History of Bali

History of Bali

Read all about the history of Bali from ancient kingdoms and Dutch rule to the tourist hotspot it is today. 

Although the first testimonies about the existence of Bali appear from the 8th century onwards, it is known that by the end of prehistory the Hindus had already arrived via the Hindustani peninsula. Java and Sumatra and the presence of Chinese culture are also recorded from the 7th century onwards.

Written documents from the 10th century speak of a ruling dynasty in Bali, independent of Java. Since then, the histories of Java and Bali have always been intertwined.

Bali was independent until the 13th century when it became subject to the Kings of Singhasari, a kingdom in Java.

In 1343, despite resistance from the Balinese, Bali became part of the Javanese Majapahit Empire, which had replaced the Singhasari Kingdom.

At the end of the 15th century, Bali became independent from Java and in the 16th century, the Kingdom of Gelgel was established in Bali. The King, Dalem Waturenggong, even conquered part of the island of Java.

The 16th century is Bali's Golden Age. The arrival of Islam in Java contributed to its power as it caused a large part of the Javanese aristocracy, intellectuals and artists to emigrate to Bali. Thus, its weight and influence in the region grew and the island became the centre of Indo-Javanese culture.

At the end of the 16th century, an era of instability began; internal wars gave rise to the birth of numerous kingdoms in Bali.

In 1585 the Portuguese arrived on the island and a few years later, in 1597, the Dutch. The Dutchman Cornelis Houtman claimed Bali for the Dutch crown and six years later the all-powerful Dutch East India Company arrived on the island, which was involved in the opium and slave trade.

In 1743 the Prince of Surakarta of Java ceded his rights to the Dutch.

In the mid-19th century, the Dutch decided to control the island by force and began their conquest of Indonesia, which they would not achieve until 1908.

In 1942, during the Second World War, the Japanese army occupied Bali until it was liberated by the Allies in 1945.

In 1946 the island was occupied again by the Dutch who intended to continue controlling the colony but clashed with the power of Sukarno, who would achieve full independence of Indonesia in 1949.

Since then Bali has belonged to the Republic of Indonesia.

Today, Bali is a tourist hotspot for its natural beauty and ancient cultural heritage that captivates its visitors.