Uleëbalang territories in Aceh, early 20th century


A major strategic element which helped to deliver eventual qualified victory to the Dutch in the Aceh War (1873-1903) was their recruitment of the Acehnese regional lords or uleëbalang as allies. These coastal rulers were used to resisting the Acehnese sultanate and they were rivals of the Islamic religious leaders for influence over the people. Many agreed to collaborate with the Dutch and occupied Aceh was thus divided into dozens of tiny states, some of them with only a few square kilometres and a few thousand subjects.

Further reading

Ismail, Muhammad Gade, ‘The economic position of the uleebalang in the late colonial state: Eastern Aceh, 1900-1942', in Robert Cribb, ed. The late colonial state in Indonesia: political and economic foundations of the Netherlands Indies, 1880-1942. Leiden: KITLV Press, 1994, pp. 79-91.

Map number from Cribb, Historical Atlas of Indonesia (2000)


Year span

1910 - 1920