Bali was inhabited around 2000 BC by Austronesian people who migrated originally from Southeast Asia and Oceania through Maritime Southeast Asia. Culturally and linguistically, the Balinese are closely related to the people of the Indonesian archipelago, Malaysia, the Philippines and Oceania. Stone tools dating from this time have been found near the village of Cekik in the island's west.
In ancient Bali, nine Hindu sects existed, namely Pasupata, Bhairawa, Siwa Shidanta, Waisnawa, Bodha, Brahma, Resi, Sora and Ganapatya. Each sect revered a specific deity as its personal Godhead.
Inscriptions from 896 and 911 don't mention a king, until 914, when Sri Kesarivarma is mentioned. They also reveal an independent Bali, with a distinct dialect, where Buddhism and Sivaism were practiced simultaneously. Mpu Sindok's great-granddaughter, Mahendradatta (Gunapriyadharmapatni), married the Bali king Udayana Warmadewa (Dharmodayanavarmadeva) around 989, giving birth to Airlangga around 1001. This marriage also brought more Hinduism and Javanese culture to Bali. Princess Sakalendukirana appeared in 1098. Suradhipa reigned from 1115 to 1119, and Jayasakti from 1146 until 1150. Jayapangus appears on inscriptions between 1178 and 1181, while Adikuntiketana and his son Paramesvara in 1204.
Balinese culture was strongly influenced by Indian, Chinese, and particularly Hindu culture, beginning around the 1st century AD. The name Bali dwipa ("Bali island") has been discovered from various inscriptions, including the Blanjong pillar inscription written by Sri Kesari Warmadewa in 914 AD and mentioning "Walidwipa". It was during this time that the people developed their complex irrigation system subak to grow rice in wet-field cultivation. Some religious and cultural traditions still practiced today can be traced to this period.
The Hindu Majapahit Empire (1293–1520 AD) on eastern Java founded a Balinese colony in 1343. The uncle of Hayam Wuruk is mentioned in the charters of 1384–86. A mass Javanese immigration to Bali occurred in the next century when the Majapahit Empire fell in 1520. Bali's government then became an independent collection of Hindu kingdoms which led to a Balinese national identity and major enhancements in culture, arts, and economy. The nation with various kingdoms became independent for up to 386 years until 1906, when the Dutch subjugated and repulsed the natives for economic control and took it over.
The first known European contact with Bali is thought to have been made in 1512, when a Portuguese expedition led by Antonio Abreu and Francisco Serrão sighted its northern shores. It was the first expedition of a series of bi-annual fleets to the Moluccas, that throughout the 16th century usually traveled along the coasts of the Sunda Islands. Bali was also mapped in 1512, in the chart of Francisco Rodrigues, aboard the expedition. In 1585, a ship foundered off the Bukit Peninsula and left a few Portuguese in the service of Dewa Agung.
Dutch East Indies
In 1597 the Dutch explorer Cornelis de Houtman arrived at Bali, and the Dutch East India Company was established in 1602. The Dutch government expanded its control across the Indonesian archipelago during the second half of the 19th century (see Dutch East Indies). Dutch political and economic control over Bali began in the 1840s on the island's north coast, when the Dutch pitted various competing 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.
In June 1860 the famous Welsh naturalist, Alfred Russel Wallace, travelled to Bali from Singapore, landing at Buleleng on the north coast of the island. Wallace's trip to Bali was instrumental in helping him devise his Wallace Line theory. The Wallace Line is a faunal boundary that runs through the strait between Bali and Lombok. It has been found to be a boundary between species. In his travel memoir The Malay Archipelago, Wallace wrote of his experience in Bali, of which has strong mention of the unique Balinese irrigation methods:
I was both astonished and delighted; for as my visit to Java was some years later, I had never beheld so beautiful and well-cultivated a district out of Europe. A slightly undulating plain extends from the seacoast about ten or twelve miles (16 or 19 kilometres) inland, where it is bounded by a fine range of wooded and cultivated hills. Houses and villages, marked out by dense clumps of coconut palms, tamarind and other fruit trees, are dotted about in every direction; while between them extend luxurious rice-grounds, watered by an elaborate system of irrigation that would be the pride of the best cultivated parts of Europe.
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 rather than yield to the superior Dutch force committed ritual suicide (puputan) to avoid the humiliation of surrender. Despite Dutch demands for surrender, an estimated 200 Balinese killed themselves rather than surrender. In the Dutch intervention in Bali, a similar mass suicide occurred in the face of a Dutch assault in Klungkung. Afterward the Dutch governors exercised administrative control over the island, but local control over religion and culture generally remained intact. Dutch rule over Bali came later and was never as well established as in other parts of Indonesia such as Java and Maluku.
In the 1930s, anthropologists Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson, artists Miguel Covarrubias and Walter Spies, and musicologist Colin McPhee all spent time here. Their accounts of the island and its peoples created a western image of Bali as "an enchanted land of aesthetes at peace with themselves and nature." Western tourists began to visit the island. The sensuous image of Bali was enhanced in the west by a quasi-pornographic 1932 documentary Virgins of Bali about a day in the lives of two teenage Balinese girls whom the film's narrator Deane Dickason notes in the first scene "bathe their shamelessly nude bronze bodies". Under the looser version of the Haynes code that existed up to 1934, nudity involving "civilized" (i.e. white) women was banned, but permitted with "uncivilized" (i.e. all non-white women), a loophole that was exploited by the producers of Virgins of Bali. The film, which mostly consisted of scenes of topless Balinese women was a great success in 1932, and almost single-handily made Bali into a popular spot for tourists.
Imperial Japan occupied Bali during World War II. It was not originally a target in their Netherlands East Indies Campaign, but as the airfields on Borneo were inoperative due to heavy rains, the Imperial Japanese Army decided to occupy Bali, which did not suffer from comparable weather. The island had no regular Royal Netherlands East Indies Army (KNIL) troops. There was only a Native Auxiliary Corps Prajoda (Korps Prajoda) consisting of about 600 native soldiers and several Dutch KNIL officers under the command of KNIL Lieutenant Colonel W.P. Roodenburg. On 19 February 1942 the Japanese forces landed near the town of Senoer [Senur]. The island was quickly captured.
During the Japanese occupation, a Balinese military officer, Gusti Ngurah Rai, formed a Balinese 'freedom army'. The harshness of Japanese occupation forces made them more resented than the Dutch colonial rulers.
Independence from the Dutch
In 1946, the Dutch constituted Bali as one of the 13 administrative districts of the newly proclaimed State 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 first governor of Bali, Anak Agung Bagus Suteja, was appointed by President Sukarno in 1958, when Bali became a province.
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 this system. Politically, the opposition was represented by 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% 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. His "New Order" government reestablished relations with western countries. The pre-War Bali as "paradise" was revived in a modern form. The resulting large growth in tourism has led to a dramatic increase in Balinese standards of living 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 reduced tourism, producing much economic hardship to the island.