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Thursday 23rd May
Bali Facts
The island of Bali is part of the country of Indonesia.

Bali's highest peak, Mount Agung, is said to be the home of the gods.

Bali has suffered from volcanic activity and earthquakes. In 1830 a volcano erupted and devastated much of Bali and in 1917 a severe earthquake was followed by volcanic activity from Mount Batur. There were also volcanic eruptions in the 1960s.

The "Wallace Line" passes between Bali and Lombok islands and between Kalimantan and Sulawesi. In 1869 Alfred Wallace reasoned that there are Asian and Australian animals on either side of the Lombok Strait because Ice Age sea levels prevented animals crossing.

Stone tools have been found on Bali indicating that the region has been inhabited since Neolithic times.

Bali Aga means the original Balinese. The Bali Aga people live in the villages of Tenganan and Trunyan.

Early in its history the island was visited by Indian traders who brought Hinduism to Bali.

The Balinese build shrines for spirits believed to live in large trees. Artistic offerings are made of flowers and fruit. Rice is also offered to the gods and spirits.

Rice is Bali's main crop. The elaborate irrigation systems encourage a cooperative way of life between the rice growers.

In some regions of Bali there are bull races across the rice fields to please the god of harvest.

The Hindu-Balinese population has a belief in reincarnation. Babies up to six weeks old are treated with reverence as they are thought to have the soul of a reincarnated ancestor.

Cremation is a very important event when the dead person's soul is released.

Most of the Balinese population belongs to the lowest caste known as Shudra. The nobility is divided into priests (Brahman), the military and ruling royalty (Kshatriya), and merchants (Vaisya).

The Dutch arrived in Bali at the end of the sixteenth century.

In 1906 the Netherlands took control of Bali. During the Dutch capture of the island many thousands of Balinese were killed. Puputan Square in Denpasar is named after the suicidal battle of the Balinese aristocracy in their struggle against the Dutch.

Following Japanese occupation during the Second World War, Bali became part of a province of the Indonesian republic led by President Sukarno.

In October 2002 a terrorist bomb in Bali (Kuta town) killed over 180 people. Three years later, suicide bombings on the island killed over twenty people.
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