Article

Aceh and Council of Eight in Penang 1873-1876

Abstract

The expanding Dutch military forces over Aceh’s territories in the 19th century caused advancing international diplomacy between Aceh and the outside world. Since the defeat of the Dutch during its first military expedition in 1873, Acehnese in Penang simultaneously channeled numerous initiatives for aiding the war. When the palace fell to the Dutch during the second expedition in 1874 followed by an outbreak of cholera that presumably won most of the attacks, Penang and Strait Settlements witnessed intensifying pledges from Aceh on protection and military aids. The pleas were delivered by several Acehnese elitists in Penang whom the British named as the Council of Eight. This paper examines the establishment of the Council of Eight. It studies the factors that contributed to its decline. It investigates the implication at home and abroad resulting from its voices and activities. Relying on daily newspapers spread across the Strait Settlements between 1873-1876 and colonial civil cases reports, the writer argues that the voices and activities of the Council of Eight in Penang played a significant role in the resistance of Aceh and the rise of anti-colonial responses in the Strait Settlements and the East Indies.

Keywords

Council of Eight Penang Island Holland war diplomacy anti-colonialism