Bali ‘s History from the 6 th century till 1940

Written by on June 16, 2012 in Bali History with 0 Comments

Bali ‘s History from the 6 th century till 1940

Many people don’t know the history of Bali.

Cornelis Houtman was the first Westerner who discovered it in 1597. In the following years various attempts followed to get into contact but were hardly successful.

The Dutch were already on Java and they were highly irritated by the salvage rights the Balinese claimed and executed with enthusiasm. Every ship that wrecked on he rocks was theirs, the crew murdered and the goods sold.

When the Netherlands were occupied by Napoleon, England was taking care of our colonies for the time being.

After the Dutch East Indies were” handed back” in 1816 the Dutch wanted to put the whole of the Archipelago under direct Government. If they wouldn’t have done so, surely the English would have.

When in 1841 the Dutch fregat “Overijssel” run aground on the reef at Kuta they found an excuse to conquer Bali.

History of Bali till 1949

6th Century – a traveling Chinese Buddhist monk describes the island of “Po’li, “ believed to be Bali, as composed of some 136 villages set amid luxurious vegetation and ruled by a king believed to be descendant of Hind deities.
 882 – The oldest dated inscription in Bali records the first king ruling Bali as Ugrasena, founder of the island’s ancient and feudal Warmadewa Dynasty.
 Late 10th Century – The island of Bali is conquered by the Javanese king Dharmawangsa (989 – 1007). His sister, Princess Mahendradatta, marries the Balinese King Udayana.
 1001 – Prince Erlangga is born. Son of the king Udayana and the princess Mahendradatta, Erlangga return to Java where he builds a powerful kingdom, rules Bali as part of his empire and lays the foundations of Javanese-Balinese political and cultural contact.
 Early 12th Century – Bali becomes a vassal of the eastern Javanese kingdom of Kediri.
 1284 – The neighboring Javanese ruler, Kertanegara, re-conquers, pacifies and unifies Bali under Singasari Dynasty.
 1343 – Gajah Mada, Supreme General and Prime Minister of the Majapahit Empire, conquers Bali and introduces the Majapahit culture and its institutions. The Balinese are most receptive and the aristocracy eagerly seek to join their family trees to the ruling “Wong Majapahit”.
 1450 – The Hinduization of Bali proceeds through waves of migration and cultural infusion from the Majapahit Empire in the Eastern part of Java.
 1515 – The collapse of the Majapahit Empire (with the unstoppable rise of Islam) triggers a massive cultural migration to Bali. The last prince of Majapahit and his royal court of Hindu priests, artist, scholars, nobles, and soldiers flee to Bali, transferring their culture intact.
 1550 – Batu Renggong of the Gelgel Dynasty inherits the title Dewa Agung, Great Deity or King, and initiates a political, military and cultural renaissance sometimes called Bali’s “Golden Age.” He controls all the Balinese rajahdoms and conquers Sumbawa and Lombok. Several generations later the family dynasty moves its court to Klungkung, which remainsthe “noblest” of eight rajahdoms or principalities. (These rajahdoms are : Klungkung, Badung, Tabanan, Bangli, Gianyar, Karangasem, Buleleng and Jembrana).
 1597 – The earliest Dutch trader, Cornelis de Houtman, arrives in Bali, searching for spices. Four members of expedition are royally entertained by the court of Gelgel. Two man jump from the ship for the pleasures of tropical Bali, and the Western world receives fascinating reports about the island.
 1601 – A Dutch expedition, led by Jacob van Heemskerck, tries to open trade with the island. The Dewa Agung presents him with a beautiful Balinese girl slave; and the Dutch interpret this as bestowing special rights upon them.
 1639 – Di Made Bekung, last Dewa Agung of the “Golden Age” of the Gelgel Dynasty, provokes an invasion of Bali by the Javanese Empire of Mataram. He loses Sumbawa and Lombok and the allegiance of the other Balinese princes. The Gelgel court moves to Klungkung. They continue to symbolize Hindu imperial grandeur, but never again have real imperial power.
 1667 – The rajahdom of Gianyar is born with the rise of Dewa Manggis Kuning, a fourth generation Gelgel. After early misadventures in Badung, Dewa Manggis escape arrest – by being carried out of the palace wrapped in woven mat carried atop an old servant’s head. The fugitive prince sets up a Gianyar court which becomes a prosperous and powerful southern state.
 1711 – The Dewa Agung’s military and political power passes to Buleleng in the north. The join rajahdom of Buleleng-Mengwi flourishes for better part of the 18th century.
 1717 – 1718 – Frequent hostilities between Bali and the Javanese Empire of Mataram climax in the destruction of East Java and Madura by roaming troops of Balinese. The Dutch refrain from real intervention in the Balinese-Javanese wars.
 1740 – The rajahdom of Karangasem rises to prominence when it conquers Lombok. Rajah Gusti Gede Karangasem, a famous figure in Balinese history, subdues Buleleng then Negara as well, dominating the political scene and stirring the populace to widespread resentment anger.
 1815 – Tambora Volcano on Sumbawa erupts. Buleleng and Singaraja, the large town of north Bali, are damage by ash and tidal waves. This is taken as a premonition of disaster.
 1817 – The Dutch begin agricultural trade with Bali. Singaraja and Kuta become busy ports.
 1830s – Dutch traders begin to negotiate trade policies and sovereignty. The Balinese hold to a traditional concept of reef rights whereby villagers are entitled to plunder any ship that comes to grief near the Island, accepting it as a gift of the Gods.
 1841 – The Dutch frigate Overijssel is wrecked on the Kuta reef and plundered of its cargo by Balinese. Amid furor and protest, a new Dutch commissioner lands at Buleleng. He is defied by a dramatic, dynamic young prince, Gusti Ketut Jelantik, the great hero of mid-19th century Bali.
 1846 – Dutch-Bali wars. The firs Dutch punitive expedition brings an invasion fleet of 58 vessels and 3000 well-armed men to defeat Jelantik’s defense force in Buleleng. Danish trader Mads Lange, who runs successful shipping and trading post in Kuta, acts as an intermediary and tries to negotiate a truce between the rajahs and the Dutch.
 1848 – In the second Dutch punitive expedition the brilliant military leader Gusti Jelantik fights off three attacks with 25 cannon and 16,000 men.
 1849 – The third and final Dutch expedition arrives with 100 armed vessels. The Dutch attack the Balinese stronghold at Jagaraga. The Balinese lose thousands. Then advance in puputan (ritual suicide). The Dutch gains allies and troops from Lombok, who overtake the rajahs of Karangasem and Buleleng. The Balinese resistance is in complete disarray whilst the Dutch get stronger.
 1850s – The Dutch “protective” administration assumes sovereign power over northern and western Bali. A new coffee plantation turns the north into a profitable colonial enterprise. Dutch ban the Hindu practice of suttee, the burning widowed wives with their husbands, and take the first enlightened steps to wipe out slavery.
 1868 – As the climax to the intermittent Gianyar-Klungkung wars, the rajahdom of Gianyar, the most prosperous and powerful state of the south, shatters the army of Klungkung.
 1882 – Buleleng and Jembrana state are brought under direct Dutch rule.
 1885 – The Dewa Manggis and his Gianyar retinue travel to Klungkung to homage to the Dewa Agung, but they are imprisoned instead and their ranks are destroyed. A rebellion of Muslim Sasaks in Lombok, vassals of the Balinese rulers of Karangasem, East Bali, is suppressed with cruetly.
 1894 – The Dutch send a military expedition to Lombok to punish Balinese rulers, but the ambushed and massacred in the notorious “Lombok Treachery”, at their camp in Cakranegara. To revenge their defeat, the Dutch lay to waste Lombok Island and raze Mataram to the ground in the process. The Balinese nobles perish in the mass rite of puputan, or ritual suicide, rather than surrender to the invaders, Dutch-Balinese relation are in increasingly strained.
 1900 – The Dutch annex Gianyar.
 1904 – The Chinese schooner of Sri Kumala is wrecked near Sanur beach and is plundered. The Dutch demand compensation from the rajah of Badung, who remains defiant – and is backed up by the rajahs of Klungkung and Tabanan. The last suttee take place in Tabanan this year.
 1906 – A large Dutch military expedition lands at Sanur beach and troops march towards the royal palace in Denpasar. They are met by the rajah and his entire court, splendidly dressed for the tragic rite of puputan. In a ghastly suicide ceremony, the company turn their daggers and kris upon one another. The women tauntingly throw jewels at the Dutch soldiers. The entire court dies together and the battle field before the burning palace is covered with mounds of corpses. The puputan ritual is repeated that same afternoon in Pemecutan, a minor court of Badung; and two days later in the court of the rajah of Tabanan.
 1908 – Disorder and bombardment around Gelgel and Klungkung lead to the final puputan of the Dewa Agung and his court in Klungkung, the victims of relentless western intrusion. The Dutch resolve to make amends. The introduce reforms under the Ethical Policy. They do not allow the presence of a Dutch colony, nor agricultural business, as in against the sudden impact of outside influences. A “conservationist” stance towards Balinese culture is taken and Dutch scholar usher in an era of achievements in art and architecture.
 1920s -1930s – Foreign scholars, artists and musicians “discover” Bali. They record it and broadcast it to the world. Among the visitors are anthropologists Margaret Mead, Jane Belo and Gregory Bateson; artists Miguel Covarrubias. Walter Spies, Rudolf Bonnet, Arie Smit, Han Snel; musician Colin McPhee; writer Vicki Baum; and dancers and ethnologists Ted and Katharene Merson.
 1942 – Japanese Occupation. Japanese troops land at Sanur Beach and control the island for three years, through headquarters at Denpasar and Singaraja. Walter Spies, Bali’s most famous Western artist, perishes when a Japanese submarine torpedoes the ship on which he is being transported to safety as a German internee.
 1945 – General Soekarno, a soldier and politician who has risen fast through the party ranks in Jakarta, declares Merdeka – Independence – for the entire Indonesian archipelago. Dutch troops drive the Japanese out of Bali and try to reimpose a Dutch civil administration.
 1946 – The battle for independence on Bali climaxes with the Margarana Incident in Tabanan state. A charismatic young Balinese military officer, I Gusti Ngurah Rai – who relies not on tactics and logistics but upon intuition and mystical guidance – leads a suicide attack against Dutch forces and is martyred at Marga along with 95 followers.
 1949 – The Hague concedes Indonesian Independence. Bali becomes part of the Republic of the United State of Indonesia with Soekarno as its President.

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