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Slaughter of Balinese Hindus by the Dutch

Dharma vs. Adharma in Bali

On May 27, 1905, a Chinese steamer was shipwrecked on the beach of Sanur about four miles from Badung. The Balinese looted the wreckage, as they had done for centuries, but the Dutch Government claimed an indemnity of 75 hundred florins from the Rajah of Badung. He considered such a request an insult and refused to pay.

This was the excuse the Dutch were waiting for, and in 2906 they sent an expeditionary force into South Bali. Surrounded on all sides by Dutch troops, the defenders, seeing that their cause was lost, decided to die honorably rather than surrender.

In September 1906, the Dutch launched one of the most shameful and gruesome episodes in colonial history.

During the night of September 20, the Prince set fire to the Palace and the next morning opened the gate. Thousands of Balinese advanced slowly towards the Dutch guns. The men, sparkling with jewels, wore their ceremonial red, black and gold costumes, while the women, carrying their children, wore pure white sarongs, and were also covered with jewels and pearls. On a throne supported by the tallest warriors, the Rajah, a slender young man, sat pale and silent. Suddenly, within fifty yards of the Dutch, the Rajah drew his kris from its scabbard. This was the signal, and the Balinese drew their swords. They shared a curious exaltation at the thought of death. They dedicated themselves, and the sacrifice of their bodies was but the shadow of reality. It was an offering to the gods in the age old struggle between good and evil.

The Dutch Captain gave the order to fire and the slaughter began.   


Balinese Hindu Royalty - Bajra Sandhi Monument. Bajra means a bell used by Balinese priest. This monument is a memorial to the Balinese Struggle. The memorial was opened by Megawati Sukarno Putri in 2003.

(image source: webmaster's own collection of photos taken during a recent visit).


The Rajah fell and so did hundreds of his followers; wounded women stabbed their babies for fear that they should survive, then husbands killed their wives. The Balinese warriors and children brandishing spears and knives charged the firing canons. Three times the Dutch ceased fire in attempt to stop the slaughter, but the Balinese had decided to die.

The Dutch looted jewelry from the corpses and sacked the palace ruins.


European Imperialism - A Christian Enterprise was backed and blessed by the Pope

The Romanus Pontifex, also issued by Pope Nicholas V in 1455, sanctioned the seizure of non-Christian lands, and encouraged the enslavement of non-Christian people.


Christian Love?  A gruesome massacre of Balinese Hindus by the Dutch Colonists.

Following the massacre the Dutch looted the corpses and sacked the palace ruins.

(image source:


Apart from a few babies there were no survivors of the massacre. This was the end – the Dutch were now the masters of all Bali. A similar scene was repeated at the smaller court of Pemecutan in Denpasar. If the Dutch had hoped that events would end there, they were mistaken.

Puputan – a ritual suicide meaning end of a kingdom.
Kshatriya honor

The final act of Bali’s tragedy took place in 1908.  The King of Klungkung carrying his ancestral dagger, the kris, slowly emerged from the palace. His court and more than 200 people accompanying him to face the Dutch. The King knelt down and a Dutch bullet killed the king. His wives knelt around his corpse and drove keris blades into their hearts while the others began the rite of Puputan. Klung kung palace was razed. After nearly 600 years, the Balinese courts that had descended from the Royal Majapahit Empire of Java were gone.

Hindu Bali was now completely under the control of the Dutch Colonists. Today, the Square in Den Pasar, the former Badung, where it took place, has become a football ground.


Vedic India had honorable rules in Warfare.

"The Hindu laws of war are very chivalrous and humane, and prohibit the slaying of the unarmed, of women, of the old, and of the conquered."

European Imperialism was a disgraceful and cruel chapter in Human History where Despicable Greed and Arrogance were the principal factor in absence of rules in warfare. 



The Puputan square in Denpasar commemorates the last battle between the King of Badung and the Dutch army in 1906.

The heroic sacrifice  of 2000 Balinese Hindus that were killed by their own daggers or by the Dutch bullets.

(image source: webmaster's own collection of photos taken during a recent visit).


In 1920 and in 1924, more permits were given to Catholic and Protestant Missionaries to carry on their work in Bali.

After 350 years of Imperialism, in 1945, a republic was proclaimed and the whole archipelago took the name of Indonesia – Islands of India.

(source: Lovers in Paradise - By Barbara Cartland and Insight Guides: Java and Insight Guides: Bali and Lombok).

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Updated - October 28, 2008