no artifacts or records exist that would date Bali as far
back as the Stone Age, it is thought that the very first
settlers to Bali emigrated from China in 2500 BC, having
created quite the evolved culture by the Bronze era, in
around 300BC. This culture included a complex, effective irrigation system,
as well as agriculture of rice, which is still used to this
history remained vague for the first few centuries, though
many Hindu artifacts have been found, which lead back to the
first century, indicating a tie with that religion.
Though it is strongly held that the first primary
religion of Bali, discovered as far back as 500 AD, was
Yi-Tsing, a Chinese scholar who visited Bali in the year 670
AD stated that he had visited this place and seen Buddhism
the 11th century, Hindu and Javanese influences
became very important to Bali.
In fact, when the Balinese Prince Airlanggha’s
father died in about 1011 AD, he moved to East Java, uniting
it under one principality and appointing his brother, Anak
Wungsu, the ruler of all of Bali.
Following this time, there were many reciprocal
political and artistic ideas that formed.
Javanese language, called Kawi, became the
aristocracy’s preference, among other Javanese traits and
customs that were worked into Bali life.
Airlanggha died in the mid-11th century, Bali
remained quite autonomous until 1284, when East Javanese
king Kertanegara conquered Bali and ruled over it from his
home in Java. Kertanegara
was assassinated in 1292, and Bali was once again liberated,
until 1343 when it was brought back into Javanese control by
Hindu-Javanese general Gajah Mada, of the Majapahit empire.
this time, the 16th century, Islam was spreading
throughout Sumatra and Java, and the Majapahit Empire
started to fall, creating a large exodus of aristocracy,
priests, artists and artisans to Bali.
This brought Bali great prosperity, becoming Bali’s
golden age of cultural history for the following centuries.
Bali soon became the major power of the region,
taking control of its neighboring country, Lombok, as well
as pieces of East Java.
1597, Dutch seamen were the first Europeans to land in Bali,
though they had no true interest in Bali until the 1800’s.
In 1846 the Dutch returned with colonization on their
minds, having already had vast expanses of Indonesia under
their control since the 1700’s.
The Dutch sent troops into northern Bali, and by
1894, they had sided with the Sasak people of Lombok to
defeat the Balinese. By
1911, all Balinese principalities were under Dutch control.
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.
Japanese were later defeated, and the Dutch returned to
attempt to regain control of Bali and Indonesia.
However, in 1945, Indonesia was declared independent
by its very first president, Sukarno. The Dutch government ceded, and Indonesia was officially
recognized as an independent country in 1949.