This book describes the painful transition of North Sumatra from a number of independent states to a part of Netherlands India (present day Indonesia).
It is seen not as a simple conflict of Netherlands imperialism and Indonesian parochialism, but as a three-sided contest in which the independent commercial interest of the Straits Settlements played an integral role.
Aceh and Oostkust van Sumatra were the last to resist Dutch influence because they were almost exclusively the
commercial preserve of Britain.
It was not until the end of the century that the Netherlands overcame this difficulty and established her claim over the whole area, giving way to the demands of British commerce in the East Coast but ignoring them in the case of Aceh.