Saturday, March 26, 2016

Aceh and Ottoman alliance

The Acehnese Sultanate had been founded in the early sixteenth century in the extreme north of Sumatra in the area known in the sixteenth century as Lamri. Despite the distance between them, Turkey and Aceh managed to establish commercial, diplomatic and military relations, most extensively in the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Around 1540s and 1550s, the Ottomans had maintained an intermittent naval presence in the western Indian Ocean.

The Ottoman army was once among the most advanced fighting forces in the world. The conquest of Imrah Island in the Sea of Marmara in 1308 marked the first Ottoman naval victory. Being aware of Ottoman interest in keeping alive trade to the Red Sea from the South and South East Asia, and also desirous of the legitimacy provided by a link with the Caliphate, Sultan ‘Alauddin Ri’ayat Shah al-Qahhar of Aceh sent a mission to Istanbul.

And as early as June 1562 an Acehnese ambassador was already in Istanbul, asking for military support to fight the Portuguese attack a year earlier.

The Ottomans did provide Aceh with a few expert gunpowders and artillerymen, but the major consequence of this embassy was to cement economic ties between the ports of the Red Sea which were under Ottoman control and the Acehnese.

According to Acehnese sources and some Portuguese ones imply that some military assistance, probably including two ships, some big cannons and some war artisans were sent to Aceh by Sultan Salim II.
Aceh and Ottoman alliance
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