By M. C. Ricklefs
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Extra resources for A History of Modern Indonesia: c. 1300 to the Present (Asian history series)
Their relations with the Muslim ruler were strained by rather feeble attempts at Christianisation, and by the generally poor behaviour of the Portuguese. This outpost at the other end of the earth rarely attracted any but the most desperate and avaricious. In 15 3 5 the Portuguese in Tern ate deposed King Tabariji (or Tabarija) and sent him to Portuguese Goa. There he converted to Christianity, took the name Dom Manuel, and upon being declared innocent of the charges which had been brought against him he was sent back to reoccupy his throne.
From about 1540 Aru became a battleground between Acehnese and Johorese power, and it was only in 1613 that Sultan Iskandar Muda took the area finally for Aceh. But the greater contest which lay behind these wars, the contest for the mantle of Malacca as the sole entrepot of the western archipelago and the dominant power in the Straits, was to be won by no one. Ali Mughayat Syah's eldest son and successor Salahuddin (r. 1530-c. 1537/9) is thought of as a weaker ruler. In 1537 an Acehnese assault on Malacca failed and about this time Salahuddin was deposed in a coup.
Lombard has described the decline of Aceh in the later seventeenth century as partly a function of its earlier success, for the city grew to a size which was greater than it could feed. There were also political reasons for Aceh's later decline. As was the case elsewhere, below the Sultan were elite groups whose support was essential to the Sultanate, but who often required rigorous persuasion to give that support, or rigorous suppression. The elite of Aceh, known as orang kaya (powerful men), were kept in check in Iskandar Muda's reign.