Indonesia: History of Bali
Bali is the land of a thousand gods, temples and arts. Some other views are the island as the last frontier area that waiting to be discovered from its beauty. Ask around and you are almost sure to get reply, "come to Bali for its culture, its beauty". Inside our heart, Bali is really proud of their Island splendour. Once goes to Bali for an experience, a journey of a lifetime, learning traditional customs and faith, their hopes and their eternal search for peace. A tourist haven with splendid beaches; friendly people; a warm climate; cool mountain air; a slow pace. You get old stories; find new meaning of life. You can hike up trails, watch the birds, visit temples, and buy natural & unique souvenir, etc. You can fill your own treasure trove with memories, enlightenment recollections when you stood and faced the mountains and gazed at the natural beauty of the surrounding countryside.
Besides known as tourism area, it's also agronomy area, nowadays called 'agro-tourism'. As networking system that Bali is surrounded by river, water as the main needs of life. Whether rice is the staple food, derived from paddy, which needed plenty of water. Balinese need to devise an ingenious system of aqueducts that can be considered a miracle of engineering. Bali: perhaps the last place on this earth that still conjures images of beauty mystique, peace, good will and a way of life that is unique in this modern age. Here you get a deep sense of satisfaction. The environment possibly to be the hospitality that envelops you. Moreover the amazing hues of colour, sound and natural beauty.
Homo erectus, a distant ancestor of modern man, lived in a part of Indonesia between 350,000 and 800,000 years ago during the time of the great Ice Ages. Fossilized bones of "Java Man" from this period were found in Central Java in 1890, and stone axes and adzes have been discovered on Bali, in the northern village of Sembiran.
As the earth cooled during the Ice Ages, glaciers advanced from the Polar Regions and the levels of the world's oceans fell. Many of the islands of Indonesia became joined to the landmasses of Southeast Asia and Australia by exposed land bridges. The early humans, as well as animals, moved through these areas across the land bridges linking the islands. It is thought there were two main routes into Indonesia from the Asian mainland; one led down through Thailand into Malaysia and then into the archipelago while the other came down via the Philippines with branches into Kalimantan and Sulawesi.
Homo sapiens first appeared around 40,000 years ago. These hunter-gatherers lived in caves and left their rock paintings on some of the Far Eastern islands of the archipelago. The Neolithic era, around 3000 B.C., is marked by the appearance of more sophisticated stone tools, agricultural techniques and basic pottery. Remains from this era have been found at Cekik Village, in the far west of Bali, where evidence of a settlement together with burials of around a hundred people are thought to range from the Neolithic through to the Bronze Age.
From the seventh or eighth centuries B.C., the Bronze Age began to spread south from southern China. Important centres for Bronze Age skills arose in Annam and Tonkin in what is now Northern Vietnam, famed for their bronze casting, particularly of drums, decorated with animal, human and geometric patterns. The drums have been found throughout the Indonesian archipelago, as have the stone moulds used in their production. The most famous example in Bali, and the largest drum found anywhere in Southeast Asia, is the Moon of Pejeng, nearly two metres wide, and currently housed in a temple just east of Ubud.
Discoveries of carved stone sarcophagi from this period have been concentrated in East Java and Bali. The most notable examples are on display in the Bali Museum in Denpasar and the Museum Purbakala in Pejeng.
Stone sarcophagi, seats and altars
Though precious little is known about the long, formative stages of Balinese prehistory, artifacts discovered around the island provide intriguing clues about Bali's early inhabitants. Prehistoric gravesites have been found in western Bali, the oldest probably dating from the first several centuries B.C. The people buried here were herders and farmers who used bronze, and in some cases iron, to make implements and jewellery. Prehistoric stone sarcophagi have also been discovered, mainly in the mountains. They often have the shape of huge turtles carved at either end with human and animal heads with bulging eyes, big teeth and protruding tongues.
Stone seats, altars and big stones dating from early times are still to be found today in several Balinese temples. Here, as elsewhere in Indonesia, they seem to be connected with the veneration of ancestral spirits who formed (and in many ways still form) the core of Balinese religious practices.
Also apparently connected with ancestor worship is one of Southeast Asia's greatest prehistoric artifacts the huge bronze kettledrum known as the "Moon of Pejeng." Still considered to have significant power, it is now enshrined in a temple in the central Balinese village of Pejeng, in Gianyar Regency. More than 1.5 metres in diameter and 1.86 metres high, it is decorated with geometric motifs in a style that probably originated around Dongson, in what is now northern Vietnam. This is the largest of many such drums discovered in Southeast Asia.
Over 400 years ago most of East Java was exactly like Bali is today. Prior to 1815 Bali had a greater population density than Java, suggesting its Hindu-Balinese civilization was even more successful than Java's. When Sir Stamford Raffles wrote "History of Java" in the early 19th century, he had to turn to Bali for what remained of the once-great literature of classical Java.
Even today Bali provides scholars with clues about India's past religious life, clues which long ago vanished in India itself.
The Warmadewa Dynasty
Bali first came under the influence of Indic Javanese kings in the 6th to 8th centuries. The island was conquered by the first documented king of Central Java, Sanjaya, in 732; stone and copper inscriptions in Old Balinese have been found that date from A.D 882.
From the 10th to the 12th centuries, the Balinese Warmadewa family established a dynastic link with Java. Court decrees were thereafter issued in the Old Javanese language of Kawi and Balinese sculpture, bronzes, and other artistic styles, bathing places, and rock-cut temples began to resemble those in East Java. The Sanur pillar (A.D. 914), partly written in Sanskrit, supports the theory that portions of the island were already Indianized in the 10th century.
Bali's way of life was well defined by the early part of the 10th century. By then, the Balinese were engaged in sophisticated wet-rice cultivation, livestock breeding, stone and woodcarving, metalworking, roof thatching, canoe building, even cockfighting. The Balinese of the time were locked into feudal genealogical and territorial bondage. They were subjects of an autocratic Hinduized ruler - one of a number of regional Balinese princes - who himself acknowledged the sovereignty of a Javanese overlord.
The marriage of Balinese Prince Udayana of the Warmadewa dynasty to east Javanese Princess Mahendradatta in A.D. 989 led to even closer cooperation between Java and Bali. Airlangga (991-1046) was born to the royal couple around 1001. As a young man, the prince was sent to Java for his education. There, Airlangga married a princess and became a local chief in the kingdom of his uncle Dharma Wangsa. Shortly after Airlangga's arrival, Wangsa was attacked by the forces of Sriwijaya and murdered. Airlangga ascended to the throne, becoming one of the most glorious monarchs in Java's history. The dynasty he put in place - more centralized and less Indianized than any up to that time - lasted for more than 300 years. As befits an Indic hero, Airlangga ultimately renounced the kingdom he'd made great and died a hermit under the guidance of his spiritual adviser.
A fascinating legend relates how Airlangga's kingdom was nearly destroyed by a plague supposedly brought by the dreadful witch Rangda, queen of evil spirits. According to some historians, Rangda was Airlangga's own mother, Mahendradatta, whom her husband had sent into the jungle for practicing black magic. Other theorists maintain Rangda sought revenge against Airlangga because he did not side with her when his father took a second wife. Out of the mythical struggle between the magic of the witch and that of the great king arose the legend of Calon Arang, depicted today in Bali's barong dance. Rangda, who died relatively early in life, is thought to be buried in a tomb near Kutri. In Balinese myth she is forever associated with witchcraft.
For a long time Airlangga was forgotten in Java, whereas in his native Bali he has always been much revered. With the royal compound established near Batuan, his court's language became the common language of Bali. Another feature of these early times was the practice on Bali of both Hinduism and Buddhism (with a strong tantrum element) side by side.
This early period of Balinese history has long been perceived as an age of darkness, but based on an analysis of royal charters (prasasti) this is incorrect. Village communities started to take part in masked dances, dramas, and puppet performances staged by the royal courts. Tantric magical beliefs and rites surfaced, building upon and infusing the native animism. This period was the origin of the contemporary Balinese preoccupation with leak (witches) and such supernaturally charged characters as Rangda in the tale of Calon Arang. Artistically, the style of the cliff candi of Gunung Kawi was largely derived from East Javanese 11th-century architecture. The early monuments of Bali from this era, exemplified by the ghostly Gunung Kawi tombs, have fascinated religious, social, and cultural anthropologists the world over.
Division of the Kingdom
After the division of Airlangga's empire under his sons, Bali's next indigenous ruler was Anak Wungsu, who became one of the island's greatest kings. He and his predecessors are specifically connected by their monuments with the remarkably rich stretch of land between the Petanu and Pakerisan Rivers in south central Bali.
According to Javanese court records, in 1284 the mysterious last king of the East Javanese Singosari dynasty, Kertanagara (1268-92), sent a military force against Bali. During this expedition, the last descendant of the Warmadewa dynasty was taken prisoner, and Bali again became a vassal state of Java - yet another fluctuation in the turbulent relationship between the two islands. When Kertanagara was assassinated in 1292, the fierce Balinese took advantage of the confusion to rebel against their Javanese overlords.
The fall of the Singosari Empire after Kertanagara's 1292 assassination was followed by the rise of the new dynasty of Majapahit. Gajah Mada, the grand vizier or patih of King Radjasanegara, was sent to Bali in 1343 to subjugate the semidemonic king of the Balinese Pejeng dynasty, Dalem Bedulu, who refused to recognize Majapahit supremacy. A haunting myth tells of how the demon-king exchanged his human head for that of a wild boar, and how Gajah Mada tricked him so he could see the pig-head. The effect was devastating - Bedulu literally burned up in indignation.
After Gajah Mada conquered Bali, East Javanese influences spread from purely political and religious spheres into the arts and architecture. Bali became an outpost in a mighty empire - Indonesia's greatest - which encompassed nearly the entire archipelago.
The Javanese court chronicler, Parlance, relates how all the "vile, long-haired Balinese princes were wiped out... now all the barbarian Balinese customs are consistent with Javanese ones." This, of course, was not true, as elements of Old Balinese culture - prestige stratification, endogamous patrilineages, a developed witch-cult, and tight-knit irrigation societies - survive intact to the present day.
A young Brahman nobleman, Mpu Kapakisan, was appointed king of Bali by Gajah Mada and a colony of Javanese settlers was dispatched. The Balinese frequently revolted against the mighty Majapahit, but the uprisings were put down in memorable battles. Military figures (aryas) became rulers of Bali, and to them the present Balinese aristocracy 'Wong Majapahit' traces its origins.
The first four vassal rulers under the Javanese resided at a royal court in Samprangan near Gianyar. During Hayam Wuruk's rule in the late 14th century a dissenting vassal, I Dewa Ketut Tegal Besung, fell out with his elder brother - he'd married his sister to a horse - and established a princely court in Gelgel near Klungkung. Bali was conquered at the peak of Majapahit's artistic flowering, and thus Gelgel soon became an artistic power centre, exerting a powerful influence over Bali's subsequent cultural development. Hinduistic concepts filtered down to the villagers via the electrifying medium of the shadow play.
Historically speaking, Bali today is still a fossil of Java during Majapahit's golden age, a living museum of many elements of the old Indo-Javanese civilization. Through its isolation Bali kept its culture whole.
The Decline of the Majapahit Empire
Civil wars, revolts, and internal decay spread in Majapahit's colonies, and soon the great empire went into decline. Muslim missionaries became influential in Java, converting princes who, attracted to the economic benefits of Islam, declared themselves sultans and repudiated their allegiance to Majapahit. This gradual Islamization quickened the pace of deterioration in Majapahit; eventually, peaceful religious propaganda turned to armed force. When the empire crumbled under the military and economic invasion of Islam at the dawn of the 16th century, the cream of Majapahit's scholars, jurists, dancers, painters, craftsmen, intellectuals, and literati migrated to isolated parts of East Java, and to Bali. Priests took with them the entire kingdom's sacred books and historical records. Because of the lack of good harbours and the small volume of trade, Islam never succeeded in taking a firm hold in Bali's coastal areas. Only in Bali's extreme west, in Jembrana, did part of the population accept Islam. The regency to this day is home to Bali's largest Muslim population.
Nirartha, a great Hindu sage from Kediri in east Java, arrived in Bali in the 15th century, establishing a hermitage (griya) in Mas. There he became famous for his teachings, attracting many disciples. Nirartha created the system of village-level 'adat', a microcosm of the larger ORDER of the universe. He also conceived of the open-roofed shrine (padmasana) found in every Balinese household and temple courtyard. Nirartha's descendants now form one of Bali's four most important Brahmana classes.
Over the years, as descendants of Majapahit consolidated their power on the island: a Bali-Hindu civilization evolved like nowhere else in the archipelago. Only the Bali Aga, aboriginal mountain Balinese, resisted the Hindu inroads. Easternmost Java remained Hindu until the end of the 16th century; the Blambangan region in far eastern Java lost its independence only during the 17th century. Bali then became the last refuge of Hindu culture in Asia, a splendid historical anachronism.
The Gelgel Period In the 14th century a Javanese settlement was established at Samprangan, at the foot of Gunung Agung. The capital was then moved to the south coast at Gelgel in Klungkung Regency. Gelgel did not wield direct political power over the other courts but became the passive and much respected nucleus around which the other kingdoms revolved. Its powerful succession of rulers was distinguished by the semi-divine title of Dewa Agung ("Grand Lord") and was no less than the titular leaders of Bali.
Here, for two centuries, successive kings of Bali resided, developing unique Bali-Hindu customs and institutions and welding together the traditions of East Java and old Bali. Complex death rituals, offerings, and high ceremonial language were all probably introduced during this period. The greatest ruler at Bali's Gelgel dynasty, Dalem Batu Renggong, expanded the island's influence east by conquering and colonizing Lombok and Sumbawa, and the Blambangan Peninsula of East Java.
Whole colonies of court artisans, carvers, men of letters, painters, architects, and gold and silversmiths created the lavish trappings of royalty. Theatre associations and orchestras sprang up; folk art flourished. The arts were indistinguishable from the life of the courts and the religious activity of the people. Art was never executed for its own sake but presented as an offering or prayer in service to the community and the gods. A woodcarver carved the eaves on a royal bale from an almost client-like obligation to his lord; an architect designed a stone altar in the temple as an act of faith in his religion. Gratuity for the craft, product, labor, or service was given in the form of rice, privileges, and/or political patronage.
During Dalem Batu Renggong's rule, the saka calendar of Hindu Java and 30-week Balinese wuku calendar were combined into the intricate schedule of religious ceremonies that exists today. Cremations, until the Gelgel period the privilege of the nobility, began to be practiced by the common people. The Dewa Agung also constructed nine great temples throughout the land, with Pura Besakih serving as the island's "mother temple." Numerous present-day Balinese temples - Gunung Kawi, Pura Penulisan - are actually memorial shrines to ancient rulers and their families.
Around the mid-17th century, the dynasty moved north to Klungkung. Countless micro-revolts erupted among Bali's seven principalities, sparked by conflicts over status relationships, prestige, and pressure from upwardly mobile commoners. A state of constant war prevailed throughout the 18th and 19th centuries and ended only when the various kingdoms were forced to integrate into the Netherlands East Indies in the early 20th century.
Gelgel remained the island's centre of political power, if only in name, until its final defeat at the hands of the Dutch. The Balinese consider this dynasty their great classical period. Even after the Dutch conquests of 1906 and 1908, the local regents of the Gelgel and Klungkung districts retained their autonomy into the 1950s, when finally the Indonesian republican government stripped them of their lands and feudal authority.
Yet seven of the secondary principalities of Batu Renggong's time survive as administrative districts today: Badung, Gianyar, Bangli, Tabanan, Karangasem, Buleleng, and Jembrana, all based on the seven kingdoms that emerged from the 17th-century Gelgel dynasty. The metropolitan area of Denpasar, Bali's largest urban area and government centre, was declared regency in the early 1990s.
Bali remained obscure in the West for so long because of its lack of spices, fragrant woods, ivory and natural harbours, and because of its natural orientation toward the deep straits and treacherous tidal currents and reefs of the south rather than the tranquil Java Sea. These factors tended to isolate Bali from the elaborate international trade, which swirled around it.
Bali was therefore allowed to evolve uninterrupted artistic and social traditions far more independently than other settlements in the region. But the island soon attracted notice because of its position at the beginning of the Lesser Sunda Islands. In the early 16th century, navigators started labelling the small island east of Java Major "Java Minor." Not long thereafter the name "Bally" began to appear on maps.
The English buccaneer Sir Francis Drake paid a call in 1580. In 1585 the Portuguese attempted to establish a trading station in south Bali, but their ship was wrecked off Bukit. Finally, in 1597, a small fleet of Dutch war yachts, headed by Cornelius de Houtman, landed on Bali. He and his crew of 89 men were all that were left after a 14-month trading journey that began in Holland with 249 men.
Bali was the high point of de Houtman's journey, an island attractive and hospitable. The Dutchmen made great friends with the king, who, according to written accounts of the time, was "a good-natured fat man who had 200 wives, drove a chariot drawn by two white buffaloes, and owned 50 dwarves whose bodies had been distorted to resemble 'kris' handles." After a lengthy stay and many postponements, de Houtman announced a sailing date. Reluctant crewmembers disappeared up to the moment of departure. Upon their return to Holland the Dutchmen's reports of the new "paradise" created such a sensation that in 1601 the trader Heemskerk was sent to Bali weighted down with gifts for the king.
Early Dutch Incursions
In 1602 the Dutch trading company Vereenigde Oost Indische Compagnie (VOC) was formed by a GROUP of merchants. Maintaining its own private army, the VOC's goal was the unlimited exploitation of the East Indies. At first Bali offered little of commercial value, and for more than 250 years after its discovery the island was more or less left alone while the company concentrated its efforts on capturing control of the cash crops and spice trade of Java and the Moluccas.
Bali did not grow cloves or nutmeg - spices needed by the Europeans to make their meats more palatable - so there was little on the island to exploit. Bali's imports were gold, rubies, and opium; its exports mercenaries who fought in various wars in Java, and thousands of highly prized male and female slaves sold to Batavia, the Dutch capital in West Java. The massive eruption of Gunung Tambora on Sumbawa in 1830 brought so much devastation to Bali it forced curtailment of the slave trade. The rajas of south Bali, finding their wealth and power drying up, turned to rice, coconut oil, cattle, pigs, dried meat, hides, tobacco, and coffee. This new mercantile orientation attracted traders, including the English.
The year was 1839. The Dutch had not yet succeeded in penetrating the fertile rice-growing districts of southern Bali, where a glorious and carefully guarded Hindu theater state had flourished undisturbed for a thousand years. In that year, after he had been run off the neighbouring island of Lombok by an English rival, the flamboyant Danish merchant-adventurer Mads Johansen Lange (1806-56) set up a fortified 'factory' (trading post) on Bali's southern peninsula near the fishing village of Kuta. The Balinese were eager for trade contacts, but at the time foreigners were strictly confined to the edge of the island in places like Kuta, a political free port and no man's land where outcasts and opponents could find refuge. Lange's busy emporium became a vital link between inter-Asian trade and the inland Balinese economy.
Although his sojourn on Bali lasted only 10 years, it was to change Balinese history. Although a few Chinese and Buginese monsoon traders had settled near the main harbours of the island in the 19th century, mostly serving as intermediaries in the slave trade, Mads Lange established the first large trading post. Surrounded by an imposing wall with an elaborate gateway, the huge complex contained warehouses, a 'pasar'; comfortable residences, and an open dining pavilion with a billiard TABLE where foreign guests - merchants, ship captains, early tourists, Indologists, botanists, linguists - were sumptuously entertained.
Lange lived there with his Chinese and Balinese concubines, his Dalmatian dogs, and his retinue of servants. In the evenings cosmopolitan parties were held there, from where the Kuta villagers could hear Danish folk music and bawdy songs sung and played by Lange and his friends on flutes, violins, and a piano. Half the races of Europe were represented at the trader's hospitable table. The Balinese gentry, saronged and parasoled, were also often invited to the gay parties and treated with the utmost care and deference.
Relations with the dirt-poor Kuta villagers, however, were not as cordial. Once, when one of Lange's servants struck a Balinese, his factory was surrounded by a howling mob who wanted to burn it to the ground. Deftly, the trader bought the peace with 200 guilders and two balls of opium.
Roles of Lange
Lange himself came to play a crucial role in early colonial expansion. He fell under the protection of the highest-ranking raja of south Bali, Gusti Ngurah Gde Kesiman of Badung, who made Lange a perbekel (district official). Not only was he a powerful commercial broker who gained great profit from trade, but Lange also served as an indispensable link between the Dutch and southern Balinese rulers.
In 1844, the Dane was appointed Dutch agent and official middleman, maintaining many personal relationships with the quarrelsome Balinese princes. He served as a channel of information between the vastly different worlds of East and West, able to solve most problems by simply buying protection and goodwill. Lange was also an adept mediator between conflicting parties, acting as a human buffer and diplomat between Dutch colonial interests and internal Balinese court politics. To avoid conflicts between oafish Europeans and the Balinese natives, no one but Lange and his brother Hans were allowed into the island's interior.
Although Kuta at the time was the gateway to the island's rich inland economy of coffee, tobacco, and other cash crops, which Lange brokered, his major business derived from a monopoly on the sale of Chinese 'kepeng', which became the island's dominant monetary unit. Lange would buy the round coins cheap and sell them on Bali at 100% profit or else trade them for rice. Large quantities of these coins were sent from China to Singapore, From where Lange would import them to Bali along with opium, iron, arms, and textiles.
Working through Chinese agents, Lange maintained a system of storehouses on neighbouring islands where his fleet of 12 ships would gather raw produce to re-supply stocks on Bali. Numerous European ships called at Kuta to buy rice, coconut oil, animals, hides, cotton, tobacco, coffee, and other goods. He maintained two slaughterhouses, killing oxen to supply dried beef for the Dutch garrisons on Java. His close relationship with the local ruling elite allowed him to expand his trade and commercial contacts without competition or political risks. Lange became an immensely rich and powerful man.
But with the launching of several large-scale military expeditions by the Dutch against Bali in 1846,1848, and 1849, Lange's world was about to tumbling down, leaving him broken-hearted. At one point during a Dutch attack on Klungkung in 1849, Lange's trading station at Kuta was threatened. Filled with plunder, it was much coveted by the rajas of Mengwi and Gianyar. With opposing armies poised to attack near Klungkung, Lange averted a bloody disaster by dramatically riding out to meet the Dutch troops marching inland from Padangbai.
He mediated a temporary peace by arranging an extravagant ceremonial meeting at his factory between the Dutch commander and the southern rajas, attended by 30,000 followers of the rajas in case something went wrong. For his reward, Lange received from the old raja one of Bali's highest titles, 'punggawa besar'. Through this meeting, Lange's local patron and descendants were able to dominate southern Balinese politics until the final 'puputan' of 1906-08, by which time nearly the whole of the Indonesian archipelago had come under Dutch colonial rule.
Because of new technology and commercial pressure the fortunes of Lange's factory soon began to decline. The Dutch naval blockade of Bali (1848-49) and the continual warfare of the 1840s had seriously disrupted trade. The rice-growing hinterlands had suffered the ravages of war and a plague of rats, while accompanying smallpox epidemics and water shortages contributed to the chaos. In addition, Kuta harbour was inadequate for the steamships, which were used increasingly after 1850 in the inter-Asiatic trade.
Finally, new commercial rivals entered the picture when the northern harbour of Buleleng and Ampenan on Lombok began to attract the bulk of Balinese exports. All these factors conspired to cause Lange losses from which he never recovered. It was said of him that there was more of the bold Viking than the prudent trader in his nature. He was soon put out of business.
Bankrupt and dispirited, Lange died mysteriously in 1856 just before he was to return to Denmark. Historians believe a member of a competing dynastic GROUP seeking revenge may have poisoned him. His brother and nephew tried in vain to continue the factory, but Raja Kesiman's death in 1863 left the establishment completely vulnerable.
After several years nothing remained of the once-prosperous compound except for high stone walls. Remnants of the compound survived into the 1950s but today all has vanished. Descendants of his Chinese and Balinese wives went on to make names for themselves in Singapore, Malaysia, and Sarawak. Today, Lange's grave behind Kuta's 'pasar malam', a nearby alleyway named Gang Tuan Langa, and descendants of his Dalmatian dogs are the only physical traces left of this remarkable Dane's mercantile adventure on Bali.
In 1846, after the shipwreck of a Dutch vessel on the Badung shores and its looting by the local population, the Dutch envoy threatened the raja with reprisals. There were also several cases of looting - an ancient and accepted right of island peoples - of ships washed up on the northern coasts. When the Dutch resident went to Buleleng to investigate these cases and exchange contracts, he received a hostile and humiliating reception.
At the end of June 1846, the first Dutch punitive military expedition was launched against Buleleng - 23 warships and some 3,000 men. With rifles and mortars, the soldiers fought all day against a Balinese force estimated at 50,000, armed with just spears and 'kris'. Four hundred Balinese were killed and the royal palace at Singaraja was destroyed.
Within a few days a new treaty of submission was signed, the raja forced to pay 400,000 guilders, and a Dutch garrison stationed at Buleleng. Political tension increased all over the island, convincing the Dutch that further military intervention was necessary. In June 1848, after their treaties were violated and resistance continued, another Dutch expedition was launched. Opposed by a young prince named Gusti Ketut Jelantik, today an Indonesian military hero, this incursion ended in disaster for the Dutch. Lured into pursuing the Balinese force to the inland fortress of Jagaraga, the Dutch troops were encircled and soundly defeated.
The Balinese suddenly became the nightmare of the mid-19th century Dutch colonial state. There was no alternative but to SHOW the Balinese, the English, and all their enemies that this rout was simply an aberration, and that the Dutch were still the dominant power in the Indies. So in April 1849, 5,000 infantrymen, 3,000 mercenaries, and a fleet of 60 vessels with 300 marines set out to settle once and for all this Balinese business. Shipping out of Java, this was one of the largest Dutch military expeditions ever organized in the archipelago. After just two days of fighting and the loss of Jelantik, Buleleng and the fortress of Jagaraga were defeated.
The army of 20,000 men under the raja of Buleleng sued for peace. In May of that year Karangasem and Klungkung were likewise subjugated, the first time Dutch forces entered southern Bali. Gradually, over the next five years, political authority passed from the native rulers of north Bali into the hands of Dutch controllers. Buleleng and Jembrana were placed under the direct administration of the Netherlands East Indies government in 1882. The Balinese ruling neighbouring Lombok fared no better. In 1894 the Lombok War was initiated with the landing of Dutch forces; who were promptly thrown into the sea. Heavy artillery and reinforcements arrived and the well-trained Netherlands colonial army swept over the whole island, capturing the Balinese capital of Cakranegara, killing the crown prince, and exiling his father.
Twentieth Century The Conquest of South Bali
At the time of Holland's final conquest of Bali in 1906, the island was administered by autonomous lords and their officials. Each of its nine warring principalities - Klungkung, Karangasem, Mengwi, Badung, Bangli, Tabanan, Gianyar, Buleleng and Jembrana - was separated by sharply demarcated borders and each competed for the loyalty, support, and deference of the population.
In May 1904 the small Chinese steamer Sri Koemala was wrecked and looted off Sanur. The owners held the Dutch government directly responsible. The Dutch, in turn, demanded the raja of Badung pays damages and punish the looters. The raja, with the support of bordering states, refused. The dickering between the Dutch and the raja dragged on for two years, with the deadlock finally used as a pretence for the Dutch to throw a complete naval blockade around southern Bali.
On 15 September 1906, the Dutch anchored a large war fleet off Sanur and landed an expeditionary force of 2,000 men. Opposed on the beach at dawn the next day by Balinese attacking with golden spears, the Dutch started their final advance on Denpasar, trundling their cannons behind them. By 19 September they reached the town's outskirts. The naval bombardment commenced early the next morning, firing the king's palace and the houses of the princes.
The royal families of Badung were in a state of frenzy. Hopelessly outgunned but unwilling to face the humiliation of surrender, the raja invited anyone who wished to follow him in a puputan, a "fight to the end." After ordering everything of value destroyed, the raja, his nobles, generals, ministers, courtiers, retainers, and all his relatives - men, women, and children - dressed in their most splendid ceremonial attire. They then formed a fantastic procession on great gilded palanquins of state and marched down the main avenue of Denpasar to face the Dutch rifles.
Hurriedly, interpreters were sent out by the Dutch to stop them, but they continued. Suddenly the procession stopped. The raja dismounted the palanquin, gave a signal to one of his priests, and was stabbed in the heart. Immediately, the Balinese began killing each other. The Dutch soldiers, startled by a stray shot, fired volley after volley into the crowd. As if in a trance, men and boys and loin-clothed women with loose hair savagely attacked the Dutch, while court ladies contemptuously flung gold coins and jewels at the stunned soldiers. This fight to the death resulted in 3,600 Balinese dead and the annihilation of the entire royal family. The wives and followers of the king crawled upon his body to die; the heaps of dead became mounds. Some Balinese went among the fallen, killing the wounded with gold 'kris' while priests sprinkled holy water on the dead and dying. Another mad rush, led by the 12-year-old brother of the raja, was all mowed down.
The way to the burning palace was now free, over hundreds of mangled, bloodied corpses. The Dutch lost only one sergeant, stabbed to death by a woman. Only one small Balinese boy survived the massacre. Later that day, the army faced another 'puputan' led by the raja of Pemecutan. Dutch troops then ranged through the countryside, slaughtering the aristocracy and looting and leveling palaces.
It was not yet over. On 23 September 1906, the Dutch marched on Tabanan, the regency west of Badung. The raja offered to surrender on condition that he is allowed to retain his title and certain rights to his land. The resident, unable to answer until he consulted the colonial government, took him into custody. The following day the raja cut his own throat with a blunt 'sirih' knife.
Two years later the only remaining independent raja at Klungkung, the Dewa Agung, launched another 'puputan', killing himself and his entire family. The rajas of Karangasem and Gianyar to the east, who had formerly pledged their loyalty to the Dutch, were allowed to retain their titles and land. Any remaining royalty who opposed the Dutch were exiled and their properties confiscated.
The Dutch now controlled the entire island, and the glorious Bali-Hindu theater-state, so jealously guarded and preserved for more than a thousand years, came to a bitter end. The 'puputan' is commemorated today with a plaque in front of the Bali Museum in Denpasar depicting men, women, and children marching to their deaths.
The Balinese became the darlings of the Dutch authorities. Indeed, the Dutch administration took a patronizing attitude toward the people and their culture, allowing the Balinese to continue using their own language and practice their own 'adat'. Although the remaining pro-Dutch princes were deprived of political powers, they maintained much of their influence and importance as patrons of the arts. We must also be forever thankful to the Dutch for keeping the missionaries out of Bali; it was more convenient for them to control the people through their liaisons with local leaders and let religion take its own course. So little did Dutch colonialism affect Bali that even up until the 1970s, before the building of the international airport, a rural Balinese village was probably very similar to a Javanese village of the 17th century.
Foreign visitors and tourists were vigorously discouraged from visiting Bali. A small GROUP of dedicated Dutch officials safeguarded Bali's culture, which enjoyed a rebirth during the first three decades of Dutch rule. One can still see in the highlands above Singaraja and in Denpasar steeple homes with double doors, wrought-iron grillwork gates and hanging porcelain lamps, remnants of Dutch efforts to Hollandize Bali.
The Dutch Legacy
The occupying Dutch were not, however, totally humanitarian. Although no rubber or tea plantations were established, as in many parts of Java, the Dutch took over the highly profitable opium monopoly. Starting on 1 January 1908, any Balinese over the age of 18 was allowed to legally purchase opium from one of 100 official suppliers set up around the island. Realizing a profit margin of over 90%, within one-year opium sales accounted for 75% of the island's administrative budget. Only a small portion of the money ever benefited the Balinese directly. In 1910 alone, while the Dutch earned one million florins from opium, they spent less than 20,000 florins on schools. By the late 1930s, because of the combined clamour from Indonesian organizations and the Dutch Ethicists, the Dutch opium monopoly served only a few old die-hard Chinese addicts.
Discovery by the Western World
Over the decades following the conquest and occupation of the south, a SELECT GROUP of tourists, expatriates, actors, and celebrities adopted Bali as their private paradise, building ornate villas in Ubud and Sanur. These early sojourners would arrive on Bali by steamship at Singaraja, then motor south to Denpasar, invariably staying at the Bali Hotel.
The publication in 1926 of a remarkable book of photographs, Gregor Krause's Bali: Volk, Land, Tanze, Feste, Tempel, mesmerized all of Europe. Krause's priceless photos, taken while he was a government doctor on Bali between 1912 and 1914, revealed a culture, which had remained unchanged through the centuries. In the early 1930s a few documentary films, such as The Island of Demons from Germany and Goona Goona, out of the U.S.A., were distributed in America and Europe, bringing this isolated cultural outpost to the attention of the world. Bali by this time had also gained an underground reputation as a homosexual paradise; in 1935, a nightclub opened in Manhattan called the Sins of Bali.
The influence of such foreign artists as Walter Spies, Rudolph Bonnet, and Le Mayeur during the 1930s made a significant impact on the development of modern Balinese painting. An elite circle of foreign anthropologists, ethnologists, intellectuals, and musicians - Margaret Mead and Buckminster Fuller among them - were also drawn to Bali, devoting themselves to studying its culture.
Among the classic works produced in the 1930s is The Island of Bali, by the Mexican illustrator and writer Miguel Covarrubias. It was also during this period that the German novelist Vicki Baum visited the island, writing her vivid Tale of Bali in 1937, depicting the European conquest from the Balinese point of view. Dutch colonial officials and distinguished European scholars began to build a body of published work on Bali, anthropological literature with no parallel anywhere else in the world.
The Japanese Invasion In the early 1940s the Balinese were rudely shaken out of the political isolation and benign lethargy, which typified the latter years of Dutch rule. On 10 January 1942 the Japanese invaded the Dutch East Indies, landing troops on Celebes and Borneo. Denpasar's airfield was taken on 20 February, cutting communications with Australia and the Indies. Bali was used as a Japanese base for the invasion of Java on 26 February. On 8 March 1942 the Dutch surrendered with hardly a fight.
During the ensuing three years of Japanese occupation, while the rest of the eastern islands were subject to the oppressive arrogant control of the Japanese Navy, the occupier's treatment of the Balinese was comparatively indulgent. Nevertheless, Bali's population suffered critical food and medical supply shortages, while the island's transport system was almost totally disrupted. With his oratorical power and dominating, charismatic style, an ex-engineer named Sukarno (1901-1970) had emerged as Indonesia's most forceful nationalistic political personality during the 1930s. Sukarno cut deals with the Dutch to avoid being sent into exile; later, the Japanese used him to help them govern more effectively. During the Japanese occupation Sukarno seized every opportunity to educate the masses, inculcating in them nationalistic fervour.
In spite of their arbitrary cruelty and oppression, the Japanese offered an extraordinary and unprecedented opportunity for independence. The Japanese indoctrinated and politicized the Balinese, trained and armed paramilitary youth groups, and generally encouraged consciousness of what it means to be an Indonesian.
In April 1945, with the war turning against them, the Japanese even sent Sukarno and other independence figures on a speaking tour to promote nationalism. But the most useful contribution the Japanese made to Indonesia, in the end, was to lose the war.
Revolution On 17 August 1945, 11 days after the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Sukarno proclaimed Indonesia's independence in Jakarta. Before the Dutch could return to restore order, Balinese militants moved to seize weapons from the Japanese. The subsequent war of independence against the Dutch lasted for more than four years. On 20 November 1946, the Battle of Marga was fought in Tabanan in central Bali. Colonel I Gusti Ngurah Rai, 29 years old, led his 95 guerrillas in a last-ditch battle in which all were killed by aerial bombardment - a reenactment of the 'puputans' of 40 years earlier. Today you see Ngurah Rai's name commemorated on street signs all over the island; Bali's international airport is named in his honor.
Although Balinese resistance was broken, the Indonesians eventually won the war. In 1946 the Dutch made Bali the headquarters of their federal "Republic of East Indonesia" (NIT), which they backed as a rival to the revolutionary republic based on Java. Their plan was to one-day merge the island into a pro-Dutch federation. The Dutch tried to build support among the people by promising to revitalize Bali's devastated economy. But the Dutch lost their chance at dividing the islands when they broke their treaty with the new government and launched a direct attack on republic headquarters in Yogyakarta in central Java. After this "police action" proved ineffectual, Holland formally transferred the former Netherlands East Indies - including Bali - to Indonesian authorities in 1949. The Dutch left behind their most precious legacy - a wildly diverse Indonesian nation welded into a unitary state.
The New Republic
Following the exit of the Dutch came constant bickering between the military, secessionists, communists, conservatives, and religious fanatics. The new country experimented with a democratic constitution; cabinets turned over every six months. To stop the chaos, President Sukarno declared in 1956 his policy of "Guided Democracy," involving the creation of a National Council made up of members handpicked by himself. Sukarno declared the age-old Indonesian tradition of 'mufakat', or decision through consensus, would best suit Indonesia as a method of decision-making. Political parties and legislative bodies were abolished. On Bali, the old power arrangements continued, with the various principalities converted into 'kabupaten' and the rajas or members of their families assuming the office of bupati (mayor).
In the years following the establishment of Sukarno's extralegal "Guided Democracy," Bali came to distrust the arrogant, incompetent, and corrupt centralized regime. Jakarta, in turn, resented the special treatment Bali had received from the Dutch; many in the government also felt the Balinese had cooperated all too willingly with their former colonial masters. Though Sukarno was half Balinese, he showed little empathy for the Balinese and their plight. In the late colonial period, the island had been one of the best-administered regions in the archipelago, but under the new republic it became one of the most neglected and dependent. By 1962, the island was relying on injections of 300 tons of rice per month from the powers in Jakarta. A clique of corrupt Sukarnoists and new Balinese capitalists, both civilian and military, lorded it over the landlines peasants, aggressively jockeying for state patronage and competing with each other for wealth and power at the expense of the natives.
Village administration, local 'adat', and large public rituals were redefined and appropriated by Indonesian government institutions to enhance state authority.
Bad government led to the disintegration of the island's economy. Government offices were filled with bungling bureaucrats who insisted on bribes before performing even the most routine services. Sukarno meanwhile treated Bali like his own private playground. He and his entourage visited the island constantly; demanding special dance performances are staged; abducting Balinese women for sexual favours, commandeering without payment vehicles, paintings and whatever else seized their fancy. Advance squads of soldiers would sweep in to shoot dogs and pigs so parties of devout Muslim visitors would not be revolted by sight of the unclean creatures.
What did the Sukarno era leave behind? A former Dutch rest house at Tampaksiring converted to one of Sukarno's private palaces, the eyesore of the Bali Beach Hotel at Sanur, and the establishment of Bali's only tertiary institute, the Udayana University of Denpasar.
The 1965 Coup and its Aftermath In the waning days of Sukarno's reign, conflict increased between the high-caste capitalist class and communists pursuing a more militant role in land reform and harvest-sharing policies. Bali's governor, Anak Agung Bagus Suteja, increased the participation of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) and other leftists in the island's administration and legislative bodies. The PKI's aggressive policy toward land reform understandably had tremendous appeal to landlines peasants and poor tenant farmers. Land was seized unilaterally from rich landowners; landlord-employed thugs destroyed sharecroppers' crops and razed their huts. Government offices were burned, scuffles and armed attacks broke out and religious ceremonies were disrupted. A full-scale civil war, drawn along class lines, was underway.
A series of ominous natural catastrophes also weighed in: rat and mouse plagues, insect infestations, crop failures, and, finally, the violent eruption of Gunung Agung. The mountain exploded during the holiest of Balinese ceremonies, Eka Dasa Rudra, a purification rite in which harmony and balance in people and nature are restored in all 11 directions. The ceremony, held only once every 100 years, was precipitously held some 10 years early at the behest of Sukarno, apparently to impress a convention of travel agents. Midway through the opulent proceedings, Gunung Agung began to shower the whole area with ash and smoke, finally exploding in its most violent eruption in 600 years. Earthquakes toppled temples, hot ash ignited thatched roofs, volcanic debris rained upon the earth. As the molten lava moved toward them, Hindu priests prayed frantically, hoping to appease the angry gods, assuring worshippers they had nothing to fear.
In the end, 1600 Balinese were killed, 86,000 left homeless, and 100,000 hectares removed from production. A layer of hot choking dust lay over the whole island for a week, covering fields, houses, and streets. One-quarter of Bali was turned into black lava desert. The catastrophe was attributed to the wrath of the god Shiva in his most evil aspect as Rudra. This disaster ultimately became a damning judgment on the entire Sukarno era.
Because empty land for evacuees was not available on Bali, the consequences of overpopulation became acute for the first time in the island's history. No longer could farmers move temporarily to another part of the island, later returning to a land covered in fresh, fertile ash. Thousands had to be resettled in Sulawesi.
The failure of crops, the uprooting of many villages, and the forced evacuation of masses of people contributed substantially to the communal clashes and massacres of tens of thousands of Balinese during the purge of Indonesian communists in 1966. Internal refugees poured into Denpasar and Singaraja where, together with large numbers of unemployed urban poor, formed a restive, disaffected underclass ripe for mobilization by communist mass organizations.
Finally, all hell broke loose. On the night of 30 September 1965, six high-ranking army leaders were kidnapped, tortured, and killed in Jakarta, allegedly by communist conspirators. The attempted coup d'état, suppressed skilfully within days by a previously little-known general named Suharto, led directly to an archipelago-wide bloodbath.
The Indonesian Communist Party was immediately banned, and Sukarno was forced to delegate wide powers to Suharto. Mass arrests followed. On 8 October fanatical Muslim youths attacked and burned the communist party headquarters in Jakarta, initiating a bloody wave of anticommunist reprisals that rolled over Java and Bali, leaving whole villages devastated and in many cases obliterated. The killings on Bali started in earnest in December 1965 and soon began to take on the dimensions of a mass purgation, an "essential" exorcism of the island. Devout Balinese murdered godless communists whom they believed mocked their religion and threatened their pious way of life. In the witch-hunt for "communists" old scores were settled and many non-communists wiped out. Wealthy businessmen took advantage of the chaos to murder their Chinese and Balinese competitors.
On Java the people had to be egged on to kill the communists; on Bali they had to be restrained. The "trance killings" reached a fever pitch in 1966, when whole groups of Balinese were rounded up and slashed, clubbed, and chopped to death by communal consent. The killers included small boys, encouraged in some cases by Hindu priests. The purge on Bali became so indiscriminate commandos finally had to step in to restore order. From then on the killing was coordinated by the military and police, working with civilian authorities to make sure only the "right" people were executed. Dressed in ceremonial white attire, the victims were led to the killing fields dispassionately, almost politely, without hatred. Of a population of two million, it is estimated as many as 50,000 were killed. The horrific bloodletting is rarely referred to today.
Suharto's pro-Western "New Order" ushered in a long period of relative stability and rampant capitalist development. In 1979, the Eka Dasa Rudra cleansing ceremony was held again and completed without incident. Suharto's attendance at the ceremony was an attempt to place Bali's religion and culture firmly in the national psyche, an indispensable part of the pan-Indonesian culture.