The Achinese (also Acehnese) a people in Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam in Indonesia. They are of Malayan stock but darker and somewhat taller.
Their homeland is located in the northern-most tip of the island of Sumatra and had an illustrious history of political struggle against the Dutch. An independent Aceh had successfully repelled Dutch attempts at colonization for roughly four hundred years.
They were at one time Hinduized, as is evident from their traditions and the many Sanskrit words in their language. They have been Muslims by religion for several centuries.
They are industrious and skilful agriculturists, metal_workers and weavers. They build excellent ships. Their social organization is communal. They live in kampongs, which combine to form mukims, districts or hundreds (to use the nearest English term), which again combine to form sagis.
Aceh has been trying to regain its political freedom ever since it gave up its independence to join Indonesia. Indonesia, under the late President Sukarno, had critically at various periods undermined the rights of the Acehnese people including the dissolution of Aceh into the province of North Sumatra in the 1950s and the failure to keep the promise it made to Aceh with regards to its religious freedom.
Brutal repressions of their political struggle by Jakarta have further hardened the Acehnese resolve for a political divorce.
Aceh came to international attention as being one of the hardest hit regions of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake with tens of thousands lost.
This article incorporates text from the public domain 1911 Encyclopędia Britannica.