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Lombok

LOMBOK (called by the natives Sasak), one of the Lesser Sunda Islands, in the Dutch East Indies, E. of Java, between 8 12' and 9* i' S. and 115 46' and 116 40' E., with an area of 3136 sq. m. It is separated from Bali by the Strait of Lombok and from Sumbawa by the Strait of Alas. Rising out of the sea with bold and often precipitous coasts, Lombok is traversed by two mountain chains. The northern chain is of volcanic formation, and contains the peak of Lombok (11,810 ft.), one of the highest volcanoes in the Malay Archipelago. It is surrounded by a plateau (with lower summits, and a magnificent lake, Segara Anak) 8200 ft. high. The southern chain rises a little over 3000 ft. Between the two chains is a broad valley or terrace with a range of low volcanic hills. Forest-clad mountains and stretches of thorny jungle alternating with rich alluvial plains, cultivated like gardens under an ancient and elaborate system of irrigation, make the scenery of Lombok exceedingly attractive. The small rivers serve only for irrigation and the growing of rice, which is of superior quality. In the plains are also grown coffee, indigo, maize and sugar, katyang (native beans), cotton and tobacco. All these products are exported. To the naturalist Lombok is of particular interest as the frontier island of the Australian region, with its cockatoos and megapods or moundbuilders, its peculiar bee-eaters and ground thrushes. The Sasaks must be considered the aborigines, as no trace of an earlier race is found. They are Mahommedans and distinct in many other respects from the Hindu Balinese, who vanquished but could not convert them. The island was formerly divided into the four states of Karang-Asam Lombok on the W. side, Mataram in the N.W., Pagarawan in the S.W. and Pagutan in the E. Balinese supremacy dated from the conquest by Agong Dahuran in the beginning of the igth century; the union under a single raja tributary to Bali dated from 1839. In July 1894 a Dutch expedition landed at Ampanam, and advanced towards Mataram, the capital of the Balinese sultan, who had defied Dutch authority and refused to send the usual delegation to Batavia. The objects of that expedition were to punish Mataram and to redress the grievances of the Sasaks whom the Balinese held in cruel subjection. The first Dutch expedition met with reverses, and ultimately the invaders were forced back upon Ampanam. The Dutch at once despatched a much stronger expedition, which landed at Ampanam in September. Mataram was bombarded by the fleet, and the troops stormed the sultan's stronghold, and Tjakra Negara, another chieftain's citadel, both after a desperate resistance. The old sultan of Mataram was captured, and he and other Balinese chiefs were exiled to different parts of the Malay Archipelago, whilst the sultan's heir fell at the hands of his warriors. Thus ended the Balinese domination of Lombok, and the island was placed under direct Dutch-Indian control, an assistant resident being appointed at Ampanam. Lombok is now administered from Bali by the Dutch resident on that island. The people, however, are in undisturbed exercise of their own laws, religions, customs and institutions. Disturbances between the Sasaks and the Lombok Balinese frequently occur. Lombok has been divided since 1898 into the West, Middle and East Lombok. Its chief towns are Mataram, Praya and Sisi. On the west coast the harbour of Ampanam is the most frequented, though, on account of heavy breakers, it is often difficult of approach. The Sasaks are estimated at 320,000, the Balinese at 50,000, Europeans number about 40, Chinese 300, and Arabs 1 70.

See A. R. Wallace, Malay Archipelago (London, 1869, and later editions). The famous " Wallace's Line " runs immediately west of Lombok, which therefore has an important part in the work. Captain W. Cool, With the Dutch in the East (Amsterdam and London, 1897), in Dutch and English, is a narrative of the events sketched above, and contains many particulars about the folklore and dual religions of Lombok, which, with Bali, forms the last stronghold of Hinduism east of Java.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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