Short History of Bali
Bali was first settled by Chinese immigrants sometime around 2500
BC and after working on it for 2,000 years the complex irrigation
system that is still the focal point of Balinese agriculture and
way of life today was established. Things remained pretty much unchanged
until the 11th century. Around 1010 AD a Balinese Prince named Airlangga
took over East Java intending to unite it with Bali under his rule.
Successful, he subsequently appointed his brother, Anak Wungsu,
to rule Bali. As such there was a great deal of commerce between
Bali and Java bringing with it an exchange of politics and arts.
It was at this time the Bali adopted the Javanese language, Kawi
that is still used today.
Airlangga's death brought on several wars waged by Javanese Kings
to continue the Javanese control of Bali. Finally in 1343 Bali succumbed
to Javanese control when it was defeated by a General by the name
of Gajah Mada from the Majapahit Empire, the last Hindu Javanese
When Islam began spreading south from Sumatra into Java in the 16th
century, the Majapahit empire collapsed and a large number of aristocrats,
priests, and artists fled to Bali. From then until the Dutch arrived
in 1597 little changed except the culture continued to be refined
- which is where we pick up the story.