A stone statue at the entrance of a bali aga villageThe first evidences of a colonization on Bali are from the Old stone age. This is proven by hand-axes that were be found by excavation. The first large migrations began 2500 B.C. and consisted of austronesian, old malaysian and mongolian tribes and also a neolithic pottery and farming culture from Yunnan, South-China.
In 500-100 B.C. a second large migration happend. Archiological records proved the exist of a bronze-age megalithic-culture in that time. A great influence in the time from 300-100 B.C was the chinese dongson-culture.
Also a nature religion, today called "Bali-Aga" (=primal bali) was existing in this time. Till today a small number of villages are still existing on bali, in which the culture survied, because of their geographical location.
Early image of an indain shipAt 100 A.D. the indian influence on java grew. On sumatra the first buddhist empire, called Sivijaya arose. Since 670 A.D the influence expanded also to bali.
While India was the main cultural influence, china effected just the economical aspects. For instance, balinese princedoms never had a currency. All coins on bali were coined in china.
The buddhism also arose on bali in this time. The first occurences, like hermitages, were witnessed by a chinese trader, named Yi-Tsing.
First insciptions in old-balinese were dated on 832 A.D. and reported about a ermitage and the stone statue of trunyan.
Reign of the rajas
Inscriptions from 914 A.D. are reporting of the first known by name Raja (Raja Sri Kesari Warmedewa). The Warmedewa-dynasty had it´s centre in the area Pejeng near Ubud.
Through the marriage of Udayana (a member of the warmadewa dynasty) and the javanese princes Mahendradatta (Daughter of the javanese king Makutawangswarhana 985-1006 A.D) in the year 1000 A.D. the javanese influence on bali expanded.
Their son Erlangga (991- 1049 A.D.) ruled about a big part of east java since 1019 A.D.
He conquered nearly the whole area of east java. In his reign the javansese version of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata were created.
After the death of Udayana, a son of Erlangga, named Dharmawangsa Wardhana Marakatapangkajasthanot Tunggadewa, ruled on bali, followed by Mahendadrattas and Udayanas youngest son Paduka Huja Anak Wungsu.
Bali was relatively identpendent in this era. Paduka Haji Anak Wunsu berherrschte ein Region von Sangsit bis Klungkung.
In 1284, Raja Kertanegara, the most famous member of the Singosari Dynasty from java conquered bali. Under his regency bali had a golden age, but the Pejeng (or Warmedewa) Dynasty was totally destroyed by his conquest.
Kartenegara was one of the first rulers, who had a vision of a united indonesia. He was was murdered eight years after his conquest (ekspedisi pamalayu) to bali.
Bali again was independet till 1343, when Gajah Mada, the first minister and military leader (Mahapatih) of the Majapith dynasty conquered bali.
Bali became totally reliant from Java. The seat of gouverment was replaced, first to Samperngan in 1350 (near Gianyar) and later to Gelgel (1380). Sri Kresna Kapakisan became the new ruler of bali and established the javanese administrative system.
In 1400 the islamic influence on java grew and led to the end of the majaphit era, other rulers converted to islam and many aristocrates and artist migrated from java to bali.
The temple Pura Tanah Lot was built in this time. The javanese brahmin Pedanda Saktu Bau Rauh (or: Dangyang Nirantha) was the intiatior of this temple.
The Pura Tanah Lot Temple
A legend tells, that he had seen a light at the southwest coast of bali.To examnie this occurence he meditated and some followers accompanied him. This followers, before were the ones of the local priest, named Bendesa Beraben.
The local priest envied Nirantha and tried to evict him from the area. Nirantha used his magical powers to move a rock into the water and turned his scarf into snakes, which guarded the island. Afer this Bedesa Beraben also followed Nirantha.
The kingdom of Gelgel experienced another golden era, because of the migrated elite from java.
Domestically peace and a flourishig culture resulted of this circumstance. The shadow play (wayang kulit) and the gamalan music on bali were introduced by the javanese refugees.
In the 17th century the ruling of the Gelgel Dynasty ended. 1686 Klungkung was the new seat center of power, but many princedoms fragmented.
The temple of Klungkung
In 1786 the last hinduist reign on java vanished. Just on bali the hinduism (Anganam Bali) survived. Sir Stafford raffles noticed, in his book "History of Java", which was published in 1817:
"On Java we find Hinduism only amid the ruins of temples, images and inscriptions; on Bali, in the laws, ideas, and worship of the people. On Java this singular and interesting system of religion is classed among the antiquities of the island.
Here it is a living source of action, and a universal rule of conduct. The present state of Bali may be considered, therefore, as a kind of commentary on the ancient condition of the natives of Java."
Until the 19th century changing alliances were daily life on bali. But, despite this fact, all princes had to respect the Dewa Agung of Klungkung.
In the 18th century a court was institutionalised in Klungkung. It had the power of jurisdiction on whole bali and was used when regional courts could not agree about a final verdict.
In the midst of the 18th century, the Raja Anak Agung Ngurah of the princedom Karangasem conquerd a great part of lombok. Traces of the balinese influence can be seen in the Mayura Park.
The building, in the middle of the park, was used as a court. The park was built in 1744 and was influenced by hinduism and also by the islam.
At the end of the 18th century the princedom of Gianyar, which was splitted between Klungkung and Mengwi before, expanded.
The possibility of the expansion resulted from the wekaness of Klungkung, which was weakened by it´s wars against Karangasem.
The ambitioned Panggawa (=Guard) of the village Gianyar used this weakness to build up hist power by deceit and cheating. As the first leader of the reunited princedom Gianyar, he obtained the title "Dewa Manggis" (=sweet god).