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Bali (bäˈlē), island and (with two offshore islets) province, c.2,200 sq mi (5,700 sq km), E Indonesia, westernmost of the Lesser Sundas, just E of Java across the narrow Bali Strait. The capital is Denpasar. Although Bali is relatively small, it is densely populated and culturally and economically one of the most important islands of Indonesia. Largely mountainous, with active volcanoes, it rises to 9,826 ft (2,995 m) at Mt. Agung; there is a great fertile plain to the south. Fauna include tigers and deer. Bali is known for its giant waringin trees, sacred to the inhabitants.
The Balinese (a Malayan group closely related to the Javanese) are skillful farmers; rice, the chief crop, is grown with the aid of elaborate irrigation systems. Vegetables, fruits, coffee, and coconuts are also produced. Livestock is important; pigs and cattle are major export items. Industries include food processing, tourism, and handicrafts. The people are noted for their artistic skill (especially wood carving), and their high level of culture, which includes advanced forms of music, folk drama, dancing, and architecture. They are Hindu in a nation that is overwhelmingly Muslim; their unique ritualistic culture, as well as the island's scenic beauty, has made Bali one of the great tourist attractions of East Asia. An international airport was opened in 1969. A state univ. is in Denpasar.
Bali was converted to Hinduism in the 7th cent., and was under Javanese rule from the 10th to the late 15th cent. It was a refuge (1513–28) for the Hindus of Java fleeing the advance of Islam. The Dutch first landed in 1597 and the Dutch East India Company began its trade with the island in the early 17th cent. Dutch sovereignty was not firmly established until after a series of colonial wars (1846–49), and the entire island was not occupied until 1908, after the quelling of two rebellions. Klungklung, NE of Denpasar, was the capital of the native rulers from the 17th cent. until 1908. Bali was particularly hard-hit during the nationwide purge of Communists in 1965; more than 40,000 people were killed, and entire villages were destroyed. The island was part of a massive transmigration project in the late 1970s to relieve overcrowding. Bali's popularity as a Western tourist destination made it a target of several Islamic terror attacks in the early 21st cent.
See Bali (Vol. V and VIII of Selected Studies on Indonesia, publ. by W. van Hoeve, 1960 and 1970); U. Ramseyer, The Art and Culture of Bali (1987).
an island in the Malay Archipelago; the westernmost of the Lesser Sunda islands in Indonesia. Area, 5,600 sq km; population, about 1.8 million (1961). Main cities: Singaradja and Denpasar.
The island is mountainous; its highest part is the east, where the volcano Agung (3,142 m) is located. The coasts are steep and slightly dissected; only in the south does a relatively large peninsula protrude. The climate is tropical and monsoonal, with abundant summer precipitation (1,500 mm and more per year) and very dry winters. The island is covered with tropical forests (palms and teak), and there is plantation farming (rice, coffee, and cacao).
Bali is an ancient center of Indonesian culture (“the island of a thousand temples”) and folk art (dance, carving in wood, bone, stone, and horn; masks, utensils, jewelry, richly colored fabrics; and weaving with palm leaves, bamboo, and grasses). Architectural monuments include the royal tombs (11th century), with facades hewn in the rocks; the Elephant Cavern (circa 13th century), with a carved facade and fountain sculpture; and numerous temples (pura) with terraced courtyards, richly decorated gates, and tiered towers. The sculpture of Bali (figures of people and animals) is notably free, vital, and diverse in its themes; painting (contemporary artists are A. A. G. Sobrat and I. B. Made) is marked by decorative design and idyllic images in which human figures merge with luxuriantly colored natural settings.
REFERENCESDemin, L. M. Ostrov Bali. Moscow, 1964.
Goris, R. Bali: Atlas kebudajaan. Jakarta, 1956.
an interisland sea of the Pacific Ocean between the eastern extremity of the island of Java and the islands of Bali, Lombok, Sumbawa, Sulawesi, and Madura. The area of the sea is 119,000 sq km, the mean depth is 411 m, and the maximum depth is 1,590 m. The temperature of the water is 27° C or 28° C. The salinity is 33–34 parts per thousand. Tides are compound, up to 1.7 m. The main port is Sura-baja on Java.