CBC News Online | September 9, 2004
Aceh is a province of Indonesia, but was actually an autonomous sultanate before the Dutch colonial era of the 19th century.
Located on the northern tip of the island of Sumatra, it has a population of four million.
London Treaty signed, giving the Dutch control of all British possessions on the island of Sumatra, and establishing Dutch East India. As part of the agreement, the Dutch agreed to allow Aceh its independence.
Despite earlier promises, the Dutch invade Aceh in an attempt to gain control. Following the war which lasted approximately 20 years the Dutch occupy the region until 1942.
Japan invades Indonesia, driving out the Dutch East Indies army.
Indonesia proclaims independence after Japan is defeated in the Second World War.
With the signing of the Round Table Conference Agreements, Dutch East Indies ceases to exist and becomes the Republic of Indonesia in 1950 the same year it joins the United Nations. As part of the agreement, the Kingdom of Aceh is included as part of the new republic despite the fact it had never actually been a Dutch possession.
After fighting the pro-independence group Darul Islam for nearly a decade, the government of Indonesia recognizes Aceh as a "special territory."
The Free Aceh Movement, an armed pro-independence group is founded and argues Aceh never should have been part of Indonesia. Within a few years, however, the Indonesian government conducts widespread arrests, severely curtailing the group's activities.
The Free Aceh Movement makes a resurgence and begins attacking Indonesian government targets.
Indonesian government grants its military free access to, and movement within, Aceh.
July 23, 2001
Abdurrahman Wahid elected in Indonesia's first presidential election.
Dec. 9, 2002
Peace agreement signed between the Free Aceh Movement and the government of Indonesia.
May 19, 2003
Indonesian government declares martial law in Aceh and launches a military strike including more than 400 paratroopers and missile strikes on rebel bases.
Dec. 26, 2004
Following the Asian tsunami, which killed an estimated 200,000 people in Aceh, the Free Aceh Movement asks for a ceasefire.
July 16, 2005
Negotiators for the Free Aceh Movement and the Indonesian government reach a tentative deal in Helsinki, Finland. The two sides agree on allowing local political parties, including Free Aceh, in the province.
300 ethnic groups
Population: 242 million