Since it's the most accessible seaport in the southern part of the island, the Badung region has always been an important point of contact with the outside world.
The Javanese Majapahit army came ashore at Kuta in 1343 to conquer Bali. The first Dutchmen landed on Bali at Kuta in 1597. In the 1830s an ambitious Danish trader, Mads Lange, established a thriving trading post at the same site.
Once ruled by the raja of Mengwi, Badung split from Tabanan in 1885. This historical event explains the regency's odd vertical shape-like an exclamation point-and accounts for Mengwi being included within its territory. The Pemecutan clan of Denpasar defeated Mengwi in 1891, but held sway only briefly, until the incursion of a new and increasingly powerful player, the Dutch.
Though the Dutch subdued the northern part of the island in 1849, the fertile lava-rich lowlands of the south came under colonial rule only after prolonged resistance. Since the northern port of Singaraja was blocked by a central mountain range, all the trade of the south took place through the reef-sheltered port of Kuta; the only place ships could anchor and unload. This made it an irresistible target of Dutch expansion.
One of the last areas of Indonesia to be occupied, Badung was pounded into submission in 1906, setting the stage for the conquest of all of southern Bali.
Since the establishment of the Ngurah Rai International Airport in Tuban in 1969, the provincial government of Bali has attempted to confine tourist development to the south.
A whole generation of local residents have built 'losmen' and restaurants in the south's tourist enclaves of Kuta and Sanur, and entrepreneurs from all over Indonesia flock here for money-making opportunities. Thousands of laborers from Java are also attracted to work on the new roads and hotels of the constantly expanding economic infrastructure. Thus Badung Regency is where Balinese culture has undergone the most radical and deepest changes.
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