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Dalem Samprangan

Dalem Samprangan

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Dalem Samprangan was a king of Bali who governed under the suzerainty of the Javanese Majapahit Empire (1293-c. 1527), and belonged to a dynasty of immigrants from Java. The exact dating of his reign is unclear; the sources point at either the second half of the 14th century or the early 16th century.

According to the 18th-century chronicle Babad Dalem, Dalem Samprangan succeeded his father Sri Aji Kresna Kepakisan who had been established as vassal king by Majapahit after the conquest of Bali in 1343. His residence was Samprangan in the present-day Gianyar regency. The chronicle characterizes him as an incompetent and vain figure. He spent much time on his outward appearance, and let his ministers wait in the council hall for him to show up. This behaviour irritated the grandees of the kingdom. Finally one of them, Kubon Klapa, left the palace and looked up Dalem Samprangan's youngest brother Ketut, who was a well-known gambler. He persuaded the prince to take royal titles and offered him his residence in Gelgel, a village in the present-day Klungkung residency, near the south coast. In that way, the Samprangan palace quickly lapsed into obscurity, while Gelgel rose as the political centre of the island under the new king Dalem Ketut.

A complex of legendary texts called Babad Pulasari relate the fortunes of Dalem Samprangan's other brother Dalem Tarukan, who had a residence close to modern Ubud. He fell out with his royal brother which resulted in a series of internecine wars on the island. At length, Dalem Tarukan was defeated, and his descendants were demoted from the Ksatria caste. Certain Balinese texts date the defeat of Tarukan in 1502. This is incompatible with the Babad Dalem, which indicates Dalem Samprangan about one generation after the Majapahit conquest of 1343. The historical background of these persons and events is therefore uncertain.

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