Autonomous Sultanate

Dutch Protectorate

Armed Forces


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Siak Sri Indrapura was the centre of an Islamite Malayan kingdom, which enjoyed its golden age from the 18th through 20th century. Sultan Abdul Jalil Rahmad Syah (Raja Kecil) founded the kingdom in 1723.

In 1746, the Sultan of Johore Sulaiman Badrul Alam Shah of the Bendahara Dynasty (1722-’60) gave the Siak Kingdom to the Dutch VOC. That same year, agreements were made with the Peninsular Kingdom of Nanning, Rembau and Perak. In 1765 the VOC retired from Siak and in 1784 when the Dutch undertook an expedition against the Viceroy of Riau they were supported by the Siak sultan.

By the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824 Siak became a part of the Dutch sphere of influence. This was followed on 1 February 1858 by a political contract signed between the Netherlands Indies government and sultan Ismail by which Siak came under the rule of the Dutch colonial government.

The boundaries of Siak were defined to include Langkat and Deli, infringing on Acehnese territory. The Dutch governed Tanah Deli (now Medan) from 1858, after Sultan Assyaidis Syarif Ismail Jalil Jalaluddin (1827-1864), ruler of Siak, yielded some of his once-ruled land, Deli, Langkat, and Serdang.


In November 1945, the last sultan, Sultan Syarif Kasyim II, sent a cable to the president of Republic of Indonesia stating his loyalty to the republic, and he contributed his properties to the struggle of independence.



Abdul Jalil Rahmat Shah


Mahmud Abdul Jalil Jalaluddin Shah


Ismail Abdul Jalil Jalaluddin Shah


Abdul Jalil Alamuddin Riayat Shah


Muhammad Ali Abdul Jalil Muazzam


Ismail Abdul Jalil Jalaluddin Shah


Yahya Abdul Jalil Mazaffar Shah


Saiyid Ali bin Uthman Abdul


Ibrahim bin Saiyid Ali Abdul


Ismail bin Muhammad Abdul Jalil


Dutch Protectorate 1858-1946

Ismail bin Muhammad Abdul Jalil


Syarif Kasim I bin Muhammad Abdul


Yang Dipertuan Besar Syarif Hasyim


Yang Dipertuan Besar Syarif Kasim


Siak incorporated in the Indonesian Republic 1946




Autonomous Sultanate


Initially the royal symbol of Siak was a Tree of Life supported by two snakes (naga). This is demonstrated by a tombak (spear) today in the treasury of Siak Palace. [1]


Tombak from the Siak Palace Treasury, 18th century

The detail on the right showing the Tree of Life and the naga


The Sultan’s flag consisted of a yellow cloth charged with a red-white and blue tricolore. At the saem time the commercial flag was blue charged with two breadths of red and white. We may suppose that these flags were introduced after the Van Braam expedition in 1784 when Siak helped the Dutch to crush the Bugis of Riau Vice Kingdom.



Sultan’s Flag of Siak, before 1858


Commercial Flag of Siak, before 1858

Belonging to the same set of political emblems is the seal in the common Sumatran form of an eight-leaved lotus and as such a symbol of the Sultan’s administration. The print shows the names and titles of the sultan an a date. [2]



Print of the Seal of  Saiyid Ali bin Uthman Abdul  (1797-1811)

dated 1225 (1809 A.D)


The lotus-shaped seal is an inheritance from the Hindu-Buddhist system of political symbols in which  the lotus is the symbol of administrative authority.





After 1858, when Siak was incorporated in the Netherlands Indies Colony the political symbols were further developed. About the turn of the 20th century they consisted of the national flag and achievement and the sultan’s flag and achievement.

Beside these symbols a national or royal crown was designed as a part of the ruler’s pusaka (regalia).


National Emblem and Flag


The National Emblem



The national Emblem consists of the cypher H, S and L (?) in arab lettering, surrounded by a crescent and five-pointed star.

The crescent-and-star is from the muslim system of political symbols and means: The Governor (Head of State), the crescent symbolizng the state, the star the prince.






ï The National Emblem (Lambang Kesultanan Siak Sri Indrapura) as on a picture in the Royal palace.



Commercial, alias the National Flag of Siak, 1858-


Royal Emblem and Flag


Cap Badge of Sultan Syarif Kasim (1908-’46)

Detail from his portrait in full dress (KIT portefeuille 10B/10740)


The emblem consists of the cypher of the arab letters H, S and L and three five-pointed stars, surrounded by a crescent charged with five five-pointed stars. The emblem is crowned with the royal crown of Siak and supported by two crowned naga.



Royal Flag [3]

A later version shows a yellow square flag


Royal Crown of Siak

It is said that the Royal Crown of Siak was made about 1905 but its design is probably older. The crown consists of a diadem set with leaves of traditional design and four transversal hoops decorated with three lotus-flowers. It is abundantly set with precious stones.

The crown was exhibited in Singapore and Leiden 2009-‘10. [4]


The Royal and National Achievement


Achievement of Siak, first version (1884). [5]


Arms: The chief strewn with 17 billets, a cypher in arab lettering and in base a legend also in arab lettering.

Crown: The Royal Crown of Siak

Supporters: Two royally crowned Naga, each supporting a royal pennon, and a garland of tualang leaves (?)



The inscriptions are unexplained. 1884 is the second decade of the reign of Syarif Kasim I (1864-’89)


A later version shows:

Arms: Azure, a figure derived from the National Emblem [Or].

Crown: The royal crown of Siak

Supporters: Two royally crowned Naga, each holding a royal pennon being all yellow

Motto: An inscripion in arab lettering on a ribbon Gules, lined Azure.


ð See illustration in the head of this essay. [6]


Armed Forces



Flag for War of Siak, after 1858


Sultan Syarif Kasim and his guard, about 1910.

Coll. Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam. Inv. nr. 60028108



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© Hubert de Vries 2010-12-13

[1] ) Ibbitson, Helen: Court Arts of Indonesia. Nr. 15.

[2] ) British Library MSS Eur. D. 742/1, f. 126r. Teh Gallop, Annabel:  Golden Letters. London 1991.  N° 24

[3] ) Flags of Siak after Carte des Pavillions en usage chez les différentes peuples des Indes-Orientales Neerlandaises. The Hague, 1865. Rühl, Dirk Vlaggen van den Oost-Indischen Archipel (1600-1942). In: Jaarboek van het Centraal Bureau voor Genealogie. Dl. VI, 1952. pp. 136-148.

[4] ) Sumatra Tercinta. Exhibition in the Museum voor Volkenkunde, Leiden. 14.10.09 - 25.04.10. Catalogue by: Tan, Heidi: Sumatra: Isle of Gold. 2010 

[5] ) Source: Internet

[6] ) Ibid.