Monday, August 8, 2011

The Battles of Jagaraga

Beside numerous battles between the princedoms of Bali, in 1846 the first tries of annexation by the dutch began. The first strike by the dutch was the result of a conflict between the dutch and the prince of buleleng about the ownership of stranded ships.

Some princes made diplomatic agreements with the dutch (which they possibly didn´t even understand) in which also the ownership of stranded goods were regulated, but many princes ignored this agreements, because they reagarded them as a constriction of their sovereignity.

The traditional "Twang Kerang" (riff rights) permitted to plunder stranded ships. After this fate happended to some dutch ships, they sent dipliomats to Buleleng who demanded the abidance of the agreements and also reparation to the ship-owners for the lost goods.

The first minister of Buleleng Gusti Ketut Jlantik didn´t agree to the demands, because their were a strong intrusion int the tradition and the sovereignity of the princedom.

His answer to the dutch, could be translated as: "The fate of this princedom will be decided by the kris!"

The first attack of the dutch began on the 28th of june after an ultimatum elapsed. They attacked with 3500 regular troops and 500 support troops from madura.

First warships bombarded the city of buleleng, later they conquered it after hard battles. Therafter they marched to Singaraja and destroyed the palace of the prince.

The prince, Gusti Ketut Jlantik and their troops retreated to the mountain fortress near Jagaraga and combined with the troops of his only ally, the prince Karangasem.

The dutch didn´t attack the fortress and sent an intermediary (George Peacock King, an english trader) to Jagaraga. He achieved a diplomatic sucess and the agreements were once again undersigned by the ruler of Buleleng. But he did so, just to get the dutch troops put of his princedom.

As part of the agreement the dutch stationed a garrison in the city of Buleleng. This and also the demands to pay reparations affronted many Balinese princes and also neutral princedom turned against the dutch.

The Dewa Agung of Klungkung, who had a great spiritual influence on whole Bali, used this to support the resistance against the dutch.

Through his influence the princedoms of Gianyar and Mengwi turned against the dutch.

In 1847, Balinese locals again plundered stranded ships, also the dutch garrison in Buleleng was isolated and cut off from supports. The dutch ones again set an ultimatum to the prince of Buleleng and Karangasem, which was ignored by them.

The dutch identified Gusti Ketut Jlantik as the main source for their trouble and the resistance against them.

In 1848 a new military operation was launched. The netherlands sent 2265 regular troops, 500 auxiliaries and 500 coolies against the Fortress of Jagaraga.

A fleet of transport vessels and nine warships arrived at the city of Sangsit on the 8th July in 1848. The distance between Sangsit and Jagaraga was just 4 kilometers and on the 9th July the troops reached Jagaraga.

The force level inside the fortress of Jagaraga was ca. 10.000 Fighters, who were mostly equipped with kris and lances. Also, some obsolete cannons were stationed in the fortress.

In the battle, the dutch troops could capture some fortifications of the fortress, but they always had to retreat from the frenzied attacks of the defenders.

Finally, on the 9th of July, all ammunition was exhausted and the dutch had no choice other than retreating to their ships. The ships staid on the coast for a couple of days and waited vainly for support, before they set sails back to Java.

In the battle 99 people died and 105 were wounded on dutch side, the casualties on Balinese side were more than 2000.

The general governor of the Netherland East-Indies ordered a new invasion to rebuilt the lost prestige. In April 1849 a heavy strike force was sent to invade Bali and crush the prince of buleleng and Gusti Ketut Jlantik.

Landing of dutch soldiers at Singarja in 1850

The troops consisted of 4177 regular troops, 550 auxiliaries, cavalry , technicians and artillery and also medical support. Also 2000 coolies and 2000 fighters from java were part of the strike force.

A fleet of 26 transport vessels, 18 local ships, 16 landing rafts and 26 warships arrived at the city of Buleleng.

In the run-up of these attack the dutch also made diplomatic agreements with the prince of Bangli, whose princedom was at war with Buleleng. By this the dutch took advantage from inner Balinese conflicts.

The prince of bangli positioned his troops in the north of Jagaraga to cut off the route of withdrawal for the Buleleng troops. The dutch troops stopped at Singaraja, because they didn´t find a route to Jagaraga which could be passed by the artillery.

The unavoidable stop opened the way for negotiations. The allied princes of Buleleng and Karangasem arrived with 12.000 Fighters at Singaraja.

Gusti Ketut Jlantik hoped to overawe his oppenents with this enormous deployment of troops. The outcome should show, that he wasn´t successful.

The negotiations failed. The princes of Buleleng and Karangasem left and the dutch troops once again landed at Sangsit and marched to Jagaraga.

By massive use of artillery the dutch could capture the fortress of Jagaraga, but the princes of Buleleng and Karangasem could flee during the battle, that lasted from the morning of the 15th April 1849 to the next day.

The casualties on dutch side were about 1100, the casualties on Balinese side can´t be verified, but they must have been high, because this battle was called since today "The Puputan of Jagaraga". Puputan means a collective self-sacrifice or mass-suicide.

During the battle the temple Pura Dalem was destroyed. Later it was rebuilt. The architecture was mostly influenced by traditional elements, but also caricatured illustrations of long-nosed dutch in a Ford-T Model and bearded drinking persons can be found.

By this victory the resistance in north Bali collapsed. To compensate the cost and casualties the dutch deployed 4000 auxiliaries from lombok to ransack and destroy the palace of Karangasem.

Gusti Ketut Jlantik and the princes of Buleleng and Karangasem hoped to survive and to continue their fight with guerilla-tactics, but because of the cut off ways of withdrawal they were caught and killed by the lombok auxiliaries.

The remaining troops flew along the coast in the direction of Klungkung. They gathered near the village of Kusumba. Near to Kusumba, a cave called "Goa Lawah" can be found. (today, it is a temple and also tourist attraction).

The cave Goa Lawah today

Some troops tried to use it as a natural defense position and hided in the cave, but it couldn´t withstand against the dutch naval artillery. The dutch overran the cave without large casualties.

When dutch troops moved on to Kusamba on the 24th may 1849, they were confronted by 1.000 Balinese fighters.

After several hours they could capture the village, but it was some kind of hollow victory, because many small villages and granges around Kusumba were still held by Balinese troops.

The traditional balinese weapon, a krisThe dutch feared an attack out of the dark and held their position in the midst of the village.

In the following night, the feared attack began. The dutch could hold off the frenzied attackers, who were incited by the sister of Dewa Agung, for a while, but during the battle the commanding officer was deadly wounded.

Under the command of a new commanding officer, the troops retreated to the near cove and tried not to get involved in battles.

Their were two main reasons, why they did so. First, because of the lack of support. The dutch had just 2.500 troops left, who were able to fight.

The second reason was, that the troops of the Dewa Agung would fanatically defend him, because he ordered, a puputan, in case of a attack.

Negotiations with the Dewa Agung of Klungkung followed. A danish trader with good relations to the royal families on Bali acted as an intermediary.

The Dewa Agung accepted an agreement, because he had to fear, if he and his followers would die in a puputan, the prince of Bangli, who was already an ally of the dutch, would be the only indigenous and spiritual leader left on Bali.

An agreement to end all confrontations between the balinese princedoms and the netherlands was undersigned on the 13th July 1849.

In 1855 a dutch installed a colonial resident in Singaraja.

In 1880 it came to confrontations between the princedoms of Mengwi and Klungkung on one side and the princedom of Gianyar, its Raja Dewa Manggis and his sons on the other side.

The Dewa Manggis feared to underlie and asked the dutch for support. But, because they needed all resources for a conflict in Aceh, they didn´t sent any troops to support Gianyar.

Gianyar was conquered and fragmented between Mengwi and Klungkung. Dewa Manggis and his sons flew, when the princedom of Mengwi was attacked and splintered itself between the attackers Badung and Tabanan a bit later.

With the help of Cokorda Sukawati of Ubud, who did help several artists of different princedoms, they were able to rebuild the princedom of Gianyar.

The new Dewa Manggis accepted the dutch as protector, because he feared attacks from the neighboring princedoms. By this he also accepted the annexation of Gianyar by the dutch.

The last prince of Gianyar was Agung Ngurah Agung (1892-1960). He ruled from 1912 to 1943, when the japanese exiled him to Lombok.

In 1882 Singarja became the administrative center of the colonial rulers and their most important trading port on bali.

In 1891 a revolt against the balinese influence began on Lombok and 3 years later the Sasak- (= the indigenous group of lombok) leaders asked the dutch for protection. By this the dutch could also annex Lombok.

The Puputans of 1906 and 1908

In 1904 the dutch again used a conflict about the "riff rights" to advance to the south of bali. A cargo vessel of a chinese trader from Borneo stranded near Sanur in the province of Badung.

The local people plundered the ship. The chinese captain applied the case to the dutch administration. The dutch, not unhappy about a prentence like this, demanded a reparation of 7500 gulden for the plundered ship from the Raja of Badung but the Raja, named Gede Ngurah denied to pay a reparation.

About two years it came to negotiations but they all ended unfruitful.

Arriving dutch soldiers in 1906

The dutch began a coastal blockade, supported by 12 warships, at the coast of Badung and Tabanan. All further negotiations failed.

When the dutch began to march towards the city of Badung (todays Denpasar) to arrest the rebellious Raja on the 20th September 1906, the Raja ordered a Puputan.

This means, that he laid fire to his own palace and marched, followed by his royal household and all his followers, including warriors, women and children, into the direction of the dutch troops.

The whole procession must have been an impressing picture. The men were equipped just with traditional swords and spears and wore white cloth, that normally was used at burning ceremonies and their ritual jewelry. The woman wore opened hair and also white cloth.

The raja was carried on a palaquin, surrounded by his priests. They stopped closely to the heavily equipped dutch troops, on a square, that today is know as "Puputan square".

Suddenly a priest poked a knife into the heart of the raja and many followers put a knife against themselves or against each other.

The women tried to provoke the dutch soldier by insulting them and throwing money and jewelry in their faces (as some kind of payment for their bloody job).

Picture taken after the puputan incident from 1906

At this time, an eye witness is reporting that a shot was heard (supposedly from an unknown source) and all dutch soldiers turned their weapons on the procession of fighters, women and children and began to fire.

It can be assumed, that the commanders could assume, that this tragedy would happen, because the practice of Puputan was already widely known.

On the same day this tragedy repeated at the near city Pemacutan. The co-ruler of Badung also ordered a Puputan after he heard about the incidents in Badung.

Official sources spoke of 450 balinese casualties, but this number was in fact much higher, as an eye-witness reported.

This eye-witness was W.O.J. Nieuwenkamp, who was a supporter and admirer of traditional indonesian art, who was incidentally in Badung, when the massacre was happening.

He reported in letters to his family, friends and officials, that more than 1400 balinese died. To newspapers he was a bit cautious with his critic, perhaps because he had to fear repressive measures by the colonial administration, but he still reported of 1400 casualties.

He also made fun of the fact, that dutch officers on Bali always feared attacks from the indigenous population and never left a garrison without more than 50 guards, while he always wandered alone around Bali and was always treated with respect by the locals, even a few days after the Puputan-incident.

Meanwhile the dutch marched on to the palace of Tabanan and demanded the unconditional capitulation of the Raja.
The Raja himself demanded, that he won´t get exiled after a capitulation, but the dutch answered, that a matter like this could just be decided up by the officials in Batavia (todays Jakarta).

He surrendered and handed himself, his son and a few followers over to the dutch and was imprisoned.

A few days later he and his son committed suicide. Traditionally he would have done it with his kris, but because he had to give all weapons to the dutch, he used a blunt tool, that´s normally used by old men to chew betel-nuts to slit his throat. His son and heir apparent poisoned himself.

The dutch hoped, that the remaining Rajas of Klungkung and Bangli would give up by themselves after this incidents, but at least the Raja of Klungkung didn´t do what they assumed.

First the Raja of Klungkung, named Dewa Agung Jambe tried to respond to the offers of the dutch, because he was too cowed or just too sensible.

Later it came to several revolts in the area of the regency. An opium-transport was captured by the Panggawa (Royal Guard) of Klungkung.

After the dutch stroke back, the Panggawa flew and hoped for protection in the royal palace in Klungkung. The dutch attacked the city of Klungkung and the palace.

After a bombardment of naval artillery by which big parts of Gegel and Klungkung were destroyed, the dutch marched towards the palace, on April, the 28th 1908.

At this time the Dewa Agung of Klungkung ordered a puputan. Just because the bombardment caused a chaos, when the puputan procession started, the number of casualties (about 300), weren´t as high as in 1906.

The dutch bombardment destroyed nearly the whole palace. Just the main entrance, called "Gapura Kraton" (Gapura=Tor, Kraton=Palast) survived.

Also a park (Taman Gili) and a pavilion (Bale Kambang) sustained the attacks. Today the attacks are some part of marketing in the tourism industry.

A google search for "Puputan" gives the result, "Puputan: Balinese ritual mass suicide - travel tips". It is a bit sarcastic, but seems to be part of the business.


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