The sultanate of Aceh was founded in 1496 governed by Sultan Ali Mughayat Shah. It became independent from Pidia in 1520, the sultanate expanded rapidly; from Sumatra’s Westcoast to Bencoolen (Bengkulu) to Kampar on the eastcoast. While at the same time the Malayan states of Pahang, Perak en Kedah recognized the sovereignty of Aceh. The “Golden Period” of Aceh was during the reign of Sultan Iskandar Muda (Meukuta Alam), who reigned from 1607-1636 and Sultan Iskandar Thani, who reigned from 1636-1641. After this period and during the reign of female rulers, the sultanate declined rapidly, whereby it’s territory decreased to about North-Sumatra. The de facto rulers in the interior of Aceh where the socalled Oeleebalangs, sultans power was nominal. During the second Aceh expedition by the the Dutch in 1874 the kraton was conquered. In that same year Sultan Mahmud III died and the sultanate was ended and place under military rule. The pretender-sultan Tuangku Mahmud submitted himself to the Dutch in 1903. The Oeleebalangs were continued as “zelfbestuurders”. About 102 self-governed territories existed in Aceh, most of them very small. In 1953 Aceh becam a Daerah Istemewa (special territory), whereby members of the Oeleebalangs are still an important factor.


Eastcoast of Sumatra

The eascoast of Sumatra consisted of about 41 self-governing territories, the most important being the sultanates of Deli, Langkat, Serdang, Asahan and Siak Sri Indrapura. Next to them smaller SGT’s like Kuala and Leidong, Kotapinang, Bila, Panei, Pelalawan and Indragiri.  Next to these Malayan oriented SGT’s existed the Batak rajas of Simelungun and Karo, like Siantar, Purba, Dolok Silau, Lingga and Baros Djahe.

The royal house of Deli is descended from an Aceh army commander and became independent from it in 1669. The royal families of Langkat and Serdang are descended from Batak rajas, but are completely assimilated into the Malayan culture. The royal family of Asahan is descended from the Acinese sultansson Abd el Djalil, who at the end of the 17th century founded the sultanate of Asahan.

The sultanate Siak Sri Indrapura was formed in 1721 by Raja Kecil (later Abd el Djalil)  Minangkabau descend, who conquered it from Johore (Malaya). He’s considered the ancestor of the Siak royal family. The sultanate Lingga-Riouw, which was dissolved in 1911, was formed in 1824 as a split off the Johore sultanate. The sultanates of the eastcoast of Sumatra are traditionally closely connected with the Malayan royal houses and the courts are distinctively Malayan. During the Indonesian revolutionary period many members of these royal families were killed. When the federal state East-Sumatra was founded in 1948 Tengku Dr. Mansoer (Asahan royal family) became the Wali Negara (head of state).