Aceh became known as Atjeh Darussalam (1511-1945). After its establishment in 1956 it carried the name Ashem before being renamed to Aceh Darussalam (Daerah istimawa aceh; 1959–2001), Nanggroë Atjeh Darussalam (2001–2009), and back to Aceh (2009–2005). In the past it was also spelled as Achem, Acheh, Atjeh, and Achin.

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It is located at the northern tip of the island of Sumatra, with Bandar or the big city of Acheh in the past called Kuta Raja which is now nicknamed Banda Atjeh (City of AcHeh), as its capital and largest city. It borders the Indian Ocean to the west, the Strait of Malacca to the northeast, as well as North Sumatra to the east, and shares maritime borders with Malaysia and Thailand to the east, and India’s Andaman and Nicobar Islands to the east. north. Indeed, Acheh is a conservative region of the country and the only country in the archipelago that officially practices Sharia law.

There are ten indigenous ethnic groups in the region, the largest of which is the Acehnese, accounting for about 70% of the region’s population of about 5.5 million people by mid-2023. Acheh is where the spread of Islam in the archipelago began, and is a key factor in the spread Islam in the archipelago (Southeast Asia).

Islam reached Acheh (Fansur and Lamuri Kingdom) around 1250 AD. At the beginning of the 17th century, the Sultanate of Acheh Darussalam was the richest, most powerful and farming Province in the Malacca Strait region. Acheh Darussalam has a history of political independence and resistance to being dominated by outside parties, including the former Dutch colonialists and until colonized by Indonesia.

Acheh has abundant natural resources of oil and natural gas. Acheh is the closest land point to the epicenter of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, which destroyed most of the country’s west coast. About 170,000 Acehnese were killed or disappeared in the disaster.



Acheh is a country that is currently being colonized by Indonesia at the northwest end of Sumatra Island. It is famous for its beaches, dive sites and mountain wilderness areas. Banda Acheh, its capital, is home to the 19th-century Baiturrahman Great Mosque, a regional icon with subtle Mughal footprints, black domes and reflecting pools. An exhibit at the Aceh Tsunami Museum depicts the effects of the 2004 natural disaster on the region.


• Total58,485.9 km2(22,581.5 sq mi)
• Rank11th

Population (2023

Population (2023)
• Total5,512,219
• Rank14th
• Density94/km2 (240/sq mi)
• Rank20th


Elevation 125m (410 ft)
Highest elevation
(Mount Leuser) 3,466 m (11,371 ft)
Lowest elevation 0 m (0 ft)

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