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An Introduction to the Geography of Bali

Map of Southeast Asia

Map of Southeast Asia

Bali is one among thousands of islands that make up the republic of Indonesia. In the midst of the most populous Islamic country in the world, this small island has remained predominantly Hindu. A thousand years ago many people practiced Hinduism across Southeast Asia. Today Bali is the only place in the entire region where these once-widespread traditions remain strong.

Bali lies along trade routes connecting the Spice Islands (Maluku or Moluccas islands), China, and India. These ancient routes not only brought goods; they also spread ideas. Two thousand years ago, many Southeast Asians began adopting and adapting aspects of Indian-related civilization, especially literary language, religion, and court culture. More than a thousand years ago elements of Hinduism could be found throughout much of Southeast Asia.