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(ä`chā), special region (1980 pop. 2,875,634), 21,387 sq mi (55,392 sq km), N Sumatra, Indonesia, formerly known as Atjeh or Achin. The capital and largest city is Banda Aceh. The northernmost province of Sumatra, Aceh has rich petroleum and natural gas deposits as well as valuable rubber, oil palm, and timber resources. The Acehnese, like most Indonesians, are Muslim, but are generally more conservative. Gunung Leuser National Park is in SE Aceh.

A kingdom in N Sumatra is recorded by the 6th-cent. A.D. Chinese. By the 8th cent. Islam had arrived, and a number of Muslim kingdoms and sultanates were subsequently established in the region. Aceh (Achin) reached the height of its power in the early 17th cent. The Dutch gained control of the coast in 1873 and engaged in a partly successful effort to subdue the interior until c.1910.

Aceh also resisted Indonesian control and in 1959 was designated a special region with autonomy in religion, culture, and education. Late in 1976 the Movement for a Free Aceh declared the province independent but was suppressed; guerrilla warfare resumed in the late 1980s and continued through the rest of the century. A peace agreement providing for greater Acehnese autonomy was signed in 2002, but with neither side willing to compromise, Indonesia ended the subsequent talks in 2003, imposed martial law (reduced to a state of emergency in 2004 and ended in 2005), and launched new attacks against the rebels.

Many coastal areas in Aceh were devastated by an intense offshore earthquake and resulting tsunami in Dec., 2004; some 166,000 died in the province. In the aftermath, the rebels and government held a series of talks aimed at ending the fighting. A new peace accord, calling for the rebels to disarm, government forces to be reduced, and for local self-government to be established in Aceh, was signed in Aug., 2005. Some 15,000 people are believed to died as a result of the conflict. An autonomy law for Aceh was passed by the Indonesian parliament in 2006, and the first government under it was elected later in the year. Parts of N Aceh were devastated by an earthquake in Dec., 2017, but the damage was much less extensive and deadly than in 2004.

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an autonomous region of N Indonesia, in N Sumatra; mountainous with rain forests; scene of separatist conflict since the later 1990s; coastal areas suffered badly in the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004. Capital: Banda Aceh. Pop.: 3 930 905 (2000). Area: 55 392 sq. km (21 381 sq. miles)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Banu writes that "Sultanah Safiatuddin's ascension to the throne as the first female ruler of Aceh Dar al-Salam in 1641 was not opposed by the ulama" (p.
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But while Aceh's physical reconstruction is impressive and the Indonesian government's Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Agency for Aceh and Nias (BRR) has rightly been praised as a model of post-crisis governance and leadership, these achievements obscure deeper problems that have made long-term recovery for many Acehnese difficult and elusive.
Responding to the rampant violence in Aceh, Indonesian Military Commander General Moeldoko said on Friday that they were spontaneous acts as the military did not find previous signals related to it.
People ran outside in panic in Banda Aceh as the quake shook houses, and in Medan city to the south of Aceh province on Sumatra island.
The ban has immediately stirred controversy across Aceh.
Michael Feener, and Anthony Reid, organized a series of important conferences and workshops on Aceh, often in cooperation with colleagues from The Aceh Institute in Banda Aceh.
Aceh, the special administrative zone in Indonesia, is now promoting itself as a unique destination for Muslim tourists of Asia.
Located on the westernmost side of Indonesia, the province of Aceh has gained a reputation for conflict since the Free Aceh Movement (Gerakan Aceh Merdeka, widely known as GAM) took up arms in 1974 in an attempt to secede from Indonesia.