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History of Bali

Bali was inhabited by China at the beginning of the Iron Age. Bali’s earliest written records from the ninth century AD, show a significant Buddhist influence, however in the 11th century, the Hindu Kingdoms in Central and East Java had a great influence over Bali that was brought by artists and their followers who refused the new religion, Islam. Then on the island, they blended their belief and traditions into a rich culture. This made the island enjoy an intense period of cultural development, the main result of which can be found today in the caste system, the rituals and certain artistic styles.

In 1597, Dutch seamen were the first Europeans to land in Bali, but they had no true interest in Bali until the 1800’s. Moreover, the settlement and colonization process by Dutch happened in 1846 and this was marked by troubled times and climaxed with the “Puputan” or collective suicide on the 14th of September 1906, when 4000 Balinese killed themselves rather than capitulate.

After World War I, a sense of Indonesian Nationalism began to grow, leading to the declaration of the national language in 1928, as Bahasa Indonesia, World War II brought the Japanese, who expelled the Dutch and occupied Indonesia from 1942 until 1945.

On the 17th of August 1945, Indonesia was proclaimed independent by the first President of the Republic of Indonesia, Sukarno. However, the Dutch did not want to recognize the declaration of independence and when they came to Bali in 1946, a group of 94 soldiers led by Lt. Col. I Gusti Ngurah Rai faced them at the battle of Marga. Finally, the Dutch government ceded, and Indonesia was officially recognized as an independent country in 1949.