While it is widely documented that the history of the island covers the Paleolithic right down to the present, it is only during the 16th century that this diminutive island became marked by Western influence. However, it is only during 1846 that the Dutch seized it and ruled the island till 1949.
Throughout its history, Bali was recognized for its dedication to art and culture. With this in mind, while most invaders did do grievous harm to the island’s art and culture, they subsequently worked in safeguarding it for future generations. The most well known example of this change in thinking would be the Dutch.
Most tourists do wonder how it is that it contains such as fantastical culture that is rich in tradition and steeped in mystery. This would perhaps be due to the influx of Hindu and Javanese cultures during the 11th century. Airlanggha, who is a Balinese prince, went eastwards to Java and appointed his brother, Anak Wungsu, as ruler of Bali. It is during this time that there was an understanding of political and artistic ideas.
When Airlanggha died in the 11th century, the island enjoyed a period of autonomy for a brief moment. In 1284, the Kertanegara from East Java, conquered it. While in 1292, it liberated itself, the island was brought back under Javanese control in 1343. However, with Islam having made a deep impression in Java, a great proportion of musicians, artists, and craftsmen took flight to Bali. The Golden Age came about after the 16th century when aristocracy, priest, artists, and also artisans escaped to Bali in order to escape the spread of Islam. Subsequently, it grew in power and took control of Lombok and East Java.
In 1597, the first Dutch members set foot into the island yet, only during the 1800s that they really took an interest in making it a colony. The Dutch along with the Sasak people of Lombok, in 1894, defeated their rulers who were Balinese. By 1911, the entire island came under the control of the Dutch. It is only after World War I that the Nationalist sentiment of entire Indonesia was stimulated into action and subsequently in 1928, the national language known as Bahasa Indonesia was made official.
The Japanese, who occupied the island from 1942 to 1945, expelled the Dutch during World War II. On August 17, 1945, Indonesia moved in order to declare its independence. Finally it was only in 1949 that Indonesia was recognised as an independent nation. With so much of bloodshed tainting its history, Bali has throughout the years created a land that has a great deal to offer. With a history and culture that is unique, along with a diverse array of communities, cuisine and tourist attractions, it is no surprise that Bali has been named as the “The Best Island in Asia Pacific 2009” by the DestinAsian Magazine in Hong Kong.