The Balinese people are an Austronesian ethnic group native to the Indonesian island of Bali. The Balinese population of 4.2 million live on the island of Bali, making up 89% of the island's population. There are significant populations on the island of Lombok and in the easternmost regions of Java; the Balinese originated from three periods of migration. The first waves of immigrants came from Java and Kalimantan in prehistoric times and were of proto-Malay stock; the second wave of Balinese came over the years from Java during the Hindu period. The third and final wave came from Java, between the 15th and 16th centuries, about the same time as the conversion to Islam in Java, causing aristocrats and peasants to flee to Bali after the collapse of the Javanese Hindu Majapahit Empire in order to escape Mataram's Islamic conversion; this in turn reshaped the Balinese culture into a syncretic form of classical Javanese culture mixed with many Balinese elements. A DNA study in 2005 by Karafet et al. found that 12% of Balinese Y-chromosomes are of Indian origin, while 84% are of Austronesian origin, 2% of Melanesian origin.
Balinese culture is a mix of Balinese Hindu-Buddhist Balinese customs. It is most known for its dance and sculpture; the island is known for its Wayang kulit or Shadow play theatre. In rural and neglected villages, beautiful temples are a common sight. Layered pieces of palm leaf and neat fruit arrangements made as offerings by Balinese women have an artistic side to them. According to Mexican art historian José Miguel Covarrubias, works of art made by amateur Balinese artists are regarded as a form of spiritual offering, therefore these artists do not care about recognition of their works. Balinese artists are skilled in duplicating art works such as carvings that resemble Chinese deities or decorating vehicles based on what is seen in foreign magazines; the culture is noted for its use of the gamelan in music and in various traditional events of Balinese society. Each type of music is designated for a specific type of event. For example, music for a piodalan is different from music used for a metatah ceremony, just as it is for weddings, Melasti and so forth.
The diverse types of gamelan are specified according to the different types of dance in Bali. According to Walter Spies, the art of dancing is an integral part of Balinese life as well as an endless critical element in a series of ceremonies or for personal interests. Traditionally, displaying of female breasts is not regarded as immodest. Balinese women can be seen with bared chests. In modern Bali these customs are not observed, but visitors visiting Balinese temples are advised to cover their legs. In the Balinese naming system, a person's rank of birth or caste is reflected in the name. A puputan is an act of mass suicide through frontal assaults in battle, was first noted by the Dutch during the colonization of Bali; the latest act of puputan was during the Indonesian war of Independence, with Lt. Colonel I Gusti Ngurah Rai as the leader in the battle of Margarana; the airport in Bali is named after him in commemoration. The vast majority of the Balinese believe in Agama Tirta, "holy-water religion".
It is a Shivaite sect of Hinduism. Traveling Indian priests are said to have introduced the people to the sacred literature of Hinduism and Buddhism centuries ago; the people combined it with their own pre-Hindu mythologies. The Balinese from before the third wave of immigration, known as the Bali Aga, are not followers of Agama Tirta, but retain their own animist traditions. Balinese people celebrate multiple festivals, including the Kuta Carnival, the Sanur Village Festival, the Bali Kite Festival, where participants fly fish-, bird-, leaf-shaped kites while an orchestra plays traditional music. Balinese Hinduism Balinese architecture Balinese caste system Bali Kingdom Balinese Kshatriya Galungan Nyepi Saraswati Ngaben Legong Sanghyang Kecak Canang sari
Hindus are persons who regard themselves as culturally, ethnically, or religiously adhering to aspects of Hinduism. The term has been used as a geographical and religious identifier for people indigenous to the Indian subcontinent; the historical meaning of the term Hindu has evolved with time. Starting with the Persian and Greek references to the land of the Indus in the 1st millennium BCE through the texts of the medieval era, the term Hindu implied a geographic, ethnic or cultural identifier for people living in the Indian subcontinent around or beyond the Sindhu river. By the 16th century, the term began to refer to residents of the subcontinent who were not Turkic or Muslims; the historical development of Hindu self-identity within the local South Asian population, in a religious or cultural sense, is unclear. Competing theories state that Hindu identity developed in the British colonial era, or that it developed post-8th century CE after the Islamic invasion and medieval Hindu-Muslim wars.
A sense of Hindu identity and the term Hindu appears in some texts dated between the 13th and 18th century in Sanskrit and regional languages. The 14th- and 18th-century Indian poets such as Vidyapati and Eknath used the phrase Hindu dharma and contrasted it with Turaka dharma; the Christian friar Sebastiao Manrique used the term'Hindu' in religious context in 1649. In the 18th century, the European merchants and colonists began to refer to the followers of Indian religions collectively as Hindus, in contrast to Mohamedans for Mughals and Arabs following Islam. By the mid-19th century, colonial orientalist texts further distinguished Hindus from Buddhists and Jains, but the colonial laws continued to consider all of them to be within the scope of the term Hindu until about mid-20th century. Scholars state that the custom of distinguishing between Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs is a modern phenomenon. Hindoo is an archaic spelling variant. At more than 1.03 billion, Hindus are the world's third largest group after Muslims.
The vast majority of Hindus 966 million, live in India, according to India's 2011 census. After India, the next 9 countries with the largest Hindu populations are, in decreasing order: Nepal, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, United States, United Kingdom and Myanmar; these together accounted for 99% of the world's Hindu population, the remaining nations of the world together had about 6 million Hindus in 2010. The word Hindu is derived from the Indo-Aryan and Sanskrit word Sindhu, which means "a large body of water", covering "river, ocean", it was used as the name of the Indus river and referred to its tributaries. The actual term'hindu' first occurs, states Gavin Flood, as "a Persian geographical term for the people who lived beyond the river Indus", more in the 6th-century BCE inscription of Darius I; the Punjab region, called Sapta Sindhu in the Vedas, is called Hapta Hindu in Zend Avesta. The 6th-century BCE inscription of Darius I mentions the province of Hidush, referring to northwestern India; the people of India were referred to as Hinduvān and hindavī was used as the adjective for Indian in the 8th century text Chachnama.
The term'Hindu' in these ancient records is an ethno-geographical term and did not refer to a religion. The Arabic equivalent Al-Hind referred to the country of India. Among the earliest known records of'Hindu' with connotations of religion may be in the 7th-century CE Chinese text Record of the Western Regions by the Buddhist scholar Xuanzang. Xuanzang uses the transliterated term In-tu whose "connotation overflows in the religious" according to Arvind Sharma. While Xuanzang suggested that the term refers to the country named after the moon, another Buddhist scholar I-tsing contradicted the conclusion saying that In-tu was not a common name for the country. Al-Biruni's 11th-century text Tarikh Al-Hind, the texts of the Delhi Sultanate period use the term'Hindu', where it includes all non-Islamic people such as Buddhists, retains the ambiguity of being "a region or a religion". The'Hindu' community occurs as the amorphous'Other' of the Muslim community in the court chronicles, according to Romila Thapar.
Wilfred Cantwell Smith notes that'Hindu' retained its geographical reference initially:'Indian','indigenous, local', virtually'native'. The Indian groups themselves started using the term, differentiating themselves and their "traditional ways" from those of the invaders; the text Prithviraj Raso, by Chanda Baradai, about the 1192 CE defeat of Prithviraj Chauhan at the hands of Muhammad Ghori, is full of references to "Hindus" and "Turks", at one stage, says "both the religions have drawn their curved swords. In Islamic literature,'Abd al-Malik Isami's Persian work, Futuhu's-salatin, composed in the Deccan in 1350, uses the word'hindi' to mean Indian in the ethno-geographical sense and the word'hindu' to mean'Hindu' in the sense of a follower of the Hindu religion"; the poet Vidyapati's poem Kirtilata contrasts the cultures of Hindus and Turks in a city and concludes "The Hindus and the Turks live close together. One of the earliest uses of word'Hindu' in religious context in a European language, was the publication in 1649 by Sebastiao Manrique.
Other prominent mentions of'Hindu' include the epigraphical inscriptions from Andhra Pradesh kingdoms who battled military expansion of Muslim dynasties in the 14th century, where the word'Hindu' implies a religious identity in contrast to'Turks' or Islam
Gajah Mada was, according to Javanese old manuscripts and mythology, a powerful military leader and Mahapatih or Prime Minister of the Indianized Hindu empire of Majapahit, credited with bringing the empire to its peak of glory. He delivered an oath called Sumpah Palapa, in which he vowed to live ascetic until he had conquered all of the Southeast Asian archipelago of Nusantara for Majapahit. In modern Indonesia, he serves as an important national hero, a symbol of patriotism and national unity. Due to their reign the Hindu epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, became ingrained in the culture and worldview of the Javanese through the performing arts of wayang kulit; this account of his life, political career and administration was taken from several sources. Pararaton, the Nagarakretagama, inscriptions dating from the late 13th and early 14th century. Not much is known about Gajah Mada's early life; some of the first accounts mention his career as commander of the Bhayangkara, an elite royal guard for the Majapahit king and royal family.
When Rakrian Kuti, one of the officials in Majapahit, rebelled against the Majapahit king Jayanegara in 1321, Gajah Mada and the mahapatih Arya Tadah helped the king and his family to escape the capital city of Trowulan. Gajah Mada helped the king return to the capital and crush the rebellion. Seven years Jayanegara was murdered by the court physician Rakrian Tanca, one of Rakrian Kuti's aides. Another version suggested that Jayanagara was assassinated by Gajah Mada in 1328. Jayanagara was overly protective of his two half sisters, born from Kertarajasa's youngest queen, Dyah Dewi Gayatri. Complaints by the two young princesses led to the intervention of Gajah Mada, his solution was to arrange for a surgeon to murder the king while pretending to perform a surgery. Jayanegara was succeeded by his half-sister Tribhuwana Wijayatunggadewi, it was under her leadership that Gajah Mada was appointed mahapatih in 1329, after the retirement of Arya Tadah. As mahapatih under Tribhuwana Tunggadewi, Gajah Mada went on to crush another rebellion by Sadeng and Keta in 1331.
It was during Gajah Mada's reign as mahapatih, around the year 1345, that the famous Muslim traveller, Ibn Battuta visited Sumatera. It is said that it was during his appointment as mahapatih under queen Tribhuwanatunggadewi that Gajah Mada took his famous oath, the Palapa Oath or Sumpah Palapa; the telling of the oath is described in the Pararaton, an account on Javanese history that dates from the 15th or 16th century: “Sira Gajah Mada pepatih amungkubumi tan ayun amukita palapa, sira Gajah Mada: Lamun huwus kalah nusantara Ingsun amukti palapa, lamun kalah ring Gurun, ring Seram, ring Haru, ring Pahang, ring Bali, Palembang, samana ingsun amukti palapa “ "Gajah Mada, the prime minister, said he will not taste any spice. Said Gajah Mada: If Nusantara are lost, I will not taste "palapa". I will not if the domain of Gurun, domain of Seram, domain of Tanjungpura, domain of Haru, Dompo, domain of Bali, Palembang, Tumasik, in which case I will never taste any spice." While interpreted to mean that Gajah Mada would not allow his food to be spiced the oath is sometimes interpreted to mean that Gajah Mada would abstain from all earthly pleasures until he conquered the entire known archipelago for Majapahit.
His closest friends were at first doubtful of his oath, but Gajah Mada kept pursuing his dream to unify Nusantara under the glory of Majapahit. Soon he conquered the surrounding territory of Lombok, he sent the navy westward to attack the remnants of the thalassocratic kingdom of Sriwijaya in Palembang. There he installed Adityawarman, a Majapahit prince as vassal ruler of the Minangkabau in West Sumatra, he conquered the first Islamic sultanate in Southeast Asia, Samudra Pasai, another state in Svarnadvipa. Gajah Mada conquered Bintan, Tumasik and Kalimantan. At the resignation of the queen, Tribuwanatunggadewi, her son, Hayam Wuruk became king. Gajah Mada retained his position as mahapatih under the new king and continued his military campaign by expanding eastward into Logajah, Seram, Sasak, Banggai, Galiyan, Sumba, Solor, Wandan, Ambon and Dompo, he thus brought the modern Indonesian archipelago under Majapahits's control, which spanned not only the territory of today's Indonesia, but that of Temasek, the states comprising modern-day Malaysia, the southern Philippines and East Timor.
In 1357, the only remaining state refusing to acknowledge Majapahit's hegemony was Sunda, in West Java, bordering the Majapahit Empire. King Hayam Wuruk intended to marry Dyah Pitaloka Citraresmi, a princess of Sunda and the daughter of Sunda's king. Gajah Mada was given the task to go to the Bubat square in the northern part of Trowulan to welcome the princess as she arrived with her father and escort to Majapahit palace. Gajah Mada took this opportunity to demand Sunda submission to Majapahit rule. While the Sunda King thought that the royal marriage was a sign of a new alliance between Sunda and Majapahit, Gajah Mada thought otherwise, he stated that the Princess of Sunda was not to be hailed as the new
Indonesia the Republic of Indonesia, is a country in Southeast Asia, between the Indian and Pacific oceans. It is the world's largest island country, with more than seventeen thousand islands, at 1,904,569 square kilometres, the 14th largest by land area and the 7th largest in combined sea and land area. With over 261 million people, it is the world's 4th most populous country as well as the most populous Muslim-majority country. Java, the world's most populous island, is home to more than half of the country's population; the sovereign state is a constitutional republic with an elected parliament. It has 34 provinces. Jakarta, the country's capital, is the second most populous urban area in the world; the country shares land borders with Papua New Guinea, East Timor, the eastern part of Malaysia. Other neighbouring countries include Singapore, the Philippines, Australia and India's Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Despite its large population and densely populated regions, Indonesia has vast areas of wilderness that support a high level of biodiversity.
The country has abundant natural resources like oil and natural gas, tin and gold. Agriculture produces rice, palm oil, coffee, medicinal plants and rubber. Indonesia's major trading partners are China, United States, Japan and India. History of the Indonesian archipelago has been influenced by foreign powers drawn to its natural resources, it has been an important region for trade since at least the 7th century, when Srivijaya and later Majapahit traded with entities from mainland China and the Indian subcontinent. Local rulers absorbed foreign cultural and political models from the early centuries and Hindu and Buddhist kingdoms flourished. Muslim traders and Sufi scholars brought Islam, while European powers brought Christianity and fought one another to monopolise trade in the Spice Islands of Maluku during the Age of Discovery. Although sometimes interrupted by the Portuguese and British, the Dutch were the foremost European power for much of its 350-year presence in the archipelago. In early 20th century, the concept of "Indonesia" as a nation state emerged, independence movements began to take shape.
During the decolonisation of Asia after World War II, Indonesia achieved independence in 1949 following an armed and diplomatic conflict with the Netherlands. Indonesia consists of hundreds of distinct native ethnic and linguistic groups, with the largest—and politically dominant—ethnic group being the Javanese. A shared identity has developed, defined by a national language, ethnic diversity, religious pluralism within a Muslim-majority population, a history of colonialism and rebellion against it. Indonesia's national motto, "Bhinneka Tunggal Ika", articulates the diversity that shapes the country. Indonesia's economy is the world's 16th largest by nominal GDP and the 7th largest by GDP at PPP. Indonesia is a member of several multilateral organisations, including the UN, WTO, IMF and G20, it is a founding member of Non-Aligned Movement, Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, East Asia Summit, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
The name Indonesia derives from the Greek name of the Indos and the word nesos, meaning "Indian islands". The name dates to the 18th century, far predating the formation of independent Indonesia. In 1850, George Windsor Earl, an English ethnologist, proposed the terms Indunesians—and, his preference, Malayunesians—for the inhabitants of the "Indian Archipelago or Malayan Archipelago". In the same publication, one of his students, James Richardson Logan, used Indonesia as a synonym for Indian Archipelago. However, Dutch academics writing in East Indies publications were reluctant to use Indonesia. After 1900, Indonesia became more common in academic circles outside the Netherlands, native nationalist groups adopted it for political expression. Adolf Bastian, of the University of Berlin, popularised the name through his book Indonesien oder die Inseln des Malayischen Archipels, 1884–1894; the first native scholar to use the name was Ki Hajar Dewantara, when in 1913 he established a press bureau in the Netherlands, Indonesisch Pers-bureau.
Fossils and the remains of tools show that the Indonesian archipelago was inhabited by Homo erectus, known as "Java Man", between 1.5 million years ago and 35,000 years ago. Homo sapiens reached the region around 45,000 years ago. Austronesian peoples, who form the majority of the modern population, migrated to Southeast Asia from what is now Taiwan, they arrived around 4,000 years ago, as they spread through the archipelago, confined the indigenous Melanesians to the far eastern regions. Ideal agricultural conditions and the mastering of wet-field rice cultivation as early as the 8th century BCE allowed villages and small kingdoms to flourish by the first century CE; the archipelago's strategic sea-lane position fostered inter-island and international trade, including links with Indian kingdoms and Chinese dynasties, which were established several centuries BCE. Trade has since fundamentally shaped Indonesian history. From the 7th century CE, the powerful Srivijaya naval kingdom flourished as a result of trade and the influences of Hinduism and Buddhism that were imported with it.
Between the 8th and 10th century CE, the agricultural Buddhist Saile
Sasak architecture refers to the vernacular architecture of the Sasak, the majority indigenous ethnic group of the Indonesian island of Lombok. Lombok lies east of Bali and the same size, its climate and terrain differ; the majority of the island's population is the central plain between the mountainous north and the barren, arid south. Lombok's west has a large immigrant Balinese population and their houses and temples are similar to those of Bali; the Muslim and animist Sasak majority live in the drier eastern part of the island. Their houses rise in tiers up the hot bare hills of Lombok's southern peninsula; the majority of the traditional houses in the more developed parts of the island are no longer used. However, in the southern part of the island they are still lived in as most villagers cannot afford to change their way of life, but because they are proud of their culture and as tourism increases there is a financial incentive to maintain the structures. Villages are clustered on low escarpments to conserve arable land.
A village is approached via a path leading to a narrow gateway, the village rises to the crown of the hill with a few lateral paths and many zig-zagging trails accessing houses. A thatched roof mosque with a square pyramid or double pyramid mosque forms the centre of the village. Pile-built, bonnet-rice barns known as lumbung are the pride of Sasak vernacular architecture, they are built in rows along the easier lower paths of a village. The structures have only one opening, a high window into which rice is loaded twice a year. Four 1.5 metre hardwood posts are mounted on a level, sundried mud and buffalo-dung platform, discs known as jelepreng are set towards the top to prevent rodent ingress. Two lateral beams are carried by the posts on which sits a cantilevered frame which in turn supports the bamboo rafters. Several lumbung owned by separate families are built end to end a few metres apart. Dawson, Barry; the Traditional Architecture of Indonesia. London: Thames and Hudson. Pp. 98–104, 107–108.
ISBN 0-500-34132-X. Architecture of Indonesia
The Majapahit Empire was a thalassocracy in Southeast Asia, based on the island of Java, that existed from 1293 to circa 1500. Majapahit reached its peak of glory during the era of Hayam Wuruk, whose reign from 1350 to 1389 was marked by conquest which extended through Southeast Asia, his achievement is credited to his prime minister, Gajah Mada. According to the Nagarakretagama written in 1365, Majapahit was an empire of 98 tributaries, stretching from Sumatra to New Guinea. Majapahit was one of the last major empires of the region and is considered to be one of the greatest and most powerful empires in the history of Indonesia and Southeast Asia, one, sometimes seen as the precedent for Indonesia's modern boundaries, its influence extended beyond the modern territory of Indonesia and has been the subject of many studies. The name Majapahit derives from local Javanese, meaning "bitter maja". German orientalist Berthold Laufer suggested that maja came from the Javanese name of Aegle marmelos, an Indonesian tree.
The name referred to the area in and around Trowulan, the cradle of Majapahit, linked to the establishment of a village in Tarik timberland by Raden Wijaya. It was said that the workers clearing the Tarik timberland encountered some bael trees and consumed its bitter-tasting fruit that subsequently become the village's name, it is a common practice in Java to name an area, a village or settlement with the most conspicuous or abundant tree or fruit species found in that region. In ancient Java it is common to refer the kingdom with its capital's name. Majapahit is known by other names: Wilwatikta, although sometimes the natives refer to their kingdom as Bhumi Jawa or Mandala Jawa instead. Little physical evidence of Majapahit remains, some details of the history are rather abstract. Local Javanese people did not forget Majapahit as Mojopait is mentioned vaguely in Babad Tanah Jawi, a Javanese chronicle composed in the 18th century. Majapahit did produce physical evidence: the main ruins dating from the Majapahit period are clustered in the Trowulan area, the royal capital of the kingdom.
The Trowulan archaeological site was first documented in the 19th century by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, Lieutenant-Governor of British Java of British East India Company from 1811 to 1816. He reported the existence of "ruins of temples.... Scattered about the country for many miles", referred to Trowulan as "this pride of Java". By the early 20th century, Dutch colonial historians began to study old Javanese and Balinese literature to explore the past of their colony. Two primary sources were available to them: the Pararaton manuscript was written in the Kawi language c. 1600, Nagarakretagama was composed in Old Javanese in 1365. Pararaton focuses on Ken Arok, the founder of Singhasari, but includes a number of shorter narrative fragments about the formation of Majapahit; the Nagarakretagama is an old Javanese epic poem written during the Majapahit golden age under the reign of Hayam Wuruk, after which some events are covered narratively. The Dutch acquired the manuscript in 1894 during their military expedition against the Cakranegara royal house of Lombok.
There are some inscriptions in Old Javanese and Chinese. The Javanese sources incorporate some poetic mythological elements, scholars such as C. C. Berg, an Indies-born Dutch naturalist, have considered the entire historical record to be not a record of the past, but a supernatural means by which the future can be determined. Most scholars do not accept this view, as the historical record corresponds with Chinese materials that could not have had similar intention; the list of rulers and details of the state structure show no sign of being invented. The Chinese historical sources on Majapahit acquired from the chronicles of Yuan and following Ming dynasty; the Chinese accounts on Majapahit owed to the 15th century Zheng He's account — a Ming Dynasty admiral reports during his visit to Majapahit between 1405 and 1432. Zheng He's translator Ma Huan wrote a detailed description of Majapahit and where the king of Java lived; the report was composed and collected in Yingya Shenglan, which provides a valuable insight on the culture, customs various social and economic aspects of Chao-Wa during Majapahit period.
The Trowulan archaeological area has become the center for the study of Majapahit history. The aerial and satellite imagery has revealed extensive network of canals criss-crossing the Majapahit capital. Recent archaeological findings from April 2011 indicate the Majapahit capital was much larger than believed after some artifacts were uncovered. After defeating the Melayu Kingdom in Sumatra in 1290, Singhasari became the most powerful kingdom in the region. Kublai Khan, the Great Khan of the Mongol Empire and the Emperor of the Mongol Yuan Dynasty, challenged Singhasari by sending emissaries demanding tribute. Kertanegara, the last ruler of Singhasari, refused to pay the tribute, insulted the Mongol envoy, challenged the Khan instead. In response, Kublai Khan sent a massive expedition of 1,000 ships to Java in 1293. By that time, the Adipati of Kediri, a vassal state of Singhasari, had usurped and killed Kertanagara. After being pardoned by Jayakatwang with the aid of Madura's regent, Arya Wiraraja.
Sumbawa is an Indonesian island, located in the middle of the Lesser Sunda Islands chain, with Lombok to the west, Flores to the east, Sumba further to the southeast. It is part of the province of West Nusa Tenggara, but there are presently steps being taken by the Indonesian government to turn the island into a separate province. Traditionally the island is sandalwood, its savanna-like climate and vast grasslands are used to hunt deer. Sumbawa has an area of 15,448 square kilometres or 5,965 square miles with a current population of around 1.39 million. It marks the boundary between the islands to the west, which were influenced by religion and culture spreading from India, the region to the east, less influenced. In particular this applies to both Islam; the 14th-century Nagarakretagama mentioned several principalities identified to be on Sumbawa. Four principalities in western Sumbawa were dependencies of the Majapahit Empire of eastern Java; because of Sumbawa's natural resources, it was invaded by outside forces – from the Javanese, Makassar, to the Dutch and Japanese.
The Dutch first arrived in 1605, but did not rule Sumbawa until the early 20th century. For a short period of time, the Balinese kingdom of Gelgel ruled a part of western Sumbawa; the eastern parts of the island, on the other hand, were home to the Sultanate of Bima, an Islamic polity that had links to the Bugis and Makassar peoples of South Sulawesi, as well as other Malay-Islamic polities in the archipelago. Historical evidence indicates that people on Sumbawa island were known in the East Indies for their honey, sappanwood, used to make red dye, sandalwood, used for incense and medications; the area was thought to be productive agriculturally. In the 18th century, the Dutch introduced coffee plantation on the western slopes of Mount Tambora, a volcano on the north side of Sumbawa, thus creating the Tambora coffee variant. Tambora's colossal eruption in 1815 was one of the most powerful of all time, ejecting 150 cubic kilometres of ash and debris into the atmosphere; the eruption killed up to 71,000 people and triggered a period of global cooling known as the "Year Without a Summer" in 1816.
It apparently destroyed a small culture of Papuan affinity, known to archaeologists as the "Tambora culture". Sumbawa is administratively divided into one kota, they are: Islam, the dominant faith of the island, was introduced by the Makassarese of Sulawesi. Sumbawa had speaking, three major linguistic groups who spoke languages that were unintelligible to each other. One group centered in the western side of the island speaks Basa Semawa, similar to the Sasak language from Lombok, they were once separated by the Tambora culture. After the demise of Tambora due to the 1815 eruption, local kingdoms based in Sumbawa Besar and Bima became the two focal points of Sumbawa; this division of the island into two parts remains today. The population of the island was 1.33 million at the latest decennial census in 2010, comprising 29.58% of the population of the entire province's with 4.5 million people. Due to lack of work opportunities on the island and its frequent droughts, many people on the island seek work in the Middle East as laborers or domestic servants.
The island is bound by bodies of water. The Sape Strait lies to the east of the island and separates Sumbawa from Flores and the Komodo Islands, there are a number bays and gulfs, most notably Bima Bay, Cempi Bay, Waworada Bay Sumbawa's most distinguishing features are Saleh Bay and the Sanggar Peninsula. On the latter stands Mount Tambora, a large stratovolcano famous for its VEI 7 eruption in 1815, one of only a few eruptions of such magnitude in the last 2,000 years; the eruption obliterated most of Tambora's summit, reducing its height by about a third and leaving a six kilometer-wide caldera. Regardless, Tambora remains the highest point on the island. Highlands rise in four spots on the island, as well as on Sangeang Island; the large western lobe of Sumbawa is dominated by a large central highland, Tambora and Bima each have more minor highlands. There are a number of large surrounding islands, most notably are Moyo Island, volcanically active Sangeang Island, the tourist Komodo Islands to the east.
There are a number of smaller offshore islands which fall within the regencies based on Sumbawa Island: Many of the island residents are at risk of starvation when crops fail due to lack of rainfall. The majority of the population works in agriculture. Tourism is nascent, with a few surf spots renowned for being world class and Supersuck Beaches near the mine, as well as Hu'u and Lakey Beach in the Gulf of Cempi. Due to the mine, Sumbawa Barat Regency, along with other remote mining towns, Jakarta, have the highest GDP per cap