Located just south of the equator, tropical Bali has a hot, wet season ( November – March ) and a cool, dry one (May – September). Towering volcanoes, some still active, contain large lakes which provide water for irrigating thousands of terraced ricefields, enebling up to 3 harvest per year.
Over the centuries the Balinese have fused influences from Asia and the West with their own traditions. Prehistoric remains predating the Christian era have been found, but the earliest inscriptions date only from the 9 th century. Buddhism arrived from India during the first few centuries. A.D., followed by Hinduism and trade contacts with China. Relation with Java began in the 11 th century, but full Javanese control of Bali did not come until 1334 and lasted just over 100 years. A division of the realm followed as factions of the various Balinese ruling houses vied for power over the next few centuries.
The Dutch first landed in Bali in the late 1500c, and after many battles Bali finally became a part of the Nederland’s Indies in the early 1900c. colonial rule lasted until the Japanese invaded in 1942. At the end of World War II Indonesia became an independent republic. Bali is one of its 32 provinces, with 9 regencies based on the territories of the former kingdoms. Bali’s tourism has resulted in spectacular economic growth, a thriving hotel industry, and major improvements to transportation and communication facilities.
The International fame of Bali’s culture has brought a heightened sense of identity among the Balinese. Many villages produce arts and crafts, present music and dance performances, and hold elaborate religious ceremonies. As always, the Balinese take everything in stride, absorbing and adapting from different sources. They are a flexible people, welcoming new ideas but at the same time retaining a unique lifestyle guided by their social, religious, and cultural traditions.