Bali

Bali

[bah-lee, bal-ee]
Bali, island and (with two offshore islets) province (1990 pop. 2,777,356), c.2,200 sq mi (5,700 sq km), E Indonesia, westernmost of the Lesser Sundas, just E of Java across the narrow Bali Strait. The capital is Denpasar. Although Bali is relatively small, it is densely populated and culturally and economically one of the most important islands of Indonesia. Largely mountainous, with active volcanoes, it rises to 10,308 ft (3,142 m) at Mt. Agung; there is a great fertile plain to the south. Fauna include tigers and deer. Bali is known for its giant waringin trees, sacred to the inhabitants.

The Balinese (a Malayan group closely related to the Javanese) are skillful farmers; rice, the chief crop, is grown with the aid of elaborate irrigation systems. Vegetables, fruits, coffee, and coconuts are also produced. Livestock is important; pigs and cattle are major export items. Industries include food processing, tourism, and handicrafts. The people are noted for their artistic skill (especially wood carving), and their high level of culture, which includes advanced forms of music, folk drama, dancing, and architecture. They are Hindu in a nation that is overwhelmingly Muslim; their unique ritualistic culture, as well as the island's scenic beauty, has made Bali one of the great tourist attractions of East Asia. An international airport was opened in 1969. A state univ. is in Denpasar.

Bali was converted to Hinduism in the 7th cent., and was under Javanese rule from the 10th to the late 15th cent. It was a refuge (1513-28) for the Hindus of Java fleeing the advance of Islam. The Dutch first landed in 1597 and the Dutch East India Company began its trade with the island in the early 17th cent. Dutch sovereignty was not firmly established until after a series of colonial wars (1846-49), and the entire island was not occupied until 1908, after the quelling of two rebellions. Klungklung, NE of Denpasar, was the capital of the native rulers from the 17th cent. until 1908. Bali was particularly hard hit during the nationwide purge of Communists in 1965; more than 40,000 people were killed, and entire villages were destroyed. The island was part of a massive transmigration project in the late 1970s to relieve overcrowding. Bali's popularity as a Western tourist destination made it a target of several Islamic terror attacks in the early 21st cent.

See Bali (Vol. V and VIII of Selected Studies on Indonesia, publ. by W. van Hoeve, 1960 and 1970); U. Ramseyer, The Art and Culture of Bali (1987).

Island (pop., 2005 prelim.: 4,309,600), Indonesia. Located in the Lesser Sunda Islands, off the eastern coast of Java, it constitutes, with minor adjacent islands, a province of Indonesia. The main towns are Singaraja and Denpasar, the provincial capital. The island is mountainous; its highest peak is Mount Agung (10,308 ft [3,142 m]). Colonized by India in early times and supplemented by émigrés from Java in the 16th century, Bali is the remaining stronghold of Hinduism in the Indonesian archipelago. Visited by the Dutch in the late 16th century, it came under Dutch rule only in the late 19th century. It was occupied by the Japanese in World War II and became part of Indonesia in 1950. Tourism is now one of the mainstays of its economy.

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Bali is an Indonesian island located at , the westernmost of the Lesser Sunda Islands, lying between Java to the west and Lombok to the east. It is one of the country's 33 provinces with the provincial capital at Denpasar towards the south of the island.

With a population recorded as 3,151,000 in 2005, the island is home to the vast majority of Indonesia's small Hindu minority. 93.18% of Bali's population adheres to Balinese Hinduism, while most of the remainder follow Islam. It is also the largest tourist destination in the country and is renowned for its highly developed arts, including dance, sculpture, painting, leather, metalworking and music.

History

Bali was inhabited by Austronesian peoples by about 2,000 BCE who migrated originally from Taiwan through Maritime Southeast Asia. Culturally and linguistically, the Balinese are thus closely related to the peoples of the Indonesian archipelago, the Philippines, and Oceania. Stone tools dating from this time have been found near the village of Cekik in the island's west.

Balinese culture was strongly influenced by Indian and Chinese, and particularly Hindu culture, in a process beginning around the 1st century AD. The name Balidwipa has been discovered from various inscriptions, including the Blanjong charter issued by Sri Kesari Warmadewa in 913 AD and mentioning Walidwipa. It was during this time that the complex irrigation system subak was developed to grow rice. Some religious and cultural traditions still in existence today can be traced back to this period. The Hindu Majapahit Empire (1293–1520 AD) on eastern Java founded a Balinese colony in 1343. When the empire declined, there was an exodus of intellectuals, artists, priests and musicians from Java to Bali in the 15th century.

The first European contact with Bali is thought to have been made by Dutch explorer Cornelis de Houtman who arrived in 1597, though a Portuguese ship had foundered off the Bukit Peninsula as early as 1585. Dutch colonial control was expanded across the Indonesian archipelago in the nineteenth century (see Dutch East Indies). Their political and economic control over Bali began in the 1840s on the island's north coast by playing various distrustful Balinese realms against each other. In the late 1890s, struggles between Balinese kingdoms in the island's south were exploited by the Dutch to increase their control. The Dutch mounted large naval and ground assaults at the Sanur region in 1906 and were met by the thousands of members of the royal family and their followers who marched to certain death against superior Dutch force in a suicidal puputan defensive assault rather than face the humiliation of surrender. Despite Dutch demands for surrender, an estimated 4,000 Balinese marched to their death against the invaders. In 1908, a similar massacre occurred in the face of a Dutch assault in Klungkung. Afterwards the Dutch governors were able to exercise little influence over the island, and local control over religion and culture generally remained intact.

Dutch rule over Bali had come later and was never as well established as in other parts of Indonesia such as Java and Maluku. Imperial Japan occupied Bali during World War II during which time a Balinese military officer, Gusti Ngurah Rai, formed a Balinese 'freedom army'. In the 1930s, anthropologists Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson, and artists Miguel Covarrubias and Walter Spies, and musicologist Colin McPhee created a western image of Bali as "an enchanted land of aesthetes at peace with themselves and nature", and western tourism first developed on the island. Following Japan's Pacific surrender in August 1945, the Dutch promptly returned to Indonesia, including Bali, immediately to reinstate their pre-war colonial administration. This was resisted by the Balinese rebels now using Japanese weapons. On 20 November 1946, the Battle of Marga was fought in Tabanan in central Bali. Colonel I Gusti Ngurah Rai, 29 years old, finally rallied his forces in east Bali at Marga Rana, where they made a suicide attack on the heavily armed Dutch. The Balinese battalion was entirely wiped out, breaking the last thread of Balinese military resistance. In 1946 the Dutch constituted Bali as one of the 13 administrative districts of the newly-proclaimed Republic of East Indonesia, a rival state to the Republic of Indonesia which was proclaimed and headed by Sukarno and Hatta. Bali was included in the "Republic of the United States of Indonesia" when the Netherlands recognised Indonesian independence on 29 December 1949.

The 1963 eruption of Mount Agung killed thousands, created economic havoc and forced many displaced Balinese to be transmigrated to other parts of Indonesia. Mirroring the widening of social divisions across Indonesia in the 1950s and early 1960s, Bali saw conflict between supporters of the traditional caste system, and those rejecting these traditional values. Politically, this was represented by opposing supporters of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) and the Indonesian Nationalist Party (PNI), with tensions and ill-feeling further increased by the PKI's land reform programs. An attempted coup in Jakarta was put down by forces led by General Suharto. The army became the dominant power as it instigated a violent anti-communist purge, in which the army blamed the PKI for the coup. Most estimates suggest that at least 500,000 people were killed across Indonesia, with an estimated 80,000 killed in Bali, equivalent to 5 per cent of the island's population. With no Islamic forces involved as in Java and Sumatra, upper-caste PNI landlords led the extermination of PKI members.

As a result of the 1965/66 upheavals, Suharto was able to manoeuvre Sukarno out of the presidency, and his "New Order" government reestablished relations with western countries. The Bali as a tourist paradise which was instigated during the pre World War II colonial time was revised in a modern form, and the resulting large growth in tourism has led to Balinese standards of living rise dramatically and significant foreign exchange earned for the country. A bombing in 2002 by militant Islamists in the tourist area of Kuta killed 202 people, mostly foreigners. This attack, and another in 2005, severely affected tourism, bringing much economic hardship to the island.

Geography

See also List of bodies of water in Bali and List of mountains in Bali.

The island of Bali lies 3.2 km (2 mi) east of Java, and is approximately 8 degrees south of the equator. East to west, the island is approximately 153 km (95 mi) wide and is approximately 112 km (69 mi) north to south; it's land area is 5,632 km². The highest point is Mount Agung at 3,142 m (10,308 feet) high, an active volcano that last erupted in March 1963. Mountains cover centre to the eastern side, with Mount Agung the easternmost peak. Mount Batur (1,717 m) is also still active; an eruption 30,000 years was one of the largest known volcanic events on Earth.

In the south the land descends to form an alluvial plain, watered by shallow, north-south flowing rivers, drier in the dry season and overflowing during periods of heavy rain. The longest of these rivers, Sungai Ayung, is also the longest on the island (approx. 75 km).

The principal cities are the northern port of Singaraja, the former colonial capital of Bali, and the present provincial capital and largest city, Denpasar, near the southern coast. The town of Ubud (north of Denpasar), with its art market, museums and galleries, is arguably the cultural centre of Bali.

There are major coastal roads and those that cross the island mainly north-south. Due to the mountainous terrain in the island's center, the roads tend to follow the crests of the ridges across the mountains. There are no railway lines.

The island is surrounded by coral reefs. Beaches in the south tend to have white sand while those in the north and west have black sand. The beach town of Padangbai in the south east has both. The Ho River is navigable by small sampan boats. Black sand beaches between Pasut and Klatingdukuh are being developed for tourism, but apart from the seaside temple of Tanah Lot.

To the east, the Lombok Strait separates Bali from Lombok and marks the biogeographical division between the fauna of the Indomalayan ecozone and the distinctly different fauna of Australasia. The transition is known as the Wallace Line, named after Alfred Russel Wallace, who first proposed transition zone between these two major biomes. When sea levels dropped during the Pleistocene ice age, Bali was connected to Java and Sumatra and to the mainland of Asia and shared the Asian fauna, but the deep water of the Lombok Strait continued to keep Lombok and the Lesser Sunda archipelago isolated.

Ecology

Bali has around 280 species of birds, including the critically endangered Bali Starling. The only endemic high-level predator of the island, the Bali tiger, became extinct in the 1930s.

The Bali Barat National Park, located on the north western side of the island, is a refuge for wildlife such as the Sunda Pangolin, Indian Muntjac, Mouse-deer, Leopard Cat, Black Giant Squirrel, and several species of macaque and leaf monkey.

Administrative divisions

The province is divided into 8 regencies (kabupaten) and 1 city (kota):

Economy

Three decades ago, the Balinese economy was largely agriculture-based in terms of both output and employment. Tourism is now the largest single industry; and as a result, Bali is one of Indonesia’s wealthiest regions. The economy, however, has suffered significantly as a result of the terrorist bombings of 2002 and 2005.

Although in terms of output, tourism is the economy’s largest industry, agriculture is still the island’s biggest employer , most notably rice cultivation. Crops grown in smaller amounts include fruit, vegetables, Coffea arabica and other cash and subsistence crops. A significant number of Balinese are also fishermen. Bali is also famous for its artisans who produce batik and ikat cloth and clothing, wooden carvings, stone carvings and silverware.

The Arabica coffee production region is the highland region of Kintamani near Mount Batur. Generally, Balinese coffee is processed using the wet method. This results in a sweet, soft coffee with good consistency. Typical flavors include lemon and other citrus notes. Many coffee farmers in Kintamani are members of a traditional farming system called Subak Abian, which is based on the Hindu philosophy of "Tri Hita Karana”. According to this philosophy, the three causes of happiness are good relations with God, other people and the environment. The Subak Abian system is ideally suited to the production of fair trade and organic coffee production. Arabica coffee from Kintamani is the first product in Indonesia to request a Geographical Indication.

Although significant tourism exists in the north, centre and east of the island, the tourist industry is overwhelmingly focused in the south. The main tourist locations are the town of Kuta (with its beach), and its outer suburbs (which were once independent townships) of Legian and Seminyak, Sanur, Jimbaran, Ubud, and the newer development of Nusa Dua. The Ngurah Rai International Airport is located near Jimbaran, on the isthmus joining the southernmost part of the island to the main part of the island. Another increasingly important source of income for Bali is what is called "Congress Tourism" from the frequent international conferences held on the island, especially after the terrorist bombings of 2002; ostensibly to resurrect Bali's damaged tourism industry as well as its tarnished image.

Bali's tourism brand is Bali Shanti Shanti Shanti. Where Shanti derived from Sanskrit "Çantih" meaning peace.

Demographics

The population of Bali is 3,151,000 (as of 2005).

Religion

Unlike most of Muslim-majority Indonesia, about 93.18% of Bali's population adheres to Balinese Hinduism, formed as a combination of existing local beliefs and Hindu influences from mainland Southeast Asia and South Asia. Minority religions include Islam (4.79%), Christianity (1.38%), and Buddhism (0.64%). These figures do not include immigrants from other parts of Indonesia.

Bali consists of about three million people, nearly all of whom practice the Balinese Hindu religion, a heterogeneous amalgam in which gods and demigods are worshipped together with Buddhist heroes, with the spirits of ancestors and with indigenous deities associated with agriculture and with places considered sacred. Religion as it is practiced in Bali is a composite belief system that embraces not only theology, philosophy, and mythology, but ancestor worship, animism and magic. It is supposed to pervade every aspect of traditional life.

Bali Hinduism, which has roots in Indian Hinduism and in Buddhism, adopted the animistic traditions of the indigenous people, which inhabited the island around the first millennium BCE. This influence strengthened the belief that the gods and goddesses are present in all things. Every element of nature, therefore, possesses its own power, which reflects the power of the gods. A rock, tree, dagger, or woven cloth is a potential home for spirits whose energy can be directed for good or evil. Balinese Hinduism is deeply interwoven with art and ritual, and is less closely preoccupied with scripture, law, and belief than Islam in Indonesia. Ritualizing states of self-control are a notable feature of religious expression among the people, who for this reason have become famous for their graceful and decorous behavior.

Language

Balinese and Bahasa Indonesia are the most widely spoken languages in Bali, and like most Indonesians, the vast majority of Balinese people are bilingual or trilingual. There are several indigenous Balinese languages, but most Balinese can also use the most widely spoken option: modern common Balinese. The usage of different Balinese languages was traditionally determined by the Balinese caste system and by clan membership, but this tradition is diminishing.

English is a common third language (and the primary foreign language) of many Balinese, owing to the requirements of the tourism industry.

Culture

Bali is renowned for its diverse and sophisticated art forms, such as painting, sculpture, woodcarving, handcrafts, and performing arts. Balinese percussion orchestra music, known as gamelan, is highly developed and varied. Balinese dances portray stories from Hindu epics such as the Ramayana but with heavy Balinese influence. Famous Balinese dances include pendet, legong, baris, topeng, barong, and kecak (the monkey dance).

The Hindu New Year, Nyepi, is celebrated in the spring by a day of silence. On this day everyone stays at home and tourists are encouraged to remain in their hotels. On the preceding day large, colorful sculptures of ogoh-ogoh monsters are paraded and finally burned in the evening to drive away evil spirits. Other festivals throughout the year are specified by the Balinese pawukon calendrical system.

National education programs, mass media and tourism continue to change Balinese culture. Immigration from other parts of Indonesia, especially Java, is changing the ethnic composition of Bali's population.

The Balinese eat with their right hand, as the left is impure, a common belief throughout Indonesia. The Balinese do not hand or receive things with their left hand and would not wave at anyone with their left hand.

Gallery

Notes

References

Further reading

  • Copeland, Jonathan in consultation with Ni Wayan Murni Secrets of Bali, Fresh Light on the Morning of the World. Jakarta: Gateway Books International.
  • Grant, Gaia A Patch of Paradise: A Women's Search for a Real Life on Bali. Sydney: Bantam Books. ISBN 1-86325-360-2.
  • *
  • Lansing, J. Stephen Perfect Order: Recognizing Complexity in Bali (Princeton Studies in Complexity). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0691027277.
  • Lansing, J. Stephen The Three Worlds of Bali. Praeger Publishers. ISBN 003063816X.
  • McPhee, Colin A House in Bali. Periplus Editions, Singapore, 2000 (first published in 1947 by Victor Gollancz Ltd., London). ISBN 0-7864-1572-X.
  • Shavit, David Bali and the tourist industry: a history, 1906-1942. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co. ISBN 962-593-629-7.
  • Vaasmmiuyttredhft[114586632000254545]ickers, Adrian Travelling to Bali: Four Hundred Years of Journeys. Oxford University Press. ISBN 967-65-3081-6.
  • Whitten, T; Soeriaatmadja, R. E., Suraya A. A. The Ecology of Java and Bali. Hong Kong: Periplus Editions Ltd.
  • Wijaya, M. Architecture of Bali: A source book of traditional and modern forms. Archipelago Press, Singapore. ISBN 981-4068-25-X.

See also

External links

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