History Of Lombok

History Of Lombok
Lombok is regarded as one of the most spectacular of all of Indonesia’s islands. Though visions of idyllic Bali, modern fast paced Jakarta are conjured up in the minds of the people whenever, the name of Indonesia crops up, Indonesia is much more than the relatively well cities and islands as a whole, Indonesia is also about tempting virgin beaches, innocent and naïve villagers, simple life styles and truly exotic cuisine.
It is also about Lombok. Relatively unravaged by time and marauding travelers from all over the world, Lombok is slowly but surely revealing herself to the world. The island of Lombok is to the east of her most famous neighbor, Bali. The straight which divides these two islands is very deep with innumerable whirlpools and dancing dolphins. The history of Lombok gives a fascinating insight into how the island evolved over the centuries to become what it is today. Though it is quite a task to delve deep into the ancient history of Lombok because of a paucity of chronicled articles, what is known is that in the ancient times, Lombok had native rulers who ruled over this province and Selaparang (a small kingdom) had some control over the eastern side of the island.

It was in the seventh century that the veil over this island started lifting with outside influences. Lombok came under the influence of Balinese and Makassarese of Sulawesi. The Balinese arrived from Karangasem crossing the Lombok Strait in the early part of the seventeenth century and around the same time, the Makassarese invaded the eastern part of the island. 1677 was a landmark year in the history of Lombok, it was in this year that the two intruders managed to subdue the other one. Balinese won as they had the help of the native Sasak aristocracy. Henceforth, it became a Balinese obsession to secure and maintain their control over this island. However with the passage of time, it was found that the Balinese control over Lombok had run into hard times and the beginning of the nineteenth century saw Pagesangan, Pagutan, Mataram and Cakranegara competing for the island.

1894 changed the course of Lombok’s destiny. From this year Lombok began her journey as one of the colonies of the Dutch. Balinese army had attacked the Dutch camp in Mayura Palace, Cakranegara. Though the Dutch escaped, they could not escape casualties to artillery and man. Now they were determined to pay back the Balinese and this resulted in their taking total control of Lombok.

Lombok now started to realize what colonialism meant. There was abject poverty and they were on the verge of starvation on more than one occasion. The Dutch wanted control as well as personal profit. Heavy taxation was another area of concern for the Lombok population along with exportation of food materials. The last straw on the camel’s back was famine which tormented Lombok for nearly half a century.

So continued Lombok’s tryst with destiny. But suddenly in 1945, Lombok had a new sun rising . Soekarno arrogated that Indonesia was independent and Lombok was also a part of this new order of things. But in 1965, after a difficult two decades, mass killings of Communist sympathizers and ethnic Chinese created a scar for ages to come on Lombok. It was President Suharto who can be credited with much of the growth and stability of this island, but here it has to be mentioned that in comparison to Bali and Java’s glitz and glamour, Lombok comes a poor second. Now this island is slowly gaining its place under the sun as a distinguished alternative to Bali in the tourism world.
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