a memorial for all wars: the Polynational War Memorial


Dutch-Achinese War

Years: 1904-1907
Battle deaths: 24,200 [1]

Nation(s) involved and/or conflict territory [note]

Published: 2013-07-31 21:46:59 | Updated: 2014-03-04 12:19:19
The Aceh War, also known as the Dutch War or the Infidel War (1873–1914), was an armed military conflict between the Sultanate of Aceh and the Netherlands which was triggered by discussions between representatives of Aceh and the United States in Singapore during early 1873. The war was part of a series of conflicts in the late 19th century that consolidated Dutch rule over modern-day Indonesia.

In 1903, the main secular Acehnese resistance leaders including Sultan Muhammad Daud, Tuanku Raja Keumala, Mahmud and Muda Perkasa capitulated. By 1904 most of Aceh was under Dutch control, and had an indigenous government that cooperated with the colonial state. The Dutch consolidated their control over Aceh by practising a policy of religious tolerance as a means of dissuading the Acehnese from taking up an armed struggle. Nevertheless, episodes of marked Dutch military cruelty still occurred during this period. Photographs of a Dutch slaughter in Koeto Reh village taken during a Dutch military expedition in Aceh’s Gayo and Alas regions in 1904, for example, indicate that killings of large groups of civilians occurred on some occasions. Estimated total casualties on the Aceh side range from 50,000 to 60,000 dead, and over a million wounded. The destruction of entire communities also caused 10,000 Acehnese to flee to neighbouring Malaya.

In the Netherlands at the time, Van Heutsz was considered a hero, named the‘Pacifier of Aceh’and was promoted to become governor-general of the entire Dutch Indies in 1904. A still-existent monument to him was erected in Amsterdam, though his image and name were later removed, to protest his violent legacy. The Dutch establishment defended its actions in Aceh by citing a moral imperative to liberate the masses from the oppression and backward practices of independent native rulers that did not meet accepted international norms.[16] The Aceh War also encouraged Dutch annexation of other independent states in Bali, Moluccas, Borneo and Sulawesi between 1901 to 1910.

Colonial influence in the remote highland areas of Aceh was never substantial, however, and limited guerrilla resistance led by religious ulema persisted until 1942. Unable to dislodge the Dutch, many of the ulema gradually discontinued their resistance. The region of Gayo remained a center of resistance as late as 1914. One intellectual Sayyid Ahmad Khan advocated discontinuing the "jihad" against the Dutch since the term was used to define military warfare against religious oppression.

Source: Wikipedia, published under the GNU FDL. Retrieved 2014-03-04


Notes on fatalities

[1] Battle deaths: Correlates of War, Extra-State War Data v4.0 (the numbers may be considerably higher)

More about sources


NOTE! Nation data for this war may be inconlusive or incomplete. In most cases it reflects which nations were involved with troops in this war, but in some it may instead reflect the contested territory.



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