Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Meaning of Malahayati (my last name)

The name of Malahayati or Keumalahayati founded in some Chinese and Western literatures. Some of historian put her as equal as Semiramis and Katherina II. She is a woman hero from Aceh Sultanate and also an admiral who formed and led an army which consists from Aceh's widows. They named their army with Inong Balee and based on Inong Balee Fortress, near Banda Aceh city at now.

Since Malacca fells to Portuguese invader, Aceh become stronger faction who kept merchant-lines in Malacca Strait for Asian traders. Aceh's leader, Sultan Alauddin Riayat Syah Sayyid al-Mukammil strength his army by built an huge navy. Suddenly, he decided to appointed Malahayati, a widowed of Aceh warrior, as his First Admiral. Although their admiral was a woman, Aceh soldiers always respect Malahayati as well as another generals. Malahayati also proved herself as legendary commander by involved with several battles against Portuguese and Dutch military.

In 1599 Dutch expedition commander, Cornelis de Houtman arrived in Aceh's port. At beginning, sultan accepted his guest with peaceful until de Houtman insult him. Cornelis de Houtman, who had confrontation with Banten Sultanate before came to Aceh, decided to attack Aceh. Malahayati took her Inong Balee Army to respons Dutch challenge. After several violent battle, Malahayati finally killed Cornelis de Houtman in September 11, 1599.

Her reputation as Guard of Aceh Sultanate makes England choose diplomacy way to enter Malacca Strait. A letter from Queen Elizabeth I, who brought by James Lancaster for Aceh's Sultan, opened their way to Java and soon built their merchant office in Banten. Elizabeth I finally awarded aristocracy members to James since his diplomacy success in Aceh and Banten

Nowadays, Malahayati become famous name for university, hospital and road in several cities in Sumatra.

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