ol

attacking M a l a c c a . He m a i n t a i n e d a navy which w a s active in M a l a c c a n

waters. At the s a m e time he allied himself d i p l o m a t i c a l l y with J o h o r a n d

Japara with the aim of removing the Portuguese from Malacca.

C o n c e r n i n g this p e r i o d R e i d states:

T h e two d e c a d e s f r o m 1 5 6 0 to 1580 must be seen as the highest point


for the military fortunes of Islam in S o u t h e a s t A s i a . During this period
the P o r t u g u e s e were consistently on the defensive. Atjeh d o m i n a t e d
the Straits of M a l a c c a , with fitful s u p p o r t from J o h o r a n d J a p a r a ,
while the M u s l i m t r a d e r s of J a p a r a , Gresik, Ternate s n O o t f Banda
1 0

i s l a n d s g a i n e d the u p p e r h a n d in the eastern a r c h i p e l a g o .

3 4
Winstedt, A History of Malaya, 81.
3 5
D a n v e r s , The Portuguese, v o l . 1, 5 5 7 .
3 6
Iskandar, Bustanu's-Salatin, 22-23.
3 7
O u d h e i d k u n d i g V e r s l a g , Oundheidkundige Dienst in Nederlandsch-lndie
(uitgegeven d o o r het B a t a v i a a s c h G e n o o t s c h a p van Kunsten en
W e t e n s c h a p p e n , 1914), 7 8 , in Iskandar, Hikayat Aceh, 4 3 .
3 8
Iskandar, Hikayat Aceh, 4 6 ; Djajadiningrat, Kesultanan Aceh, 8 1 .

3 9
R e i d , "Turkish Influence," 4 0 8 .
61

To counter this adverse position the Portuguese considered a military

expedition to A c e h . Anticipating permanent conquest and occupation,

Antonio Moniz Barreto was appointed governor of the conquest of

S u m a t r a , in a d d i t i o n to his regular position as the Governor of the South

Affairs, which c o v e r e d the M a l a y a r c h i p e l a g o and M a c a o . A b o u t this

i s s u e Danvers writes:

On his arrival at G o a , F r a n s i s c o Barrexo employed himself in fitting


out a large fleet against the King of A c h i n , who was then a great
d a n g e r to M a l a c c a . In a few m o n t h s he had ready 25 galleons, 10
galleys a n d 80 galliots, all s o well found that the hopes of firmly
e s t a b l i s h i n g a P o r t u g u e s e Empire in India were renewed. But all this
l a b o u r w a s in v a i n ; D o m C o n s t a n t i n o de B r a g a n z a h a d arrived to
s u c c e e d him, a n d it a p p e a r s to have been a prevailing c u s t o m in
India, that new G o v e r n o r s never put into execution the p l a n s of the'r
predecessors. '

Later, p r o p o s a l s for other military expedition were suggested by other

P o r t u g u e s e a d v o c a t e s . In 1569, D. J o r g e T e m u d o , the A r c h b i s h o p of G o a ,

proposed to the Crown that in order to conquer Aceh easily, the

P o r t u g u e s e s h o u l d b l o c k a d e the e c o n o m i e trade of A c e h . This b l o c k a d e

s h o u l d b e b a s e d in M a l a c c a . S u p p o r t e d by four or five galleons a n d about

ten galleys with 1000 m e n , this plan w a s directed "to prevent any s h i p s

f r o m leaving Atjeh, to disrupt its maritime trade, a n d to interrupt any

T u r k i s h galleys c o m i n g from the R e d S e a . " 4 2


However, this project never

c a m e into effect. A g a i n , this p r o p o s a l of the archbishop s h o w s how C h u r c h

officials were involved at the highest level of the Portuguese state a n d

g a v e a d v i c e o n political matters.

4 0
M a c g r e g o r , " A S e a Fight," 6 - 7 ; Z a k a r i a A h m a d , Sekitar Keradjaan Atjeh
dalam Tahun 1520-1675 ( M e d a n : Penerbit M o n o r a , 1972), 4 6 - 4 7 .
4 1
Danvers, The Portuguese, v o l . 1, 5 1 0 .
4 2
Boxer, " P o r t u g u e s e R e a c t i o n s , " 4 2 1 .
62

Another p r o p o s a l w a s put forward in 1568 by Fernao Vaz D o u r a d o . He


created the m a p of B a n d a A c e h Dar al-Sa)am showing the p r o p o s e d
P o r t u g u e s e position in the siege of A c e h In the 1580's, the idea of
4 3

attacking A c e h w a s a g a i n p r o p o s e d by P a d r e Alexandre V a l i g n a n o , S . J . ,
the great reorganizer of the Jesuit missions in A s i a during the last quarter
of the 16th century, by Diogo do C o u t o , by Jorge de Lemos, a Viceregal
secretary at G o a , a n d by D o m J o a o Ribiro G a i o , b i s h o p of M a l a c c a from
1581 to 1601 A g a i n , the plan w a s not carried out b e c a u s e "the
4 4

government at G o a c o u l d not find the necessary men a n d s h i p s . "

T h r o u g h o u t S u l t a n H u s a y n ' s reign, attacks on M a l a c c a continue. In

October 1573, supported by 7000 men and about 90 vessels, the

A c e h e n e s e fired o n M a l a c c a a n d b u r n e d the southern s u b u r b s . A c c o r d i n g

to Winstedt, only a fierce storm s a v e d the city from this dangerous

attack. 4 6
There were further attacks by J a p a r a in 1574 a n d A c e h on

February 1st, 1 5 7 5 . With 40 galleys, s o m e small s h i p s a n d about 100

galliots e q u i p p e d with artillery, the A c e h n e s e destroyed the Portuguese

vessels led by J o a o Pereira, B e r n a d i m d a Silva and F e r n a n d o Pallares.

They killed 75 P o r t u g u e s e , including the three c a p t a i n s , and c a p t u r e d 40 of

them. Five P o r t u g u e s e e s c a p e d by s w i m m i n g 4 7
Danvers s a y s that "only

4 3
. l e p r o d u c e d f r o m the original in the collection of the Duke of A l b a in A.
Cortesao & A . Teixera d a Mota, Tabularum Geographicorum
Lusitaniorum Specimen (Lisboa, 1960), 16; and Portugaliae Monumenta
Cartographica, v o l . 3, 2 4 5 , in Boxer, "Portuguese R e a c t i o n s , " 4 2 2 .
4 4
For further p r o p o s a l s suggested by these men see Boxer, "Portuguese
Reactions," 422-425.
4 5
Ibid.
4 6
Winstedt, A History of Malaya, 82; Reid, "Turkish Influence," 407;
M a c g r e g o r , " A S e a Fight," 6-7.
4 7
Danvers, The Portuguese, vol. 2 , 10.
63

150 men now remained for the defence of M a l a c c a , a n d of this number


two-thirds were sick and aged. Want of ammunition and men prevented t h e
c a p t a i n from replying to the enemy's f i r e . " However, the A c e h n e s e retired
4 8

"for s o m e inexplicable r e a s o n . " 4 9

Two years later there was another battle. On J a n u a r y 1 st, 1577 the

Portuguese fleet led by C a p t a i n M a t h i a s de A l b u q u e r q u e w a s intercepted

by the A c e h n e s e fleet on their mission to protect a C h i n e s e junk. T h e fleet

c o n s i s t e d of 150 ships and was "very well furnished with men a n d m u n i t i o n s

of war a n d , a b o v e ali, a will to fight, for they were promising themselves

victory." 50
T h e Acehnese fleet of 10,000 w a s led by L a k s a m a n a Sri

M a h a r a j a l e l a a n d included the S u l t a n himself. A g a i n , the A c e h n e s e fleet

w a s defeated by the Portuguese who killed a n d c a p t u r e d about 1600 of its

m e n . There w a s only slight casualties on the Portuguese side with 13 of its

troops killed. 5 1

This w a s the last military incident with the Portuguese during the reign

of Sultan H u s a y n , who died in 1 5 7 9 . 5 2


The series of battles initiated by the

A c e h n e s e against the Portuguese in M a l a c c a during the S u l t a n ' s lifetime

d e m o n s t r a t e his continuing commitment to remove the P o r t u g u e s e from

M a l a c c a . Like his father before him he h a d victory before him at times, but

Portuguese fighting superiority and other factors prevented him from

achieving his objective.

4 8
Ibid.
4 9
Winstedt, A History of Malaya, 82.
5 0
M a c g r e g o r , " A S e a Fight," 12.

5 1
Ibid., 1 1 - 1 2 .
5 2
S a i d , A c e h , 2 0 5 ; A h m a d , Sekitar Keradjaan Atjeh, 46.
64

B. Political Maneuvers

The political response of Aceh toward the Portuguese was dominated

by Aceh's desire to expand its territories. This policy was carried out mostly

by military action. Nevertheless, direct military action by Aceh against the

Portuguese in Malacca must clearly be set apart from its relationships with

other Malay states in the area which were primarily political in nature.

The ambition of Aceh to dominate Sumatra island was first indicated

when Aceh sent ambassadors to Batak sometime before 1539. Pinio tells

us that the King or Aceh, Ala'al-DTn Mughayah Shah, forced the King of

Batak, a Hindu, to convert to Islam. When the request was made the Batak

King refused and the King of Aceh threatened to send an army against him.

The Batak King asked for help from the Portuguese, with whom he had a

cordial relationship. The ambassadors of Batak appeared in Malacca

when the new captain of Malacca arrived in June 1539. The opportunity

was taken by the Batak ambassadors to renew their relationship as well as

to complain about the threat from Aceh. The Portuguese agreed to help

and gave the Bataks "a hundred powder pans, grapeshot, and

firebombs." 53
When Aceh attacked in the same year, however, the King of

Batak was defeated, even though he.was supported by 15,000 men, 8000

of whom were Batak and the remainder mercenaries from Minangkabau,


54
Luzon (Philippines), Indragiri, Jambi and Borneo.

Aceh's next target was Aru, a vassal of the Portuguese. The first

conflict between Aceh and Aru began when the latter sent its army to help

5 3
Pinto, The Trave/s, 22.
5 4
Ibid., 23-26.
65

the Portuguese in Pasai in 1 5 2 4 . In 1528 the relationship was m a d e c l o s e r


5 5

when Aru sent its a m b a s s a d o r s to M a l a c c a . A c c o r d i n g to C a t z , the c o r d i a l


relationship "was due to the hatred of the A a r u s for the former King of
M a l a c c a deposed by the P o r t u g u e s e . " The King of Daya a n d Pidie, a s
5 6

mentioned above, fted to Aru when A c e h c a p t u r e d P a s a i in 1 5 2 4 . T h e


seizure of Aru was obviously meant to destroy a v a s s a l of the P o r t u g u e s e
in Sumatra and to e x p a n d the power of A c e h . Aru c o u l d also be u s e d a s a
military b a s e to attack M a l a c c a as it w a s located very c l o s e to M a l a c c a . In
addition, from Aru A c e h c o u l d b l o c k a d e the Straits of S i n g a p o r e a n d
S a b a n g in order to prevent the Portuguese from p a s s i n g into the C h i n a
S e a , S u n d a , B a n d a a n d even the M o l u c c a s . 5 7
A c e h also benefited
economically from the capture of A r u , where the King of A c e h " c o u l d easily
have a c c e s s to all of the s p i c e trade in that a r c h i p e l a g o a n d thus c o m p l y
with the terms of the new treaty he h a d s i g n e d with the G r a n d T u r k ,
through the intermediary of the P a s h a of C a i r o . " 5 8

Aru was attacked by A c e h in the s a m e year, 1539, with a b o u t 17,000

men in 160 ships. In this engagement, the King of Aru w a s killed and

eventually his wife fled to M a l a c c a . Receiving no help from the P o r t u g u e s e

in recapturing her k i n g d o m , the d i s a p p o i n t e d Queen of Aru went to B i n t a n g

where she received new h o p e of help from the King of J o h o r , w h o m s h e

later married. This was not the first time that the P o r t u g u e s e h a d not

helped A r u . The King w a s also d i s a p p o i n t e d earlier by the lack of f i g h t i n g

5 5
Catz in her notes in Pinto, The Travels, c h a p . 14, no. 6, 5 4 5 . T h i s note
refers to Barros.
5 6
Ibid., c h a p . 2 1 , no. 2, 554.

5 7
Ibid., 46.
5 8
Ibid.
66
forces provided by the Portuguese, who supplied only about 40 or 50
Portuguese soldiers to train the King's soldiers in addition to "tour kegs of
powders, with a supply of two hundred cannonballs for the culverins" to 59

keep his strength equal to that of the Acehnese. Apparently, the


Portuguese found it prudent to assist other enemies of Aceh, but not
necessarily to risk their own meagre forces in defence of these local allies.

The occupation of Aru by Aceh lasted up to 1540 when the Oueen of

Aru with her allies Johor, Perak, Pahang and Siak successfully drove out

the Acehnese with heavy casualties on the Acehnese s i d e . 60


It was not

until 1564 that Aceh again took Aru. According to Pinto, the King of Johor

and his family was taken to Aceh, where he was later executed.

The ambition of Aceh to control Sumatra encouraged the King, A l a ' a l -


c

DTn Ri'ayah Shah, to personally oversee the political, administrative and

economie rule of Aru rather than delegate this to the vassalage of the local

ruler as was the usual case. Consequently, he appointed his son, A b d c

Allah, as the ruler of Aru. The latter was later killed in an Aceh military

campaign against Malacca in 1 5 6 8 . 62


Aceh's control over east Sumatra

was followed by control over the western ports of the island. Sultan Ala'al- c

DTn R i ^ y a h Shah initiated the political connection with this area when he

designated the ruler of Barus as the Sultan of Barus, who helped him in the

expedition against Aru in 1539 and married his s i s t e r . 63


Apparently, "the

5 9
Ibid., 36-50.
6 0
Ibid., 56.
8 1
Ibid., 57.
6 2
Ibid.
6 3
J . Kathirithamby-Wells, "Achehnese Control over West Sumatra up to
67

designation of sultan s e e m s to have been conferred on all A c h e h ' s key


representatives in the s u b o r d i n a t e r e g i o n s . " From B a r u s , A c e h ' s political
6 4

connection w a s extended to P a r i a m a n where the S u l t a n a p p o i n t e d his s o n ,


prince M u g h a l , as the ruler. W e do not h a v e detailed information regarding
the A c e h n e s e administration over P a r i a m a n at this time. It w a s in the reign
of Sultan of Iskandar M u d a (1607-1636) that A c e h n e s e activities in the
region were definitely i d e n t i f i e d . However, P a r i a m a n must h a v e been an
6 5

important post for c o n t r o l l i n g the western part of S u m a t r a .

The political situation of A c e h c a n n o t be s e p a r a t e d f r o m the general

political picture of the a r c h i p e l a g o in the sixteenth century. At this time,

several new M u s l i m k i n g d o m s a p p e a r e d a n d s h o w e d themselves to be

sovereign kingdoms. Religion was scmetimes a b a s i c factor for their

alliance. However, different interests in trade also strained the a l l i a n c e .

Having realized that their existence w a s c h a l l e n g e d by all the M u s l i m

kingdoms in the r e g i o n , the P o r t u g u e s e m a d e a n effort to b u i l d a politica!

and e c o n o m i e a l l i a n c e with n o n - M u s l i m k i n g d o m s s u c h as S u n d a , in 1522,


66

a n d P a n a r u k a n in east J a v a as well a s M i n a n g k a b a u in S u m a t r a . This

alliance was b r o k e n by D e m a k , w h o c o n q u e r e d S u n d a K e l a p a in 1527.

Banten took P a j a j a r a n in the 1 5 7 0 ' s .

the treaty of P a i n a m , 1 6 6 3 , " JSEAH, vol. 10, no. 3 (December 1969),


457.
6 4
Ibid.
6 5
Ibid., 4 5 8 .
6 6
Kartodirdjo, Pengantar Sejarah Indonesia, 3 7 ; J . C . van Leur, Indonesian
Trade and Society, 2 n d e d . (The H a g u e : W. van Hoeve, 1967), 1 7 3 - 1 7 4 .

6 7
Ibid., 3 3 - 3 4 .
68

T h r o u g h o u t this century A c e h tried to establish a " p a n - l s l a m i c " alliance

with other k i n g d o m s so that they w o u l d join it in attacking M a l a c c a . These

k i n g d o m s , led by J o h o r , s h o w e d a n unfriendly response to A c e h ' s military

policy a n d p e r h a p s to its e c o n o m i e policy as well. It was mentioned a b o v e

that J o h o r c o n c l u d e d a military a l l i a n c e with Perak, P a h a n g a n d Siak to

drive the A c e h n e s e out of Aru. Johor opposition to Aceh was also

demonstrated in 1547 a n d 1568 w h e n it a p p e a r e d with its allies in M a l a c c a

to help the Portuguese fight A c e h . T h e o p p o s i t i o n of J o h o r , Perak a n d

P a h a n g to A c e h a n d their frequent preference of establishing friendships


6R

with the P o r t u g u e s e w a s d u e to the "fear of the new M u s l i m power."

However, in 1574 this situation c h a n g e d a n d A c e h a n d J o h o r were on

friendly terms, a n d the K i n g s of J o h o r a n d Bintan even s u p p o r t e d the

A c e h n e s e a g a i n s t M a l a c c a in 1 5 7 5 . 6 9
C o r r e s p o n d e n c e between A c e h a n d

J o h o r during this time s h o w e d an improvement in r e l a t i o n s . 7 9


T h e alliance

w a s confirmed by a marriage between the prince of Johor and the

daughter of the Sultan of A c e h . 7 1


However, deteriotaring
relations with
72
J o h o r p r o m p t e d the P o r t u g u e s e to attack J o h o r in 1576 a n d 1578.

Stil!, relations between J o h o r and A c e h were not entirely smooth.

Perak, a strong ally of J o h o r , w a s a t t a c k e d a n d o c c u p i e d by A c e h before

1579. The family of the S u l t a n of P e r a k w a s taken to A c e h . His eldest s o n

6 8
Winstedt, A History of Malacca, 78.
6 9
I. A. M a c g r e g o r , " J o h o r L a m a in the Sixteenth Century," JMBRAS, vol.
28, pt. 2 (May 1955), 8 6 ; A d i l , Sejarah Johor (Kuala L u m p u r : Dewan
Ba'hasa d a n P u s t a k a Kementrian P e l a j a r a n M a l a y s i a , 1971), 30.
7 0
C o u t o , 1 7 7 8 - 8 8 , 19, 2 3 5 - 3 6 in " J o h o r L a m a in the Sixteenth Century,"
86.
7 1
M c g r e g o r , " J o h o r L a m a , " 86.
7 2
A d i l , Sejarah Johor, 3 0 - 3 1 .
69

married the d a u g h t e r of the Sultan of A c e h a n d w a s later a p p o i n t e d the


Sultan of A c e h with the title of A l a ' a l - D T n Mansr S h a h . He ruled from
c

1579 to 1 5 8 5 . 7 3
It w a s the daughter of this Sultan who m a r r i e d the prince
of J o h o r , A l J a l l a <Abd al-JalTI.
c

This a l l i a n c e w a s broken when Sultan C


AIT J a l l a of J o h o r refused to

obey the rule of his father-in-law, the Sultan of A c e h , over his country,

w h i c h led to a w a r in 1582. Having surrendered to the A c e h n e s e , J o h o r

a s k e d for help f r o m the Portuguese, who eventually drove the A c e h n e s e

troops out of J o h o r . 7 4
T h e unstable political relations between A c e h a n d

Johor apparently resulted in what Winstedt calls the "triangular fight

between P o r t u g a l , J o h o r , a n d A c h e h , " 7 5
w h i c h allowed the P o r t u g u e s e to

c o n t i n u e to exist a s a p o w e r in the region.

A c e h s o u g h t aid f r o m both regional a n d other k i n g d o m s , undoubtedly,

in its effort to drive the P o r t u g u e s e out of M a l a c c a . A s m e n t i o n e d a b o v e ,

it w o n J a p a r a from a joint attack on the P o r t u g u e s e in 1574/1575.

A c e h n e s e a m b a s s a d o r s were sent to C a l i c u t , Bijapure, the C o r o m a n d e l

c o a s t rulers a n d D e m a k . All these k i n g d o m s sent their help, except Demak,

"which w a s s o a f r a i d of the insatiable ambition of the S u l t a n of Atjeh that it

put his a m b a s s a d o r s to d e a t h . " 7 6

T h e s u c c e s s of A c e h in gaining the political upper h a n d is obviously

i n d i c a t e d by the ethnic plurality of the A c e h n e s e army. For instance,

7 3
Winstedt a n d W i l k i n s o n , " A History of Perak," JMBRAS, v o l . 12, pt. 1
(June 1934), 19.
7 4
M a c g r e g o r , " J o h o r L a m a , " 88; A d i l , Sejarah Johor, 3 1 .
7 5
Winstedt, A History of Malaya, 84.
7 6
Reid, " T u r k i s h Influence," 405.
70

a c c o r d i n g to Pinto, in the c a m p a i g n against Aru in 1539 of A c e h ' s t r o o p s


c o n s i s t e d of A c e h n e s e , O t t o m a n s , A b y s s i n i a n s , M a l a b a r i s , Gujaratis,
L u z o n s a n d even B o r n e a n s . T h e c o m m a n d e r w a s an A b y s s i n i a n , M a h m d
K h a n , w h o h a d just arrived from J i d d a 7
A m o n g these soldiers, the
7

O t t o m a n s were the most e x p e r i e n c e d a n d important element.

Bustan al-Salan, the c h r o n i c l e of sixteenth century A c e h . mentions the

relations of A c e h with the O t t o m a n Empire, which took place during the

reign of A l a a l - D n R i ^ y a h S h a h a l - Q a h h a r :
c 5

He w h o created the g o v e r n m e n t institution (isti adah) of A c e h D a r u ' s -


c

S a l a m a n d sent an envoy to S u l t a n R u m , to the state of Istanbul, in


order to strengthen the M u s l i m religion. The Sultan Rum sent v a r i o u s
c r a f t s m e n a n d experts w h o knew how to make guns. It was a l s o he
w h o first built a fort at A c e h D a r u ' s - S a l a m , arid he who first fought all
unbelievers a n d a t t a c k e d M a l a c c a in p e r s o n / 0

In his s t u d y on this matter, Reid suggests that the first political c o n t a c t

between these two c o u n t r i e s took p l a c e sometime between 1537-1538. 7 9

S u l a y m a n , w h o sent envoys to Gujarati and A r a b i a n ports in 1537 to g a i n

s u p p o r t to attack the P o r t u g u e s e , 8 0
p r o b a b l y also sent an envoy to A c e h .

This "might h a v e served a s a stimulus for the first Atjehnese attack on

M a l a c c a in S e p t e m b e r 1 5 3 7 . " 8 1
From then o n w a r d , the Ottomans with their

g u n s were e n g a g e d in all A c e h n e s e c a m p a i g n s during this century. T h e

O t t o m a n s p l a y e d an important role in the A c e h n e s e wars against A r u in

7 7
Pinto, The Travels, 46-47.
7 8
Iskandar, Bustanu's-Salatin, 31-32.
7 9
R e i d , "Turkish Influence," 4 0 2 - 4 1 1 .
8 9
R. B. Serjeant, The Portuguese off the South Arabian Coast, Hadraml
Chronicles (Oxford: T h e C l a r e n d o n Press, 1963), 76-77, 79-80.
8 1
R e i d , "Turkish Influence," 4 0 2 .
71

1 5 3 9 a n d 1540 a n d against M a i a c c a in 1 5 4 7 . It has been mentioned that


8 2

the largest c a m p a i g n against the Portuguese in 1568, which w a s


c o m m a n d e d by the Sultan himself, w a s strengthened by a b o u t 400
O t t o m a n elite troops a n d a large number of their guns and artillery.

From Turkish s o u r c e s we learn that A c e h is referred to as A c / or A c e .

In 9 7 5 / 1 5 6 7 , Sultan c
A l a ' a l - D n Rifayah S h a h sent Husayn to Istanbul to

ask for help in order to w a g e a war against the Portuguese Kafirs

(unbelievers), who h a d increasingly been attacking Muslim traders between

M a l a c c a a n d S u m a t r a as well as on S u m a t r a Island and its n e i g h b o u r s . 8 3

T h e death of the Ottoman S u l t a n , S u l a y m a n the Magnificent, shortly after

the arrival of the A c e h n e s e a m b a s s a d o r a n d military c a m p a i g n to Sigetvar,

d i d not c a u s e the aid p l a n for A c e h to fail, for his s o n , Sultan Selm II,

g a v e the s a m e attention to this matter as his late father had 8 4


In his letter

d a t e d 16 R a b a l - A w w a l 975 A . H . (20 September 1567) Sultan Selm II


c

replied to the Sultan of A c e h a b o u t his great concern over this matter a n d

that d e c i d e d to s e n d 15 galleys, 2 s m a l l w a r s h i p s , numerous gun masters,

s o l d i e r s a n d g u n s . T h e letter w a s sent through an Ottoman a m b a s s a d o r ,

Mustafa C a m u s . 8 8
However, H u s a y n , the Acehnese a m b a s s a d o r , had to

s t a y in Istanbul for two years d u e to the postponement of the a i d . Kurtoglu

Hizir, sent formerly to lead an expedition to S u m a t r a to nelp A c e h , h a d to

8 2
Ibid., 4 0 3 .
8 3
Ismail Hakki U z u n c a r s i l i , Osmanli Tarihi, vol. 3 (Ankara: Turk Tarih
K u r u m u B a s i m e v i , 1983), 3 1 .
3 4
U z u n c a r s i l i , Osmanli Tarihi, v o l . 2 ( A n k a r a : Turk Tarih Kurumu B a s i m e v i ,
1949), 388; R e i d , "Turkish Influence," 4 1 3 .
8 5
Saffet Bey, "Bir O s m a n l i F i l o s o n u m S u m a t r a Seferi," TOEM, vol. 10
(1921), 6 0 6 - 6 0 9 in Reid, "Turkish Influence," 404; see also, U z u n c a r s i l i ,
Osmanli Tarihi, vol. 3, 32.
72

b e s e n t to Y a m a n to s u r p r e s s a r e b e l l i o n u n d e r M u t a h h a r . T h e r e g r e t of
S u l t a n S l i m II f o r t h i s d e l a y w a s e x p r e s s e d in h i s letter to H u s a y n in 5
R a j a b 9 7 5 A . H . (5 J a n u a r y 1 5 6 8 ) . 8 6
Hizir never c a m e to A c e h . H o w e v e r , t h e
a i d i n d e e d c a m e t o t h i s s u l t a n a t e . R e i d writes:

K u r t o g l u H i z i r a n d h i s fleet never r e a c h e d A t j e h . B u t t h e i m p o r t a n c e
t h e A t j e h n e s e g i v e t o t h e c a n n o n s , the f l a g , a n d t h e g u n s m i t h s m a k e s
it r e a s o n a b l y c e r t a i n t h a t t h e s e at least w e r e s e n t , a l o n g w i t h s o m e
s o r t of i m p e r i a l m a s a g e [sic]. T h e y p r o b a b l y r e a c h e d A t j e h d u r i n g
1 5 6 8 o r 1 5 6 9 , a n d s t r e n g t h e n e d her c o n s i d e r a b l y in r e l a t i o n to h e r
Indonesian rivals. They must also have e n c o u r a g e d further t h o u g h t s
of a p a n - l s l a m i c front a g a i n s t the P o r t u g u e s e , w h i c h had its
c u l m i n a t i o n in t h e m a n o e v r e s of 1 5 7 0 - 1 . 8

P o l i t i c a l r e l a t i o n s w e r e also e s t a b l i s h e d by A c e h with s o m e kingdoms

of t h e I n d i a n s u b - c o n t i n e n t . B. S c h r i e k e g i v e s s o m e r e m a r k s o n t h i s matter

a n d s a y s t h a t " t h e r u l e r of A c h i n a l s o m a i n t a i n e d o f f i c i a l r e l a t i o n s w i t h t h e

s e a p o t e n t a t e o f C a l i c u t o n t h e west c o a s t of India a n d t h e K i n g s of B e n g a l

a n d C e y l o n . T h e s e a l of t h e A c h i n e s e s u l t a n , p a t t e r n e d o n t h a t of t h e first

g r a n d M o g u l s in I n d i a , is a n o t h e r i n d i c a t i o n of the r e l a t i o n of A c h i n to t h a t

empire." 8 8

C. Trading Competition

The opposition of Muslim traders in Malacca to the Portuguese,

r e g a r d e d a s s t r o n g t r a d e rivals, was an undisputable tact. It is s a i d t h a t

t h e f i r s t P o r t u g u e s e fleet u n d e r Lopez de Sequeire r e a c h e d Malacca in

8 6
Reid, "Turkish influence," 404; Uzuncarsili, Osmanli Tarihi, vol. 2,
388-389.

8 7
Reid, "Turkish Influence," 407.

8 8
B. S c h r i e k e , Indonesian Sociological Studies, Pt. 1 ( T h e H a g u e : W . v a n
Hoeve, 1966), 44.
73

1509 a n d w a s given an unfriendly r e c e p t i o n by the M a l a c c a t r a d e r s . R u y d e


A r a u j o t o l d A l b u q u e r q u e t h a t t h e S h a h b a n d a r of t h e G u j a r a t i u r g e d t h e
S u l t a n of M a l a c c a not to m a k e a p e a c e with t h e m a n d i n s t e a d s t r o n g l y

QQ

suggested that he wage a war against thern. o a


Furthermore, the

P o r t u g u e s e a d m i n i s t r a t i o n in M a l a c c a , a s m e n t i o n e d b e f o r e , b y preferring

the Hindu traders and harming the M u s l i m traders as m u c h as p o s s i b l e ,

eventually aggravated the relationship between them and the Muslim

traders. 9 0
It w a s r e a s o n a b l e , t h e r e f o r e , t h a t M u s l i m t r a d e r s s h o u l d have

m o v e d to A c e h a s well a s to o t h e r p a r t s of t h e I n d o n e s i a n a r c h i p e l a g o . It

also has been mentioned that Aceh, by capturing Pidie and Pasai,

f l o u r i s h e d b y m a k i n g u s e of t h o s e t w o i m p o r t a n t p o r t s in n o r t h S u m a t r a .

Yet, Malacca had shown itself to b e the most important entrepot in

S o u t h e a s t A s i a during the M a l a c c a n s u l t a n a t e . W i t h t h e c a p t u r e of P i d i e

a n d P a s a i , A c e h h a d t h e s e l f - c o n f i d e n c e to b e i n d e p e n d e n t in t r a d e , w h i c h

e n a b l e d it to d e c l a r e a t r a d e w a r a g a i n s t t h e P o r t u g u e s e .

The flourishing of M a l a c c a d u r i n g t h e t i m e of t h e M a l a y s u l t a n a t e w a s

o b v i o u s l y d u e t o " g o o d relations with s u r r o u n d i n g c o u n t r i e s a n d to t h e f a c t

t h a t its p o s s e s s i o n of t h e l a n d o n e i t h e r s i d e of t h e w a t e r g a v e it c o n t r o l

over the s t r a i t s . " 9 1


P o r t u g u e s e M a l a c c a h a d to m a i n t a i n t h e e a r l y p o s i t i o n

of t h i s e n t r e p o t . N e v e r t h e l e s s , t h e f e a r a n d h a t r e d of M u s l i m k i n g d o m s in

the Indonesian a r c h i p e l a g o t o w a r d them l e d t o a l a r g e d e c r e a s e in the

n u m b e r of m e r c h a n t s c o m i n g t o M a l a c c a . T h i s s i t u a t i o n r e s u l t e d in t h e r i s e

of o t h e r p o r t s in t h e a r e a , s u c h a s A c e h a n d B a n t a m . ^ T o c o u n t e r a c t t h i s
9

8 9
W i n s t e d t , A History of Malaya, 67.

9 0
S c h r i e k e , Indonesian, 42.

9 1
Ibid., 1 3 9 .
74

loss in natural trade the Portuguese a p p r o a c h e d n o n - M u s l i m k i n g d o m s of


the region as mentioned above. They also tried to m a i n t a i n the c o m m e r c i a l
relation with S i a m a n d other kingdoms in further I n d i a . S i a m h a d been an
9 3

important a n d large scale foodstuff supplier for M a l a c c a , as well a s either a


mediator or supplier of "lac, benzoin s a p p a n w o o d , l e a d , tin, silver, g o l d ,
ivory, c a s s i a fistula, dishes cast from c o p p e r or g o l d rings, set with rubies
a n d d i a m o n d s , a n d lastly a large quantity of c h e a p , c o a r s e , S i a m e s e
c l o t h . " Another effort was undertaken to m a k e a l l i a n c e s with the H i n d u
9 4

k i n g d o m of Pajajaran in west J a v a a n d P a n a r u k a n in east J a v a . A s a


matter of fact, these alliances were not only initiated by the P o r t u g u e s e but
also by the Hindu k i n g d o m s , who were under the threat of their
9 5

neighbouring Muslim states.

From the earliest years of their presence in the r e g i o n , the P o r t u g u e s e

h a d to face the enmity of those s u r o u n d i n g M u s l i m k i n g d o m s which were

active in trade as well as in Islamic p r o p a g a t i o n . The P o r t u g u e s e attacked

Muslim merchant ships wherever they f o u n d them. A c e h seemed to have

reacted in the s a m e manner by attacking a n d p l u n d e r i n g all the P o r t u g u e s e

s h i p s c o m i n g from Bengal a n d Pegu to M a l a c c a . 9 6


S e v e r a l attacks of the

A c e h n e s e on M a l a c c a , the intensive military effort of the exiled M a l a c c a

Sultan in the early sixteenth century to restore his c r o w n , a n d s o m e military

attacks l a u n c h e d by J a p a r a in 1513, 1551 a n d 1574 resulted in unsafe

9 2
S c h r i e k e , Indonesian, 42.

9 3
Ibid.
9 4
Meilink-Roelofsz, Asian Trade, 72.
9 5
Kartodirdjo, "Religious a n d E c o n o m i e A s p e c t s , " 1 9 1 ; M e i l i n k - R o e l o f s z ,
Asian Trade, 150-153.
9 6
Meilink-Roelofsz, Asian Trade, 145.
75

sailing in the strait of M a l a c c a . To avoid this d a n g e r o u s situation a n d


because of their fear of the Portuguese, Muslim traders c h o s e a new route
along the west c o a s t of S u m a t r a , through which they c o u l d reach J a v a a n d
the eastern part of the Indonesian a r c h i p e l a g o via the S u n d a S t r a i t . 9 7

Trade patterns in the a r c h i p e l a g o developed a l o n g religious lines, a s in the


c a s e of M a l a c c a in the fifteenth century This apparently m a d e A c e h "the
9 8

chief station in the intermediary trade of the M u s l i m s of western A s i a a n d


India with the A r c h i p e l a g o . " 9 9

B e c a u s e of the c h a n g e d situation, A c e h b e c a m e a c o s m o p o l i t a n state,

visited by A r a b s , P e r s i a n s , the Ottomans, A b y s s i n i a n s , the traders from

Pegu, Chinese, Indians as well as the traders from the Indonesian

archipelago. 1 0 0
It exported a !arge amount of p e p p e r from both the ports

of Pasai a n d Pidie a n d controlled the supply of g o l d in the M i n a n g k a b a u

port. 1 9 1
The a d v a n t a g e of A c e h ' s position, in the northern tip of S u m a t r a

facing the Indian O c e a n , stimulated the Sultan to m a k e a trading enterprise

across the Indian O c e a n a n d the Red S e a . Before d i s c u s s i n g the A c e h n e s e

enterprise in this a r e a , it would be helpful if we briefly explore the

resistance of Muslim traders to the Portuguese in this area prior to A c e h ' s

participation.

9 7
F. H. V a n Naerssen a n d R. C . De long, The Economie and Administrative
History of Early Indonesia (Leiden/Koln: E. J . Brill, 1977), 8 8 - 8 9 .
9 8
A brief d i s c u s s i o n on t r a d e a n d Islam in the a r c h i p e l a g o is given in
chapter three.
9 9
Kartodirdjo, "Religious a n d E c o n o m i e A s p e c t s , " 192; M e i l i n k - R o e l o f s z ,
Asian Trade, 1 4 3 - 1 4 4 .
1 9 0
Schrieke, Indonesian, 42-43.
1 9 1
Meilink-Roelofzs, Asian Trade, 142.
76

In the early sixteenth century the P o r t u g u e s e b e g a n to penetrate the


Muslim settlements in Africa a n d A s i a by taking A r a b settlements in East
A f r i c a , M o z a m b i q u e , Kilwa a n d M o m b a s a . From these areas they m o v e d
to A s i a , where they took H o r m u z in 1508 a n d G o a in 1510. Their ambition to
take trade routes in the Indian O c e a n a n d the R e d S e a away from the
Muslim traders met with strong resistance from the M u s l i m states, s u c h as
Mamlk Egypt, Gujarat, Bijapur a n d A h m a d n a g a r as well as the Ottoman
Empire. T h e Ottomans, by c o n q u e r i n g Persia in 1514 a n d Mamlk Egypt
1 0 2

in 1517, c a m e to control both the Persian Gulf a n d the Red S e a . T h e s e


c o n q u e s t s apparently motivated the O t t o m a n s to control the sea-route to
India, w h i c h led to their struggle with the P o r t u g u e s e . As a matter of
1 0 3

fact, in the first half of the sixteenth century the P o r t u g u e s e were strong in
the Indian O c e a n , while the O t t o m a n s were the masters of the Red S e a . 1 0 4

A c e h , a s "an essential c o a s t a l state and seaborne e m p i r e , " 1 0 5


also

took part in the trade traffic in the Indian O c e a n a n d the Red S e a . The

export of S u m a t r a pepper entered the west c o a s t of India a n d the Red

S e a . By this trade involvement, the A c e h n e s e s h i p s h a d to face the


106

c h a l l e n g e from the P o r t u g u e s e fleets w h i c h often intercepted them. It

was natural that the A c e h n e s e , w h o s a w the P o r t u g u e s e as their religious

enemies a s well as trading rivals, s h o u l d h a v e s o u g h t an alliance with the


1 0 2
M L o n g w o r t h Dames, "The P o r t u g u e s e a n d T u r k s in the Indian O c e a n
in the Sixteenth Century," JRAS, Pt. 1 ( J a n u a r y 1921), 5 - 1 2 ; E.
D e n i s o n , "The P o r t u g u e s e in India a n d A r a b i a , 1 5 1 7 - 3 8 , " JRAS, Pt. 1
( J a n u a r y 1922), 1-18.
1 0 3
D a m e s , "The Portuguese a n d Turks," 3-4.

1 0 4
Ibid., 2 0 .
1 0 5
Boxer, "Portuguese Reactions," 416.

1 0 6
Ibid.
77

Ottoman Empire as the strongest Muslim Empire at that time. This alliance,
besides having religious and. strategie reasons, s e e m s to have been
motivated by trading interests as well. The Ottomans n e e d e d A c e h for
loading s p i c e s as well as exporting their w o o d p r o d u c t s . Indeed, A c e h
offered s p i c e s to the Ottomans in return for their military help to A c e h
against the Portuguese. Another member of the a l l i a n c e w a s the S a m u d r i
of C a l i c u t w h i c h h a d been e n g a g e d in the s p i c e t r a d e in the W e s t . 1 0 7

The participation of the A c e h n e s e in the Red S e a s e e m s to h a v e begun

in the 1530's a n d i n c r e a s e d intensively in the mid-sixteenth century. During

that time, the A c e h n e s e s h i p s regularly sailed a c r o s s the Indian O c e a n and

the Red S e a , where they h a d military encounters with the P o r t u g u e s e fleets.

A s q u a d r o n of the Portuguese, c o m m a n d e d by Diogo d a S i l v e i r a , attacked

a number of freighters c o m i n g from Gujarat a n d A c e h at the entrance of

the Red S e a in 1 5 3 4 . 1 0 8
In 1546, the A c e h n e s e attacked a n d c a p t u r e d a

junk of A n t o n i o de S a u s a . This c a s e forced D. J o a o de C a s t r o to order "all

Portuguese s h i p s b o u n d from India to M a l a c c a to sail in c o n v o y . " 1 0 9

The threat to the P o r t u g u e s e p o s e d by the A c e h n e s e t r a d e a n d s h i p s in

the Red S e a w a s serious, s i n c e the A c e h n e s e t r a d i n g activity in the Red

S e a w a s m u c h more intensive in the mid-sixteenth century. Portuguese

s o u r c e s teil us that in J u n e 1564, a b o u t 23 s h i p s l o a d i n g 1 8 0 0 quintals of

pepper and 1300 quintals of other spices reached J i d d a from Aceh,

1 0 7
M e i l i n k - R o e l o f s z , Asian Trade, 144; Kartodirdjo, "Religious and
E c o n o m i e A s p e c t s , " 192.
1 0 8
Diogo d o C o u t o , Decada IV (Lisbon, 1602), Livro 8, c a p . 10, in Boxer,
" P o r t u g u e s e R e a c t i o n s , " 416.
1 0 9
The Letter of D. J o a o de C a s t r o to the C r o w n , G o a D e c e m b e r 16,
1546, in Elaine S a n c e a n , ed., Cartos de D. Joao de Castro (Lisbon,
1945), 2 3 3 , in Boxer, "Portuguese R e a c t i o n s , " 4 1 7 .
78

B a t i c o l a a n d M a l a b a r . The intensity of this t r a d e resulted in a surplus of


pepper a n d other spices in J i d d a a n d eventually lowered the price of them
everywhere. This upset the plan of the P o r t u g u e s e , who apparently
1 1 0

desired to "set the prices o n the market t h e m s e l v e s as Egypt a n d the


Italians before them h a d d o n e . " 1 1 1

During t h e y e a r s 1 5 5 4 - 1 5 6 7 , the P o r t u g u e s e tried to s e n d expeditions to

interrupt either A c e h n e s e s h i p s or other s h i p s c o m i n g from A c e h in the Red

S e a . By the year 1 5 5 4 / 1 5 5 5 , two P o r t u g u e s e fleets were sent to the

entrance of the Red S e a in order to attack a n y s h i p s from A c e h a n d

Gujarat. They were also sent to S u a h l i with the s a m e m i s s i o n . By 1559, two

other g a l l e o n s a n d eighteen o a r e d vessels were d i s p a t c h e d to the Red S e a

for the s a m e p u r p o s e . 1 1 2
Yet, "the costly a n n u a l expeditions mounted by

the Portuguese to try a n d intercept these s h i p s o n their way to the Red S e a

in the p e r i o d 1 5 5 4 - 1 5 6 7 , clearly failed in their p u r p o s e . " 1 1 3

In the Indonesian a r c h i p e l a g o the struggle to d o m i n a t e the trade route

w a s o b v i o u s l y indicated by the a l l i a n c e of s e v e r a l k i n g d o m s . This alliance

w a s frequently disrupted by the c o m p e t i t i o n a m o n g them. The constant

pressure of Aceh upon the Portuguese in M a l a c c a was also clearly

motivated by an e c o n o m i e motive. A c e h n e e d e d M a l a c c a for the transit of

their t r a d e activities to eastern Indonesia a n d C h i n a , 1 1 4


even t h o u g h the

1 1 0
C o u t o , Decada VIII, c a p . 2 1 ; Letter of G a s p a r a n d J o a o Ribiro, Venice
27 A u g u s t 1564, Studia, vol. XIII ( L i s b o a , 1961), 2 0 7 - 0 9 , in boxer,
" P o r t u g u e s e R e a c t i o n s , " 417.
1 1 1
S c h r i e k e , Indonesian, 41.
1 1 2
C o u t o , Decada VI, Livro 10, c a p . 18; Decada VII, Livro I, c a p s . 7 - 8 ;
Decada VII, Livro 6, c a p . 7, in Boxer, " P o r t u g u e s e R e a c t i o n s , " 4 1 7 .

1 1 3
Boxer, " P o r t u g u e s e R e a c t i o n s , " 4 1 9 .
79

new trade route in west S u m a t r a h a d been e s t a b l i s h e d . Aceh needed


C h i n e s e pottery, g o l d , silver, c o i n s a n d other C h i n e s e p r o d u c t s . 1 1 5
The
C h i n e s e traders, like other A s i a n traders d i s a p p o i n t e d by the Portuguese
policy of e x a c t i o n , turned to visit other ports in the a r e a for pepper a n d
s a n d a l w o o d , s u c h as the west c o a s t of B o r n e o , the east c o a s t of S u m a t r a ,
Bantam and T i m o r . Johor, which turned its trade of pepper, tin a n d
1 1 6

g o l d to the east after the c o m i n g of the P o r t u g u e s e , eventually m a d e


1 1 7

friends with the Portuguese in M a l a c c a , though it w a s disrupted by several


military incidents between them. Perak w e l c o m e d the Portuguese who
c a m e to its port to trade for t i n . J a p a r a , on the other h a n d , h a d a long
1 1 8

history of resistance against the Portuguese. It w a s a p r o s p e r o u s


c o m m e r c i a l center on the north c o a s t of J a v a , a l o n g s i d e other Muslim
ports, s u c h a s T u b a n , S e d a y u , Gresik, J a r a t a n , S u r a b a y a , P a s u r u a n a n d
Panarukar,. S o m e ports were under its influence, s u c h a s Lawe, T a n j u n g
1 1 9

P u r a (Borneo), B a n g k a and s o m e other i s l a n d s . It also d o m i n a t e d the s p i c e


trade in eastern Indonesia, where Muslim rulers were a i s o in control. lts
bitter r e s p o n s e to the Portuguese w a s s h o w n by its several attacks on
M a l a c c a a s well a s its help in the M u s l i m struggle a g a i n s t the Portuguese
in A m b o n a n d the M o l u c c a s . However, J a p a r a , the m a i n rice supplier for
M a l a c c a d u r i n g the Malay sultanate, later developed friendly terms with the
P o r t u g u e s e by allowing the s h i p s of the latter to a n c h o r at its port to l o a d

1 1 4
S c h r i e k e , Indonesian, 4 2 .

1 1 5
Ibid., 4 3 .
1 1 6
M e i l i n k - R o e l o f s z , Asian Trade, 169-170.

1 1 7
Ibid., 1 3 9 - 1 4 0 .
1 1 8
Ibid., 1 6 8 - 1 6 9 .
1 1 9
v a n Leur, Indonesian Trade, 173.
80

the " s u r p l u s of f o o d p r o d u c t . " 1 2 0


Demak also b e c a m e more p r o s p e r o u s in

t r a d e by exporting foodstuffs to M a l a c c a . This was probably the reason for

its rejecting the A c e h n e s e invitation to l a u n c h a joint attack against the


1p1
P o r t u g u e s e . This t r a d e a l l i a n c e w a s a l s o followed later by M a t a r a m . "

T h e e c o n o m i e interests c o m p e l l e d most of the Muslim kingdoms in the

region to turn t o w a r d the P o r t u g u e s e , building commercial relations with

them. Religious a l l i a n c e s were put a s i d e for economie interests. Meilink-

R o e l o f s z states:

E c o n o m i e motives certainly weighed heavily in the adoption of this


attitude t o w a r d s the i n b u d e r , s i n c e most of the M a l a y - l n d o n e s i a n
countries d e p e n d e d on M a l a c c a not only as a port of s u p p l y and
l o a d i n g where they c o u l d sell their own g o o d s and buy imports from
the West but a l s o as a J a r g e - s c a l e p u r c h a s e r of the foodstuffs they
themselves p r o d u c e d .

T h i s tendency w a s never s h o w n by A c e h during the sixteenth century. lts

a m b i t i o n to boycott P o r t u g u e s e e c o n o m i e activities, both in the M a l a y -

lndonesian archipelago and in the Indian Ocean and the Red S e a

d e m o n s t r a t e s its enmity t o w a r d the Portuguese. A c e h , whose ports h a d

f l o u r i s h e d s i n c e the c o m i n g of the P o r t u g u e s e , desired to replace the early

p o s i t i o n of M a l a c c a , to control the trading activities in the region a n d to

c r e a t e its o w n a x i s . Naturally, this ambition bothered J o h o r a n d Java,

w h i c h also h a d the s a m e interest. This resulted in a clash between them

1 2 0
Ibid., 1 4 7 - 1 4 9 , 1 6 0 - 1 6 1 ; see a l s o , Kartodirdjo, "Religious and
E c o n o m i e A s p e c t s , " 193; V a n N a e r s s e n a n d De longh, The Economie,
92-94.
1 2 1
Ibid., 1 4 8 - 1 4 9 .
1 2 2
M e i l i n k - R o e l o f s z , Asian Trade, 137.
1 2 3
S c h r i e k e , Indonesian, 42,44; M e i l i n k - R o e l o f s z , Asian Trade, 142.
81

a n d "enabled the Portuguese to maintain their position in M a l a c c a . " The 1 2 4

military strategy of the Portuguese, as mentioned before, not only


indicated "the ever-present threat to M a l a c c a , but also pointed out that the
Atjehnese spice-trade with the Red S e a w a s undermining the P o r t u g u e s e
c l a i m to the monopoly of the 'conquest, n a v i g a t i o n , a n d c o m m e r c e ' of the
Indian O c e a n . " 1 2 5

D. Islamic R e s p o n s e

T h e exact religious response of the A c e h e n e s e to the P o r t u g u e s e is

difficult to identify since there is no single work of the sixteenth century


c
ulama' of A c e h on that matter. In India, for instance, reactions a g a i n s t

British c o l o n i a l i s m are expressed in the works of ulama' c


s u c h as S h a h
c
A b d al- AzTz (d. 1824).
c
He wrote several w o r k s on religious matters a n d

d e v e l o p e d his concept of the Islamic political view of Dar al-lslam a n d Dar

al-Harb in his f a t w a s . 1 2 6
In Aceh there were s o m e ulama'
c
who wrote a large

number of important works on religious matters a n d played important roles


1 97

in religious affairs as well as in politics, s u c h as H a m z a h F a n s u r i , Shams

al-Dn a l - S u m a t r a n (d. 1039 A.H.) S h a i k h Nr al-Dn a l - R a n r (d. 1068

A.H.) a n d S h a i k h A b d al-Ra'f (d. 1106 A . H . ) .


c 1 2 8
Unfortunately, there is no
1 2 4
S c h r i e k e , Indonesian, 44.
1 2 5
Boxer, " P o r t u g u e s e Reactions," 4 2 5 .
1 2 6
S a y y i d Athar A b b a s Rizvi, Shah Abd al- Azlz: Puritanism,
c c
Sectarian,
Polemics and Jihad (Canberra, Ma'rifat Publishing H o u s e , 1982),
225-235- K. A . Nizami, " S o c i o - R e l i g i o u s Movements in Indian Islam
(1763-1898)," Islamic Culture, vol. XLIV, no.3 (July, 1970), 1 3 1 - 1 4 6 .
1 2 7
No one knows exactly the date a n d the p l a c e of his birth. But we d o
know that he lived during the end of the sixteenth century a n d the
early part of the seventeenth century.
82

single extant work of theirs s h o w i n g their reaction to western c o l o n i z a t i o n .

There are, however, some clues w h i c h c a n be presented through

which religious response c a n b e t r a c e d . First of all, it c a n be observed that

even though the main p u r p o s e of the the Portuguese presence in the


1 29

archipelago w a s to obtain spices, a s s u g g e s t e d by Kartodirdjo, the

spirit of " p a n - l s l a m i s m " in the a r c h i p e l a g o existed from A c e h to Ternate as

a reaction to the E u r o p e a n intruders. E c o n o m i e relationships between the

Muslims of this area with Muslims of other areas, together with the regular

pilgrimage tradition, tended to result in g o o d relationships a m o n g M u s l i m

people as a m e a n s of meeting Islamic o b l i g a t i o n s . This g a v e them a new

spirit with which to wage war against non-Muslim colonialists. The

unyielding animosity of the Portuguese toward Muslims, as the

continuation of c r u s a d e spirit, c a n be seen in the A l b u q u e r q u e ' s plan to

c o n q u e r M e c c a , the killing of 300 A c e h n e s e a n d 40 A r a b s on their s h i p s

near Aceh on their way home from M e c c a , as mentioned a b o v e , a n d tough

policies toward Muslims in G o a . 1 3 0


T h e Muslims of S o u t h e a s t A s i a , in

addition to being aware of these a c t i o n s , might have learned more of

Portuguese feelings a n d behavior from their frequent contact with M u s l i m s

from other a r e a s .

1 2 8
For more d i s c u s s i o n on these ulama' see A. Hasjmy, Kebudayaan
c
Aceh
Dalam Sejarah (Jakarta: Penerbit B e u n a , 1983), 194-205: A . H. J o h n s ,
"Muslim Mystics a n d Historical Writing," in D. G . E. H a l l , e d . ,
Historians of South East Asia ( L o n d o n : Oxford University P r e s s , 1961),
37-49.
1 2 9
Kartodirdjo, "Religious a n d E c o n o m i e A s p e c t s , " 195.
1 3 0
A. Da Silva Rego, Portuguese Colonization in the Sixteenth Century: A
History of the Royal Ordinances (Regi'mentors) (Johan n e s b u r g :
Witwatersrand University Press, 1965), 35, 62.
83

These hostile policies of the P o r t u g u e s e unintentionally strengthened

the position of Islam in the a r c h i p e l a g o . A c c o r d i n g to W. F. Wertheim, "it

was mainly the arrival of the P o r t u g u e s e w h i c h i n d u c e d a large n u m b e r of

Indonesian princes to embrace the Islamic faith as a political move to

counter Christian p e n e t r a t i o n . " 1 3 1


S o m e Javanese Hindu princes, for

instance, with whom the Portuguese e s t a b l i s h e d a friendly relationship for a

few years, had to c h o o s e between Islam a n d Christianity. Islam seemed to

be the best choice for them in order to recruit a large number of reliable

soldiers from Muslims, who were city dwellers, a n d to obtain the military
1 32

support from the powerful M o g u l s or from other Muslim princes.

However, Bernard H. M. Vlekke insists that s u c h political opportunism

"does not mean that many of the Indonesian rulers w h o h a d outwardly


133
accepted Islam did not b e c o m e c o n v i n c e d M o s l e m s in c o u r s e of time."

The entrenchment of Islam a n d its s t r o n g resistance to the P o r t u g u e s e

is also indicated by the failure of the P o r t u g u e s e to s p r e a d Christianity in

the Muslim countries they o c c u p i e d . T h e conversion to Christianity in

M a l a c c a , as mentioned in chapter o n e , w a s not a s u c c e s s . M a l a c c a w a s

only an administrative center for the m i s s i o n a r y effort to the eastern parts

of the archipelago a n d to the P h i l i p p i n e s , C a m b o d i a , J a p a n a n d C h i n a . T h e

s a m e failure w a s also seen in H o r m u z . "The strength of Islam in this

region," Boxer states, "was sufficint to prevent the P o r t u g u e s e f r o m

1 3 1
W. F. Werthtim, Indonesian Society in Transi'ion: A Study of Sociai
Change (The Hague: W. van H o e v e , 1969), 198. T h e i d e a is also
suggested by two other Dutch s c h o l a r s J . C . van Leur a n d B e r n a r d H.
M. Vlekke.
1 3 2
Ibid., 199.
1 3 3
Bernard H. M. Vlekke, Nusantara: A History of Indonesia (The H a g u e
and B a n d u n g : W. van Hoeve, 1960), 9 8 .
84

destroying all the m o s q u e s on Hormuz Island, as they d i d elsewhere in their

possessions wherever they h a d the c h a n c e . " 1 3 4


This picture is much

different from those of n o n - M u s l i m a r e a s where the Christian m i s s i o n a r i e s

achieved great s u c c e s s , s u c h as in s o m e parts of eastern Indonesia, G o a

and other areas mentioned above. Boxer's statement clarifies this i d e a . He

writes:

In M a l a y a , Indochina, and Indonesia, Portuguese power and


consequently Portuguese influence, was inevitably weaker than it w a s
on the c o a s t s of Africa a n d of the Indian S u b c o n t i n e n t . Neither in
Buddhist Indochina nor in M u s l i m M a l a y a and Indonesia a i d R o m a n
C a t h o l i c Christianity make any striking progress, if we except the
formation of sizeable communities in Tongking a n d A n n a m . T h e s e in
their early stages were largely the work of Portuguese Jesuits of the
J a p a n m i s s i o n , which h a d been c l o s e d to them by the expulsion of
the island empire in 1639. In Muslim M a l a y a a n d Indonesia, the
principal effect of the impact of militant Roman C a t h o l i c Christianity,
as introduced by the P o r t u g u e s e , was to s h a r p e n the resistance a n d
to s p r e a d the influence of Islam. Only in A m b o i n a a n d in s o m e of the
Lesser S u n d a Islands (Solor, Timor, Flores, Ende) d i d the P o r t u g u e s e
missionaries achieve any lasting s u c c e s s e s , a n d there only in ce.rtain
limited regions which h a d not been seriously affected by Islam. J

The religious identity present in the Muslim k i n g d o m s in the a r c h i p e l a g o

was therefore strong e n o u g h to counteract the activities of the P o r t u g u e s e .

A Muslim alliance formed during the 1560's and 1570's has been seen by

Asian a n d western historians as a religious reaction. Reid insists that "Islam

was the only b a s i s for s u c h an a l l i a n c e . " 1 3 6


However, he reminds us that

"we s h o u l d not press this t c o far. T h e only Muslirn p o w e r s in S o u t h e a s t

Asia which a p p e a r e d susceptible to the p a n - l s l a m i c ideal were Atjeh,

1 3 4
Boxer, Four Centuries, 36.
1 3 5
Ibid., 40. For the study of the Portuguese influence in Indonesia see A .
Pinto d a F r a n c a , Portuguese Influence in Indonesia (Djakarta: G u n u n g
A g u n g , 1970).
1 3 6
Reid, "Turkish Influence," 408.
85

J a p a r a , Ternate, Grisek, a n d to s o m e extent J o h o r . " 1 3 7

Specific attention s h o u l d be given here to the A c e h n e s e r e s p o n s e

towards later Dutch c o l o n i z a t i o n w h i c h , hopefully, will give us a b r o a d e r

understanding of them. In his study of the p e o p l e of A c e h , T. R o d d e l

categorized the A c e h n e s e a s a M a l a y race. He writes that:

in the c h a r a c t e r of t h e M a l a y s there are many points c a l c u l a t e d to


attract the attention a n d esteem of E u r o p e a n s , they are brave,
chivairous, attentive to truth, a n d a r e devoid of that c r i n g i n g servility
observable in s o m e of t h e Indian r a c e s : o n the other h a n d , it must b e
admitted that they a r e of a hasty temper, impatient under insult, a n d
quick to avenge a n injury. 8

In addition, the A c e h n e s e a r e orthodox M u s l i m s a n d " a d h e r e n c e to Islam

is perhaps the primary factor in a person's self Identification as

Acehnese...." 1 3 9

These c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s c a n definitely be regarded a s important factors in

the A c e h n e s e resistance to the invasion of westerners. T h e strong

resistance of the A c e h n e s e to the Dutch military e x p a n s i o n at the e n d of

the nineteenth century a n d t h e early part of the tweniieth century eventually

forced the latter to s e n d C . S n o u c k Hurgronje to A c e h . He w a s a p p o i n t e d

as a government adviser in the Netherlands East Indies, especially in J a v a

a n d A c e h , between 1 8 8 9 - 1 9 3 6 . Declaring himself to be a M u s l i m , S n o u c k

Hurgronje stayed in A c e h for several years to study the p e o p l e in order to

find a way for the Dutch to s u b j u g a t e the A c e h n e s e 1 4 9


w h o , with their

1 3 7
Ibid.
1 3 8
T. B r a d d e l , " O n t h e History of A c h e e n , " Journal of the Indian
Archipelago and Eastern Asia, v o l . 5 (1851), 5.

139 \/veekes, Muslim People, 3.


1 4 9
P. S j . van K o n i n g s v e l d in his introduction in E. G o b e e a n d C .
86

strong resistance, forced the Dutch to wage a long war (1873-1903) w h i c h is


known as "the longest a n d costliest in the history of the Netherlands E a s t
Indies." The Islamic attitude of this people towards the westerners is
1 4 1

d e s c r i b e d by S n o u c k Hurgronje as foilows:

From M o h a m m e d a n i s m (which fov centuries s h e is reputed to h a v e


accepted) she really only learnt a large number of d o g m a s relating to
hatred of the infidel without any of their mitigating c o n c o m i t a n t s , s o
that the A c e h n e s e m a d e a regular business of piracy a n d m a n -
hunting at the expense of the neighbouring n o n - M o h a m m e d a n
countries a n d i s l a n d s , a n d considered that they were justified in any
act of treachery or violence to European... . " 1 4 2

The hatred of the Dutch infidels, whom they called Kaphe (Acehnese

p r o n u n c i a t i o n of Kafir), was expressed in jihad (holy war) led by the c


ulama'.

The ulama'
c
played an important role in the political structure a n d in the

Islamic institutions, a n d constituted the spiritual figures who stimulated

their students to w a g e a holy war against western interlopers. S n o u c k

Hurgronje writes:

At the time of the c o m i n g of the Dutch to Acheh there were


n u m e r o u s s c h o o l s throughout the country; a n d it is a n o t o r i o u s fact
that on more than one o c c a s i o n the students from these s c h o o l s
threw themselves, practically unarmed, upon the bayonets of the
Dutch t r o o p s .
These were youths inflamed to fanaticism by the t e a c h i n g they
h a d imbibed in regard to the holy war a n d the r e b o u n d l e s s
r e c o m p e n s e here after awaiting the martyr to to his creed, without his
being caiied on to render further account of his actions in this w o r l d .
In estimating their contempt for death, however, we must reflect u p o n
the fact that at that time the most fearful rumours were current in
A c h e h as to the tortures which would be the lot of a n y o n e w h o feil

Adriaanse, Nasihat-Nasihat C. Snouck Hurgronje Semasa


Kepegawaiannya Kepada Pemerintah Hindia Belanda, 1889-1936, trans,
by S u k a r s i , vol. 1 (Jakarta: INIS, 1990), xiii-xix.
1 4 1
J a m e s T. Siegel, The Rope of God (Berkeley and L O F A n g e l e s :
University of C a l i f o r n i a Press, 1969), 10.
14?
S n o u c k Hurgronje, The Achehnese, vol. 1, vii.
87

alive into the h a n d s of the kafirs. 1 4 3

T h i s religious attitude of the A c e h n e s e t o w a r d s the Dutch is most

p r o b a b l y not m u c h different from that s h o w n t o w a r d s the Portuguese,

when they h a d to defend themselves against the intense attacks of A c e h .

The difference lies in the fact that the reaction of the A c e h n e s e toward the

Dutch w a s m o r e s o p h i s t i c a t e d t h a n that of the sixteenth century reaction

a g a i n s t the P o r t u g u e s e . Sixteenth century A c e h w a s only a port state. On

the contrary, A c e h d u r i n g the struggle against the Dutch w a s a state which

was more structurally o r g a n i z e d a n d c o n c e n t r a t e d on both port and inland

areas. T h e p o s i t i o n of the "tv/ama' in both court a n d society was much

clearer. Therefore, it is not p o s s i b l e to j u d g e the A c e h n e s e response to the

P o r t u g u e s e by simply looking at their r e s p o n s e to the Dutch. One would

expect, however, that in the early period Islam also played a significant role

in m o b i l i z i n g the M u s l i m A c e h n e s e community a g a i n s t the Portuguese,

s i n c e the c o n c e p t of jihad w a s e m p h a s i z e d at that time as well. S n o u c k

Hurgronje a d m i t s that "the p a s s i o n for religious war which is so deeply

rooted in the t e a c h i n g of Islam is more m a r k e d a m o n g the A c h e h n e s e than

with the majority of their fellow-believers in other l a n d s , who have come by

e x p e r i e n c e t o r e g a r d it as a relic of a b y g o n e a g e . " 1 4 4

1 4 3
Ibid., 1 6 6 .
1 4 4
S n o u c k H u r g r o n j e , The Achehnese, vol. 2, 3 3 7 .
Chapter 3

THE E M E R G E N C E OF A C E H IN THE S I X T E E N T H C E N T U R Y

A. The Rise of A c e h

The rise of A c e h in the sixteenth century w a s reflected in its military,

e c o n o m i e , political a n d religious achievements. In his History of Sumatra

Marsden writes:

A c n i n (properly Acheh) is the only k i n g d o m of S u m a t r a that ever


arrived to s u c h a degree of political c o n s e q u e n c e in the eyes of the
western p e o p l e , as to o c c a s i o n its t r a n s a c t i o n s b e c o m i n g the subject
of g e n e r a l history by this power the P o r t u g u e s e were prevented
from g a i n i n g a footing in the i s l a n d , a n d its p r i n c e s received
e m b a s s i e s from all the great potentates of E u r o p e . '

Military Achievements

Of the m a j o r factors in the rise of A c e h , military p o w e r w a s the first to

manifest itself, particularly in the Acehnese confrontation with the

Portuguese c o n v o y s in 1519 a n d 1521, as mentioned in the previous

chapter. A few years later A c e h ' s troops s h o w e d their p o w e r by c o n q u e r i n g

Daya (1520), P i d i e (1521) a n d P a s a i (1524). T h e s e military victories a g a i n s t

E u r o p e a n f o r c e s raise questions a b o u t the b a s e s a n d extent of A c e h n e s e

military p o w e r .

1
M a r s d e n , Sumatra, 396.

88
89

In genera! A c e h n e s e military power rested on its nse of artillery in


combinatin with the more traditional w e a p o n s . T h e early military incidents
between A c e h a n d the P o r t u g u e s e in A c e h ' s territory enriched the former
with the artillery taken from the latter. W a s it the first time that the
Acehnese used artillery in a military c a m p a i g n ? T. Iskandar suggests that
M u n a w w a r S h a h , the King of M a h k o t a A l a m , u s e d artillery captured from
the Portuguese in his military c a m p a i g n a g a i n s t D a r a l - K a m a l 2
If the
information is correct, the A c e h - P o r t u g u e s e military e n g a g e m e n t s in 1519
were obviously not the first o n e s . Unfortunately, we do not have any
further information about this matter. However, it s h o u l d be mentioned
here that between the years 1000 to 1500, C h i n a r e a c h e d an a d v a n c e d
stage in artillery m a n u f a c t u r e . In the first half of the fifteenth century, for
instance, the f a m o u s admiral C h e n g Ho led his e x p e d i t i o n s to the Indian
O c e a n , the Red S e a a n d even to the c o a s t of A f r i c a with large s h i p s
e q u i p p e d with many g u n s a n d t r o o p s . His vessels c a r r i e d about 1500 tons,
a m u c h bigger c a r g o c a p a c i t y c o m p a r e d to the 3 0 0 t o n s c a p a c i t y of V a s c o
d a G a m a ' s vessels which c r o s s e d the Indian O c e a n at the end of the
fifteenth c e n t u r y . Therefore, it is p r o b a b l e that C h i n a , which had a g o o d
3

relation with the p e o p l e of the region (Aceh), p r o v i d e d the Kings there with
artillery.

The effective c o m b i n a t i o n of artillery a n d t r a d i t i o n a l w e a p o n s w a s also

the main military strength of A c e h . In c a p t u r i n g P i d i e a n d the Portuguese

fortress in P a s a i , for instance, the A c e h n e s e u s e d artillery, s w o r d s a n d

2
Iskandar, Hikayat Aceh, 3 5 .
3
Willism H. M c N e i l , The Pursuit of Power: Technology, Armed Forces, and
Society Since A.D. 1000 ( C h i c a g o : The University of C h i c a g o Press, 1982),
2 4 - 6 2 ; C a r l o M. C i p o l l a , Guns and Sails in the Early Phase of European
Expansion 1400-1700 ( L o n d o n : C o l l i n s , 1965), 1 0 4 - 1 0 8 .
90

e l e p h a n t s . A c e h ' s victories in these military c a m p a i g n s a c c o r d i n g l y


strengthencrf their military c a p a c i t y in that they were c r o w n e d by the
c a p i u r e of moer of Portuguese g u n s . This purprised C a s t a n h e d a who
witnessed that the A c e h n e s e h a d more artillery w e a p o n s than the
P o r t u g u e s e in M a l a c c a .

T h e use of elephants was also an element of A c e h n e s e military power.

In A c e h elephants h a d been u s e d s i n c e before the c o m i n g of Islam for both

the military and royalty. This tradition was continued by the Muslim

k i n g d o m s of the area. In the twelfth century the S u l t a n of Peureu'ak rode

an elephant a d o r n e d with g o l d . Ibn Battta also o b s e r v e d that the S u l t a n

of P a s a i used elephants a n d even horses for military p u r p o s e s . 4

By the sixteenth century A c e h d e v e l o p e d its military technology with

the help of the O t t o m a n s a n d the G u j a r a t i s . T h e use of the Ottoman

artillery a n d the involvement of their s o l d i e r s a n d their military a d v i s e r s in

every o n e of A c e h ' s military c a m p a i g n s were the d o m i n a n t factors in the

a d v a n c e of A c e h ' s military power. A c c o r d i n g l y , "in military technology

Atjeh w a s m u c h more a d v a n c e d than the J a v a n e s e k i n g d o m s a n d military

tactics a n d strategy were clearly of T u r k i s h o r i g i n . " 5

A p p a r e n t l y the A c e h n e s e power w a s s h o w n by their intensive sieges of

the P o r t u g u e s e fortress in M a l a c c a in 1 5 3 7 , 1 5 4 7 , 1568, 1573 a n d in 1577

w h i c h f o r c e d the P o r t u g u e s e to take a defensive strategy rather t h a n an

offensive one. However, the A c e h n e s e never s u c c e e d e d in driving the

4
B a t t t a , Ibn Battta Travels, 2 7 2 - 2 7 6 . For m o r e d i s c u s s i o n on the history
of e l e p h a n t s in A c e h see M. J u n u s Djamil, Gadjah Putih Iskandar Muda
( K u t a r a d j a : L e m b a g a K e b u d a y a a n Atjeh, 1957), 5 8 - 5 9 .
5
De l o n g h , "The E c o n o m i e a n d A d m i n i s t r a t i v e History," 88.
91

P o r t u g u e s e out of M a l a c c a . The most that c a n be said is that the A c e h n e s e


"neariy s u c c e e d e d in taking M a l a c c a from the P o r t u g u e s e . " The question
6

that s h o u l d be raised here is why did A c e h fail to take M a l a c c a ? To answer


this q u e s t i o n the military power of A c e h s h o u l d be analyzed to the extent
that o u r s o u r c e s allow us.

T h e r e are at least three important elements needed in order to be

s t r o n g at s e a : the first is g u n s ; the s e c o n d is warships; and the third is

military strategy.

It w a s mentioned a b o v e that before the arrival of the Portuguese, the

p e o p l e of A s i a h a d k n o w n the artillery which c a m e from China. The quality

of this artillery w a s p r o b a b l y as g o o d as t h a ' of the westerner's until the

b e g i n n i n g of the fifteenth c e n t u r y / When the Portuguese reached India in

the sixteenth century they f o u n d that artillery w a s used in Malabar, Calicut

and G o a . 8
Later in M a l a c c a , A l b u q u e r q u e seized about three t h o u s a n d

p i e c e s of artillery a n d a b o u t two t h o u s a n d small calibre bronze c a n n o n s . 9

T h e O t t o m a n s as the m a i n s u p p o r t e r s of A c e h n e s e military force c o u l d

not c o m p e t e with the r a p i d development of the military industries in

E u r o p e . C i p o l l a says:

T h e y remained " m e d i e v a l " when the modern age h a d already b e g u n .


T h e y used g u n s on their s h i p s (although in their own primitive way)
a n d they m a d e use of s a i l i n g vessels. But essentially they remained
heavily d e p e n d e n t on h u m a n energy: they stuck to the old tactic of

6
S i e g e l , The Rope of God, 4.
7
C i p o l l a , Guns and Sails, 106.
8
C . R. Boxer, " A s i a n Potentates a n d Europen Artillery in the 16th-18th
C e n t u r i e s , " JMBRAS, vol. 3 8 , pt. 2 (1965), 1 5 8 - 1 5 9 .
9
A l b u q u e r q u e , The Commentaries, 127.
92

ramming a n d b o a r d m g a n d the galleys were always the b a c k b o n e of


their fighting force.

This atmosphere was witnessed in A c e h by J o h n David, an English s e a m a n

of the sixteenth century. He tells us that the Sultan of A c e h " h a d great

store of b r a s s o r d n a n c e , w h i c h they use without c a r r i a g e s , shooting them

as they lie u p o n the g r o u n d . " 1 1


"The a b s e n c e of g u n - c a r r i e s , " a c c o r d i n g to

Boxer, "may help to a c c o u n t for the relative ineffectiveness of the A c h i n e s e

artillery...." 12

The rapid development of t e c h n o l o g y in E u r o p e in the fifteenth century

was a decisive factor in the a d v a n c e of military technology. This situation

was taken a d v a n t a g e of by the P o r t u g u e s e who s a w that their strong

power at s e a w a s the main factor for the s u c c e s s of their overseas

exploration. 1 3
In C i p o l l a ' s w o r d s :

During the last quarter of the fifteenth century P o r t u g a l h a d b e c o m e


an excellent market for c a n n o n m e r c h a n t s . With her involvement in
overseas trade a n d e x p a n s i o n , P o r t u g a l ' s need for artillery grew vastly
b e y o n d her i n a d e q u a t e h o m e r e s o u r c e s , while the large profits from
o v e i s e a s c o m m e r c i a l ventures translated needs into effective
d e m a n d . P o r t u g u e s e kings imported Flemish a n d G e r m a n g u n n e r s
a n d g u n - f o u n d e r s as well as g u n s . . . . 1 4

The superiority of the E u r o p e a n military equipment over A s i a n military

technology was real. In 1489, for instance, "the armament of the

1 0
C i p o l l a , Guns and Sails, 102. For a more d i s c u s s i o n on the war b u s i n e s s
in E u r o p e see M c N e i l , The Pursuit Power, 6 3 - 1 1 6 .
1 1
J o h n Davis, The Voyages and Works of John Davis, ed., introd., a n d
notes by Albert H a s t i n g s M a r k h a m (New York: Burt Franklin, 1970),
150.
1 2
Boxer, " A s i a n Potentates," 163.
1 3
Cipolla. Guns and Sails, 31.
1 4
ibid.
93

P o r t u g u e s e ships was something totally unexpected and new in the Indian


s e a s a n d gave an immediate a n d decisive a d v a n t a g e to the Portuguese
over their Indian o p p o n e n t s . 1 0

T h e s e c o n d factor is the w a r s h i p . The m a i n vessel for naval warfare in

the region, as reported by E. M a n u e l G a d i n h o de Eredia, a M a l a c c a - b o r n

P o r t u g u e s e (1563-1623), w a s the lancharas^ It is "a small single sail a n d

s q u a r e - r i g g e d vessel steered by two o a r s mounted in the stern ...." 17

A n o t h e r type of s h i p w a s the s o - c a l l e d Junco's or Somas.^^ 1


The Malay

p e o p l e called it J o n g . 1 9
Eredia d e s c r i b e s that the juncos as "tall boats like

freight bearing c a r r a c k s , with 2 rudders a n d masts a n d with sails m a d e of

woven palm-leaves a n d of matting, traversed by b a m b o o s at definite

intervals, so that they c o u l d fold a n d gather up the sail with d i s p a t c h when

the w i n d - s t o r m s c a m e o n . " 2 9
It was a jong that Albuquerque found in the

s e a between P a s a i a n d M a l a c c a on his way to M a l a c c a . A s mentioned

a b o v e , the jong w a s c o m m a n d e d by Z a y n a l - A b i d n , the overthrown King


c

of P a s a i . G a s p a r C o r r e i a describes the s h i p as follows:

S e e i n g that the junco wanted to start fighting, the Governor got close
to her with his whole fleet. The galleys started shooting at her, but this
d i d not affect her in the least, a n d s h e went on sailing.... The

1 5
K. M. P a n n i k a r , Asia and Wertern Dominance (London: G e o r g e Allen &
U n w i n Ltd., 1970), 29.
1 6
E. M a n u e l G o d i n h o de Eredia, " D e s c r i p t i o n of M a l a c c a a n d Meridional
India a n d C a t h a y , " trans, a n d notes by J . V. Mills, JMBRAS, vol. 8, pt. 1
(April, 1930), 3 6 .

1 7
Boxer, The Portuguese Seaborne Empire, 44.
1 8
E r e d i a , "Description of M a l a c c a , " 37.
1 9
Pierre-Yves M a n g u i n , "The S o u t h e a s t A s i a n S h i p : A n Historical
A p p r o a c h , " JSEAS, vol. xi, no. 2 (September, 1980), 266.
2 9
E r e d i a , "Description of M a l a c c a , " 37.
94

Portuguese s h i p s then shot at her masts ... a n d s h e d r o p p e d her s a i l s .


B e c a u s e she was tall... our people did not dare b o a r d her a n d o u r
Kring d i d not hurt her at all, for she had four super imposed layers of
planks a n d our biggest c a n n o n would not penetrate more than two...
S e i n q 'this the G o v e r n o r ordered his own nau to c o m e a l o n g s i d e of
her This w a s the Flor de la Mar, which had the highest castles of all.
When s h e m a n a g e d to b o a r d the junco, her aft castle barely r e a c h e d
her b r i d g e The crew of the junco defended itself s o well that they
h a d to sail away from her a g a i n . /"After two days a n d nights of
fighting7 the G o v e r n o r d e c i d e d to have the two rudders she carned
outside torn away .... [The junco then surrendered7.

O n e of the main c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of Malay s h i p s , including t h o s e of

A c e h , w a s that iron was not used in their construction; also, their o c e a n -

going vessels did not carry artillery. This implies the superiority of the

Portuguese vessels which were constructed with iron a n d p r o v i d e d with

artillery. Therefore, "they were ... relatively much more frail than the
op
P o r t u g u e s e c a r r a c k s a n d g a l l e o n s which they h a d to encounter." On this

issue, C i p o l l a c o n c l u d e s that "the main reason for their/;Muslims'7 failure


23
lay rather in their o u t m o d e d t e c h n i q u e s of naval warfare."

A s far a s the military tactics of Malay people are c o n c e r n e d , E r e d i a

observes the following:

T h e a r m e d forces of the M a l a y o s do not follow the ordered military


t a c t i c s of E u r o p e : they only make use of attacks a n d sallies in m a s s
f o r m a t i o n : their s o l e p l a n is to construct an a m b u s h in the n a r r o w
p a t h s a n d w o o d s a n d thickets, a n d then make an attack with a b o d y
of a r m e d m e n : whenever they draw themselves up for battle, they
a c q u i t themselves b a d l y a n d usually suffer heavy losses.

2 1
G a s p a r C o r r e i a , Landas da India, vol. 1, 1 (Lisbon, 1856), 2 1 6 - 2 1 8 , in
M a n g u i n , "The S o u t h e a s t A s i a n S h i p , " 267.
2 2
Boxer, The Portuguese Seaborne, 44; also see M a n g u i n , "The S o u t h e a s t
A s i a n S h i p , " 2 6 8 - 2 7 0 ; C i p o l l a , Guns and Sails, 102.

2 3
Cipolla, Guns and Sails, 101.
2 4
E r e d i a , "Description of M a l a c c a , " 3 1 .
95

T h i s s t a t e m e n t is c o r r o b o r a t e d by t h e f a c t that in every s i e g e of M a l a c c a ,
A c e h h a d a l a r g e r n u m b e r of s o l d i e r s a n d even w a i s h i p s t h a n d i d t h e
P o r t u g u e s e . H o w e v e r , t h e latter c o u l d a l w a y s r e p u l s e t h e a t t a c k s a n d w e r e
e v e n a b l e to c a u s e h e a v y l o s s e s o n t h e A c e h n e s e s i d e . S n o u c k H u r g r o n j e ,
a s mentioned a b o v e , informs us h o w the A c e h n e s e , without d e m o n s t r a t i n g
m i l i t a r y t a c t i c s , t h r e w t h e m s e l v e s u p o n t h e b a y o n e t s of t h e D u t c h .

H o w e v e r , t h e A c e h n e s e m i l i t a r y p o w e r w a s r e s p e c t e d not o n l y b y the

M a i a y k i n g d o m s but a l s o by t h e P o r t u g u e s e w h o " h a d l o n g s i n c e a c q u i r e d

a w h o l e s o m e r e s p e c t for t h e A t j e h n e s e a s f o r m i d a b l e f i g h t e r s w h o formed

t h e g r e a t e s t t h r e a t to M a l a c c a for o v e r a c e n t u r y . " 2 5
Some Portuguese

s a i l o r s w h o w e r e lost in t h e w e s t c o a s t of S u m a t r a in 1 5 6 1 a n d e x p e r i e n c e d

f i g h t i n g a g a i n s t t h e A c e h n e s e s a i d t h a t t h e y (the A c e h n e s e ) a r e " a roving

a n d p i r a t i c a l p e o p l e . formed f r o m m a n y n a t i o n s , a n d m o s t bitter e n e m i e s

26
of t h e P o r t u g u e s e , a n d very c o u r a g e o u s w a r r i o r s . u

The strong m i l i t a r y p r e s s u r e of A c e h u p o n M a l a c c a r e v e a l s the rapid

d e v e l o p m e n t of A c e h ' s m i l i t a r y p o w e r , w h i c h w a s u n k n o w n d u r i n g t h e first

d e c a d e of t h e s i x t e e n t h century. Military aid from other Muslim powers,

such a s the Ottoman Empire, Gujarat, Arabia and Abbysinia, strongly

a c c e l e r a t e d t h e d e v e l o p m e n t . T h e S u l t a n of A c e h a l w a y s t r i e d to attack

M a l a c c a . S u l t a n AIT Ri<ayah S h a h a l - O a h h a r , for i n s t a n c e , w a s d e s c r i b e d


C

b y C o u t o a s a p e r s o n w h o " n e v e r t u r n e d o v e r in his b e d w i t h o u t thinking

h o w h e c o u l d e n c o m p a s s t h e d e s t r u c t i o n of M a l a c c a . " 2 7
T h e entire military

2 5
Boxer, "Portuguese Reaction," 417.

2 6
Castaways' accounts in A . B. d e S a , Documentacao, Insulindia, II,
1550-1562, 3 9 4 , 4 0 5 , 4 2 5 , in Ibid., 4 1 8 .

2 7
D i o g o d o C o u t o , D e c a d a VIII, C a p s . 21, 15-17, in Ibid., 4 2 0 .
96

conflict between two peoples during the sixteenth century s h o w s the


serious determination of A c e h , after its victory in driving the P o r t u g u e s e out
of the northern part of S u m a t r a , to drive the Portuguese out of M a l a c c a .

Economie Achievements

The rise of trading activities of Aceh in the sixteenth c e n t u r y c a n b e

seen in the growth of its status as a producer of natural r e s o u r c e s a n d a s a

trading center (port) in the west archipelago. Banda Aceh, which was

known as A c e h Besar (Groot-Aceh or Aceh Proper) w a s the p o l i t i c a l center

of this empire, although it "was not itself an important s o u r c e of export

p r o d u c e . " " Pasai and Pidie were both major ports a n d p r o d u c e r s


2
of

pepper. We do not have detailed information about whether t h e s e latter

two ports were used during the sixteenth century. B a n d a A c e h , a s a center

of political activity, was definitely a center for trading activity a s well. Reid

refers to B a n d a A c e h as "the commercial e m p o r i u m . " 2 9


H e n c e , the port of

B a n d a A c e h c a n , to s o m e extent, be viewed as ar. entrepot s i m i l a r to that

of Malacca, even though, most probably, Malacca's importance

outweighed that of A c e h . However, the difference between t h e m c a n b e

identified. A c e h , besides its status as entrepot, also e x p o r t e d some

important products, as identified above, and controlled as well as

benefited from important ports in west-coast of Sumatra, which the

sultanate of M a l a c c a did not have.

2 9
Anthony Reid, "Trade a n d the Problem of Royal P o w e r in A c e h :
1 5 5 0 - 1 7 5 0 , " in Anthony Reid a n d L a n c e Castles , eds., Pre-Colonial
State Systems in Southeast Asia: The Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, Bali-
Lombok, South Celebes (Kuala Lumpur: M B R A S , 1979), 4 6 .
2 9
Ibid.
97

There is no information that h a s c o m e to us regarding the way the


trade was organized. Nor is there detailed information regarding the
exports of A c e h , especially from b o t h P a s a i a n d Pidie. In chapter o n e , we
mentioned the a c c o u n t s of t r a d i n g in both port towns as given by Pires in
the early part of the sixteenth century, before AIT M u g h a y a h S h a h ' s military
C

c a m p a i g n . Pepper, silk, oil, b e n z o i n a n d g o l d were f o u n d in both towns. A


Dutch pioneer who visited A c e h at the end of the sixteenth century states
that "we s h o u l d be able to drive g o o d trade in Achem: b e c a u s e they have
great store of pepper, which the s h i p from Suratte a n d Cambaye came
yearly to fetch and take to the Red S e a . " S o m e P o r t u g u e s e s o u r c e s give
3 0

us information about A c e h n e s e p r o d u c t s which r e a c h e d the Red S e a . By


1585 Jorge de Lemos, the P o r t u g u e s e a d v o c a t e for the c o n q u e s t of A c e h ,
informs us that Aceh exported a l a r g e quantity of s p i c e s , g o l d a n d jewels
to the Red S e a . 3 1
In the s a m e year, the A c e h n e s e "were exporting (mostly
in Gujarati Ships) s o m e 40,000 or 5 0 , 0 0 0 quintals of s p i c e s to J i d d a e a c h
y e a r . " The trading activities in the R e d S e a gave the S u l t a n of A c e h an
3 2

annual i n c o m e of about three or four miltion g o l d d u c a t e s , "in return for


30,000 or 40,000 quintals of p e p p e r a n d other s p i c e s a n d m e r c h a n d i s e
which he sends there in his s h i p s . " 3 3

3 0
Beschrijvinge vande Straten ofte engten van Malacca ende Sunda met
haer Omligghende Eylandenl"Bancken/Ondiepten ende Sanden,
reproduced in fascimile o n p. 32 of Collectie Dr. W. A. Engelbrecht Lof
der Zeevaart, catalogue of an exhibition held at the Maritiem M u s e u m ,
Rotterdam, 1966-67, in Boxer, " P o r t u g u e s e R e a c t i o n s , " 4 2 6 - 4 2 7 .
3 1
Jorge de Lemos, Hystoria dos Cercos, ( L i s b o a , 1585), part lil, lis. 1-64,
in Ibid., 4 2 3 .
3 2
Boxer, Portuguese Seaborne, 59.
3 3
Jorge de L a m o s , Hystoria dos Cercos, fl. 6 1 , in Boxer, " P o r t u g u e s e
Reactions," 424.
98

The political control over the west-coast of S u m a t r a , w h i c h h a d natural


resources, benefited Aceh economically. G o l d w a s the m a i n c o m m o d i t y
from M i n a n g k a b a u . It was brought to A c e h through the p o r t s of Tiku a n d
P a r i a m a n , rather than to M a l a c c a . During the M a l a c c a s u l t a n a t e , nine to
ten bahars of gold were imported every year from both M i n a g k a b a u a n d
J o h o r . Rich new pepper plantations were e s t a b l i s h e d in the area a r o u n d
3 4

Tiku, P a r i a m a n a n d Indrapuri a r o u n d the 1560's.

It is known that Pasai also p r o d u c e d silk, which attracted A l b u q u e r q u e

when he s t o p p e d at this port on his way to M a l a c c a in 1 5 1 1 . However, the

production of silk from this area "declined rapidly in the e n s u i n g century, as

Chinese silk b e c a m e readily available a n d little w a s d o n e to replace the

mulberry trees e n c r o a c h e d upon by rice a n d p e p p e r c u l t i v a t i o n . "

By the middle of the sixteenth century s o m e i m p o r t a n t ports emerged

in the a r c h i p e l a g o as a logica! c o n s e q u e n c e of the fall of M a l a c c a , s u c h as

A c e h , B a n t a m in the west a n d J o h o r a n d Brunei in the e a s t . B a n d a A c e h

b e c a m e a c o s m o p o l i t a n city which w a s visited by a variety of M u s l i m

merchants, i n c l u d i n g A r a b s , Turks, P e r s i a n s a n d A b b y s i n i a n s . S o m e even

c a m e from Pegu a n d I n d i a . 3 7
S c h r i e k e writes that " A c h i n , t h e n , h a d by the

middle of the sixteenth century b e c o m e the chief station in the intermediary

trade of the M u h a m m e d a n s of western Asia a n d India with the Indonesian

A r c h i p e l a g o - a fact with the P o r t u g u e s e c o u l d only view with eyes of

3 4
Reid, Southeast Asia, 98.
3 5
Reid, "Turkish Influence," 4 0 3 - 4 0 4 .

3 6
Reid, Southeast Asia, 93.
3 7
Schrieke, Indonesian, 43.
99

envy." 3 8

As a state which "was based upon its commerce and maritime

power," 3 9
A c e h also d e p e n d e d for its glory "on the tribute of neighbouring

regions on the c o a s t s a n d the h a r b o u r - d u e s of the capital of Atjeh." 4 9

Therefore, the interior part of the country w a s given little attention. B a n d a

A c e h emerged as an international city, visited by large numbers of foreign

merchants who "increasingly b e c a m e involved in A c e h ' s state system, its

court ceremonies a n d its w a r s . " 4 1


S o c o s m o p o l i t a n w a s this city that the

M a l a y l a n g u a g e , w h i c h b e c a m e the b u s i n e s s l a n g u a g e in Southeast A s i a ,

w a s used rather t h a n A c e h n e s e 4 2
J o h n Davis describes this city as "very

s p a c i o u s , built in a W o o d , s o that we c o u l d not see a house till we were

u p o n it. Neither c o u l d we g o into any p l a c e , but we found h o u s e s , a n d

great c o n c o u r s e of p e o p l e : so that I think the town spreadeth over the

whole l a n d . " 4 3
In this city were also to be found "Gold-Smithes, Gun

founders, S h i p w r i g h t s , T a y l o r s , Wevers, Hatters, Pot makers a n d A q u a v i t a e

Stillers ... Cutlers, a n d S m i t h s . " 4 4


A French Jesuit also gives his description

of this city, as follows:

Imagine a forest of c o c o n u t trees, b a m b o o s , p i n e a p p l e s a n d


b a n a n a s , t h r o u g h the midst of w h i c h p a s s e s quite a beautiful river all

3 8
Ibid., 44.
3 9
Hall, A History of South-East Asia, 2 1 8 - 2 1 9 .
4 0
H. A. R. G i b b et a l . e d s . , The Encyclopaedia of Islam, New E d . (Leiden:
E. J . Brill, 1980), s. v. "Atjeh," by A . J . Piekaar.
4 1
Reid, "Trade a n d the P r o b l e m of R o y a l Power in A c e h , " 47.

4 2
Reid, Southeast Asia, 7.
4 3
Davis, Voyages and works of John Davis, 147.

4 4
Ibid., 151.
100

covered with boats; put in this forest an i n c r e d i b l e number of h o u s e s


m a d e of canes, reeds a n d bark, a n d a r r a n g e t h e m in s u c h a m a n n e r
that they sometimes form streets, s o m e t i m e s s e p a r a t e quarters;
divide these various quarters by m e a d o w s a n d w o o d s : s p r e a d
throughout this forest as many p e o p l e a s you s e e in your t o w n s , when
they are well p o p u l a t e d ; you will form a pretty a c c u r a t e idea of A c h e n
[ A c e h J a n d you will agree that a city of this new style c a n give
pleasure to p a s s i n g strangers ....
Everything is neglected a n d n a t u r a l , rustic a n d even a little w i l d .
When one is at a n c h o r one sees not a s i n g l e vestige or a p p e a r a n c e o f
a city, b e c a u s e the great trees along the s h o r e hide all its h o u s e s .

This city was not fortified " b e c a u s e G o d h a d given them stout hearts a n d

strong character a n d s o u n d judgement in fighting all their enemies ... . A n d

this city (negen) is not fortified as is the c u s t o m of other fortified cities

b e c a u s e of the very large number of war e l e p h a n t s in this c i t y . " 4 6

The growth of economie activities led to the development of s o c i a l

classes. There is no doubt that the ruling family o c c u p i e d the first c l a s s . A s

in the c a s e of M a l a c c a , the Sultans were a l s o involved in trade. In the

s e c o n d c l a s s there was an elite group of m e r c h a n t s called Orang Kaya and

religious leaders (lilama'). Both g r o u p s were a l s o involved in the court.

Literally Orang Kaya means "a rich m a n " . This term " c o u l d be p r e s u m e d to

describe that c l a s s of nobility who, other t h a n h o l d i n g high official rank

s u c h as that of orang besar, were distinctly influential a n d w e a l t h y . " 4 7


They

also h a d territorial powers, administrative p o s i t i o n s a s well as ositions at

court. Augustin de Beaulieu gives a general d e s c r i p t i o n of the Orang Kaya :

4 5
Pere de Premare, S . J . , to Pere de L a C h a i s e , C a n t o n , 17 Feb. 1 6 9 9 ,
in new edition of Lettres edifiantes et curieuses, ecrites des missions
etrangeres (de la Compagnie de Jesus), v o l . 16, e d . Y . M. H. de
Ouerbeuf (Paris, 1780-83), 3 4 4 - 4 5 , in R e i d , " T h e Structure of Cities,"
241.
4 6
Iskandar, Hikayat Aceh, 175-176.
4 7
J . Kathirithamby-Wells, "Royal Authority a n d the Orang Kaya in the
Western A r c h i p e l a g o , C i r c a 1 5 0 0 - 1 8 0 0 , " JSEAS, vol XVII, no. 2
(September, 1986), 260.
101

T h e O r a n g K a y a s lived extravagantly, a n d following the affections of


their nature were a d d i c t e d to novelties, insolent, a n d p r o u d . The great
wealth their p r e d e c e s s o r s h a d left them, in l a n d s a n d houses in the
city as well as g o l d a n d silver, s u p p o r t e d this life; no kings have
o p p r e s s e d them nor foreign nation plundered them. The town w a s six
times as p o p u l o u s a s it is at present, a n d s o c r o w d e d that it w a s
difficult to move in the streets. T h e wealth of the i s l a n d being
scattered in diverse h a n d s , there w a s s u c h a great number of
m e r c h a n t s that there w a s no city in the Indies where trade s o
flourished. M o r e o v e r there w a s no Alfandeque Tcustoms office?, or
other duties t h a n t h a t of the tjap, so that merchants c o u l d do their
b u s i n e s s in a fortnight .... T h e O r a n g k a y a s h a d beautiful, large, solid
h o u s e s with c a n n o n s at their d o o r s , a n d large number of slaves, both
as gua'rds a n d s e r v a n t s . They went out superbly d r e s s e d , with large
retinues, respected by people. S u c h great power very m u c h
d i m i n i s h e d royal authority, a n d even safety, for the p n n c i p a l
o r a n g k a y a s h a d s u c h authority a n d power, that when they tired of the
d o m i n a t i o n of o n e k i n g , they m a s s a c r e d him in order to insta
another. T h u s a king w a s very lucky if he enjoyed his crown for two
years If he lasted longer it w a s with s u c h exertion a n d s u c h
o b l i g a t i o n s t o w a r d s several o r a n g k a y a s , that nothing remained of his
dignity except the title.

T h e third a n d the fourth c l a s s e s were the c o m m o n people a n d slaves.

T h e trade in slaves i n c r e a s e d with the need of m a n p o w e r for trading a n d

labour. Before the c o m i n g of the Portuguese to M a l a c c a , there were a

large number of J a v a n e s e slaves in this city. O n e of the wealthiest

m e r c h a n t s of M a l a c c a , U t a m a di Raja, is reported to have h a d a b o u t eight

thousand s l a v e s . 4 9
Insecurity w a s another reason for having slaves. The

M a l a c c a n p e o p l e s a y t h a t "it is better to have slaves t h a n to have l a n d ,

b e c a u s e s l a v e s are a p r o t e c t i o n to their m a s t e r s . " 5 0


S o m e Orang Kaya h a d

hundreds and even t h o u s a n d s of slaves. 5 1


In A c e h , as reported by

B e a u l i e u , "the king u s e s t h e m / / s l a v e s j to cut w o o d , dig stone from the

4 8
A u q u s t i n de B e a u l i e u , " M e m o i r e s du V o y a g e aux Indes Orientales," p.
110-111 in M e l c h i s e d e c h Thevenot, Relations de divers voyages cuneux,
(Paris, C r a m o i s y , 1 6 6 4 - 6 ) , in Reid, " T r a d e a n d the Problem.' 4 7 - 4 8 .

4 9
A l b u q u e r q u e , The Commentaries, vol. 3, 109.

5 0
G r o e n e v e l d t , Historical Notes, 128.
5 1
R e i d , "The S t u c t u r e of C i t i e s , " 2 4 9 .
102

quarries, make mortar a n d b u i l d . " 5 2

In the 1500's J a v a w a s the largest exporter of slaves. However, it w a s

not long after this time that the i s l a n d c e a s e d to export its people, s i n c e

with the c o m i n g of Islam, which f o r b a d e the transaction of Muslim s l a v e s .

Therefore, M u s l i m k i n g d o m s turned to recruit slaves from non-Muslim

a r e a s . Aceh recruited slaves from N i a s , southern India a n d A r a k a n ; Banten

a n d M a k a s s a r from the M o l u c c a s a n d the Lesser S u n d a Islands; P a t a n i

from C a m b o d i a , C h a m p a a n d B o r n e o . 5 3

Political Achievements

The sixteenth century history of the region which is now known as

Indonesia w a s m a r k e d by an i n c r e a s e in political activities a m o n g s o m e

k i n g d o m s . The p h e n o m e n o n seems to h a v e been affected by the presence

of the Portuguese in Malacca. Kartodirdjo says that "the impact of

Portuguese trade brought about an intensification of political activities

a m o n g both M u s l i m rulers a n d t r a d e r s . " 5 4

A c e h e n g a g e d in a consistent political policy by e x p a n d i n g its power

t h r o u g h o u t the east a n d west parts of S u m a t r a . This gave it control over

the t r a d i n g activities of the region. T h e ability of A c e h to maintain a s a f e

trade route in the region attracted M u s l i m traders from western A s i a a n d

India, the eastern Indonesian a r c h i p e l a g o a n d even n o n - M u s l i m traders,

s u c h a s the C h i n e s e w h o a v o i d e d M a l a c c a b e c a u s e of the unsafe route in

cp

Beaulieu, Memoires du Voyage, 1 0 8 , in Reid, Southeast Asia, 135.


5 3
Reid, Southeast Asia, 133.
54
Kartodirdjo, "Religious a n d E c o n o m i e A s p e c t s , " 193.
103

the straits of Malacca and because of the Portuguese policy of exacting


taxes.

Aceh tried to establish alliances with other Muslim kingdoms based on

Islam. It was mentioned above that these alliances could only be

established for a short period of time, which gave the Portuguese a

political victory. Aceh won Japara in only one joint attack. The friendly

political relations with Johor and Bintan began in 1574, after several

decades of Acehnese military campaigns against the Portuguese. But the

alliance was broken in 1582. D. K. Basset writes, "had not the Sultan of

Johore considered the ambition of Acheh to be so insatiable and

dangerous as to preclude the possibility of an alliance with that state, there

is little doubt that the Portuguese garrison at Malacca could not have

survived." 55

It was mentioned in the previous chapter that Aceh sent its

ambassador to Istanbul to build a close relationship and to ask for military

aid. This initiative led Reid to the conclusion that it was Aceh which took

the initiative for the Ottomans' a l l i a n c e . 56


It seems that both religious

ideals and trading interests led the Ottomans to help Aceh. Whatever the

reasons may have been, "it was precisely this Atjehnese initiative which

drew Turkish attention once more to the Indian Ocean, after Sulaiman had

abandoned it in 1 5 4 0 . " 57

5 5
D. K. Basset, "European Influence in the Malay Peninsula 1511-1786,"
JMBRAS, vol. 33, pt. 3 (1960), 15.
5 6
Reid, "Turkish Influence," 409.
5 7
Ibid.
104

As quoted above, the Bustan al-Salatln mentions that the S u l t a n of


A c e h sent a mission to Sultan Rum (Istanbul). The Raja Rum for the M a l a y
a n d Indonesian peoples of the sixteenth century referred to the O t t o m a n
S u l t a n , "the strongest of Muslim m o n a r c h s a n d heir presumptive to the
dignity of the C a l i p h a t e . " The memory of these relations still r e m a i n s
5 8

a m o n g the A c e h n e s e people, who preserve it in oral traditions. O n e of


those oral traditions, the most p o p u l a r one, is the story of Lada Sa-chupak
(one b a m b o o measure of pepper) which refers to Ottoman artillery.
Hikayat Meukuta Alam which is attributed to the Sultan Iskandar M u d a
(1607-1636), tells the story as follows:

He d e c i d e d to send an envoy to Istanbul with money for the s u p p o r t


of the holy p l a c e s , b e c a u s e the sultan of Turkey w a s the greatest
a m o n g Muslim rulers a n d h a d the care of the holy p l a c e s . He sent
three s h i p s , laden with padi, beras a n d pepper respectively. But the
crew h a d s u c h difficulties that they only reached Istanbul after three
years, by which time they h a d eaten all the rice, a n d s o l d most of the
pepper to support themselves. Only Sa-chupak lada r e m a i n e d . T h e
envoys were mortified, but S u l t a n Rum w a s m a g n a n i m o u s , a n d sent
them b a c k in state with the great c a n n o n , which he n a m e d himself.
He also sent to Atjeh twelve pahlawans (war-leaders). These were s o
skil'ul that they enabled Iskandar M u d a to build the great fort of
A c e h , the p a l a c e , a n d even the f a m o u s Gunongan (more reliably
credited to Iskandar T h a n i (1637-41)). Sultan Rum h a d a d v i s e d
Iskandar M u d a to kill the pahlawans when they h a d finished their
work. He w a s at first reluctant to s o , but the Turks finalW a l i e n a t e d
everybody by their a r r o g a n c e , a n d were stoned to d e a t h . ^
o y

Even n o w a d a y s , this story stil! remains in the memory of A c e h p e o p l e . O n e

of the p o e m s in the A c e h n e s e f o l k - d a n c e tradition known as seudatf

reads:

5 8
Ibid., 3 9 5 .
0 3
This is Reid's p h r a s e in "Turkish Influence," 397 w h i c h refers to T.
M o h a m m a d S a b i l , Hikajat Soeltan Atjeh Marhoem {Soeltan Iskandar
Moeda) (Batavia, 1932), 3 - 1 1 .
6 0
Z a i n u d d i n , Tarikh Atjeh, 279.
105

Deungo Ion kisah P a n g l i m a Nyak D o m ,


U naggro Rum troih g e u b u k a ,
Muriam S i c u p a k troih g e u p e u w o ,
Geupeujaroe bak po meukuta

This is the story of the P a n g l i m a (commander) Nyak D o m ,


who sailed to the land of Rum (Istanbul),
returned home with S i c u p a k artillery,
which was delivered to His excellency (Sultan).

"The diplomatic contact of the 1560's between Turkey a n d Atjeh," Reid

insists, "reached the highest level, a n d w a s important in the s u b s e q u e n t

direction of both Turkish a n d Atjehnese policy. It has been c o m m e m o r a t e d

in a variety of forms in Malay a n d Atjehnese l i t e r a t u r e . " 61


A n o t h e r memory

of this relationship c a n be seen in the red O t t o m a n flag that w a s used in

Aceh. 6 2

Politically, the defensive attitude of the P o r t u g u e s e in every A c e h n e s e

military c a m p a i g n accordingly reduced their s i g n i f i c a n c e in the eyes of the

Malay-lndonesian kingdoms. The intensive political activities among

M u s l i m kingdoms in the archipelago a n d other M u s l i m k i n g d o m s in western

A s i a a n d India, a n d the failure of the P o r t u g u e s e to maintain their political

relations with s o m e Hindu kingdoms in J a v a , apparently restricted their

room for political maneuvering. Vlekke s a y s :

From a political point of view, the P o r t u g u e s e h a d m a d e little


progress. They h a d no settlements o u t s i d e M a l a c c a a n d the
M o l u c c a s . M a l a c c a h a d been c o n t i n o u s l y threatened s i n c e Atjeh h a d
b e c o m e an important power... .
Notwithstanding the fact that both P o r t u g u e s e settlements in
M a l a c c a a n d in the M o l u c c a s were c o n t i n o u s ^ ' t h r e a t e n e d , their
commercial activity was extended m o r e a n d more. 3

6 1
Reid, "Turkish Influence," 4 1 1 .
6 2
Anthony Reid., The Contest for North Sumatra: Atjeh, the Netherlands
and Britain 1858-1898 (Kuala Lumpur: O x f o r d University Press, 1969). 3.
6 3
Vlekke, Nusantara, 100.
106

The Leading Center of Islamic Studies

Like its predecessors Pasai a n d M a l a c c a . A c e h in this century w a s " a

center of Islamic S t u d i e s . " 6 4


Nevertheless, as in the c a s e cf P a s a i , it is

difficult to identify exactly the Islamic institutions that A c e h p o s s e s s e d . T h e

mosque was most probably the main center for Islamic studies, b e s i d e s the

Pesantren or Dayah. M o s q u e s s p r e a d in the region as well a s in other

regions in the archipelago. On m o s q u e construction Reid writes:

Mosques were typically constructed of w o o d a n d t h a t c h , but in the


great m o s q u e s of M e l a k a a n d A c e h at least the f o u n d a t i o n s a n d
outer walls were m a d e of stone a n d mortar.... The S o u t h e a s t A s i a n
m o s q u e of the sixteenth a n d seventeenth century h a d its o w n
distinctive form, essentially similar from A c e h in the west to M a l u k u
a n d M i n d a n a o in the east. T h e main building w a s s q u a r e , often with a
veranda (serambi) a d d e d on the east side, light walls, a n d (usually
four) massive w o o d e n pillars supporting a multitiered t h a t c h roof. A
strong masonry wall usually s u r r o u n d e d the whole c o m p l e x . b b

Studies in Islamic s c i e n c e s w e r e c a r r i e d on by Iz/ama', both i n d i g e n o u s

a n d foreign. Bustan al-Salatln informs us of ulama'


c
c o m i n g from other

areas to A c e h . There w a s a S h a f i T alim of M e c c a , M u h a m m a d A z h a r ,


c

who taught metaphysics in A c e h . Another M e c c a n alim w h o s e n a m e w a s


c

Shaikh Ab al-Khayr ibn S h a i k h ibnHajr also c a m e to this region. He w r o t e

a book entitled Sayf al-Qati c


a n d taught % n fiqh (Islamic Law) in A c e h D a r

a l - S a l a m . The other was an expert in 9/m usl al-fiqh (islamic J u r i s p r u d e n c e )

whose name was S h a i k h M u h a m m a d Y a m a n . A Gujarati alim c


was also

reported to have c o m e to this region; he w a s S h a i k h M u h a m m a d J a y l a n

ibnHasan ibn M u h a m m a d , a descendent of the Q u r a y s h tribe, a c c o r d i n g to

6 4
Hall, A History of South-East Asia, 216
6 5
Reid, Southeast Asia, 67.
107

this sixteenth century c h r o n i c l e . A member of the S h a f R s c h o o l , Jaylan


taught A r a b i c literature {ma anl, bayan a n d badi ), fiqh a n d usl a / - / 7 q h . The
c 0 66

fact that these Islamic teachers c a m e to A c e h reveals that A c e h h a d g o o d


relations with other Muslim c o u n t r i e s in the A r a b world a n d South A s i a . T h e
status of the p l a c e as a center of Islamic studies a n d the strong
commitment of the people to Islam stimulated the A c e h n e s e to call their
land "the gate of the Holy L a n d . " 6 7

Islam, which " h a d been exerting a certain p s y c h o l o g i c a l a n d s o c i a l

influence on the p o p u l a t i o n , " 6 8


w a s involved in the political a r e n a . Political

Islam w a s represented by Islamic t e a c h e r s who strongly o p p o s e d the royal

government. Bustan al-Salatln d e s c r i b e s the inferior c h a r a c t e r of S u l t a n s

after the death of Sultan H u s a y n (d. 1579). T h e first w a s Raja Sri A l a m w h o c

was portrayed as a b a d - t e m p e r e d p e r s o n a n d who did not know how to

lead the country. After his a s s a s s i n a t i o n , Raja Sri A l a m w a s s u c c e e d e d by


c

Sultan Z a y n a l - A b i d n who w a s a l s o portrayed as a b a d - t e m p e r e d figure.


c

Accordingly, this Sultan w a s a l s o a s s a s s i n a t e d after a few m o n t h s in

power. 6 9
T h e death of the S u l t a n resulted in the e m e r g e n c e of a n o n -

indigenous power represented by A l a ' al-DTn Mansr S h a h of Perak, w h o


c

ruled A c e h between 1 5 7 9 - 1 5 8 5 . He a n d his family were brought to A c e h

after A c e h c o n q u e r e d his h o m e c o u n t r y . Bustan al-Salatln portrays this

Sultan as follows:

He w a s a very p i o u s S u l t a n , fair in his d e c i s i o n , a n d strict in his

6 6
Iskandar, Bustanu's-Salatin, 33-34.
6 7
Hurgronje, The Achehnese, v o l . 2, 19.
6 8
Wertheim, Indonesian Society, 204.
6 9
Iskandar, Butanu's-Salatin, 32-33.
108

c o m m a n d s . He w h o loved u l a m a ' , p r a c t i c e d the law ( s h a r ^ h ) of


c

M u h a m m a d , f o r b a d e all his people from having a l c o h o l a n d the


practice of c o c k f i g h t i n g , a s k e d all his c o m m a n d e r s to keep their
beards, to use r o b e a n d t u r b a n , a s k e d all his p e o p l e to perform the
five obligatory p r a y e r s , fasting of R a m a d a n , r e c o m m e n d e d (sunnah)
fast, a n d to pay a l m s ( z a k a h ) . '0

The situation reveals the important role of religious t e a c h e r s in creating

a political atmosphere in A c e h . Generally s p e a k i n g , in all M u s l i m k i n g d o m s

in the a r c h i p e l a g o , o b e d i e n c e to Islamic t e a c h i n g s w a s a n important

requirement for being a S u l t a n . Wertheim d e s c r i b e s that "the prince,

reasonably observant a s regards his religious d e v o t i o n s , the victorious

general, the p r o p e r o u s merchant, all of them enjoyed the backing of

Islamic law a n d of the officially r e c o g n i s e d s c r i b e s w h o h a d entered the

service of the princely authority as judges or a d v i s e r s . " 7 1

B. A c e h ' s Motivations

The question w h i c h s h o u l d be raised here is what w a s the nature of

A c e h ' s military conflict with the P o r t u g u e s e ? It will be interesting to begin

the d i s c u s s i o n with a statement given by R. O. Winstedt in his b o o k , A

History of Malaya:

It was not religion however that p r o m p t e d A c h e h to fight but


Portugal's insistence o n m o n o p o l i e s a n d her s i n k i n g of A c h i n e s e
vessels on their v o y a g e s to India a n d the R e d S e a . T h a t t r a d e a n d
dynastie a m b i t i o n s a c t u a t e d A c h i n e s e politics is s h o w n by her
attitude to the M u s l i m Empire of J o h o r . In 1540 J o h o r h a d
overwhelmed A c h e h ' s fleet before A r u . N o w in 1564 A c h e h ' s S u l t a n
not only recovered A r u but s a c k e d the fortified town of J o h o r L a m a ,
removing his n a m e s a k e , son of M a l a c c a ' s last S u l t a n , to A c h e h where

7 0
Ibid., 33.
7 1
Wertheim, Indonesian Society, 195.
109

he died or w a s m u r d e r e d . ' 2

It has been s u g g e s t e d by many s c h o l a r s that Islam w a s brought to the

a r c h i p e l a g o by M u s l i m t r a d e r s from the A r a b l a n d s a n d I n d i a . 7 3
In his

study of this issue, C e s a r A d i b Majul s u g g e s t s two major trends in the

M u s l i m trading activities: the first w a s s h o w n in the traders w h o played a

d o u b l role as m e r c h a n t s a n d religious p r o p a g a t o r s . "living in the area

permanently a n d intermarrying with the native p o p u l a t i o n a n d eventually

i n d u c i n g n o n - M u s l e m s to e m b r a c e the the F a i t h . " 7 4


The s e c o n d w a s s h o w n

in t h o s e traders w h o s e interest in Islamic p r o p a g a t i o n c a m e s e c o n d to

t r a d i n g a n d political activities. The latter were m u c h more interested in

worldly affairs a n d i n v o l v e d themselves in s o c i a l activities, intermarriage

a n d political affairs. This is the root of the later emergence of non-native

M u s l i m political power in the a r c h i p e l a g o , s u c h as sayyids in A c e h . 7 3


It

d o e s not m e a n , however, that the s e c o n d g r o u p w a s not c o n c e r n e d about

Islam.

It s e e m s that the m a i n activity of Islamic p r o p a g a t i o n w a s carried out

by the first g r o u p , most of w h o m were sufis. A . H. J o h n s argues that the

propagation of Islam t h r o u g h o u t the a r c h i p e l a g o w a s initiated by sufi

o r g a n i s a t i o n s . He p o i n t s out that Islam in the a r c h i p e l a g o b e c a m e strong in

the form of a M u s l i m c o m m u n i t y (ummah) only after the thirteenth century

7 2
Winstedt, A History of Malaya, 81.
73
' S . Q. Fatimi, Islam Comes to Malaysia, (Singapore: Malaysian
S o c i o l o g i c a l R e s e a r c h Institute Ltd., 1963), 8 - 3 6 .
7 4
C e s a r A d i b M a j u l , " T h e o r i e s on the Introduction a n d E x p a n s i o n of Islam
in M a l a y s i a , " in International A s s o c i a t i o n of Historians of A s i a , Second
Biennial Conference Proceeding (Taipei, T a i w a n , O c t o b e r 6-9, 1962), 350.
7 5
Ibid., 3 5 1 - 3 5 9 .
110

A.D. He reiates this fact to the important role played by sufis in preserving
the unity of the ummah after the fal! of B a g h d a d at the e n d of the thirteenth
century. This leads him to suggest that "the sufi m o v e m e n t w a s , in fact,
almost identical with the Islamic world d u r i n g a period of 5 0 0 years, from
the 13th to the 18th centuries, so that it is hardly an e x a g g e r a t i o n to speak
of a sufi p e r i o d in Islamic h i s t o r y . " 76

In its development, sufi Islam b e c a m e stronger. Unity w a s a main

feature of the sufi orders a n d Corporation (taifah). J o h n s writes:

For our p u r p o s e , it is p o s s i b l e to c h a r a c t e r i z e the sufis as they


presented themselves to the I n d o n e s i a n s as f o l l o w s : they were
peripatetic p r e a c h e r s ranging over the w h o l e k n o w n w o r l d , voluntarily
e s p o u s i n g p o v e ly; they were frequently a s s o c i a t e d with t r a d e or craft
g u i l d s , a c c o r d i n g to the order (tarkah) to w h i c h they b e l o n g e d ; they
taught a c o m p l e x syncretic t h e o s o p h y largely f a m i l i a r to the
I n d o n e s i a n s , but w h i c h w a s s u b o r d i n a t e to, a l t h o u g h a n enlargement
on the f u n d a m e n t a l d o g m a s of Islam; they were proficient in magie
a n d p o s s e s s e d powers of h e a l i n g ; a n d not least, c o n c i o u s l y or
u n c o n c i o u s l y , they were p r e p a r e d to preserve continuity with the past,
a n d to u s e the terms a n d elements of p r e - l s l a m i c c u l t u r e in an Islamic
context/'

A n interesting feature of the sufis w a s that they were a d y n a m i c group

w h o were c o n c e n t r a t e d in urban a r e a s / 6
Besides t e a c h i n g Islam, they

were a l s o involved in e c o n o m i e activities as traders a n d in the political

structures where they lived. Even t h o u g h s o m e of them w e r e not traders,

"they were closely a s s o c i a t e d with their trader c o u n t r y m e n w h o wielded

e c o n o m i e p o w e r in all the c o a s t a l p r i n c i p a l i t i e s . " 79


A p p a r e n t l y , their status

7 6
A . H. J o h n s , " S u f i s m in Indonesia," JSEAH, vol. 2, no. 2 (July 1961), 13.
7 7
ibid., 15.
7 8
Ibid., 2 1 .
7 9
M a j u l , "Theories on the Introduction," 3 7 2 .
111

as traders a c c e l e r a t e d the s p r e a d of Islam in the archipelago, especially


a m o n g the H i n d u p o p u l a t i o n w h i c h was attracted to the Islamic egalitarian
ethic a n d the prohibition a g a i n s t enslaving other M u s l i m s . Political 8 0

interests a l s o h a d a role in their c o n v e r s i o n .

In its later development, Islam b e c a m e a symbol of resistance, unity

and revolution. 81
Jihad (holy war) c o u l d be declared against colonialists,

s u c h as the P o r t u g u e s e a n d the D u t c h , a n d heathen tribes in the i n t e r i o r . 82

Brunei, for i n s t a n c e , declared a holy war against its neighbour to convert

its p e o p l e to Islam, a s A c e h did against p a g a n Batak in 1539 8 8


The rapid

development of Islam in the a r c h i p e l a g o led van Leur to characterize it as

the s o - c a l l e d "Islamic p e r i o d " 8 4


of the a r c h i p e l a g o , especially from the

fifteenth century to the c o l o n i a l times.

A c e h , a s a M u s l i m k i n g d o m in the region, s h o w e d strong resistance

against colonialism. Based on the idea that Islam was strongly

institutionalized in society, it is s a f e to suggest that Islam w a s a strong

s y m b o l s t i m u l a t i n g resistance a g a i n s t the Portuguese a n d , later, the Dutch.

A g a i n , it s h o u l d b e mentioned here that trading interests also played an

important role in their struggle. S o important was the trading motive that

some Muslim kingdoms were d i v i d e d and eventually entered into a

trading relationship with the P o r t u g u e s e as mentioned above.

8 0
Weitheim, Indonesian Society, 196-198.
8 1
Ibid., 2 0 4 - 2 0 7 .
8 2
M a j u l , " T h e o r i e s on the Introduction," 3 7 2 - 3 7 3 .
8 3
Ibid., 3 9 0 - 3 9 1 .

v a n Leur, Indonesian Trade, 149.


112

A n o t h e r c o n s i s t e n t p o l i c y of A c e h w a s s h o w n in t h e i r i n t e n s i v e s i e g e s
of f o r t i f i e d M a l a c c a . J o h o r , t h e m a i n M a l a y a n d M u s l i m r i v a l of A c e h ,
t e n d e d to b e p r a g m a t i c . F r o m t h e first h a l f of t h e s i x t e e n t h c e n t u r y ,
J o h o r d e m o n s t r a t e d its e n m i t y t o w a r d A c e h . A s m e n t i o n e d a b o v e , J o h o r ,
w i t h P e r a k a n d P a h a n g , d r o v e A c e h o u t of A r u in 1 5 4 0 . In 1 5 4 7 t h e y
a p p e a r e d in t h e p o r t o f M a l a c c a to h e l p t h e t r i g h t e n e d P o r t u g u e s e a g a i n s t
t h e A c e h n e s e , w h o h a d a l m o s t s u c c e e d e d in c a p t u r i n g M a l a c c a . A
q u e s t i o n w h i c h s h o u l d b e r a i s e d h e r e i s : w h y d i d n ' t J o h o r a n d its a l l i e s
capture Malacca w h i l e t h e r e w a s a g o o d o p p o r t u n i t y to a t t a c k t h e
P o r t u g u e s e ? T h e p r o b a b l e a n s w e r is t h a t their f e a r a n d h a t r e d t o w a r d A c e h
o v e r s h a d o w e d t h e i r will to r e c a p t u r e t h e i r h o m e l a n d f r o m t h e c o l o n i a l i s t s
a n d o v e r c a m e t h e i r I s l a m i c s o l i d a r i t y . In 1 5 6 8 , a g a i n , they s h o w e d u p in
M a l a c c a to h e l p t h e P o r t u g u e s e . H o w e v e r , in 1 5 7 4 J o h o r b e c a m e f r i e n d l y
w i t h A c e h . It i s e n o u g h t o e m p i i a s i z e h e r e t h a t I s l a m i c s o l i d a r i t y w a s
s h o w n b y A c e h w h e n a m a n of P e r a k o r i g i n , A l a ' a l - D T n M a n s r S h a h , w a s
c

a p p o i n t e d a s t h e S u l t a n of A c e h ( 1 5 7 9 - 1 5 8 5 ) . T h i s is a n i n t e r e s t i n g
c h a r a c t e r o f t h e A c e h n e s e p e o p l e , a b o u t w h o m R e i d s t a t e s t h a t " A c e h is a
u s e f u l m o d e l n o t o n l y b e c a u s e o f its h i s t o r i e r o l e , b u t a l s o b e c a u s e of its
s y n t h e t i c c h a r a c t e r : a n e w n a t i o n o w i n g m o r e to e c o n o m i e a n d p o l i t i c a l
f o r c e s t h a n to c o s m i c tradition or e t h n i c s o l i d a r i t y . " 8 5

It is r e a s o n a b l e t h e n t h a t A c e h h a d a d u a l p u r p o s e in its struggle

a g a i n s t t h e P o r t u g u e s e : "to w a g e w a r a g a i n s t t h e h e a t h e n s {kafir) a n d to

c o m b a t t h e P o r t u g u e s e a s a c o m p e t i t o r in t h e s p i c e t r a d e in o r d e r to

d e f e n d their m o n o p o l i s t i c p o s i t i o n . " 8 5
It is i n t e r e s t i n g t h a t in a n o t h e r of h i s

8 5
Reid, "Trade a n d the Problem," 55.

8 8
Kartodirdjo, " R e l i g i o u s a n d E c o n o m i e A s p e c t s , " 183.
113

writings Winstedt says that "the Achinese were m u c h like the Portuguese,

b u c c a n e e r s , adventurers a n d traders with a veneer of religion... . But

Acheh, like P o r t u g a l , w a s also superstitious a n d was full of Muslim

m i s s i o n a r i e s , mystics a n d t h e o l o g i a n s . " 87

8 7
R. O. Winstedt, " A History of J o h o r e , " JMBRAS, vol. 10, pt. 2
(December 1932), 19.
CONCLUSION

In the course of the fifteenth century, there were several small

kingdoms in the northern part of Sumatra, namely Pasai, Pidie, Daya,

Lamuri and Aceh which flourished economically as trading centers and as

the producers of some natural resources, such as pepper, silk, gold and

benzoin. Merchants came to this port from other areas, primarily for

trading but incidentally for the spreading of Islam as well. Therefore, in

time, these kingdoms became known as both trading and Islamic centers,

particulaiy Pasai, the first place touched by Islam in the archipelago.

Although it was less well known than Pasai, Lamuri was a kingdom that

also had a long contact with other people, such as Arabs, Persians,

Europeans and Chinese. It was in this kingdom that the great Muslim

kingdom of Aceh rose. The new state was to incorporate all these lesser

ports into its economie system and to transcend the political scales of

those principalities by assuming the role of a regional power and an

important international actor in Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean.

It was also in the fifteenth century that Malacca emerged as the

primary entrepot in the Southeast Asian region. Supported by its

advantageous location on the straits, Malacca had great success in

attracting traders and, accordingly, became a rich and a cosmopolitan

city, benefitting greatly from the income generated from its trade. It

replaced Pasai as the chief trading center and even as the main center for

Islamic studies in the region. Although Pasai was still respected as the

center of Islamic studies at the time, Malacca played a much greater role,

114
115

especially in its role as a p l a c e from w h i c h Islamic p r o p a g a t i o n in the


a r c h i p e l a g o extended.

The Portuguese, who g a i n e d great s u c c e s s in their exploration by

c a p t u r i n g C e u t a in 1415 a n d taking G o a in 1510, ultimately d e c i d e d to

extend the trade system to M a l a c c a in order to control the trade route for

s p i c e s in the Indian O c e a n from the M o l u c c a s a n d even in the Red S e a .

T h e c o m i n g of the Portuguese to the region resulted in p r o f o u n d c h a n g e s

to the historical trends of Southeast Asia, s i n c e they subverted the

competition of trade then in p r a c t i c e in favour of a controlled system a n d

b e c a u s e they were hostile to Islam a n d were energetic in converting local

p o p u l a t i o n s to Christianity.

T h e emergence of A c e h started in the s e c o n d a n d the third d e c a d e of

the sixteenth century a n d is identified with its military conflict with the

P o r t u g u e s e a n d c o n q u e s t of D a y a , Pidie a n d P a s a i . This period is known

as the establishment of A c e h Dar a l - S a l a m . AIT M u g h a y a h S h a h was


C

r e g a r d e d as the founder a n d the first S u l t a n of this k i n g d o m , as mentioned

in Bustan al-Salatln. S o m e historians s u g g e s t that the c o m i n g of the

P o r t u g u e s e to the region motivated AIT to take over the power from his
C

father a n d to take D a y a , Pidie a n d P a s a i , where the P o r t u g u e s e h a d

established garrisons. 1
If this idea c a n be s u s t a i n e d , it must have been the

first i m p a c t of the P o r t u g u e s e on the rise of A c e h . E c o n o m i e interests,

however, were also an important r e a s o n for this e x p a n s i o n , as evidenced

by the c o n q u e s t of the rich ports of P i d i e a n d P a s a i .

1
Hasjmy, Sejarah Kebudayaan Islam, 1 7 - 1 8 ; A h m a d , Sekitar Keradjaan
Atjeh, 3 6 - 3 7 ; S a i d , Aceh, 1 6 4 - 1 6 5 ; Reid, The Contest, 2.
116

The strategie location of A c e h in the northern tip of S u m a t r a w a s


beneficial in that it rendered it a chief intermediary station in the trade
between Western A s i a a n d India a n d the I n d o n e s i a n a r c h i p e l a g o . M u s l i m
traders from these a r e a s a v o i d e d M a l a c c a a n d o p e n e d a new route in
western S u m a t r a . This situation eventually e n a b l e d A c e h to control most of
S u m a t r a a n d to get involved in the Red S e a t r a d e a s well as to strengthen
its military power. Political maneuvers initiated by A c e h with other M u s l i m
powers in India and the Ottoman Empire a l s o c o u l d not e s c a p e from being
influenced by the p r e s e n c e of the P o r t u g u e s e in the region. M a l a c c a ' s
status as a center of Islamic studies w a s taken over by A c e h , s i n c e m a n y
% / a m a ' a n d learned men of M a l a c c a m o v e d to this new k i n g d o m as well as
to other parts of the a r c h i p e l a g o , s u c h a s J a v a . A c c o r d i n g l y , these
indications lead us to c o n c l u d e that the rise of A c e h was m u c h influenced

q
by the c o m i n g of the P o r t u g u e s e to M a l a c c a .

The strong response of A c e h to the P o r t u g u e s e w a s s h o w n by its effort

to strengthen its military p o w e r by g a i n i n g military aid from the O t t o m a n

Empire a n d other Muslim kingdoms in India. T h i s military power was

d e m o n s t r a t e d in its several sieges of fortified M a l a c c a . Aceh, however,

never g a i n e d victory over the P o r t u g u e s e o w i n g to its smaller c a p a b i l i t y in

military weapons, warships and tactics compared to that of the

Portuguese, even t h o u g h it h a d an a d v a n t a g e in m a n p o w e r . A c e h ' s military

power and its ambition to drive out the P o r t u g u e s e from Malacca,

nevertheless, c h a l l e n g e d the military p o w e r of the latter a n d forced them to

take a defensive attitude w h i c h eventually " r e d u c e d their s i g n i f i c a n c e as a

Majul, "Theories on the Introduction," 3 6 5 .


q
C o m p a r e d with D. J . M. Tate, The Making of Modern South-East Asia, vol.
1 (Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press, 1971), 2 2 3 .
117
political force in the life of the Malay people." The sixteenth century,
4

particularly the period between 1500-1579, showed that the relation


between Aceh and the Portuguese was exclusively military in character.

With the fall of Malacca, Aceh becsme the most important trading

center in the western part of the archipelago for several reasons: firstly, it

was strategically located in the northern tip of Sumatra, which connected

the trading routes between west Asia and India with the archipelago;

secondly, a large number of Muslim merchants moved to Aceh as well as

to other parts of the archipelago; thirdly, it produced important resources,

such as pepper, gold, silk and benzoin, especially from Pasai, Pidie and

Minangkabau; and fourthly, Aceh's military power created a safe

environment for trade in the region. The economie power of Aceh and its

involvement in the spice business in the Red Sea undermined the

Portuguese claim to be the master of the spice trade of the region.

It is reasonable then to say that Aceh, which tried to drive out the

Portuguese from Malacca, was ambitious for poltical supremacy in the

region. The first effort was taken by attempting political expansion. Aceh

attacked Batak and conquered Aru and west Sumatra. This gave it

political, military and economie significance. A diplomatic effort was

directed to the Ottoman Empire and other Muslim kingdoms in India, an

effort which was motivated by economie reasons in addition to Islamic

interests. In the archipelago, Aceh convinced Japara and, for a few years,

Johor to make a broad Islamic alliance. However, the fear of some Muslim

kingdoms, such as Johor and Demak, toward the new oower (Aceh)

bothered the alliance. The Islamic alliance was also disrupted by economie

4
Basset, "European Influence," 14-15.
118

interests as s o m e Muslim k i n g d o m s forged trade relationships with the


Portuguese.

A c e h in the sixteenth century also emerged as the center for Islamic

studies. The fall of M a l a c c a , w h i c h w a s a center for religious studies, a n d

the rise of A c e h as a strong M u s l i m power resulted in the moving of s o m e

Culama' of M a l a c c a to A c e h . S o m e kjlama' from other Muslim regions also

c a m e to this p l a c e in order to t e a c h the Islamic sciences. Islam in A c e h ,

represented by ulama' c
a n d sufi, w a s active in religious as well as e c o n o m i e

a n d political institutions. Jihad w a s defined as a holy war against the

heathen tribes a n d the infidel c o l o n i a l i s t s . Islam, therefore, was a motive in

their struggle against the P o r t u g u e s e in addition to e c o n o m i e r e a s o n s .

T h e sixteenth century s h o w e d the r a p i d development of A c e h as a

great M u s l i m power in the a r c h i p e l a g o . A l t h o u g h it did not s u c c e e d in

driving out the Portuguese, A c e h played a significant role in countering the

P o r t u g u e s e penetration into the region a n d in bringing S o u t h e a s t A s i a into

the m a i n s t r e a m of M u s l i m w o r l d history. In the w o r d s of Wilfred Cantwell

S m i t h , "in the sixteenth century the M u s l i m world w a s o n c e a g a i n powerful,

wealthy, a n d t o u c h e d with s p l e n d o u r . Whatever view he might take of it,

the M u s l i m of this period -in M o r o c c o , Istanbul, Isfahan, A g r a , A c h e h - w a s

p a r t i c i p a n t in a history e x p a n s i v e a n d s u c c e s s f u l . " 5

Wilfred Cantwell S m i t h , Islam in Modem History, (Princeton: Princeton


University Press, 1977), 38.
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126

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York-. Fscu on Fe Pubuciuons, 1982, 91, usd Tite, D J . M . The
Making of Modem South-East Asia. Vol. 1 Kuil Lumpur: Oxford
University Press, 1971. 224.