Important people in Balinese history: Gusti Ngurah Rai


One of the most famous figures in Balinese history is Gusti Ngurah Rai. Bali had been part of a Dutch colony with the roots of colonization going back to 1595 when 4 Dutch ships arrived in Kuta (on that first voyage some of the crew went AWOL and 2 settled in Bali). Bali came under total Dutch control in 1909, but WWII showed the Balinese that the Dutch could be sent packing. In 1946 the Dutch, after being expelled by the Japanese, returned to Bali to re take control of the island. The Balinese were not that organized but an army officer named Gusti Ngurah Rai formed the TKR ( People’s Military Force).

Outnumbered and out gunned, Ngurah Rai’s plan was to use guerrilla tactics and disrupt the Dutch control. He planned to base his forces on the slopes of Gunung Agung, this tactic being known locally as ‘Long March to Gunung Agung’. In total there were only 97 Balinese fighters and the Dutch managed to chase them from their base and intercept them at Marga in Tabanan, where they were wiped out in a battle. Gusti Ngurah Rai died but is remembered as a hero. The Dutch secumbed to international pressure to leave Indonesia and by 1949 they were gone.

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