Cut Nyak Dien, one of the world’s greatest female war commanders

December 4, 2012 • Country, Culture, People, Politician


The name Cut Nyak Dien is highly special to many Indonesians. She is a female fighter during the Dutch colonialism in Indonesia, particularly in the Aceh region.

Together with her husband Teuku Umar, Cut Nyak Dien led her force to cast out Dutch troops from Aceh. Such accomplishment has made Cut Nyak Dien a legend and awarded her as one of Indonesian heroines. She was also known as an expert in arranging war strategies and became the best woman strategist in the entire archipelago.


Interestingly, her story also drew attention from another country. A newspaper in Malaysia labelled Cut Nyak Dien, who was born in 1848, as one of the world’s greatest female war commanders. She was even ranked the second after Mary E Walker of the United States Armed Forces.


It was Surat Khabar Keadilan Malaysia that ranked 10 best females in wars. Most of them were female armies from the US such as Opha M. Johnson (US Navy), Loretta Walsh (US Navy), Oveta Culp Hobby (US Ground Force), Elsie S. Ot (US Air Force), Cordelia E. Cook (US Ground Force), and Margaret Corbin (American Revolutionary War).


The two others are from Algeria, Djamila Bounhired, and France, Joan of Arc. The later is famous in France due to her participation in French army in the war against British troops to get the colony back.

The international acknowledgement on Cut Nyak Dien is indeed commendable. Furthermore, the Indonesian government has made the right step by conferring Cut Nyak Dien a heroine title for her huge contribution and sacrifice on the struggle against colonialism.

In short, the story of Cut Nyak Dien will always be remembered proudly from one generation to another, including through various works such as films and books.

(DM, from various sources)


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