The Achenese Peudeueng
The Long Sword of Aceh Sumatra
By John T. Crosby
Aceh (also referred to as Atjeh, Atjin, Acheen Achin.) is at the northern tip of Sumatra in Indonesia. It is believed to be one of the oldest kingdoms in Indonesia. Hindu and Buddist influence from India may have reached Aceh as early as the first century. sixth century A.D. Chinese chronicles. spoke of a kingdom on the northern tip of Sumatra named Po-Li. It is believed that Islam likely first entered the Indonesian archipelago through Aceh sometime between the 8th and 12th century. In 1292, Marco Polo, on his epic voyage from China visited Sumatra on his way to Persia and reported that in the northern part of the island there were at least six busy trading ports including Perlak, Samudera and lambri. With a past like this it is not surprising that their weapons have Hindu, Buddist, Chinese and Islamic influence. The area has an extensive martial history. In the middle of the 14th century, Pasai was invaded by Majapahit soldiers from Java. In 1523, Sultan Ali attacked the Portuguese in Pasai, killing Portugal military commander Horge de Brito. Sultan Ali managed to drive the Portuguese troops out of Pasai. After this defeat, Portugal attempted to conquer Aceh several times, without success. In 1873, the Netherlands declared war and invaded Aceh Darussalam. But the Dutch found it more difficult than they expected to gain control of the whole of Aceh. The Acehnese resisted the occupation, touching off the Aceh War, the longest colonial/expeditionary war fought by the Dutch and claiming more than 10,000 lives. Aceh-Dutch war dragged on until 1914, resistance continued with smaller groups until 1942 when the Japanese arrived in the Dutch East Indies. It has often been said that the Sultanate of Aceh from the 16th century on was in continual struggle. Although a multitude of edged weapons are used in Aceh there are 3 primary weapons that have played a role in Aceh’s history. They are the rencong, Siwaih ( Siwah, Sewar, Siwar) and peudeueng. This article will deal with the peudeueng. As I gain more imformation this will be updated and more sword types may be added. Nothing in this should be considered new or original work on my part. Instead this is a compilation of what so many people have been kind enough to share with me, and what published material I have been able to access. I am certain there are inaccuracies here that are the result of honest mistakes. They will be corrected as I am made aware of them or find better information. That is one large advantage a web based article has. Unlike the published word wich can only be as good as the information at the time of publishing; the web based article can be udated and changed.
THE NEW YORK TIMES, on May 6th, 1873, wrote: "A sanguinary
battle has taken place in Aceh, a native Kingdom occupying the Northern
portion of the island of Sumatra. The Dutch delivered a general assault and
now we have details of the result. The attack was repulsed with great
slaughter. The Dutch general was killed, and his army put to disastrous
flight. It appears, indeed, to have been literally decimated."
THE NEW YORK TIMES, on May 6th, 1873, wrote: "A sanguinary battle has taken place in Aceh, a native Kingdom occupying the Northern portion of the island of Sumatra. The Dutch delivered a general assault and now we have details of the result. The attack was repulsed with great slaughter. The Dutch general was killed, and his army put to disastrous flight. It appears, indeed, to have been literally decimated."