On this day in 1685, Captain Thomas Bowrey purchased gold in Achein [Aceh].
Aceh is at the northern most tip of the island of Sumatra in present-day Indonesia. In Bowrey’s day it was an important source of gold ore [rock gold]. There has been a long tradition of gold mining in the area but it has now been banned because of the environmental damage the mining causes. However, illegal gold mining still happens today.
Aceh gold was tempting for independent merchants like Bowrey and Weltdon [see 4 June] as an easy way to transfer their fortune home from the east but to the European East India Companies its attraction was pepper and tin.