The Lombok Strait marks the passage of the biogeographical division between the fauna of Indo-Malaysia and the distinctly different fauna of Australasia that is known as the Wallace line, for Alfred Russel Wallace, who first remarked upon the distinction between these two major biomes.
The island's topography is dominated by the centrally-located volcano Mount Rinjani, which rises to 3,726 m (12,224 ft), making the third-largest in Indonesia. The southern part of the island is a fertile plain where corn, rice, coffee, tobacco, and cotton are grown.
The Dutch first visited Lombok in 1674 and settled the eastern part of the island, leaving the western half to be ruled by Bali. The Sasaks chafed under Balinese rule, and a revolt in 1891 ended in 1894 with the annexation of the entire island to the Netherlands East Indies.
Lombok is similar in many ways to Bali, but less well-known and less-visited, and it has been working to increase its visibility to tourists in recent years, promoting itself as an "unspoiled Bali". However, in early 2000 thousands fled from religious and ethnic violence that swept over the island, and tensions remain.