home > the history of bali > european era > dutch colonial state >

The Conquest of South Bali -
Dutch Administration -
  Dutch Colonial State

In 1846, after the shipwreck of a Dutch vessel on the Badung shores and its looting by the local population, the Dutch envoy threatened the raja with reprisals. There were also several cases of looting-an ancient and accepted right of island peoples-of ships washed up on the northern coasts. When the Dutch resident went to Buleleng to investigate these cases and exchange contracts, he received a hostile and humiliating reception.

At the end of June 1846, the first Dutch punitive military expedition was launched against Buleleng-23 warships and some 3,000 men. With rifles and mortars, the soldiers fought all day against a Balinese force estimated at 50,000, armed with just spears and 'kris'. Four hundred Balinese were killed and the royal palace at Singaraja was destroyed.

Within a few days a new treaty of submission was signed, the raja forced to pay 400,000 guilders, and a Dutch garrison stationed at Buleleng. Political tension increased all over the island, convincing the Dutch that further military intervention was necessary.

In June 1848, after their treaties were violated and resistance continued, another Dutch expedition was launched. Opposed by a young prince named Gusti Ketut Jelantik, today an Indonesian military hero, this incursion ended in disaster for the Dutch. Lured into pursuing the Balinese force to the inland fortress of Jagaraga, the Dutch troops were encircled and soundly defeated.

The Balinese suddenly became the nightmare of the mid-19th century Dutch colonial state. There was no alternative but to show the Balinese, the English, and all their enemies that this rout was simply an aberration, and that the Dutch were still the dominant power in the Indies.

So in April 1849, 5,000 infantrymen, 3,000 mercenaries, and a fleet of 60 vessels with 300 marines set out to settle once and for all this Balinese business. Shipping out of Java, this was one of the largest Dutch military expeditions ever organized in the archipelago. After just two days of fighting and the loss of Jelantik, Buleleng and the fortress of Jagaraga were defeated.

The army of 20,000 men under the raja of Buleleng sued for peace. In May of that year Karangasem and Klungkung were likewise subjugated, the first time Dutch forces entered southern Bali.

Gradually, over the next five years, political authority passed from the native rulers of north Bali into the hands of Dutch controllers. Buleleng and Jembrana were placed under the direct administration of the Netherlands East Indies government in 1882. The Balinese ruling neighboring Lombok fared no better.

In 1894 the Lombok War was initiated with the landing of Dutch forces, who were promptly thrown into the sea. Heavy artillery and reinforcements arrived and the well-trained Netherlands colonial army swept over the whole island, capturing the Balinese capital of Cakranegara, killing the crown prince, and exiling his father.

Copyright 2012, Bali-Island.com Indonesia