The Andaman Islands form an archipelago in the Bay of Bengal between India, to the west, and Myanmar, to the north and east. Most are part of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands Union Territory of India, while a small number in the north of the archipelago, including the Coco Islands, belong to Myanmar.
The Andaman Islands are home to the Sentinelese people, who have had no contact with any other people.
- North Andaman Island
- Little Andaman Island #Middle Andaman Island
- South Andaman Island
- 568 other less islands.
The Coco Islands (Burmese: ကိုကိုးကျွန်း) are a small group of islands in the northeastern Indian Ocean. They are part of the Yangon Region of Myanmar. The islands have a distance of 414 km (257 mi) south of the city of Yangon.
- Great Coco Island 14.10°N 93.365°E Airport. Coconut groves. Alleged Chinese SIGINT station 14.57 925
- Little Coco Island 13.988°N 93.225°E Coconut groves. 4.44 25
- Table Island 14.185°N 93.365°E Lighthouse 1.28 0
- Slipper Island 14.19°N 93.357°E 0.08 0
- Rat Island 14.128°N 93.382°E 0.015 0
- Binnacle Rock 14.15°N 93.372°E 0.011 0
- Jerry Island 14.05°N 93.365°E 0.14 0
- Coco Islands 20.53 950
The Nicobar Islands are an archipelagic island chain in the eastern Indian Ocean and one of the most isolated in the world. They are located in Southeast Asia, 150 km north of Aceh on Sumatra, and separated from Thailand to the east by the Andaman Sea. Located 1,300 km southeast of the Indian subcontinent, across the Bay of Bengal, they form part of the Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India. UNESCO has declared the islands as one of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves.
- Car Nicobar
- Chowra, Chaura or Sanenyo
- Teressa or Luroo
- Bompuka or Poahat
- Nancowry or Nancowrie
- Laouk or "Isle of Man"
- Great Nicobar (922 km², largest island of the Nicobars)
- Little Nicobar
- Kondul Island
- Pulo Milo or Pillomilo (Milo Island)
Weh Island is far to the south and is part of Indonisia. Sabang is a City consisting of a main island (Weh Island) and several smaller islands off the northern tip of Sumatra, south of the Andaman Islands.
- Klah Island (0.186 km²)
- Rondo Island (0.650 km²)
- Rubiah Island (0.357 km²)
- Seulako Island (0.055 km²)
- Weh Island (121 km²)
The islands took their current name from Portuguese sailors in the 16th century, "coco" being the Portuguese word for "coconut". The Andaman Islands were taken over by the English East India Company in the 18th century. In the 19th century, the British government in India established a penal colony in the Andamans, and the Coco Islands were a source of food for it (mainly coconuts). The British government had leased out the islands to Jadwet family of Burma. The jadwet family was one of the respected business families of Rangoon with their presence in Moulmein and Mergui.
The earliest extant references to the name "Nicobar" is in the Sri Lankan Pali Buddhist chronicles, the Dipavamsa (c. 3rd or 4th century CE) and the Mahavamsa (c. 4th or 5th century), which state that the children of the followers of the legendary founder of the Sri Lankan Kingdom, Vijaya, landed on Naggadipa (the island of the children, from the Pali nagga meaning 'naked'). The modern name is likely derived from the Chola dynasty name for the islands, Nakkavaram or 'Puup Pii' (literally, "naked man" in Tamil) which is inscribed on the Thanjavur (Tanjore) inscription of 1050 CE. Marco Polo (12th-13th century) also referred to this island as 'Necuverann'.
The name of the Andaman Islands is ancient. A theory that became prevalent in the late 19th century is that it derives from Andoman, a form of Hanuman, the Sanskrit name of the Indian God. Another Italian traveller, Niccolò de' Conti (c. 1440), mentioned the islands and said that the name means "Island of Gold".
The earliest archaeological evidence yet documented goes back some 2,200 years. However, genetic and cultural studies suggest that the indigenous Andamanese people may have been isolated from other populations since some time during the Middle Paleolithic, which ended 30,000 years ago. Since that time, the Andamanese have diversified into distinct linguistic, cultural and territorial groups.
The Nicobar Islands appear to have been populated by people of various backgrounds. At the time of the European contact, the indigenous inhabitants were the Nicobarese people, speaking a Mon-Khmer language; and the Shompen, whose language is of uncertain affiliation. Both are unrelated to the Andamanese, but being closely related to the Myanmarese (Burmese).
The Nicobar Islands are believed to have been inhabited for thousands of years. Six indigenous Nicobarese languages are spoken on the islands, which are part of the Mon–Khmer branch of the Austroasiatic language family, which includes Mon, Khmer and Vietnamese languages of Southeast Asia, and the Munda languages of India. An indigenous tribe living at the southern tip of Great Nicobar, called the Shompen, may be of Mesolithic Southeast Asian origin.
The Andaman islands have been inhabited for several thousand years, at the very least. The earliest archaeological evidence yet documented goes back some 2,200 years; however, the indications from genetic, cultural and isolation studies suggests that the islands may have been inhabited as early as the Middle Paleolithic. The indigenous Andamanese people appear to have lived on the islands in substantial isolation from that time until the 18th century CE.
The Andamans are theorised to be a key stepping stone in a great coastal migration of humans from Africa via the Arabian peninsula, along the coastal regions of the Indian mainland and towards Southeast Asia, Japan and Oceania.
Rajendra Chola I (1014 to 1042 CE), one of the Tamil Chola dynasty kings, conquered the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to use them as a strategic naval base to launch a naval expedition against the Sriwijaya Empire (a Buddhist empire based in the island of Sumatra, Indonesia). They called the islands Tinmaittivu ("impure islands" in Tamil). From 800 to 1200 CE, the Tamil Chola dynasty created an empire that eventually extended from southeastern peninsular India to parts of Malaysia. Rajendra Chola I (1014 to 1042 CE) took over the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and maintained them as a strategic naval base to launch a naval expedition against the Srivijaya empire (a Hindu-Malay empire based on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia).
The islands were sailed past by Portuguese navigators and they named the Cocos islands in the 16th century.
The Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal were said, by racists, to be inhabited by wolf-headed people, who they depicted in a "book of wonders" produced in Paris in the early 15th century.
The islands also provided a temporary maritime base for ships of the Maratha Empire in the 17th century. The Maratha navy's admiral Kanhoji Angre established naval supremacy with a base in the islands and is credited with attaching those islands to India.
The history of organised European colonisation on the islands began when the Danish settlers of the Danish East India Company arrived in the Nicobar Islands on 12 December 1755. On 1 January 1756, the Nicobar Islands were made a Danish colony, first named New Denmark, and later (December 1756) Frederick's Islands (Frederiksøerne). During 1754–1756 they were administrated from Tranquebar (in continental Danish India). The islands were repeatedly abandoned due to outbreaks of malaria between 14 April 1759 and 19 August 1768, from 1787 to 1807/05, 1814 to 1831, 1830 to 1834 and gradually from 1848 for good.
From 1 June 1778 to 1784, Austria mistakenly assumed that Denmark had abandoned its claims to the Nicobar Islands and attempted to establish a colony on them, renaming them Theresia Islands.
The history of organised European colonisation on the islands began with the Danish East India Company in 1754/56. During this time they were administrated from Tranquebar (in continental Danish India) administrated under the name of Frederiksøerne; missionaries from the Moravian Church Brethren's settlement in Tranquebar attempted a settlement on Nancowry and died in great numbers from disease; the islands were repeatedly abandoned due to outbreaks of malaria: 1784–1807/09, 1830–1834 and finally from 1848 gradually for good. Between 1778 and 1783, William Bolts attempted to establish an Austrian colony on the islands on the mistaken assumption that Denmark–Norway had abandoned its claims to the islands.
Italy made an attempt at buying the Nicobar Islands from Denmark between 1864 and 1868. The Italian Minister of Agriculture and Commerce Luigi Torelli started a negotiation that looked promising, but failed due to the unexpected end of his Office and the first La Marmora Cabinet. The negotiations were interrupted and never brought up again.
Denmark's presence in the islands ended formally on 16 October 1868 when it sold the rights to the Nicobar Islands to Britain, which in 1869 made them part of British India.
In 1789 the British set up a naval base and penal colony on Chatham Island next to Great Andaman, where now lies the town of Port Blair. Two years later the colony was moved to Port Cornwallis on Great Andaman, but it was abandoned in 1796 due to disease.
Denmark's presence in the territory ended formally on 16 October 1868 when it sold the rights to the Nicobar Islands to Britain, which made them part of British India in 1869.
In 1858 the British again established a colony at Port Blair, which proved to be more permanent. The primary purpose was to set up a penal colony criminal convicts from the Indian subcontinent. The colony came to include the infamous Cellular Jail.
In 1872 the Andaman and Nicobar islands were united under a single chief commissioner at Port Blair.
There is evidence that some sections of the British Indian administration were working deliberately to annihilate the tribes. After the mid-19th century, British established penal colonies on the islands and an increasing numbers of mainland Indian and Karen settlers arrived, encroaching on former territories of the Andamanese. This accelerated the decline of the tribes.
Many Andamanese succumbed to British expeditions to avenge the killing of shipwrecked sailors. In the 1867 Andaman Islands Expedition, dozens of Onge were killed by British naval personnel following the death of shipwrecked sailors, which resulted in four Victoria Crosses for the British soldiers.
In 1789, Bengal Presidency established a naval base and penal colony on Chatham Island in the southeast bay of Great Andaman. The settlement is now known as Port Blair (after the Bombay Marine lieutenant Archibald Blair who founded it). After two years, the colony was moved to the northeast parsext of Great Andaman and was named Port Cornwallis after Admiral William Cornwallis. However, there was much disease and death in the penal colony and the government ceased operating it in May 1796.
In 1824, Port Cornwallis was the rendezvous of the fleet carrying the army to the First Burmese War. In the 1830s and 1840s, shipwrecked crews who landed on the Andamans were often attacked and killed by the natives and the islands had a reputation for cannibalism. The loss of the Runnymede and the Briton in 1844 during the same storm, while transporting goods and passengers between India and Australia, and the continuous attacks launched by the natives, which the survivors fought off, alarmed the British government. In 1855, the government proposed another settlement on the islands, including a convict establishment, but the Indian Rebellion of 1857 forced a delay in its construction. However, because the rebellion gave the British so many prisoners, it made the new Andaman settlement and prison urgently necessary. Construction began in November 1857 at Port Blair using inmates' labour, avoiding the vicinity of a salt swamp that seemed to have been the source of many of the earlier problems at Port Cornwallis.
17 May 1859 was another major day for Andaman. The "Battle of Aberdeen" was fought between the Great Andamanese Tribe and the British. Today, a memorial stands in Andaman Water sports complex as a tribute to the people who lost their life. Fearing foreign invasion and with help from an escaped convict from Cellular Jail, the great Andamanese tribe stormed the British post, but they were outnumbered and soon suffered heavy loss of life. Later, it was identified that an escaped convict named Doodnath had changed sides and informed the British about the tribe's plans. Today, the tribe has been reduced to some 50 people, with less than 50% of them adults. The government of Andaman Islands is making efforts to increase the headcount of this tribe.
In 1867, the ship Nineveh wrecked on the reef of North Sentinel Island. The 86 survivors reached the beach in the ship's boats. On the third day, they were attacked with iron-tipped spears by naked islanders. One person from the ship escaped in a boat and the others were later rescued by a British Royal Navy ship.
For some time, sickness and mortality were high, but swamp reclamation and extensive forest clearance continued. The Andaman colony became notorious with the murder of the Viceroy Richard Southwell Bourke, 6th Earl of Mayo, on a visit to the settlement (8 February 1872), by a Muslim convict, a Pathan from Afghanistan, Sher Ali. In the same year, the two island groups Andaman and Nicobar, were united under a chief commissioner residing at Port Blair.
From the time of its development in 1858 under the direction of James Pattison Walker, and in response to the mutiny and rebellion of the previous year, the settlement was first and foremost a repository for political prisoners. The Cellular Jail at Port Blair when completed in 1910 included 698 cells designed for solitary confinement; each cell measured 4.5 by 2.7 m (15 by 9 ft) with a single ventilation window 3 metres (10 ft) above the floor. A notable prisoner there was Vinayak Damodar Savarkar.
The Indians imprisoned here referred to the Island and its prison as Kala Pani ("black water"); a 1996 film set on the island took that term as its title Kaalapani. The number of prisoners who died in this camp is estimated to be in the thousands. Many more died of harsh treatment and the harsh living and working conditions in this camp.
The Viper Chain Gang Jail on Viper Island was reserved for troublemakers, and was also the site of hangings. In the 20th century, it became a convenient place to house prominent members of India's independence movement.
World War IEdit
It was still part of British India and nothing notable happened.
World War IIEdit
During World War II, the islands were practically under Japanese control, only nominally under the authority of the Arzi Hukumate Azad Hind of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. Bose visited the islands during the war, and renamed them as "Shaheed-dweep" (Martyr Island) and "Swaraj-dweep" (Self-rule Island).
The Andaman and Nicobar islands were occupied by Japan during World War II. The islands were nominally put under the authority of the Arzi Hukumat-e-Azad Hind (Provisional Government of Free India) headed by Subhas Chandra Bose, who visited the islands during the war, and renamed them as Shaheed (Martyr) & Swaraj (Self-rule).
The Japanese occupation of the Andaman Islands occurred in 1942 during World War II. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands (8,293 km² on 139 islands), are a group of islands situated in the Bay of Bengal at about 780 miles from Kolkata, 740 miles from Chennai and 120 miles from Cape Nargis in Burma. Until 1938 the British government used them as a penal colony for Indian and African political prisoners, who were mainly put in the notorious Cellular Jail in Port Blair, the biggest town (port) on the islands. Today they form a Union Territory of India.
The only military objective on the islands was the city of Port Blair. The garrison consisted of a 300-man Sikh militia with 23 British officers, augmented in January 1942 by a Gurkha detachment of 4/12th Frontier Force Regiment of the 16th Indian Infantry Brigade. Following the fall of Rangoon on March 8, however, the British recognized that Port Blair had become impossible to defend, and on March 10 the Gurkhas were withdrawn to the Arakan peninsula.
On 30 December 1943, during the Japanese occupation, Bose, who was allied with the Japanese, first raised the flag of Indian independence. General Loganathan, of the Indian National Army, was Governor of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, which had been annexed to the Provisional Government. According to Werner Gruhl: "Before leaving the islands, the Japanese rounded up and executed 750 innocents." After the end of the war the islands returned to British control before becoming part of the newly independent state of India.
General Loganathan, of the Indian National Army was made the Governor of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. On 22 February 1944 he along with four INA officers, Major Mansoor Ali Alvi, Sub. Lt. Md. Iqbal, Lt. Suba Singh and stenographer Srinivasan, arrived at Lambaline Airport in Port Blair. On 21 March 1944 the Headquarters of the Civil Administration was established near the Gurudwara at Aberdeen Bazaar. On 2 October 1944, Col. Loganathan handed over the charge to Maj. Alvi and left Port Blair, never to return. The islands were reoccupied by British and Indian troops of the 116th Indian Infantry Brigade on 7 October 1945, to whom the remaining Japanese garrison surrendered. The Japanese military delegation saluted Lieutenant Colonel Nathu Singh, commanding officer of the Rajput Regiment, following their surrender of the Islands, 1945.
In the 1940s, the Jarawa were bombed by Japanese forces for their hostility. During World War II, the islands were occupied by Japan between 1942 and 1945. India occupied the island after that as its territory.
The Japanese occupied Weh island and installed numerous bunkers, fortifications and gun emplacements until the Dutch retook the islands. The Japanese occupation's remnants can still be seen, though most have been re-purposed or removed.
The Post-British planEdit
At the close of World War II, the British government announced its intention to abolish the penal settlement. The government proposed to employ former inmates in an initiative to develop the island's fisheries, timber, and agricultural resources. In exchange, inmates would be granted return passage to the Indian mainland, or the right to settle on the islands. The penal colony was eventually closed on 15 August 1947 when India gained independence. It has since served as a museum to the independence movement.
During the independence of both India (1947) and Burma (1948), the departing British announced their intention to resettle all Anglo-Indians and Anglo-Burmese on these islands to form their own nation, although this never materialised. It became part of India in 1950 and was declared as a union territory of the nation in 1956.
Due to the isolation of the Coco Islands, they were not properly governed, and the British transferred their control to the government of Lower Burma in Rangoon. In 1882 they officially became part of British Burma. When Burma separated from India in 1937 and became a self-governing Crown Colony, they remained a Burmese territory. In 1942, along with the rest of the Andaman and Nicobar chain, they were occupied by Japan. When Burma regained its independence from Britain in 1948, the Coco Islands passed to the new Union of Burma.
There are four islets surrounding Weh Island: Klah, Rubiah, Seulako, and Rondo. They went from Dutch to Indonesian control when Indonesia formed in the late 1940s. Most of the population were Acehnese and the rest were either other Indonesian peoples or Dutch.
Together with the Andaman Islands, they became a union territory of India in 1950.
India has been developing defence facilities on the islands since the 1980s. The islands now have a key position in India's strategic role in the Bay of Bengal and the Malacca Strait.
In 1959, General Ne Win’s interim military administration established a penal colony on Great Coco Island. After Ne Win’s coup d’etat in 1962, and the installation of a military government, the prison gained the reputation of being a Burmese "Devil’s Island". In 1969, it was enlarged to house an increased number of political prisoners. After a strike, all prisoners on the island were transferred to Rangoon’s Insein Prison in 1971. After the closing of the penal colony, the facilities on Great Coco Island were transferred to the Burmese Navy. Burmese writer Mya Than Tint was among the people incarcerated at the Great Coco Island penal colony.
The |Andaman and Nicobar island had some coastal exploration in the 1960s and 1970s, Some urban and coastal development occurred in the 1980s and 1990s.
In 1974, a film crew and anthropologist Triloknath Pandit attempted friendly contact by leaving a tethered pig, some pots and pans, some fruit and toys on the beach at North Sentinel Island. One of the islanders shot the film director in the thigh with an arrow. The following year, European visitors were repulsed with arrows.
On 2 August 1981, the Hong Kong freighter ship Primrose grounded on the North Sentinel Island reef. A few days later, crewmen on the immobile vessel observed that small black men were carrying spears and arrows and building boats on the beach. The captain of the Primrose radioed for an urgent airdrop of firearms so the crew could defend themselves, but did not receive them. Heavy seas kept the islanders away from the ship. After a week, the crew were rescued by an Indian navy helicopter.
Weh Island and its neighbours developed according to the norms for Aech Province in Indonesia.
The Coco Islands were allegedly leased to the People's Republic of China from 1994. The governments of Burma and the People's Republic of China deny this, and many members of the Burmese military categorically deny any agreement at all.
There are four islets surrounding Weh Island: Klah, Rubiah, Seulako, and Rondo. Among those, Rubiah is well known for diving tourism, because of its coral reefs. When traveling to Saudi Arabia was only possible by sea, Rubiah was used as a place of quarantine for Indonesian Muslims during the Hajj pilgrimage season.
In April 1998, American photographer John S. Callahan organised the first surfing project in the Andamans, starting from Phuket in Thailand with the assistance of Southeast Asia Liveaboards (SEAL), a UK owned dive charter company. With a crew of international professional surfers, they crossed the Andaman Sea on the yacht Crescent and cleared formalities in Port Blair. The group proceeded to Little Andaman Island, where they spent ten days surfing several spots for the first time, including Jarawa Point near Hut Bay and the long right reef point at the southwest tip of the island, named Kumari Point. The resulting article in Surfer Magazine, "Quest for Fire" by journalist Sam George, put the Andaman Islands on the surfing map for the first time. Footage of the waves of the Andaman Islands also appeared in the film Thicker than Water, shot by documentary filmmaker Jack Johnson, who later achieved worldwide fame as a popular musician. Callahan went on to make several more surfing projects in the Andamans, including a trip to the Nicobar Islands in 1999.
On 26 December 2004, the coast of the Andaman Islands was devastated by a 10-metre (33 ft) high tsunami following the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, which is the longest recorded earthquake, lasting for between 500 and 600 seconds. Strong oral traditions in the area warned of the importance of moving inland after a quake and is credited with saving many lives. In the aftermath, more than 2000 people were confirmed dead and more than 4,000 children were orphaned or had lost one parent. At least 40,000 residents were rendered homeless and were moved to relief camps. On 11 August 2009, a magnitude 7 earthquake struck near the Andaman Islands, causing a tsunami warning to go into effect. On 30 March 2010, a magnitude 6.9 earthquake struck near the Andaman Islands.
On 4 January 1991, Indian scholar Triloknath Pandit made the first known friendly contact with the Sentinelese.
Until 1996, the Jarawa met most visitors with flying arrows. From time to time they attacked and killed poachers on the lands reserved to them by the Indian government. They also killed some workers building the Andaman Trunk Road (ATR), which traverses Jarawa lands. One of the earliest peaceful contacts with the Jarawa occurred in 1996. Settlers found a teenage Jarawa boy named Emmei near Kadamtala town. The boy was immobilized with a broken foot. They took Emmei to a hospital where he received good care. Over several weeks, Emmei learned a few words of Hindi before returning to his jungle home. The following year, Jarawa individuals and small groups began appearing along roadsides and occasionally venturing into settlements to steal food. The ATR may have interfered with traditional Jarawa food sources. Whist the tribes-folk like the supply of metal bowls and torches, they resented the sharply increasing levels alcoholism and several cases of economic exploitation at the hands of mainland Indians.
The Andaman and Nicobar Command is the only Tri-service theater command of the Indian Armed Forces, based at Port Blair in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, a Union Territory of India. It was created in 2001 to safeguard India's strategic interests in Southeast Asia and the Strait of Malacca by increasing rapid deployment of military assets in the region. As of 2014, the command includes 15 ships of the Indian Navy, two Navy Sea bases, four Air Force and Naval Air bases and an Army brigade. The Andaman and Nicobar Command is India’s first and only joint tri-service command, with rotating three-star Commanders-in-Chief from the Army, Navy and Air Force reporting directly to the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee.
On 26 December 2004 the coasts of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the Weh Islands and the Cocos Islands were devastated by a 10 m (33 ft) high tsunami following the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. More than 2000 people lost their lives, more than 4000 children were orphaned or suffered the loss of one parent, and a minimum of 40,000 people were rendered homeless. The worst affected Nicobar islands were Katchal and Indira Point; the latter subsided 4.25 metres (13.9 feet) and was partially submerged in the ocean. The lighthouse at Indira Point was damaged but has been repaired since then. The territory lost a large amount of area which is now submerged. The territory which was at 8,073 km2 (3,117 sq mi) is now at 7,950 km2 (3,070 sq mi).
While locals and tourist of the islands suffered the greatest casualties from the tsunami, most of the aboriginal people survived because oral traditions passed down from generations ago warned them to evacuate from large waves that follow large earthquakes.
The 26 December 2004 tsunami devastated all the islands.
The only commercial airport in the islands is Veer Savarkar International Airport in Port Blair, which has scheduled services to Kolkata, Chennai, New Delhi, Bengaluru, Visakhapatnam and Bhubaneswar. The airport is under control of the Indian Navy. Only daylight operations were allowed earlier but since 2016 beginning, night flight also started at Port Blair airport. A small airstrip of approximately 1000 metres is located near the Eastern shore of North Andaman near Diglipur.
Due to the length of the routes and the small number of airlines flying to the islands, fares have traditionally been relatively expensive, although cheaper for locals than visitors. Fares are high during peak seasons of spring and winter, but fares have been decreased over the time due to expansion of the civil aviation industry in India.
The Andamanese people are the various aboriginal inhabitants of the Andaman Islands, a Union Territory of India located in the southeastern part of the Bay of Bengal.
The Andamanese resemble other Negrito groups in Southeast Asia. They are pygmies, and are the only modern people outside of certain parts of Sub-Saharan Africa with steatopygia. They lead a hunter-gatherer lifestyle, and appear to have lived in substantial isolation for thousands of years. The Andamanese arrived at the Andaman Islands around the latest Glacial Maximum, ca. 26,000 years ago.
The Andamanese's protective isolation changed with the first British colonial presence and subsequent settlements, which proved disastrous for them. Lacking immunity against common diseases of the Eurasian mainland, the large Jarawa habitats on the southeastern regions of South Andaman Island likely were depopulated by disease within four years (1789-1793) of the initial British colonial settlement in 1789. Epidemics of pneumonia, measles and influenza spread rapidly and exacted heavy tolls, as did alcoholism. By 1875, the Andamanese were already "perilously close to extinction," yet attempts to contact, subdue and co-opt them continued unrelentingly. In 1888, the British government set in place a policy of "organized gift giving" that continued in varying forms until well into the 20th century.
By the end of the eighteenth century, when they first came into sustained contact with outsiders, there were an estimated 7000 Andamanese divided into five major groups, with distinct cultures, separate domains, and mutually unintelligible languages. In the next century they were largely wiped out by diseases, violence, and loss of territory. Today, there remain only approximately 400–450 Andamanese. One group has long been extinct, and only two of the remaining groups still maintain a steadfast independence, refusing most attempts at contact by outsiders.
As of 2011, the population of the Andaman was 343,125, having grown from 50,000 in 1960. The bulk of the population originates from immigrants who came to the island since the colonial times, mainly of Bengali, Hindustani and Tamil backgrounds.
The Andamanese are now a designated Scheduled Tribe.
The five major groups of Andamanese found by the European colonists were:
- Great Andamanese, pure form extinct (54 admixed individuals)
- Jarawa now estimated 250 to 400 verified to exist in pure form
- Jangil or Rutland Jarawa, extinct
- Onge, now fewer than 100 verified to exist in pure form
- Sentinelese, now estimated to be 100 to 200.
The Shompen or Shom Pen are the indigenous people of the interior of Great Nicobar Island, part of the Indian union territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
The Shompen are a designated Scheduled Tribe.
In the late 1980s the Shompens were living in ten groups, ranging in size from 2 to 22 individuals, scattered across the interior of the island.
Because of their isolated way of life in the interior of the island, the Shompens were largely protected from the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami that devastated the coastal regions inhabited by Nicobaris and the Indian population.
The Shompen languages, of which there are at least two, are very little known, but appear to be unrelated to Nicobarese, an isolated group of Austroasiatic languages, and perhaps even to each other. They may constitute a language isolate.
The Nicobarese people are a Mon–Khmer-speaking people of the Nicobar Islands, a chain of 19 islands in the southeastern Bay of Bengal. Only 12 of the 19 islands are inhabited. The largest and main island is Great Nicobar. The term Nicobarese refers to the dominant tribes of the Nicobar Islands. On each island, the people have specific names, but together they are the Nicobarese. They call themselves Holchu, which means "friend".
The Nicobarese may not have been the first people to live in the islands, they appear to have shared the islands with Shompen who came to the islands earlier. The islands have been under the power of various Asian empires in the 16th century, Great Britain from 1869–1947, and India from 1947. Today they are administered by India as part of the Union Territory of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
The Nicobarese language is part of the Austroasiatic language family. All of the different islands speak different dialects of the Nicobarese language. The separate islands are categorized into four groups, although most of the people understand the Car Nicobar dialect.
The Nicobarese are a designated Scheduled Tribe.
The Nicobar Islands people:
- Native Nicobarese people ~22,500
- Shompen ~2,000-2,200
The other islands have also made greater contact with the outside world.
The Cocos Islands people:
- Native Nicobarese people
- Mainland Burmese groups (A large majority)
- Some Chinese troops
The Weh Islands people:
- Aceh (the vast majority)
- Other Indonesian groups
- Other Malaysian
- Integration of Junagadh
- Integration of the Kingdom of Cochin
- Integration of the Kingdom of Travancore
- Integration of the Mahar Rajadom of Kashmir and Jammur
- Integration of Dadra and Nagar Haveli
- Integration of Goa
- Integration of Puducherry
- ntegration of Bantva Manavadar
- British Indian historical map links
- UK and Commonwealth OTL troop numbers in WW2
- Acehnese rebellion of 1976 to 2005
- Free Aceh Movement (GAM)